Follow-up: Reassessment and Modification
Planning is a process that should be continuous, given that problems, issues, and needs in any region continually change. FHWA defines “monitoring and evaluation of progress toward objectives” as the last step of a transportation planning process, and describes several examples of successful monitoring programs in the United States and Europe (Federal Highway Administration 2012c). MAP-21 highlights the importance of freight and encourages the development of PMs to determine the impacts of the strategies, programs, and funding used to address freight issues. Agency staff need to continually revisit and reassess freight strategies—both those recommended and those in place—to determine what is working and what may need to be adjusted to successfully improve the performance of the freight transportation system. In urban freight, it is important to conduct honest and timely follow-up of programs and initiatives because an erroneous course of action can have long-lasting consequences to the vitality of the local private sector, and by extension, to the economy.
The benefits of follow-up and reassessment are similar to those for pilot testing. Both testing and follow-up convey to the private sector that the public sector is interested in careful consideration of the impacts of their initiatives. Also, it is said that “success breeds success.” Being able to demonstrate the success of freight initiatives that have been recommended and implemented helps build support for future initiatives. If properly conducted, follow-up and reassessment foster an environment in which public and private-sector involvement is ongoing; then proactive freight plannung can prosper.