FHWA Megaregions and Transportation Research Coordination Group - Friday, August 24, 2012
- Fred Bowers, Brittany Bates, Sarah Mashburn, and Kenneth Petty, Federal Highway Association (FHWA) Office of Planning
- Jared Lombard, Atlanta Regional Council (ARC)
- Gian-Claudia Sciara, UC-Davis, TRB Megaregions Sub-Committee
- Michael Boyer, Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC)
- Fred Ducca, University of Maryland (UMD)
- Bob Hazlett, Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG)
- Bruce Agnew, Cascadia Center for Regional Development
- Rob Harrison, University of Texas (UT)
- Charles "Muggs" Stoll, SANDAG
- Kyle Gradinger, Federal Railroad Administration (FRA)
- Catherine Ross, David Lee, Center for Quality Growth and Regional Development (CQGRD), Georgia Tech
- Kathy Nothstine, National Assoc. of Development Officials (NADO)
- William Lyons, Haley Peckett, David Daddio, USDOT/Volpe Center
- Hal Morse, Greater Buffalo Niagara Regional Transportation Council (GBNRTC)
- Erica Young, National Assoc. of Regional Councils (NARC)
- Purpose: FHWA organized this research call to define common interests, update research, and find opportunities to collaborate in the future related to megaregions.
- Fred Bowers, FHWA: MAP-21 does not call out megaregions but it does strengthen regional planning and call out performance measures. More guidance from FHWA will be forthcoming.
- Sarah Mashburn, Surface Transportation Environment and Planning Cooperative Research Program (STEP) outreach coordinator at FHWA: STEP will be conducting a Healthy Communities webinar in September and may do a similar one for megaregions. Other outreach ideas include one-pagers about case studies, resources for TRB meeting, and educational materials for workshops.
- UMD: We built a model of the Chesapeake Bay megaregion, which has demonstrated good validation and results linking between MPO regions. Our next and final activity is freight supply chains to see how the region is linked together; this will be complete in next few months. We are also presenting to the Association of Metropolitan Planning Organizations (AMPO) on megaregions at the annual meeting in September.
- UT: We have a course on megaregions in our Community and Regional Planning program. We are studying megaregions in China as well as freight on highways and waterways in Texas and Louisiana with Louisiana State University (LSU) (new RITA region 6). We are also participating in an upcoming megaregions conference in New Orleans for RITA Region 6 (participants include Texas Transportation Institute, LSU, UT-Austin, other universities). Our megaregions-related research primarily revolves around freight systems.
- CQGRD: We are continuing our study of the architecture of megaregions such as decisionmaking, governance structure, and operations. Task 1 looked at strategies for megaregions planning and included a literature review. Task 2 considered a framework and decisionmaking structure for megaregions planning along with shortcomings in terms of structure, finance, in state and regional transportation systems. Task 3 (current) examines the implications of the megaregions approach. Task 3 subtasks include an analysis of a multi-scale approach to examine function-based corridors and to identify multi-scale projects/test cases. We are also studying the effects of the Panama Canal expansion on ports, trucks, and general freight movement using GPS responders to track real-time truck activity.
- UC-Davis: We are studying the response of California megaregions to greenhouse gas regulations. The TRB Intermodal Freight Committee and Megaregions Sub-Committee conducted a half-day workshop in January; facilitated discussion, developing definitions, and reviewing case studies of joint DOT/MPO/private sector efforts. Send any resources to Gian-Claudia to be posted on a new website for the TRB megaregions sub-committee.
- Cascadia Center: We are a private non-profit transportation policy group funded by Gates Foundation. The 2010 Connecting Cascadia workshop resulted in a vision to incrementally develop high-speed rail (HSR) from Vancouver, BC, to Eugene, OR. We are currently working with local universities on HSR classes. Another initiative we are involved in is working to develop electric charging stations on I-5 with trucking industry partners.
- NARC: Our interests are those of our members (Regional councils-MPOs, regional planning organizations, and councils of government). We have no research updates at this time.
- NADO: We have the same types of members as NADO, with the addition to regional development organizations and economic development districts. We also have no specific initiatives at this time.
- Research updates from MPOs will be deferred to the next call.
- FRA: We are currently producing multistate regional rail plans, national planning toolkits, ridership modeling, etc. for multistate rail networks. Work may expand as Congress permits.
Other comments and questions:
- Interest in performance measures and measuring U.S. regions against megaregions in other countries.
- Participants expressed interested in increased coordination with rural areas. MAP-21 offers more recognition of rural planning organization, although there is no explicit megaregions mention. There may be potential related to freight and multistate collaboration.
Future megaregions coordination calls
- Participants showed interest in quarterly meetings with 1.5 hour duration.
- Calls are useful but could be more useful with tighter control as the group gets larger. Research updates may need to be consolidated.
- Group expansion depends on what happens in future in terms of collaboration opportunities, round-table research updates.
- If using a webinar format, it is helpful to list names and affiliation. If there are no visuals needed, webinars are not necessary.
- Potential topics:
- Megaregions TIPS and STIPS.
- Are there opportunities lost by not doing things from a megaregions perspective, as opposed to status quo? Are there some things happening that are truly megaregions in nature that are just happening but not called megaregions?
- What is the value added of megaregion? (HSR and local jurisdiction examples)
- For small metro areas, conversation is needed about Federal and regional roles. In some areas (i.e. livability), we get in front of ourselves before we figure out appropriate space for political consensus. Value added discussion might precede this and give us guidance.
The next call will be scheduled for December and feature a TRB preview and roundtable discussion.