Office of Planning, Environment, & Realty (HEP)
State DOTs work to support regional planning, operations, and safety efforts, focused on both urban and rural areas. Regions may be identified by common interests or perspectives, political influence, or geography.
In urban areas, there is a structured metropolitan transportation planning process in accordance with federal planning regulations. The Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) plays a lead role in this process, and also provides a structure that may facilitate collaboration among transportation system operations staff, including transit agencies. MPO planners usually have an established relationship with the regional DOT planning staff. Regularly scheduled meetings and committees provide opportunities for the sharing of ideas to meet common needs. In particular the requirement for larger MPOs to have a congestion management process (CMP) provides a natural interface point for operations, safety, and planning.
In rural areas, Rural Planning Organizations (RPOs) and/or Tribal tribal DOTs may play a role in integration efforts by providing a structured forum for the consideration of transportation needs. If an RPO or Tribal DOT is not present, an initiative may be needed to focus on advancing operations, safety, and planning goals. Rural transit or human service providers may offer a regional structure that may support a larger initiative. Because county governments partner with these agencies, there is an established interface with local governments that can further enhance transportation groups and initiatives.
Many states have major destinations such as national parks that are located in primarily rural areas. High traffic volumes are often associated with these venues on highways that do not have sufficient capacity. This type of traffic represents a surge effect, and is well suited to traffic management in the absence of the ability to increase capacity. This is a strong opportunity for cooperation between operations, safety, and multimodal planning. Many areas have found transit to be a strong resource for addressing these needs.
Operations personnel are usually the most familiar to local entities, as most DOTs operate the system through regional, division, and/or district offices. The regional operations staff is the front line interface with the local stakeholders whether these are the public, transportation providers, citizen advocacy groups, or special interest groups. These professionals represent the problem solvers in a region because their actions usually address an immediate need. If DOT planning support is not located in the regional office, interface with the operations and safety staff will need to be initiated. However, whether or not the functions are co-located, this relationship offers the ability to develop solutions for both near term and long range system needs that consider operations and safety as well as system capacity.
One challenge to the incorporation of operations and safety solutions for specific transportation needs is a difference in analytical methods. As the primary transportation planning tool, the travel demand model does not provide the finer scale of analysis needed to consider operational strategies. In recent years, the transportation industry has been attempting to overcome this disconnect through more extensive use of meso and micro analysis tools for transportation planning at the regional level.
Three opportunities have been identified for integrating operations, safety, and multimodal planning at the regional level.
|Description||In order to more fully collaborate on common transportation interests and needs within a region, it can be advantageous to formalize a regional initiative. A regional initiative will involve many partners including the regional DOT staff, and can focus on coordinated efforts to address transportation system operations and safety while considering a broad range of solutions. For instance, a regional initiative may involve development of an integrated safety and incident management program through collaboration of system operators and law enforcement. A regional group can work on a "regional concept of transportation operations" (RCTO), which helps to define a vision, goals, operations objectives, and strategies for a specific operational issue, such as work zone management or incident management, and can be integrated into regional planning activities. Participation of both local and State DOT planning staff is often important to ensure inclusion of identified strategies in plans and programs consistent with regional and statewide goals.|
|Who Is Involved|| Regional initiatives can be started by any transportation or stakeholder group that identifies common interests.
|Recommended Implementation Steps||
Arizona DOT: AZTech™ Partnership
AZTech™ is a partnership of Federal, State, local, and private entities led by the Maricopa County Department of Transportation and Arizona DOT (ADOT) to address a variety of regional operations issues in the Phoenix metropolitan area. The group is closely connected to regional transportation planning and includes many of the same agencies represented in the Maricopa Association of Governments" ITS Committee.
