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Public Comment Gathering and Analysis for Rulemakings Related to the Federal Highway Administration's National Performance Requirements for MAP-21

The Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) program creates a streamlined, performance-based, and multimodal program to address the challenges facing the U.S. transportation system. MAP-21, adopted in 2012, provided $105 billion for surface transportation projects in fiscal years 2013 and 2014.

Abt Associates delivered the public comment support for three separate but interrelated proposed rulemakings:

  • Statewide and Nonmetropolitan and Metropolitan Transportation Planning;
  • National Performance Management Measures;
  • Assessing Pavement and Bridge Conditions; and
  • Assessing Performance of the National Highway System, Freight Movement on the Interstate System, and Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Programs.

Using CommentCounts™, our web-based public comment management tool, Abt Associates collected, organized, and coded nearly 10,000 public comments. We addressed the overlap of comments on the three rules by modifying our comment management tool to incorporate needed flags and features that:

  • Alerted Agency staff to comments that crossed rulemakings;
  • Indicated the rulemaking(s) to which the comments applied; and
  • Specified if a comment could initiate a modification to the final rule.

We prepared the public comment websites to address FHWA’s unique needs by working closely with agency planners and programmers to make the necessary modifications to the Abt tool.

For the last of the three proposed rules, we are managing this ongoing project to collect, review, categorize, and report on the public comments. For this work, Abt oversees the collection of the public comments and public hearing transcripts from the docket, drafts the organization scheme to group like-comments of concern, manages the team in the parsing and coding of the issues from the public comments and transcripts, de-duplicates mass comment campaigns, administers the comment management tool, and confers with subject matter experts as needed to understand any complex issues.

Abt also performs quality assurance work on the databases to ensure all public comments are represented and organized as needed by the clients and to facilitate the preparation of the response to comments document.

Read more about this work: