Congestion Management System

What is a Congestion Management System (CMS)?
The CMS is defined by the Federal Highway Administration as “a systematic process for managing congestion that provides information on transportation system performance and on alternative strategies for alleviating congestion and enhancing the mobility of persons and goods to levels that meet state and local needs”.

What does this mean in simple language?  A CMS shows where congestion may occur over a lengthy period of time and contains strategies and recommendations for alleviating vehicular congestion.

Why is the CMS done and why is it done for St. Joseph and Elkhart Counties?
The Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA) required that a Congestion Management System be developed by Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) in cooperation with the state.  In addition, the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21) required that each urbanized area of more than 200,000 in population be designated as a Transportation Management Area (TMA) and that a Congestion Management System (CMS) be developed. The Elkhart/Goshen Urbanized Area in Elkhart County and South Bend Urbanized Area in St. Joseph County have a total population of 448,350 (182,791 in Elkhart County and 265,559 in St. Joseph County, 2000 US Census data.) and have been designated as one TMA. A CMS has been in place since 1996.

What is contained in the CMS?
The MACOG CMS follows the guidelines in the Indiana Statewide Congestion Management System Work Plan that was developed by INDOT in conjunction with the Purdue University School of Civil Engineering. The CMS consists of the following elements: 

1. Establishment of Advisory Committees
2. Establishment of CMS networks
3. Establishment of performance measures
4. Establishment of data collection and monitoring systems
5. Establishment of common performance objectives and standards
6. Analysis on macro level
7. Analysis on micro level
8. Identification of the network deficiencies
9. Evaluation and recommendation of congestion strategies 
10. Incorporation of CMS into the Transportation Improvement Plans (TIPS) and the Transportation Plans (TP)
11. Evaluation of effectiveness of implemented projects
12. Establishment of a process to periodically update CMS procedures

The CMS provides a structured framework for evaluating travel demand reduction and operational management strategies; lends to identifying, prioritizing, and programming transportation improvements; and has been integrated into the Transportation Improvement Plan (TIP) and the Transportation Plan (TP). As a request for the updates of the 2006-2008 TIP and 2035 Transportation Plan, the CMS includes a Non-SOV (Non-Single Occupancy Vehicle) analysis process. For all the projects that will add more SOVs on the road network (typically and added travel lanes project), the road segment needs to show congestion. Moreover, Non-SOV mitigations (such as adding transit services or bike lanes) must be considered first to relieve the congestion. If the analysis shows that Non-SOV mitigation will not relieve the congestion, then the project may be approved. 

The CMS is updated every year to take into consideration new traffic counts and any new applicable Non-SOV analysis methods or mitigation practices.

What roads does the CMS cover?
The CMS network currently covers all of the "functionally classified network", totaling 1,121 miles of road ranging from Interstates to collector roads (roads generally parallel to expressways and through-roadways which serve to collect and distribute traffic to and from the through-roadways). The link-based traffic volume to capacity ratio (V/C) has been used as a major performance measure to identify congestion on roadways. A database of major intersections and  selected intersection studies are also included in the CMS process.

For a map of the 2035 CMS Build Scenario, please click here.
For a map of the 2035 CMS No-Build Scenario, please click here.

Full CMS Document for 2011.

For more information on the Congestion Management System, please contact MACOG at (574) 674-8894 or by e-mail at