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FHWA Resource Center

PLANNING TEAM

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U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
Federal Transit Administration
Resource Center
Transportation Planning Capacity Building Program

Transportation Planning Update
Winter 2012

U.S. DOT funded through Sept. 30, 2012

The President signed the “minibus” funding legislation on Saturday, Sept. 30, 2011, including three appropriations bills, the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development legislation that provides the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) funding through the end of this 2012 fiscal year.

Highlights of the Conference Report for H.R. 2112 for FY 2012 are:

• TIGER - $500 million for grants.

• Federal-aid Obligation Limitation - $39,143,582,670, roughly equivalent to new contract authority for the year based on annualization of the extension.

• FHWA Administrative Funds gives the Secretary of Transportation discretion to deduct up to $16 million from the funds authorized for the 14 ¬discretionary grant programs by the most recent extension act to provide additional funds for FHWA administrative expenses. Limitation on administrative expenses of $412 million.

• Supplemental Emergency Relief Funds - $1.662 billion from the General Fund for major disasters under the Stafford Act. Waives the $100 million per-State, per disaster cap for emergency relief projects from damage in FY 2011 from Hurricane Irene or the Missouri River basin flooding in the spring of 2011 (except Devils Lake).

• Requires the Secretary to extend the eligibility for 100 percent Federal share for emergency repairs beyond the typical 180-day limit in consideration of any delay in the State’s ability to access damaged facilities.

• Maine-Vermont Truck Weight - Amends 23 U.S.C. 127 (re: Interstate vehicle weight limits) to allow Maine and Vermont to apply State, rather than Federal, laws and regulations concerning Interstate vehicle weight limits through December 31, 2031.

• MUTCD-Limits use of funds under the Act for enforcement of certain MUTCD provisions.

• No Highway Rescissions

The Conference Committee’s report, H.R. 2112, is located at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CREC-2011-11-14/pdf/CREC-2011-11-14-pt1-PgH7433-3.pdf#page=1. The Transportation section is on pages 24 through 33.

TIGER 2011

December 15, 2011, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced that 46 transportation projects in 33 States, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia will receive a total of $511 million from the third round of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (U.S. DOT) popular TIGER program. The announcement comes months ahead of schedule, and will allow communities to move forward with critical, job-creating infrastructure projects including road and bridge improvements; transit upgrades; freight, port, and rail expansions; and new options for bicyclists and pedestrians.

U.S. DOT received 848 project applications from all 50 States, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia, requesting a total of $14.29 billion, far exceeding the $511 million made available for grants under this year’s TIGER program. A complete list of grant recipients can be viewed at http://www.dot.gov/affairs/2011/FY2011TIGER.pdf.

OPERATIONS

Proposed Systems Operations and Management Guidance

AASHTO has posted the final version of the Systems Operations & Management Guidance (SO&M) on the web. The guidance is designed to help transportation agency managers involved with ITS and SO&M at both the State and regional level. It offers custom-tailored guidance on improving agency capabilities in SO&M based on agency self-evaluation. A “one minute evaluation” version is also available on the site that provides a first cut approach. The guidance, which was funded by U.S. DOT, was based on ¬research ¬prepared for the SHRP 2 and NCHRP programs and has been tested in a number of States and regions. To see the proposed guidance please visit http://www.aashtosomguidance.org/.

New Traffic Analysis Tools Guide

As part of the Traffic Analysis and Simulation Pooled Fund Study, FHWA has posted the final report to identify and address consistency in the selection and use of traffic analysis tools. The report offers recommendations on the management, planning, and conduct of traffic analysis that will promote greater traffic analysis tool consistency over the typical project development life cycle. It can be found at http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/publications/research/operations/11064/index.cfm.

Talking Traffic Webinars

The last “Talking Traffic” webinar was held on ¬December 13. The subject was the Traffic Monitoring Guide update. FHWA is currently updating the Traffic Monitoring Guide (TMG) with Cambridge Systematics, Inc. as the primary consultant. The new updated TMG will include guidance for Federal, State, and local practitioners responsible for the collection, analysis, and/or reporting of traffic data as part of a comprehensive traffic monitoring program. All Talking Traffic webinars are open to States, MPO’s, contractors, vendors, academia and consultants. All Talking Traffic webinars are held on the second Tuesday of the month at 2 pm eastern time.

Future Talking Traffic webinar schedule:

• Mar. 13, 2012 Traffic data QC using GIS with an HPMS focus
• April 10, 2012 Field QC of traffic data collection sites
• May 8, 2012 VMT data research
• June 12, 2012 TMAS 2.0 demonstration
• July 10, 2012 WIM

For this and future Talking Traffic webinars, we will be using the same web address, phone number and pass code. Talking Traffic Webinar:
http://fhwa.adobeconnect.com/fhwatalkingtraffic/

Audio Portion Please Dial:
877-848-7030 Pass code: 6217068

For more information contact Steven Jessberger, (202)366-5052, steven.jessberger@dot.gov.

