Megaregions Research Conference Call -
January 17, 2012
The FHWA sponsored Megaregion Workgroup is a quarterly conference call session that brings together researchers and planners interested in the development of the Megaregion planning concepts. This workgroup provides participants a chance to hear about some of the exciting examples from across the country in terms of Megaregional and Multi-Jurisdictional Planning. Participation on the calls is free and open to anyone interested in this topic. For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org or check this web site for the next time and date.
- Fred Bowers, FHWA Office of Planning
- Spencer Stevens, FHWA Office of Planning
- David Lee, Center for Quality Growth and Regional Development (CQGRD) at Georgia Institute of Technology
- Catherine Ross, CQGRD
- Harry West, CQGRD
- Myungje Wu, CQGRD
- Fred Ducca, University of Maryland
- Robert Harrison, Dept. of Civil Engineering, University of Texas, Austin (UT)
- Bridget Bienkowski, UT
- Lisa Lostus-Otway, UT
- Bob Hazlett, Maricopa Association of Governments
- Bill Lyons, USDOT/Volpe National Transportation Systems Center
- Haley Peckett, USDOT/Volpe
Purpose: FHWA organized this research call to define common interests, update research, and find opportunities to collaborate in the future related to megaregions.
TRB Annual Meeting 2012
The participants reviewed relevant TRB activities, including research contributions of call participants.
- MR Joint Subcommittee (associated with several committees)-1/23, 1:30-3:00 PM
- Poster session - 1/23, 4:15-6 PM
- Volpe to present on MPO planning in megaregions, using seven case studies and a universal framework based on case studies.
- CQGRD to present poster on the Architecture of Megaregions, which looks at multi-jurisdictional issues and questions of planning capabilities with a megaregions framework. The study applies preliminary analysis from case studies to 10 identified U.S. megaregions to provide baseline information for a gap analysis (to follow). A web link to this research will be distributed once it is available from FHWA.
- UMD to present poster on initial results of their megaregions transportation and economic model for Chesapeake Bay, which demonstrates how changes in energy prices affect the region.
- The World Bank with former FTA and FHWA directors will present on international examples of transportation in megaregions.
- Participants discussed collecting email addresses from interested participants in the poster session to build a constituency of megaregions contacts.
- Possible applications would be a quarterly megaregions newsletter.
- FHWA will look into support for these types of activities.
- MPOs Advancing Megaregions: Continual Planning and Reauthorization session (482) - 1/24, 8-9:45 AM
- Brookings Institute research perspective
- Three panelists from large, medium, and small MPOs to discuss megaregions planning in their region and relation to work program and budget
- The session will be in a panel discussion format
- Freight meeting and megaregions-1/22, time unknown
- Fred to send and circulate more details
Proposed Peer Exchanges
- MAG megaregions peer exchange
- Approved by FHWA, Federal Transit Administration (FTA), and Transportation Planning Capacity Building (TPCB) program
- Located in Phoenix with tentative dates of February 28-29
- Dates subject to change as participants' availability is confirmed.
- Participants to include five national peers that are doing successful megaregions planning; MAG's MPO partners; MAG's local partners and elected leaders; ADOT; Catherine Ross and other experts; and FHWA and FTA.
- Call participants asked that the following groups be invited to the peer exchange: Atlanta Regional Council, Keith Kilo of ADOT (statewide transportation model), and Arizona State University Morrison Institute.
- Workshop or meeting in Piedmont Atlantic region
- Tentative date: summer or later in the year
- Volpe to work with CQGRD to develop application
- This workshop would be distinct from the MAG peer exchange due to: larger list of invitees; inclusion of private business interests, mayors, and academic institutions; and political considerations of towns and cities.
- Themes to include water, energy, and transportation (including high-speed rail) projects over a multistate basis
- Other peer exchange/conference ideas
- Plan a peer exchange or a "mega-meeting" in which each U.S. megaregion sends one or more representatives.
- Many MPOs do megaregions planning, but they do it in a vacuum.
- This could take place at a separate TRB event or a megaregions conference (sponsored by TRB) in 2013.
Megaregions Research Summary
- Volpe is working on a proposal with FHWA for a follow-up study to the Volpe white paper on metro areas, to focusing on a rural view on megaregions
- The study would consider the economic impact of megaregions on rural areas, and the role that rural areas can play in supporting the success of the greater megaregion.
- Volpe study to include transit partners and focus on Regional Planning Organizations.
- The study should note that rural areas tend to be more diverse that urban areas.
- Connect to Partnership for Sustainable Communities
- Example: The Central Arizona Association of Governments represents the rural areas in between MPOs in the Sun Corridor, which allows them to hone in on new planning topics and avoid negative impacts.
- Maintenance strategies for funding, cost-sharing and brokerage, can agreements (cross-jurisdictional) be beneficial to all parties due to economies of scale?
- Note that megaregions that are doing well can help others that are doing less well.
- CQGRD data gathering efforts would be very relevant to this study; Volpe and CQGRD will plan to coordinate.
- UT- CTR Update
- The CTR has completed a synopsis of megaregions planning at the state level, which Texas DOT (TxDOT) has reviewed and will be released soon. CTR is also developing a freight cost model for imports and exports in a megaregion.
- Relevance in Texas for rural megaregions planning.
- One section of the recently-announced RITA UTC program for Region 6 is megaregions planning, which will look at freight in Louisiana and Texas.
- Fred Ducca, UMD
- UMD is working on a model of the Chesapeake megaregion, focusing on the economic impacts and flows between counties, separation of freight and passenger travel, and measuring the impacts on congestion levels and industries.
- UMD has collected data and is testing a scenario of the impacts of high energy prices
- The model outputs will include changes in vehicle miles traveled, mode share, congestion levels between subregions, and employment.
- Modeling work on fragmentation
- Working as part of multiple research teams, including a UTC team, on megaregions issues, including linking small and big places, wealthier and less well-off areas,
- Other research areas include multijurisdictional planning and modeling, high speed rail, and international comparison (impact of megaregion on surrounding area, including rural areas).
Future Megaregions Coordination Calls
- Next call after TRB to track new issues and challenges
- Potential future call topics may span from the new designation of University Research Centers, at least two of which have focuses related to megaregions. Coordination on this topic could lead to a national megaregions coordination effort and building a constituency for a new framework of megaregions planning.
- Calls could be divided into a) technical aspects, e.g., implications of developing models for megaregions and b) practical, applied needs and political issues.