AZTech™ began in 1996 when partners in the Phoenix region were awarded the ITS Metropolitan Model Deployment Initiative (MMDI) grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation. Guiding the direction of AZTech™ and the implementation of its programs is the AZTech™ Executive Committee, which meets every other month. In addition, AZTech™ members participate on an operations committee, an advanced traveler information systems (ATIS) working group, and a TMC operators working group that all meet on a regular basis to share information and carry out joint initiatives.
Joint initiatives that the region is pursuing include center-to-center communications, traffic signal optimization, and freeway and arterial incident management, traffic management, joint ITS procurements, and improving traveler information and system performance measurement. The traffic management system relies on a data exchange between the Phoenix Fire Department, Maricopa County Department of Transportation, and ADOT to help inform public safety efforts in the Phoenix metropolitan area. This data sharing effort is intended to be expanded so that real-time transit data will be integrated with the AZTech™ Regional Archived Data Server. The ongoing study investigating this opportunity is considering the following aspects: "availability of real-time data transit data attributes; hardware and software requirements; potential ATIS applications and/or services; requirements for ongoing public agency staff support, and initial and ongoing costs." 21
To assist in freeway and arterial incident management, AZTech™ has developed a new system called the Emergency Vehicle Infrastructure Integration system, which works to assist emergency-responder vehicles by researching and developing new technologies. Research efforts include investigating ways that emergency vehicles could share real-time data with other emergency vehicles in order to reduce the number of crashes.
Missouri and Kansas DOTs: Kansas City Scout
In 1999, planners and district engineers from the Missouri DOT (MoDOT) and Kansas DOT (KDOT), the Mid-America Regional Council MPO, FHWA representatives from both States, ITS personnel, and local government representatives formed a planning committee to collaborate on the development of a bi-state comprehensive traffic and incident management system. At the first meeting, the members considered how to place the necessary funding in each State"s STIP. The committee used the three to five year transportation plan for construction projects that would start in 2001 to determine the amount of federal earmarked funds each State would receive and the amount each State would have to match. It took approximately two years to construct the effort and put it into the STIP. The cost was $50 million with 80% Federal funding and 20% State funding shared between the two States. This was the first program with designated ITS funding.
The Kansas City Scout (KC Scout) program began operating in 2003, and by 2004 it was fully operational. Initially the system addressed traffic on 75 miles of contiguous freeways in the Kansas City metropolitan area. By December 2008, the program had expanded to cover more than 100 miles of contiguous highway and fed information to electronic message boards, the Scout Web site, and the radio system. The Traffic Management Center operators continually communicate with MoDOT"s Motorist Assist Programs and the Kansas Highway Patrol to respond to thousands of incidents per year including clearing vehicle accidents and disabled vehicles in a timely manner, and alerting motorists of travel times, weather conditions, scheduled roadwork and Amber alerts.
The Scout program was designed consistent with the concepts of the USDOT"s National ITS Architecture, which provides a common framework for planning, defining, and integrating ITS. A regional ITS architecture developed by the MPO already exists, which was based on existing conditions and projections for what the region would look like in the future.
Working across State lines was particularly challenging considering each state"s separate budgets and everyone had to be comfortable with the amounts that were programmed into the STIP. Operational costs were established based on the amount of infrastructure being built. Each DOT decided to provide their own full time employees rather than consultants in order to manage staff more effectively.
The DOTs are conducting a cost benefit analysis using the ITS Deployment Analysis System; however, they have already seen tremendous improvements with an estimated 8:1 benefit back to the taxpayers. The success of the program is dependant on the active participation in operations among all partner agencies including, MoDOT Motorist Assist, Kansas Highway Patrol, local law enforcement and incident management agencies, and internal DOT maintenance/construction personnel. The strategic plan and the business plan are continually updated and expansion of the Scout project is programmed through 2010.