National Congested Corridors Report

The Texas Transportation Institute published the 2011 Congested Corridors Report. It is the first nationwide effort to identify reliability problems at specific stretches of highway responsible for significant traffic congestion at different times and different days. It uses data from INRIX, based upon corridors involving freeway segments at least three miles long that are congested at least 10 hours per week. Analysis was done on 328 corridors. These corridors, while accounting for only 6 percent of the Nation’s total freeway lane-miles and 10 percent of the traffic, account for 36 percent of the country’s urban freeway congestion. You can find the report at http://mobility.tamu.edu/corridors/.

Guide on Application of Analysis Tools

The FHWA has posted a new Guide on the Application of Analysis Tools to planning for operations. This document offers recommendations on the management, planning, and conduct of traffic analysis that will promote greater traffic analysis tool consistency over the typical project development life cycle. The key to managing consistency of traffic analyses throughout the various stages of project development is creating a project delivery analysis plan that describes the project, its purpose, and the objectives of the traffic analysis. It identifies the measures of effectiveness that will be used to evaluate the project and its alternatives, describes the traffic analysis approach (including tools, assumptions, and parameters), identifies risks and contingency plans for dealing with those risks, determines the resource requirements, and lays out the time schedule for the analysis. This guidebook is directed toward professionals operating in State departments of transportation and other agencies responsible for transportation project development and delivery.

The report is available on line at http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/publications/research/operations/11064/11064.pdf.

NTOC Planning for Operations Webinars

The recording of the recently completed webinar on “Applying Analysis Tools in Planning for Operations” has been posted. You can find the transcripts at http://www.ntoctalks.com/web_casts_archive.php.

The members of the National Transportation Operations Coalition (NTOC), in partnership with FHWA sponsors “Talking Operations,” a series of monthly seminars designed to introduce and educate stakeholders on current trends, tools, and noteworthy practices in Transportation Management and Operations and Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS). The next Planning for Operations related webinar scheduled:

• Feb. 29, 2012 Leveraging a Regional ITS Architecture in Planning for Operations
• April 5, 2012 Benefit-Cost Analysis
• Early April, 2012 Sustaining Regional Collaboration in Planning for Operations

To register for the NTOC webinars see http://www.ntoctalks.com/web_casts.php.

RURAL PLANNING
HUD-DOT-EPA Partnership

The Partnership in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Agriculture has released a new report on Supporting Sustainable Rural Communities. It is focussed on how small towns and rural places can be supported with Federal resources to provide a better quality of life.

Included in the report is information on:

• HUD, DOT, EPA, and USDA Programs at Work in Rural Communities

• Performance Measures for Success

• Next Steps for the Partnership

• Case Studies of Federal Support for Sustainable Rural Communities

You can find the report on the Partnership’s Web site at http://www.epa.gov/smartgrowth/pdf/2011_11_supporting-sustainable-rural-communities.pdf.

AIR QUALITY
NTAQS 2012

The Northern Transportation Air Quality Summit (NTAQS) 2012 will be held in Philadelphia in August 2012. This meeting is held biennially in even years and alternates with its southern cousin the Southern Transportation and Air Quality Summit (STAQS) in odd years. The summit is a meeting of FHWA and other Federal agencies such as EPA, State DOTs, Regional MPOs, local air quality, transportation and planning organizations and their consultations to discuss the transportation and air quality topics important to the region. This year’s summit will be co-sponsored with FHWA, EPA’s Region 1, 2, and 3 Offices, and the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission. Topics cover issues such as regulations and their impacts to the region, analysis and modeling requirements, climate change, programs such as CMAQ and other topics related to transportation and air quality. The summit also will provide some opportunities for training on policy or technical topics. For more information contact Kevin Black at 410-962-2177 or Kevin.Black@dot.gov.

ENVIRONMENT

Climate Change Webinar Series

The FHWA and the Association of Metropolitan Planning Organizations (AMPO) are hosting capacity building webinars on Climate Change and Energy Issues. They are intended to help raise awareness and build capacity of MPOs in dealing with climate change and energy planning. It will provide a forum for exchange of experiences and issues facing MPOs.

Findings from the webinar series will be included in a report that will document challenges, activities, and needs. The report will identify recommendations for policies and activities that could be undertaken by U.S. DOT, AMPO, and individual MPOs to assist agencies in addressing challenges within their regions.
The webinars are open to MPOs, State DOTs, and other MPO partners. Webinars included in the series are:

• Already held Nov. 29, 2011 was Webinar 1, the Context for Climate Change Planning: This covered the status of climate change science and government policies, how surface transportation fits into the overall climate change picture, the latest developments in climate adaptation, and how MPOs should be planning for climate change.

