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Regional Performance Measures

Photo courtesy of Indabelle via Flickr/Creative Commons license.

The Wasatch Front Regional Council (WFRC) assesses the status of the Region relative to adopted regional goals, Utah’s Unified Transportation Plan, and Federal performance goals. Analysis is also conducted to understand specific issues relevant to transportation and the interaction with land use and economic development.

Federal Performance Measures

Two federal acts – Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) and Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) – provided a performance management framework for state departments of transportation, transit agencies, and MPOs to assess and monitor the performance of the transportation system. Outlined were seven national performance goals for the Federal-aid highway program and two national performance goals for transit agencies. Each DOT, transit agency, and MPO is required to coordinate together to set performance targets and report on progress toward meeting national goals and agency targets.

Highway Performance Goals

  • Safety
  • Infrastructure condition/State of Good Repair
  • Congestion reduction
  • System reliability
  • Freight movement and economic vitality
  • Environmental sustainability

Transit Performance Goals

  • Safety
  • State of Good Repair

Safety

Targets are set on a rolling five-year average.

Performance MeasureStatewide TargetReportedWFRC Area (2020)Target Status
Number of fatalitiesLess than or equal to 272.0268.0109Met
Fatality rate per 100 million vehicle miles traveledLess than or equal to 0.890.852N/AMet
Number of serious injuriesLess than or equal to 1,4451,437748Met
Serious injury rate per 100 million vehicle miles traveledLess than or equal to 4.7504.572N/AMet
Number of non-motorized fatalities and serious injuriesLess than or equal to 212.0214.6148Did Not Met

Safe, user-friendly streets is a goal of the Wasatch Choice Regional Vision and is incorporated into the project selection and project prioritization of the 2019-2050 RTP and the 2022-2027 Transportation Improvement Program.

In the 2019-2050 RTP, of the 396 total road projects, 118 or roughly 30 percent, improve infrastructure that have a Safety Index rating over six (out of ten) and have been prioritized with respect to safety. The 2019-2050 RTP also includes 23 grade-separated vehicle crossings that will reduce freight conflict with ground transportation, including bicyclists and pedestrians. Overall, it is assumed that any improvement to our streets will improve the safety of the roadway. Financially, the State of Utah is expected to invest $896 million in funding for safety between 2019 and 2050. More discussion and analysis of safety in the Region can be found in Chapter 4 of the RTP.

Increased use of bicycle and pedestrian facilities is a result of safe, user-friendly streets as well. The 2019-2050 RTP includes 16 miles of protected bike lanes and 125 miles of separated, non-motorized shared use paths. These facilities provide physical protection of one form or another between bicyclists and vehicles, increasing safety and comfort of the user. In addition, there are 63 grade-separated bicycle/pedestrian crossings that will reduce conflict with freight and vehicular transportation and 18 at-grade crossings that will improve safety where potential conflicts between bicycles, pedestrians, and vehicles can occur.

Infrastructure

Targets are two- and four-year targets. For the first performance period only, baseline condition and 2-year targets are not required for the Pavements on the Interstate System measures.

Performance MeasureStatewide TargetReportedWFRC Area (2020)Target Status
Percent of pavement on Interstate System in good condition> 60.0%N/A57.6%N/A
Percent of pavement on Interstate System in poor condition< 5.0%N/A0.7%N/A
Percent of pavement on non-Interstate System in good condition> 35.0%57.7%38.6%Met
Percent of pavement on non-Interstate System in poor condition< 5.0%6.0%2.1%Met
Percent of NHS bridges classified as in good condition> 40.0%37.5%26.8%Not Met
Percent of NHS bridges classified as in poor condition<10.0%0.4%0%Met

Fiscally responsible communities and infrastructure is a goal of the Wasatch Choice Regional Vision and pavement and bridge conditions have been incorporated into the project selection and project prioritization of the 2019-2050 RTP and the 2022-2027 Transportation Improvement Program. Our financial analysis has assumed that $8.739 billion will be spent on preservation between 2019-2050 in the two Wasatch Front Urbanized Areas. This is in addition to 2019-2050 RTP roadway capacity projects that will improve pavement and bridge conditions. The WFRC assumes that any roadway widening project will reconstruct the entire roadway. Of the 384 total road projects, 26 projects, or roughly seven percent, improve bridges in poor or fair conditions and 100 projects, or roughly 25 percent, improve pavement deficiencies. These projects have been prioritized with respect to state of good repair. Also, communities need to build into their maintenance budgets preservation for active transportation facilities such as sidewalks and shared use paths. Many on-street facilities, such as buffered bike lanes, will be considered as part of roadway pavement width maintenance. However, even in those cases, upkeep of painted markings and signage must also be factored into the cost of maintaining good infrastructure.