Indiana DOT: Indiana Traffic Incident Management Effort (IN-TIME)
The Indiana Quick Clearance Working Group was formed in 2008 to develop and recommend policy and operational protocols for the safe and efficient mitigation of traffic incidents. The Group takes a multidisciplinary approach to addressing traffic incidents and has worked to develop a common framework for the development of traffic incident management policies and training programs across the various responder disciplines. The Group is comprised of public and private sector stakeholders, and is jointly led by the Indiana State Police, Indiana Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, Indiana Department of Homeland Security, and the Indiana Department of Emergency Management. Others they hope to get involved include insurance companies, the Department of Education, the Coroner"s office and any other organization that has a stake in the improved operation and safety of Indiana roads. Members of the Working Group were divided into three multidisciplinary task forces to focus on specific issues including emergency management systems, law enforcement, transportation, towing/recovery, health/environment, and homeland security. Each task force was then asked to document common practices and provide recommendations for improving traffic incident management policies and training programs across the various responder disciplines.
The Quick Clearance, later renamed the Indiana Traffic Incident Management Effort (IN-TIME), is modeled after the FHWA Traffic Incident Management program (TIM), which is the organized cooperative effort of multiple agencies to detect and verify incidents, respond and mange the scene, and manage traffic. IN-TIME also uses "Quick Clearance," which is the practice of safely and rapidly removing temporary obstructions from the roadway. Because Indiana traffic incident responders from all disciplines (ISP/LE, INDOT, Fire/Rescue/EMS, and Towing recovery cleanup) respond differently to incidents, the objective is to get all first responders to follow agreed-upon multilateral policies and procedures to provide the traveling public safety by reducing congestion and the higher risks of secondary crashes by clearing vehicles, victims, and debris from the travel lanes of all Indiana roadways. Policy changes and training are the two biggest challenges for the future. Many opportunities to address these challenges will likely be captured through improved legislation and improved standard operating procedures, which do not necessarily require funding.
The Working Group is starting to reach out to the planning community, but have not yet gotten them on board, however, a representative from the Fort Wayne MPO attends the monthly meeting. Although IN-TIME is not funded through the long-range plan, it is an excellent example of a cooperative effort that looks to be successful in managing traffic incidents to reduce congestion and improve highway safety without using funds that are then available for other transportation needs.
More information is available at www.indianaquickclearance.org/. Contacts: Guy Boruff (GBORUFF@indot.IN.gov), Jay Wasson (JWASSON@indot.IN.gov), Kimberly Peters (kpeters@indot.IN.gov), Jason Sewell (JLSEWELL@idem.IN.gov), Karen Stippich (Karen.Stippigh@fhwa.dot.gov).
|Description||Data collection for support of regional analysis is a major effort for the planning staff, whether this staff resides within the DOT, an MPO, or a local planning agency. State DOTs" operations and safety divisions often have a great wealth of data from Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) technologies and crash reporting systems that can help to advance planning, specifically focused on congestion and safety, at the MPO level.
The MPO Congestion Management Process (CMP), required for transportation management areas (TMAs), represents a substantial opportunity for considering operations and safety data and analysis in planning. The CMP requires development of congestion objectives, a definition of congestion, development of congestion objectives, performance monitoring and data collection, identification of strategies, and analysis of strategy effectiveness. Operations and safety data can be used to help identify congestion problems (including recurring and non-recurring congestion), to support performance measures, and to evaluate the effectiveness of implemented strategies.
State DOTs can also support planning in metropolitan areas through the development of tools and procedures for analyzing operations strategies. Since regional travel demand forecasting models are primarily geared toward capacity analyses, there is a need for effective analysis techniques to analyze and predict the effectiveness of operations strategies. Strategies developed within the CMP should be integrated into the metropolitan transportation plan and Transportation Improvement Program (TIP), which is incorporated into the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP).
