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Project Prioritization Criteria Development and Scoring Update

    This project updated the project prioritization criteria process adopted by the NJTPA Board of Trustees in January 2007. The NJTPA uses the criteria to systematically and objectively evaluate proposed future investments.

    Federal regulations require that the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) include a list of projects prioritized by the MPO. Projects cannot receive federal funding unless they are included in the TIP, which is updated every two years. 

    The project prioritization criteria are the foundation of a system that scores proposed projects according to how well they satisfy the goals of Plan 2040, the NJTPA’s long-range transportation plan for the region. The project scores are considered along with other factors—such as feasibility of project delivery, funding availability and project timing—in determining which projects are included in the TIP.  This determination involves consultations and negotiations among the NJTPA Central Staff, professionals and elected officials from the subregions, and staffs of the NJDOT and NJ TRANSIT. Opportunities are provided for public input.

    The Project Prioritization Criteria and scoring system was updated to better reflect the current needs and priorities of the NJTPA Board, as well as to better coordinate with the policies and priorities of partner agencies (including NJDOT and NJ TRANSIT). The updated approach also takes advantage of new data sources and decision support software and tools, and meets new and emerging federal mandates, among other objectives.

    Of particular importance, the updated criteria now reflect the findings and recommendations of the federally funded Regional Plan for Sustainable Development. The NJTPA has been instrumental in developing this plan as part of the Together North Jersey consortium. The criteria development also must be closely coordinated with efforts to meet emerging federal requirements relating to performance-based planning and programming.

    The Louis Berger Group, Inc. led the consultant team supporting the projects. The project  included workshops where participants  used Decision Support Software to help collaboratively decide on criteria selection and goal weights. Following adoption of final criteria by the NJTPA Board, the consultant team prepared a criteria rule book and manual to document and guide use of the criteria in practice.