System Reliability

Reported percentages apply only to the WFRC planning area. For the first performance period only, baseline condition and 2-year targets are not required for the Non-Interstate NHS reliability measure.

Performance MeasureStatewide TargetReportedWFRC Area (2020)Target Status
Percent of person miles traveled on the Interstate System that are reliable> 85% (two-year target)
> 90% (four-year target)
90.3%97.6%Met
Percent of person miles traveled on the non-Interstate National Highway System that are reliable> 80% (two-year target)
>75% (four-year target)
N/A84.7%N/A

Manageable and reliable traffic conditions is a Wasatch Choice Regional Vision goal. Reliability is directly tied to the congestion of the system, and as such, congestion-related measures are integrated into the performance-based planning of the 2019-2050 RTP. This includes roadway volumes, volume-to-capacity ratios, connectivity, and vehicle hours of delay. The 2019-2050 RTP contains almost 66 miles of managed motorways, including ramp metering and  system-to-system metering, on I-15 through Salt Lake, Davis, and Weber Counties to improve reliability of the most-traveled road in the state. The 2019-2050 RTP also contains over 360 miles of operational projects on interstates, freeways, arterials, and collectors to make travel times around the Region more predictable.

Freight Movement and Economic Vitality

Performance MeasureStatewide TargetReportedWFRC Area (2020)Target Status
Truck travel time reliability index<1.201.231.30Not Met

Access to economic and educational opportunities is a goal of the Wasatch Choice Regional Vision and freight considerations have been incorporated into the project selection and project prioritization of the 2019-2050 RTP. The 2019-2050 RTP is aligned closely with the UDOT Freight Plan, including 35 projects from the Freight Plan into the 2019-2050 RTP. There are 83 projects, or 21 percent, that directly tie to a freight center. These projects have allowed freight speeds to increase from 56 miles per hour (mph) today to 57 mph in 2050. In addition, the 2019-2050 RTP was developed with considerations for freight-oriented developments such as the Inland Port in northwest Salt Lake County.

The WFRC has place more emphasis on freight planning during the development of the 2023-2050 RTP, including by creating an Urban Freight Stakeholder Group to advance freight planning.

Congestion Reduction

Measure only applies to urbanized areas with a population greater than one million. In Utah, the only urbanized area with a population greater than one million is the Salt Lake City-West Valley City Urbanized Area. For the first performance period only, baseline condition and 2-year targets are not required.

Performance MeasureStatewide TargetReportedWFRC Area (2020)Target Status
Annual hours of peak-hour excessive delay per capitaLess than or equal to 12.4N/A6.86N/A
Percent of non-single-occupant vehicle travel> 24.9% (two- and four-year target)25.1N/AMet

Congestion reduction performance measures include peak hour excess delay and percent non-single occupancy vehicle (SOV). Both manageable and reliable traffic conditions and quality transportation choices are goals of the Wasatch  Choice Regional Vision and have been integrated throughout the process to select and phase projects for the 2019-2050 RTP and the 2022-2027 Transportation Improvement Program. The 2019 -2050 RTP includes a variety of roadway project types, but widening existing roads, constructing new roads to provide greater access and alleviate existing facilities, improving interstate and freeway interchanges, and grade-separating railroad crossings all contribute to reducing congestion in our Region. The 2019-2050 RTP includes 337 miles of roadway widening, 221
miles of new roadway construction, 34 interchange improvements, and 23 grade-separated crossings.

Reducing single-occupancy travel can not only help improve congestion, but can also help improve our Region’s air quality. High-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes are mandated by FHWA to have travel speeds greater than general purpose lanes on the interstate during the peak hour, providing an incentive to carpool. The 2019-2050 RTP includes 90 miles of additional HOV lanes. In addition, the roadway project prioritization included whether projects  accommodated transit and active transportation. The 2019-2050 RTP includes over $5.3 billion of transit projects, which amounts to 595 miles of additional transit, and over $461 million of active transportation projects, which amounts to 1,003 miles of additional active transportation facilities. With the high rate of single-occupancy vehicle travel in the Region, it is safe to conclude anyone traveling by transit, biking, or walking is taking one more car off the road thus improving congestion conditions for those who drive.