|Challenges||Operational data are often collected to support technology and analysis requirements that are very different from those used by the planning staff. Sharing of completed analysis may be necessary rather han the raw data. This may require operations staff to perform analysis not required for their specific function, impacting the staff workload.|
|Who Is Involved||
|Recommended Implementation Steps||
New York State DOT: Data Sharing and Coordination with Albany MPO
During the 2007 update to the Albany, New York long-range regional transportation plan, called "New Visions for a Quality Region", the Capital District Transportation Committee (CDTC) convened five working groups to address emerging issues and help staff analyze those that required further study. One of the groups, Working Group B, 22 focused on investigating expressway function and operational needs as well as physical infrastructure needs and projected costs. Working Group B was made up of representatives of the Capital District Transportation Authority-the designated MPO for the Albany-Schenectady-Troy metropolitan area, New York State DOT (NYSDOT), the New York State Thruway Authority and a Quality Region Task Force member. Working Group B noted the expressway system was in need of repair, yet estimated costs just to maintain the system were much greater than the anticipated funding. At the same time, increasing traffic volumes and congestion were expected to lead to increasingly longer congested peak periods. Working Group B also found "that incident related delay is more severe and more unacceptable than recurring delay." However, traffic congestion related to incident delays and the magnitude of its effect on congestion could not be predicted using the MPO"s standard data and travel demand model. 23
In an effort to address these congestion issues, the CDTC analyzed the Management Information System for Transportation (MIST) data routinely collected by the NYSDOT. MIST provides real-time speed, volume, and incident data on each lane of a designated expressway segment every 15 minutes throughout the year. The data were also used to reconstruct incidents and understand how they were handled. 24 CDTC staff used the MIST data to model future demand under two growth scenarios in an attempt to qualify and quantify how the expressway system operated during incidents and identify alternative strategies and solutions. The results showed that no feasible capital improvements such as widening would eliminate the daily recurring congestion in peak hours. However, it also concluded "that ITS, incident management and operational improvements were the most effective strategies for expressway congestion management." ITS improvements on arterials would also have direct benefits to expressway travel by providing alternative routes during expressway incidents.
The process of using existing data routinely collected by NYSDOT Operations and providing it to the CDTC has allowed the MPO to take a more holistic approach to planning that addresses the day-to-day operations of the expressway system. Armed with this information, the MPO can facilitate building consensus among operating agencies about priorities and project programming within their limited budgets. A bi-product of the data exchange has been the proactive collaboration between NYSDOT and CDTC and other participants, to give the interpretation of the data meaning and legitimacy. 25 This collaboration is being continued with the CDTC Regional Operations Committee, which also includes cities and towns and their operations departments. The NYSDOT Regional Director has been supportive of operations data exchange between CDTC and NYSDOT, which has led to cooperation at the staff and management levels at both agencies. 26
More information is available at http://www.cdtcmpo.org/rtp2030/b-materials.htm. Contact: Mary Ivey, Regional Director, New York State DOT, MIvey@dot.state.ny.us, (518) 388-0388 or Mary Anne Marriotti, P.E., Regional Asset Manager, New York State DOT Region 1, MAMariotti@dot.state.ny.us, (518) 388-0439.
Virginia DOT: Data Sharing and Coordination with Hampton Roads Transportation Planning Organization (HRTPO)
The Hampton Roads Transportation Planning Organization (HRTPO), the MPO for the Hampton Roads metropolitan area, aggressively compiles and uses operations data (including crash data, incident data, continuous count data, and volumes for both CMP and non-CMP roadways) from the Virginia DOT (VDOT) to identify congested locations, which ultimately influences its Congestion Management Process (CMP).
