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Transportation Planning Update Newsletter

Issue 3, Fall 1999

Featured Article: Intelligent Transportation Systems Peer-to-Peer Program
"It All Adds Up To Cleaner Air" Campaign
Corridor/Border Discretionary Program - Success in Year 1; Earmarks in Year 2
Access Management
Pedestrian and Bicycle and Trail News the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)
FY2001: A New Starts Odyssey
Regional Corner: Eastern Resource Center Training
Announcements


Featured Article: Intelligent Transportation Systems Peer-to-Peer Program

By: Paul R. Branch, FTA

The Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) Peer-to-Peer Program is a critical tool in transferring experience and lessons learned among deployment sites nationally. The Peer-to-Peer Program provides free technical assistance for planning, design, deployment, operations, and management of ITS technologies and infrastructure. Usage of the network was significantly advanced in 1997 through public outreach activities. A database of 106 peers was developed and used to address requests. Technical assistance is provided in many forms: at-desk reviews, telephone and documentation support and, site visits by peers-to-peers. The Peer-to-Peer Program notifies FHWA and FTA of all requests and coordinates with FHWA Resource center and FTA Regional staff.

The Office of Planning (TPL) last summary of Peer-to-Peer Program assistance program reported 20 total planning related request over a six-month period. Peer-to-Peer assistance request came from MPOs, State DOTs, and transit operators. Generally, these requests over this period were stratified into four categories, which include:

The Peer-to-Peer program can be reached at 1-888-700-PEER or through electronic mail at dotpeer@erols.com. If you have any questions concerning the summary of planning related request, please contact Paul Branch at 202-366-6694.

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"It All Adds Up To Cleaner Air" Campaign

By: Christopher C. Gallup, FHWA

In an effort to educate the public on methods to improve air quality in communities across the nation, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and Federal Transit Administration (FTA) along with the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Office of Mobile Sources have teamed up to promote our "It All Adds Up To Cleaner Air" campaign. In its inaugural ozone season, the campaign has already been a success. Of the more than 70 communities that applied to become demonstration communities, 14 were selected and received $25,000 in federal funds. The communities are: Atlanta, GA; Philadelphia, PA; Southeastern, WI; Phoenix, AZ; Sacramento, CA; Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX; Orlando, FL; Louisville, KY; Northwestern, IN; New York, NY; Washington, DC; Portland, OR; Dayton, OH; and Anaheim, CA. During the 1999 summer ozone season the demonstration communities took proactive measures using our funds and campaign materials. Local coalitions that sponsor clean air events, post our campaign logo and posters on buses and trains. Also, dropping off informative pamphlets form door to door are a few of the many steps these 14 communities have done to inform the public about ways to improve air quality.

Although only 14 out of the 70+ communities that applied received federal funds, all regional and local entities can still take part in our campaign as "Materials-Only Communities". These communities, while not receiving any federal funds, can obtain free materials such as our resource toolkit. The resource toolkit includes information on local coalition building, video and audio-cassettes to use as Public Service Announcements (PSAs) through the media. The resource toolkit can either be mailed out or simply downloaded from the internet at:

http://www.italladdsup.gov

Furthermore, to help with our "It All Adds Up To Cleaner Air" campaign an alliance consisting of the federal partners along with private and non-profit organizations was formed. The Alliance for Clean Air and Transportation (ACAT) met on September 16, 1999 to discuss resource development and membership recruitment, alliance logo, bylaws, and campaign adds. Our next meeting will be held December 9, 1999 on future financing of "It All Adds Up To Cleaner Air."

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Corridor/Border Discretionary Program - Success in Year 1; Earmarks in Year 2

By: Martin Weiss, FHWA

The September/October issue of Public Roads contained a report with color images discussing the overall results of the first year of the National Corridor Planning and Development and Coordinated Border Infrastructure Program (also known by a number of other names, e.g., corridor/border discretionary program). In summary, the article (which is available at URL: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/planning/border_planning/corbor/article.cfm) discusses the nature of the 55 projects awarded, cites some notable successes in safety, productivity, efficiency and environmental protection and expostulates on the challenges facing applicants in the second year of the program. Much of the latter was based on the fact that in the first year over $2.2 billion in funding was sought and only about $123.6 million was available.

Since this article was published, the FY 2000 DOT Appropriations Act was, signed by the President in October 1999. The report accompanying this Act (a report of the 106th Congress which is available from URL: http://thomas.loc.gov/home/thomas.php), includes $68.5 million dollars in earmarks for this program. There also is the possibility that up to $10 million of otherwise available program funding will be transferred to GSA under provisions of section 1119 of TEA-21. Applying these considerations and the obligation limitations in Section 1102 of the TEA-21, it is unlikely that much more than $50 million will be available for allocation. Thus, the applicant challenges noted in the Public Roads article could be rethought and reemphasized with this new information in mind.