Safety

Performance MeasureModeTransit Service Area TargetReportedTarget Status
Avoidable accident rate per 100,000 milesBus< 1.0N/AN/A
Reportable accident rate per 100,000 milesFrontRunner< 0.5N/AN/A
Injuries per 100,000 milesBus< 0.2N/AN/A
Light rail< 1.1N/AN/A
Fatalities per 100,000 milesBus0.0N/AN/A
Light rail0.0N/AN/A
FrontRunner0.0N/AN/A
Safety events per 100,000 milesBus< 2.5N/AN/A
Light rail< 0.35N/AN/A
Mean distance between major mechanical failuresBus Fixed + Route Deviation> 18,000 milesN/AN/A
Light rail> 7,000 milesN/AN/A
FrontRunner> 14,000 milesN/AN/A
Paratransit> 23,000 milesN/AN/A
Total employee industrial injuries All modes< 0.75 per 100 employeesN/AN/A

Transit projects within the 2019-2050 RTP were prioritized based on the existence of sidewalks and bicycle  connections, in order to support safe, multimodal travel. Additionally, it is assumed that future transit projects would be built and operated to include safety features such as well-lit shelters and sidewalk bulb outs and marked pedestrian crossings when applicable. A 2016 study conducted by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) found that commuters can decrease their risk of being in a travel-related accident by as much as 90 percent by choosing to take transit over driving. The construction and utilization of our transit system therefore, on the whole, contributes to the overall safety of our transportation system.

State of Good Repair

Performance MeasureDetailModeTransit Service Area TargetReportedTarget Status
Rolling StockPercent of revenue vehicles that exceeded their Useful Life BenchmarkArticulated bus0%0%Met
Over-the-road bus0%59.55%Not Met
Bus0%7.11%Not Met
Cutaway bus0%14.80%Not Met
Light rail vehicle0%0%Met
Commuter rail locomotive0%0%Met
Commuter rail passenger coach25.49%25.00%Not Met
Van31.45%27.89%Met
FacilitiesPercent of facilities with a condition rating below 3.0 on the Transit Economic Requirements Model scalePassenger/parking facilities4.02%0%Met
Administrative/maintenance facilities0%0%Met
InfrastructurePercent of track segments with performance restrictions Commuter rail1.75%1.78%Not Met
Light rail5.43%3.15%Met
EquipmentPercent of non-revenue vehicles that exceeded their Useful Life BenchmarkAutomobile59.63%53.43%Met
Trucks & other rubber tire vehicles40.78%53.16%Not Met
Steel wheel vehicles0%28.57%Not Met

In developing the 2019-2050 RTP, WFRC worked closely with UTA to incorporate state of good repair costs into financial planning. Costs for every transit project included the costs required to keep the project in a state of good repair until the 2019-2050 RTP horizon year. State of good repair represents approximately ten percent of all new transit project costs. More information about transit project costs can be found in Appendix J: Revenue and Cost Assumptions.

Regional Transportation Plan

Performance measures were carefully developed in collaboration with our local communities and transportation partners to give decision makers the opportunity to compare how well the 2019–2050 RTP supports their values and goals. The 2019–2050 RTP was evaluated to determine its social, economic, and environmental impacts and how well it would meet the transportation needs of the Region through the year 2050.

During the development of the 2019-2050 Regional Transportation Plan, three scenarios were developed to show the trade-offs associated with different transportation and land use investments. Project selection criteria was used to evaluate each scenario and, in conjunction with feedback received from the public involvement process, move towards a preferred scenario.

Roadways

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To develop the preferred scenario, there was a three-step roadway project selection process, conducted in close collaboration with UDOT.

  1. Stakeholder feedback was reviewed. Feedback considered information from the scenario workshops, including map comments and keypad polling results; survey results and map comments from the online visualization tool; and feedback gathered from stakeholder meetings. This feedback informed WFRC on which projects support livable and healthy community, transportation choices, and fiscally efficient communities and infrastructure goals, as well as those projects that are not needed or desired by the year 2050.
  2. Technical evaluation using measures based on the Wasatch Choice 2050 goals, and influenced by federal goals and performance measures, was conducted. This technical evaluation used a two-tiered screening process followed by an evaluation of potential impacts to communities, the environment, transit and active transportation, and open space. The technical evaluation first utilized screening criteria to include projects that a) mitigate safety issues; b) meet volume thresholds for additional lanes, increases connectivity, or is identified as a Congestion Management Process project; and/or c) are on the TIP, are part of an environmental study, or have preserved ROW. Projects that did not meet this first screening were evaluated to determine whether the project improved access to opportunity or enhanced freight mobility.
    3. Consideration and incorporation of relevant efforts such as the Wasatch Front Central Corridor Study, Point of the Mountain Study, Transportation Investment Fund (TIF), environmental reviews, multimodal reviews, and other planning analyses.