HRTPO was the first MPO in its region to complete a comprehensive travel time study using global positioning system (GPS) technology for data collection and geographic information system (GIS) technology for data analysis. Travel time data was collected on more than 1,100 miles of roadway. HRTPO compiled this data on its GIS maps using a customized ArcView application to generate travel time contour maps, which they ultimately used to assess the performance of the area"s transportation system. HRTPO also compared travel time contour maps from previous studies to determine improvements or degradation in travel time for each area. HRTPO is planning to begin collecting ITS data from VDOT and local jurisdictions included within the planning district area to conduct travel time analysis on a system-wide basis. The MPO will also be using Automated Vehicle Location (AVL) data from express transit routes to support this effort. HRTPO anticipates that this analysis will be complex, and will be constrained by the pace of ITS infrastructure deployment. One issue with which they are grappling is that of accuracy; loop detectors can malfunction frequently enough to skew the data collected. VDOT currently operates a regional Transportation Operations Center, which provides ITS coverage for 120 miles of the interstate system. Volume and speed data from the Center is archived by VDOT and made available to outside parties for research purposes.
HRTPO has created an incident management plan for the region, and also developed a Regional Concept of Transportation Operations (RCTO) in coordination with VDOT. The RCTO states the shared regional objective for transportation operations and what is needed to achieve that objective-physical improvements, relationships and procedures, and resource arrangements. The RCTO process helps to coordinate between regional planners and transportation operations managers. Hampton Roads" motivation for developing an RCTO came from high profile incidents at bridges/tunnels and within other high traffic volume corridors that caused major delays and led the HRTPO Board to request HRTPO staff and VDOT find ways to improve incident management. The RCTO"s guiding principles include broadening operational cooperation, elevating Quick Clearance principles, expanding and enhancing existing MOUs, and reducing congestion caused by crashes and disabled vehicles. Hampton Roads uses clearance time, lane blockages, and diversion response as performance measures. The final RCTO is a document that describes common procedures and concepts, focusing on incident management. 27
More information is available at http://www.hrtpo.org. Contact: Stephany Hanshaw, Hampton Roads Smart Traffic Center, Stephany.Hanshaw@VDOT.Virginia.gov, (757) 424-9907 or Mike Corwin, Regional Traffic Engineer for the Hampton Roads District, Mike.Corwin@VDOT.Virginia.gov, (757) 925-6020 or Keith Nichols, Hampton Roads Transportation Planning Organization, KNichols@hrpdcva.gov, (757) 420-8300.
Florida DOT: FITSEVAL Planning Tool
Florida DOT (FDOT) developed an analysis tool called FITSEVAL that is designed for regional sketch planning analysis to assess the benefits of ITS strategies. The tool is a collaborative effort between FDOT"s System Planning Office and its ITS Section, and was created to support assessment of ITS scenarios together with infrastructure investments within regional long-range transportation planning. The tool can be used in connection with regional travel demand forecasting models to analyze a wide range of ITS deployments, including ramp metering, signal control, transit vehicle signal priority, emergency vehicle signal priority, transit electronic payment systems, smart work zones, and road weather information systems. The modeler inputs information on deployment locations and other parameters, and the tool provides outputs in terms of savings in delay (vehicle hours), safety (fatalities, injuries, property damage only), fuel consumption, and vehicle emissions, as well as a monetized estimate of benefits. The default ITS impact parameters were derived from a review of previous evaluation studies, the U.S. Department of Transportation"s ITS benefits database, and the values used in existing ITS sketch planning tools. The user is also able to change the default ITS impact parameters and perform sensitivity analysis.
More information is available at http://www.dot.state.fl.us/planning/systems/ and http://www.dot.state.fl.us/trafficoperations/ITS/ITS.shtm. Contact: Vidya Mysore, Systems Planning Office, firstname.lastname@example.org, (850) 414-4924.