Finally, a series of workshops were held on these programs. At each, participants had a chance to learn about this year's application process and to focus on the direction of the programs. A summary of these workshops will, later this fall, be placed on the program website.

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Access Management

By: Kathy Facer, FHWA

Access management is the process that provides access to land development while simultaneously preserving the flow of traffic on the surrounding road system in terms of safety, capacity, and speed. It is an effort to limit the number of conflict points, provide sufficient spacing between access points, and provide adequate on-site circulation and storage. Through a well-designed program, in cooperation with local land use andtransportation planners and engineers, we hope to decrease accidents, support community livability efforts, and provide for business growth.

There is an effort underway to educate decision-makers in state organizations, cities, counties and MPO's, regarding the many benefits of managing access, driveway permits, non-traversable medians, shared driveways, and setbacks. There is a need to work cooperatively to preserve the transportation corridor for all modes of travel. Decision-makers need information in order to adopt policies, which balance the need for development with the need for safe roadways.

The Office of Real Estate Services website at www.fhwa.dot.gov/real_estate/ has a section for access management information. You may be aware that the Florida DOT prepared an interactive library on a CD which contains access management files in Adobe Acrobat format. Most of these files are available on the congestion management system (CMS) CD that was distributed by FHWA in 1998. On September 20, 1999, the division right-of-way Officers were provided a copy of the CMS CD. It contains many useful access management text documents, slide presentations and handouts. When using the CD, the Adobe Acrobat Reader loads automatically. Persons having access to the CD are free to make copies and use any of the files, remembering to credit the original source. For interaction with experts on access management, one can go to www.delphi.com/driveway/.

There is a lot of technical information available on this subject, including NHI course 15255. If you are interested in attending the next access management national conference, it will be hosted by the Oregon DOT on August 13-16, 2000, in Portland. See the FHWA website noted above for a link to the Oregon conference website. It would be great to see more transportation planners from states, cities, counties and MPO's at these meetings.

If you have questions or do not have a copy of the CMS CD available and would like a copy, please call Kathy Facer at 816-276-2754 or Ron Giguere at 202-366-2203.

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Pedestrian and Bicycle and Trail News the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)

By: Christopher Douwes, FHWA

On July 26, 1999, Secretary Rodney Slater and Deputy Federal Highway Administrator Gloria Jeff participated in a ceremony marking the 9th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Secretary Slater announced FHWA's publication of Designing Sidewalks and Trails for Access. The first part, Review of Existing Guidelines and Practices, provides examples of what States and localities are doing at the present time. To obtain a copy, send a fax to the FHWA R&T Report Center, fax number 301-577-1421, and request PublicationFHWA-HEP-99-006. Part 2, A Best Practices Guidebook (available early 2000), will recommend methods to enhance pedestrian access.

A new Public Rights-of-Way Advisory Committee will be established by the U.S. Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board (Access Board) in November 1999. This committee will recommend ADA standards for sidewalks, street crossings, and related pedestrian facilities.

On September 15 and 16, FHWA sponsored the 7th Annual Meeting of State Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinators. Major topics of the meeting included: bicyclists and rumble strips, FHWA and NHTSA research products, available design guides (including the new AASHTO Guide for the Development of Bicycle Facilities), the Americans with Disabilities Act, and sidewalk installation policies. The Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals (APBP) sponsored a 2-day professional development series which covered intersection design for bicyclists and pedestrians, traffic calming, liability, educational materials, and other topics.

Section 1212(i) of TEA-21 provides a grant for a national not-for-profit organization to provide technical assistance on bicycle and pedestrian issues. The new Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center (PBIC) is now open for business to serve professionals and advocates working to improve safety and accommodations for pedestrians and bicyclists. It is operated by the University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center and the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals. The toll-free number 877-925-5245, the email is pedbike@willow.hsrc.unc.edu and the website is www.walkinginfo.org or www.bicyclinginfo.org. Andy Clarke is the APBP's on-site specialist at FHWA headquarters.

On September 15, 1999, the Regulatory Negotiation Committee on Accessibility Guidelines for Outdoor Developed Areas presented its final report to the Access Board. This report recommends accessibility standards under the Americans with Disabilities Act for outdoor recreation facilities, including shared use paths and recreational trails, picnic and camping facilities, and beach access routes. The report should be available on the Access Board's website in early December 1999 at www.access-board.gov. The Access Board will prepare the report for a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking expected in early 2000. The USDOT and FHWA were represented on the committee by Christopher Douwes and Barbara McMillen of the Office of Planning and Environment. More than $200 million in Federal-aid funds are spent annually on shared use paths and recreational trails.

