A Congestion Management Process (CMP) is a systematic approach to address congestion in order to reduce its impacts on the movement of people and goods. A CMP should provide the region with a process to:
- identify the location, extent, duration, and causes of recurring and non-recurring congestion
- evaluate the impacts of congestion;
- identify strategies to reduce congestion; and
- evaluate implemented strategies.
Federal law requires metropolitan areas with a population exceeding 200,000 (such as the Baltimore region) to develop a CMP. BMC and the BRTB work with transportation professionals and decision makers to implement the CMP.
Current CMP Activities:
In major metropolitan regions it is not possible or even desired, to eliminate all traffic congestion. Some congestion is the result of vibrant social, business, and community activity, so a region would likely not want to eliminate all congestion because doing so would likely adversely affect the region. The overall goal of the CMP, then, is to take a broad approach to reduce excessive recurring and non-recurring congestion, use existing system capacity as efficiently as possible, increase system reliability, and always seek to improve safety. BMC/BRTB work on a variety of CMP projects/programs.
The CMP Analysis Tool is an interactive map that visually displays congestion data such as the most recent congested locations as well as transportation project data. This tool helps identify the top corridors for more in-depth analysis and serves as input into the project prioritization process.
In an effort to strengthen the process of evaluating the effectiveness of CMP strategies, BMC staff identified several projects in the region as candidates for further analysis.
The ideas is to find projects with a focus on relieving congestion that either have been implemented recently or are scheduled to be implemented in the near future. In this way, staff can look at the traffic conditions before the improvements were implemented compared to the conditions after the improvements are in place.
BMC staff have looked at the before and after conditions of several recently implemented projects on the MD 22 corridor in Harford County. These projects involve improvements to the intersection of MD 22 and Old Post Road and the intersection of MD 22 and Beards Hill Road. Our analysis shows significant improvement in the reliability of westbound travel on MD 22.
One of the tools used to track congestion and inform solutions to our regional challenges are the Congestion Analysis Reports, which are prepared each quarter and each year.
Developed in 2019, this dashboard provides traffic volume and classification counts throughout our modeling area.
BMC has been publishing holiday travel tips since 2016 for Memorial Day Weekend, July 4th, Labor Day Weekend, and Thanksgiving Day. The tips are developed in consultation with the Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) and provide recommendations for the best time to get on area roads.
Updating the Baltimore Region’s CMP Process
As developed by the U.S. DOT, there are eight steps in the metropolitan congestion process. BMC worked with a consultant to update the region’s CMP. The updated CMP will support the region’s long-range transportation planning efforts.
The steps of the CMP are listed below along with links to current actions and anticipated updates:
Congestion management objectives define what the region is seeking to achieve, they support the region’s overall vision and goals as laid out in Maximize 2045. In addition, congestion management objectives can go beyond reducing traffic congestion to supporting other broad considerations such as increasing network reliability, as well as improving multimodal performance, accessibility, safety, and travel options. The congestion management objectives were developed as part of a consultant-supported project.
The CMP network was updated as part of the CMP project. The CMP network identifies geographic boundaries as well as the system components including roads, transit network, and freight network. The identified network will be monitored to assess operation.
The CMP project included the development of a data collection and management plan that includes recommendations to support the performance measures. This plan identifies:
- what data is needed
- how and where data will be collected and stored
- what data is desired but not available
- how often it will be collected and by whom
- accuracy levels and data formats
- how data should be analyzed for reporting and monitoring purposes
The CMP project included the development of a Process to Analyze Areas of Congestion and associated mobility issues. This document details how to identify performance deficiencies in the CMP network to identify both recurring and non-recurring congestion issues. The congestion analysis bottleneck reports will be one source to identify congestion.
A Congestion Management Strategy Guide was developed to illustrate congestion management strategies that could be considered for implementation in the region to address the identified congestion problems.
Implementation recommendations were provided as part of the CMP project. The recommendations are currently being reviewed to develop an approach to incorporate them into the planning process. Additional details will be posted when available.
The final element of the CMP is to evaluate the effectiveness of implemented strategies. This document was developed to provide guidance.