The 35% Solution

Posted on April 15, 2015 in: Northern Virginia Transportation AuthorityPrioritization

The Northern Virginia Transportation Authority’s primary charge is to develop a regional transportation plan “that reduces congestion to the greatest extent practical.”

Yet the Authority’s project selection criteria awards only 35 points out of a possible 100 to congestion reduction. In other words, two-thirds of all points in the Authority’s project scoring system are awarded to elements other than reducing congestion (or “everything else” counts more than congestion reduction).

Authority Project Rating Criteria

Points Assigned
Reduce Roadway Congestion (Highway and Transit) 35
Project Readiness 25
Urgency 5
Reduce Vehicle Miles of Travel (VMT) 5
Safety 5
Improve Activity Center Connection 5
Regional Connectivity and Modal Integration 5
Improve Bicycle and Pedestrian Travel Options 5
Management and Operations 5
Cost Sharing


The Authority’s primary charge is reducing traffic congestion to the greatest extent practical. Assigning two-thirds of all points to everything but traffic congestion simply won’t get us there. Project “readiness” does not always equate to “worthiness.”

The Transportation Authority’s Primary Focus Must Be Its Primary Charge, Congestion Reduction,
Not “Everything Else”