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FY2001: A New Starts Odyssey

By: Dwayne Weeks

The Office of Planning has embarked on a mission to propel the New Starts project planning and evaluation process into the 21st Century. This mission is being undertaken with the assistance of "Hal," the New Starts Database. Seriously, the Office of Planning has developed a database application using Microsoft Access software to help organize the New Starts criteria and enable the TPL staff to have access to all of the New Starts Project Description, Project Justification, Land Use, and Financial data at a single source. This will enable TPL to develop the FY2001 Project Ratings, the Project Profiles, and all of the tables within the New Starts Report from a single, comprehensive, accurate source of data. Additionally, TPL will use the database to do time-series analysis of project development timeframes, conduct before and after studies of New Starts, and constantly update and refine the New Starts Analysis process based upon what we learn from the data.

The New Starts Database implementation began shortly after the publication of the FY2000 New Starts Report, when it was recognized that because of the growing number of New Starts projects and the increasing amount of data submitted, TPL needed a method to compile the huge amounts of data necessary to evaluate the New Starts projects. In March, TPL staff drafted a work plan, which contained the general description of the database, goals and objectives, and a definition of the database structure based upon the New Starts Section 5309 Guidance. After the work plan was drafted, several tests of the concept database were conducted using FY2000 New Starts Data. Realizing the utility of the database, TPL began development of the database structure while the new Section 5309 Guidance was drafted and circulated in June of 1999. Concurrent with the development of the database, documentation was developed including flowcharts, a data dictionary, and refinements to the original work program for the database. The New Starts Database was fully configured and ready to begin data entry when the Office of Planning received the first submittal of the FY2001 New Starts Criteria on September 3, 1999.

As Of October 4th, 1999, "Hal" was coming to life with the entry of the New Starts Criteria submissions and the true power of the analytical tool has become apparent. However, unlike its namesake, "Hal" will not likely take over the Planning Office or the production of the Annual Report on New Starts completely. On the other hand, the "FY2001; a New Starts Odyssey" will be undertaken with a powerful new addition to TPL's capabilities which will enable TPL to become "Masters of the New Starts Universe of Data*," and increase the accuracy and quality of the New Starts Planning Process. In the future, we hope to use the database and the FTA GIS system to do spatial analysis of New Starts, enable New Starts Grantee's to do electronic reporting of the New Starts criteria over the internet, and eventually make the New Starts Database information available to the public over internet to assist in local decision making processes.

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REGIONAL CORNER

Eastern Resource Center Training

By: Aung Gye, FHWA

On September 23-24, 1999 Brian Betlyon from Eastern Resource Center, Michael Culp and staff from the Metropolitan Programs Office conducted a transportation GIS application modeling planning workshop hosted by the Greater Buffalo and Niagara Region Metropolitan Planning Organization. The workshop was attended by approximately 35 participants and it was well received by the participants.

The success of this workshop was due to the leadership of the Eastern Resource Center where Michael and I contributed as co-presenters. This was the first workshop of its kind since the reorganization of FHWA, where a resource center takes the lead and Headquarters played a supporting role. If anyone is interested in hosting a similar workshop at their agency, please contact Brian Betlyon of the Eastern Resource Center at 410-962-4586 X-3076 or Aung Gye, FHWA at 202-366-2167.

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Announcements

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Upcoming NTI, NHI Training Opportunities

Provided below is a partial listing of National Transit Institute (NTI) and National Highway Institute (NHI) courses.

NTI
Corridor, Subareas, & Major Investment Studies - Dates TBA;
Contract Administration - Dates TBA
Introduction to Metropolitan Transportation Planning - Dates TBA
Public Involvement in Transportation Decision-making - Dates TBA;
Statewide and Metropolitan Transportation Programming - Dates TBA
Forecasting Travel Demand for Transit and HOV - Dates TBA and
ITS for Training: Solving Real Problems - Dates TBA.

Additionally, NTI will hold the following workshops: Pedestrian Planning and Facilities, Bicycle Planning and Facilities, and Fare Collection. For more information on the courses listed above and additional course offerings, contact the NTI at 732-932-1700 or access the NTI Internet site at http://policy.rutgers.edu/nti.

NHI
Access Management and Traffic Analysis of Highways - Dates TBA.

For more information on NHI courses, contact the NHI at 703-235-0519 or access the NHI Internet site at www.nhi.fhwa.dot.gov.

ITS Training Opportunities
A series of ITS seminars and workshops scheduled at several locations around the country are being conducted as part of the Professional Capacity Building (PCB) program. These sessions are intended to increase the knowledge of local FTA and FHWA field staff, state DOTs, MPOs, transit operators and other interested organizations about ITS technology and planning issues.

The current schedule includes the following sessions:
Deploying Intergrated ITS
Telecommunications Shared Resources Workshop
ITS and the Transportation Planning Process

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Updated: 04/04/2013
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