Transit

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To develop the preferred scenario, there was a three-step transit project selection process, conducted in close collaboration with UTA.

  1. Stakeholder feedback as provided by small area meetings held throughout the Region. This feedback informed staff on which projects support community mobility goals and those that are not needed or desired by the year 2050.
  2. Technical evaluation first utilized screening criteria to include projects that a) are considered in municipal planning documents, are part of an environmental study, or have preserved ROW and/or b) yield established ridership thresholds. Projects that did not meet this first screening were evaluated through a set of goal-based performance measures, in order to include transit projects that help achieve regional planning objectives, such as improving access to opportunity, serving Equity Focus Areas, and connecting to Wasatch Choice 2050 centers. Projects were also screened to remove any with potential significant environmental  impacts.
  3. Consideration and incorporation of relevant efforts such as the Wasatch Front Central Corridor Study, Point of the Mountain Study, environmental reviews, and other planning analyses.

Active Transportation

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The active transportation analysis followed a three-step process to determine which projects should be included in the Regional Transportation Plan.

  1. Stakeholder feedback as provided by small area meetings held throughout the Region. This information was received from keypad polling results, map comments from the scenario workshops, and survey & map comments from the online visualization  tool.
  2. Develop Active Transportation Preferred Scenario Deliverables consisted of creating (1) a GIS Bicycle Map updated with local and UDOT input, (2) a GIS Regional Point Projects Map, and (3) a GIS Regional Sidewalk Map update. Each deliverable used criteria based on Wasatch Choice 2050 Goals and Project Evaluation Criteria.
  3. Consideration and incorporation of relevant efforts such as the Westside Bicycle Connectivity Study, First- and Last-Mile Study, and locally adopted, or in progress, active transportation plans.

The phasing of the 2019-2050 RTP projects was guided by the Wasatch Choice Regional Vision goals. These goals informed the criteria, weighting, and methodology used to phase projects, and differ slightly by transportation mode. WFRC uses a variety of tools to forecast the timing and impact of anticipated growth, such as the regional Travel Demand Model and the Real Estate Market Model. Socioeconomic and travel-related forecasts from these models are used to assign points to each transportation project in the near- and long-term time horizon. Projects are phased using technical data and input from WFRC’s partners, including the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT), Utah Transit Authority (UTA), and local communities.

The 2019–2050 RTP was evaluated to determine its social, economic, and environmental impacts and how well it would meet the transportation needs of the Region through the year 2050. The goals and objectives for the 2019–2050 RTP helped form the basis for this evaluation. The 2019–2050 RTP was also analyzed with regard to its conformity with state air quality plans and other factors.

Two future scenarios were compared to existing conditions:

  1. Current path to 2050: this scenario demonstrates how our transportation system and land development patterns will perform together through the year 2050, if we fund and build only the transportation projects using revenue sources currently in place and if we continue existing land use policies through 2050.
  2. Wasatch Choice Path to 2050: this scenario demonstrates how our transportation system and land development patterns will perform together through the year 2050, if we fund and build transportation projects using revenue sources currently in place along with specific additional revenue streams, coupled with the Wasatch Choice 2050 Vision’s proposed land use policies through 2050.

Walkability

Today: 7%
Current Path: 18%
Wasatch Choice Path: 26%

Transportation Choices: Transit

Today: 21%
Current Path: 20%
Wasatch Choice Path: 36%

Transportation Choices: Bicycling

Today; 35%
Current Path 48%
Wasatch Choice Path: 58%

The percent of streets that are walkable. Whether you drive, bike, or take transit, everyone is a pedestrian at some point in the day. This measures how safe and enjoyable streets are for walking.

The percent of people who are nearby (are within one quarter of a mile) a frequent bus routes, transit stop/station, or dedicated bike facility. Multi-modal transportation systems provide transportation choices which may reduce consumer expenses, decrease congestion, or improve air quality.

Auto Travel Time

Today: 59 minutes
Current Path: 73 minutes
Wasatch Choice Path: 70 minutes

Destination Access: Auto

Today: 180,000 jobs
Current Path: 215,000 jobs
Wasatch Choice Path: 226,000 jobs

Destination Access: Transit

Today: 35,000 jobs
Current Path: 48,000 jobs
Wasatch Choice Path; 58,000 jobs

The total time per day that the average person spends in a vehicle. Auto travel time increases with added congestion and greater distances between homes and jobs. Shorter travel times mean we spend less time driving and have more time for leisure and recreation.

