FHWA Megaregions and Transportation Research Coordination Group - Friday, March 1, 2013
Summary by USDOT/Volpe Center
- Fred Bowers, Federal Highway Association (FHWA) Office of Planning
- Bruce Agnew, Cascadia Center for Regional Development
- Fred Ducca, University of Maryland (UMD)
- Jane Hayse and Jared Lombard, Atlanta Regional Council (ARC)
- Carol Lewis, Texas Southern University
- Susan Herre, Federal Railroad Administration (FRA)
- Barbara Ivanov, Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT)
- Tom O'Brien, California State University, Long Beach (CSULB)
- Catherine Ross, David Lee, Harry West, Center for Quality Growth and Regional Development (CQGRD), Georgia Tech
- Peter Rafferty, University of Wisconsin-Madison
- Gian-Claudia Sciara, UC-Davis, TRB Megaregions Sub-Committee
- Charles "Muggs" Stoll, SANDAG
- Erika Young, National Assoc. of Regional Councils (NARC)
- William Lyons, Haley Peckett, David Daddio, USDOT/Volpe Center
- Purpose: FHWA organizes this research call to define common interests, update research, and find opportunities to collaborate in the future related to megaregions.
Key Takeaways from TRB Freight Workshop
- Reference "Proposed Research Needs" workshop document circulated by the Volpe Center on 3/1/2013 (B. Ivanov)
- Workshop participants defined the megaregion as "a super-population center in a geographic space."
- Participants sought to identify the types of data that they can collect on megaregions.
- Participants raised questions on megaregions inter-jurisdictional issues including the impacts of local operator decisions on the larger system and how to bridge interests across boundaries.
- Participants identified the need to improve linkages between freight and the economy as a key motivation to use a megaregions framework.
- MAP-21 performance measures were a large topic of conversation at the workshop. Participants raised questions about how performance measures will be applied to private companies operating in freight corridors. They also discussed the importance of connecting the right measures to the right goals.
- Research call participants discussed the impact of freight on livability in small communities.
- Erika Young mentioned the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning's "Parking Strategies to Support Livable Communities" report.
- Jane Hayse mentioned a Federal Register Notice about freight network criteria, noting the importance of the first and last mile.
Ongoing Research and Activities
The following is an updated version of the Volpe summary of research and resources provided by Research Group members. Please send additional items and changes to Haley Peckett at the Volpe Center.
Transportation Research Board
- The TRB Subcommittee on Megaregions has a newly forming website at www.megaregions.org (lead is Peter Rafferty). Volpe is working with Peter and Fred Bowers of FHWA to help populate website with research materials and resources, and will include materials and links provided by the research group.
- The Megaregions and Freight workshop report will be ready for distribution by mid-March and sent to members of this group. (B. Ivanov)
- The call for papers for the 2013 TRB Annual Conference represented wide geographic diversity (including international papers), heavily data driven analyses. The megaregions subcommittee is getting ready for new call for papers. Upcoming subcommittee activities will focus on issues of governance.(G-C. Sciara)
MPOs, State DOTs, and Associates
- The Maricopa Association of Government's (MAG) megaregion Sun Corridor Freight Framework Study has completed its recommendations. These will be shared and discussed in a day-long retreat of its Joint Planning Advisory Council (representing the Sun Corridor) on Wednesday, March 6. More information about this study is available at http://bqaz.org/freightStudy.asp?mS=m17. More about the project's findings are located at http://bqaz.org/freightFocusArea.asp?mS=m17.
- Tim Strow, MAG's project manager, has made several presentations on this topic to the MAG Committees that quickly summarize the project. His presentation is located at http://www.azmag.gov/Documents/RC_2013-01-30_Item-08_Freight_Update.pdf.
- MAG recently presented to the Arizona Senate Committee on Commerce, Military, and Energy about Interstate 11, the Freight Framework Study results, and the ADOT-NDOT I-11 and Intermountain West Corridor Study. Presentation materials will be placed on the TRB subcommittee website. (B. Hazlett)
- Tom O'Brien of WSDOT is writing up a report from the Freight and Megaregions workshop and will post to the TRB Freight Committee website.
- The Cascadia Center for Regional Development is involved in West Coast Corridor Coalition, passenger rail between British Columbia and Eugene (OR), an alternative fuel station network along I-5 (using a Multistate Corridor Operations Management grant), a Smart Park initiative, and the West Coast Infrastructure Exchange.
- NARC seeks peer-reviewed literature that connects local planning and economic competitiveness.
- UMD is finishing its Chesapeake megaregion work with Maryland DOT that examines freight flows with surrounding States. They plan to circulate research products with elected officials.
- TSU is planning a megaregions conference for five universities in Texas and Louisiana, to be held in the next 18 months. Their research examines intercity commuting demand, related to the NHCRP call for intercity operations.
- CQGRD is working on freight components for the State and regional transportation demand model with ARC. They are also involved in a study about county-based freight for economic competitiveness, which examines in Norfolk, Savannah, and Miami using GPS instrumentation. Finally, they are conducting a survey of MPOs and DOTs on megaregions related projects for their Architecture of Megaregions study.
USDOT (FHWA and the Volpe Center)
- The Volpe Center and FHWA's paper, "Evolving Role of Metropolitan Planning Organizations in Transportation Planning for Megaregions," is now available in the Transportation Research Record, Planning 2012.
- The Volpe Center is currently drafting a paper focusing on the role of Rural Transportation Planning Organizations in megaregions initiatives. Case studies include Western Michigan (and the Great Lakes megaregion), Yakima Valley (and Cascadia megaregion), and Southeastern Arizona (and the Sun Corridor megaregion).
- In the area of transportation operations, the MCOM program should be of interest to megaregions. There are two competitive grant periods, each for ~$7M. Last August, six coalitions were awarded funds from the first one, and work is now getting under way. Proposals for the second one are due April 2 (link).
- Of those six coalitions, and referring to this map, the I-95 Corridor and the West Coast Corridor Coalitions each span three megaregions, the Great Lakes Regional Transportation Operations Coalition rests squarely within a megaregion, and the North/West Passage connects two megaregions. Each has different emphasis areas and activity underway, and we're planning a coordination webinar for the morning of Friday, May 17. (P. Rafferty)
- The USDOT Multistate Corridor Operations and Management (MCOM) program will present a webinar on May 17; further information to be circulated among the call participants.
Future megaregions coordination calls
FHWA and the Volpe Center will schedule the next quarterly call for early summer 2013. The Volpe Center will email updates and upcoming events to all call participants.
- Participants showed interest in quarterly meetings with 1.5 hour duration.
- Calls are useful but could be more useful with tight agendas and consolidation of research updates.
- Group expansion depends on what happens in future in terms of collaboration opportunities, round-table research updates, and specific topics (some may be better for small group discussions and other may work for a larger webinar).
- 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:
These can be updated and discussed via email before topics are identified for future calls.
- Megaregions and relationship to 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 actually now involve megaregions in nature but are not yet identified as megaregions?
- What is the value added of identifying and responding to a megaregion? (High Speed Rail and impact on local jurisdictions are examples)
- For small metro areas, conversation is needed about Federal and regional roles. In some areas (i.e., livability or sustainability), we get in front of ourselves before we figure out appropriate geography for establishing political consensus. Value added discussion might precede this and give us guidance.