|Description||Rural areas, national parks and other tourist destinations, and Native American tribal lands often experience unique congestion and safety challenges. For instance, national parks may have major traffic congestion issues during vacation periods for several weeks or months of the year. These traffic congestion problems often also create safety issues, but are not effectively addressed through highway capacity solutions, given environmental and aesthetic issues, and limited periods of high volumes. Transportation system management strategies and planning, through use of transit shuttles, park-and-ride lots, and traveler information systems often are particularly effective in this context. Tribal lands also often have unique transportation and coordination challenges that can benefit from improved collaboration with State DOT operations, safety, and planning functions.|
|Who Is Involved||DOT operations, safety, and planning staff must work together with the organizations or agencies responsible for the region, such as tribal governments, federal lands, and local governments. Transit providers may be a resource for providing service or assistance in identifying appropriate infrastructure.|
|Recommended Implementation Steps||
South Dakota DOT: Safety Study with Local Tribes 28
Safety issues continue to be a concern for both the State and Tribes, as South Dakota has one of the highest motor vehicle crash rates in the country. Road-specific safety issues have traditionally been addressed at the annual STIP process, with Tribes presenting information on unsafe roadways in their area to SDDOT officials. However, recent research of motor vehicle crash reporting on South Dakota"s nine reservations identified opportunities for increased coordination with the State to more effectively report crashes and use crash data to identify hazardous roadways across both the State and IRR systems. The Lower Brule Sioux Tribe proposed that SDDOT fund a statewide study to investigate the extent of crash underreporting, identify factors contributing to underreporting, and recommend ways to encourage and enable more complete reporting. SDDOT agreed that a multiyear crash reporting analysis was necessary and procured consultants for the study.
The final recommendations from the study identified a need for the South Dakota Department of Public Safety (SDDPS) to provide training tailored to Tribal law enforcement; for SDDOT and SDDPS to work with Tribal councils and governments to establish crash reporting as a priority for tribal and BIA law enforcement; for SDDPS to provide funding opportunities for tribes to improve crash reporting and tracking; and for SDDPS to make reporting as easy as possible for tribes. Since the research was completed, SDDOT has emphasized crash reporting in its ongoing Tribal consultation process, and SDDPS has initiated collaborative efforts and grants to improve manual crash reporting and to enable Tribes to use the state"s automated crash reporting system.
Contact: David Huft, Research Program Manager, South Dakota DOT, Dave.Huft@state.sd.us, (605) 773-3358 or James Carpenter, Office of Highway Safety, South Dakota Department of Public Safety, James.Carpenter@state.sd.us, (605) 773-4949.
The following checklist may be used as a self-assessment to identify regional opportunities for integrating operations, safety, and multimodal planning. The user should consider the questions, whether or not the State DOT is undertaking the activity, and what can be done to improve integration.
|Checklist: Regional Opportunities|
|Question||Yes||No||If no, what can be added or improved?||Relevant
|Are operations, safety, and planning staff working together to address regional challenges, such as incident management, work zone management, or emergency management?||4.1|
|Has a regional concept for transportation operations (RCTO) been developed?||4.1|
|Are operations and/or safety data being shared with MPOs, transit agencies, and other agencies responsible for regional planning?||4.2|
|Are State DOT planners, operations, and safety staff participating in the Congestion Management Process?||4.2|
|Are congestion and safety challenges in rural areas, tribal lands, and national parks being addressed through a cooperative approach involving State DOT operations and safety staff?||4.3|
|Is coordination with tribal governments, federal lands, transit agencies, and other agencies on planning and investment studies incorporating operations and safety considerations?||4.3|
22 The final Working Group B report is available at http://www.cdtcmpo.org/rtp2030/materials/wb-doc.pdf.
23 Capital District Transportation Committee. Working Group B Report : Expressway System Options. April 2007.
24 Bryan Menyuk, New York State Department of Transportation. Telephone interview with C. Paulsen, ICF on Jan. 30, 2009.
26 Christopher O"Neill, Capital District Transportation Committee. Email to L. Wallis, ICF on January 19, 2009.
27 AASHTO Congestion Management Workshop: Meeting Report. Prepared for FHWA by ICF International, November 15, 2007. Presented by Keith Nichols, Hampton Roads Planning District Commission.
28 South Dakota Department of Transportation. Public Involvement Plan. July 2009. http://www.sddot.com/docs/PublicInvolvementPlan7102009.pdf. Accessed February 4, 2010.