The number of jobs accessible to the average Wasatch Front household. Better access means a bigger labor pool for businesses and opportunities for employment and interaction with friends and family for residents. Access can be increased through transportation improvements, locating development near high-speed transportation, and locating homes near jobs (and vice versa).

Freight

Today: 56 MPH
Current Path: 55 MPH
Wasatch Choice Path: 57 MPH

 

The average truck speed on freight corridors in the evening commute. Truck speed is a proxy for the ability of goods and services to reach consumers and the market. Freight movement is a vital part of the State’s economy.

Transit Use

Today: 118,000 trips
Current Path: 249,000 trips
Wasatch Choice Path: 309,000 trips

 

The number of trips per day that residents travel by transit. Public transit is a transportation choice that costs households less to use, improves air quality, and takes cars off of our busy roads.

Air Quality

Today: 5300000 trips
Current Path: 7900000 trips
Wasatch Choice Path: 7900000 trips

 

The number of vehicle trips the Region takes per day. With the recent onset of cleaner vehicles and Tier 3 fuels, much of the air quality impact of transportation is from “cold starts” at the beginning of vehicle trips.

The number of auto trips our Region makes per day will increase as more people move to the Wasatch Front. There is only a slight decrease when comparing the number of auto trips in the future scenarios. Part of this difference is due to the maturity and scale of our road system compared to our transit and active transportation systems.

We can make an impact on the number of cold starts in the Region by developing around transit stations and stops, which can make transit more convenient. Also, regional and local policies, such as parking policies, transit fare policies, and other pricing policies can help reduce some unnecessary vehicle trips. Overall, projected vehicle emissions are expected to reduce 54% in the future, mostly due to cleaner vehicle and fuel adoption.

Local Infrastructure Costs

Current Path 10.2 billion
Wasatch Choice Path: 7.9 billion

 

The total cost to provide streets and infrastructure to serve new development. New development brings economic growth, but also creates fiscal impacts. Roads and utilities supporting development are costs incurred by cities and their residents. Redevelopment and infill of developed areas, and higher intensity development, can lower the fiscal impact on a community.

Water Use

Today: 519 gallons
Current Path: 475 gallons
Wasatch Choice Path: 449 gallons

 

The number of gallons of water that the average household uses. Water is a key concern along the Wasatch Front. The built environment, including housing types and lot sizes, affects how much water is consumed by households. The more water we use for residential purposes, the less water is available for agriculture and other uses.

Developed Land

Current Path: 17.8 acres
Wasatch Choice Path: 12.0 acres

 

The acreage of farmland and open space converted to development. As the population increases, land will be needed to accommodate growth, putting pressure on lands currently used for food production and agriculture. We can reduce the need to develop farmland through centered growth principles.

State of the Centers

In May 2019, the Wasatch Front Regional Council adopted the Wasatch Choice 2050, a locally driven effort in which cities, counties, community organizations, transportation partners, businesses, the public, and others help to create a blueprint for major transportation investments, as well as land and economic development. The concept of centered development is the key feature of the land use element of Wasatch Choice 2050.

Centers are the hearts of a community, both socially and economically. They vary in scale but in all cases are more intense than their surrounding area; are walkable, often served by a variety of transportation options; and offer a mix of uses including office, dining, retail, and residential. Centers are locations where communities anticipate welcoming more intense buildings, even as they may maintain lower levels of intensity elsewhere. Typically, they are good candidate locations for providing a variety of housing options, including units that impact housing affordability.

The State of the Centers report, first published in September 2019, is an effort to track, record, and communicate metrics that relate to the Region’s shared Vision, as outlined in the Wasatch Choice 2050. Communities can use the State of the Centers report to help determine the extent to which their centers have developed as they envisioned in the Wasatch Choice 2050 Vision.

Open Space Analysis

Preserving open space is one of the four key strategies of the Wasatch Choice 2050 Vision. Easily accessible parks, open spaces, and recreational opportunities are essential to our quality of life.

The counties along the Wasatch Front have the highest rates of population growth in the state. Are cities in this region prepared to balance growth and open space needs? The open space analysis provides data about the current state of open space in Wasatch Front cities and the need for increased open space preservation to balance population growth.

For additional information regarding performance measures, please contact Julie Bjornstad.

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