• Climate Change Partners and Collaboration Held January 10, 2012. Who are MPOs partnering with on climate change? Where can MPOs go for climate impacts forecasts? What are some good examples of MPO partnerships? What do MPOs bring to the table in these partnerships? Click here for the Registration Link.

• Climate Change Communications March 2012 How are MPOs communicating climate change challenges – to local officials? The public? What approaches have worked well in various MPOs? Click here for the Registration Link.

• Linking Climate Change Solutions to Other Planning Goals May 2012. How is climate change planning linked to other goals? How are climate change strategies reinforcing broader planning goals like improved access, mobility, and public health? Which strategies are best serving these multiple goals in a constrained economy? Click here for the Registration Link.

• Effective Implementation of Traffic Operations and Management June 2012. How are MPOs building on existing transportation management and operations programs to meet climate change needs? For GHG reductions? For better emergency response to extreme weather (climate) events? Click here for the Registration Link.

Additional information on times and registration will be available soon. For more information on the webinar series and AMPO’s climate change and energy related efforts, contact Rich Denbow, rdenbow@ampo.org.

DATA

Updated Beta Version of DataFerrett

The Census announced the release of an updated Beta version of DataFerrett, which includes several new features designed to improve access to the 2005-2009 5-year American Community Survey (ACS) Summary File in DataFerrett.

DataFerrett is a unique data analysis and extraction tool-with recording capabilities-to customize Federal, State, and local data to suit your requirements. (FERRETT stands for Federated Electronic Research, Review, Extraction, and Tabulation Tool.) Using DataFerrett, you can develop an unlimited array of customized spreadsheets that are as versatile and complex as your usage demands. Detailed information can be found at http://dataferrett.census.gov/acs/acs2005-2009sf_readme_beta.html. If you need information or have questions about DataFerrett, please call the DataFerrett Help Desk (toll free) at 1-866-437-0171.

Using Census Data for Transportation Applications Conference

The “Using Census Data for Transportation Applications” Conference took place October 24-27, 2011 at the Beckman Center on the UC-Irvine campus. ¬Presentations have been posted on the conference Web site: http://www.trb.org/conferences/Census2011.aspx, under the “Presentations” tab.

FWD Calibration

FHWA has posted a report from the Strategic Highway Research Program that details the falling weight deflectometer (FWD) calibration procedure. This has led to the revision of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials R32-09 calibration procedure. The report describes the procedural improvements and provides information on how to calibrate an FWD according to the updated procedure.
The report can be found at http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/publications/research/infrastructure/pavements/ltpp/07040/index.cfm.

Not Your Parents’ Ridesharing/TDM Programs!

Through the tremendous efforts of staff at the U.S. DOT/Volpe Center, the FHWA Office of Planning is developing and will make available reports that describe how today’s ridesharing and TDM programs and strategies, many relying on current and evolving technologies, can achieve a multitude of personal and community objectives.

Current ridesharing programs often go far beyond traditional computer matching and now utilize Internet, Instant Messaging, and smart phone applications to make almost instantaneous matches. The report, “Ridesharing Options Analysis and Practitioners’ Toolkit” (http://www.planning.dot.gov/documents/RidesharingOptions_Toolkit.pdf), provides case studies from across the country demonstrating how ridesharing can be facilitated both by using simple tools and data as well as sophisticated methods and technologies. The case studies describe how urban, suburban, and rural communities make available a wide array of rideshare options to provide residents with improved access to jobs and services, while also reducing transportation costs and achieving broader environmental and economic benefits.

As a follow up to that report, additional research is underway to explore how ridesharing and TDM programs can support livable and sustainable communities, including mixed use, walkable and transit-oriented neighborhoods and access to affordable housing. Another on-going research effort is identifying MPOs with significant commitments to transportation demand management, including non-motorized transportation, and considering TDM investments as an alternative alongside “traditional” major transportation infrastructure projects. Both of these research efforts should be completed in the first half of 2012. For more details contact Robin Smith, (720) 963-3072, robin.smith@dot.gov.


FINANCE

IPD Academy Webinars

The FHWA Office of Innovative Program Delivery (IPD) has announced their Webinars scheduled through March 30, 2012. There is no cost to participate in these Webinars and they are open to everyone who is interested. Each Webinar will last 120 minutes, with 90 minutes allocated for presentations and 30 minutes for audience Q&As. Through the use of web conferencing technology, participants can view the speakers’ presentations on their computer and hear the audio portion of the presentations either via the computer or telephone, depending on preference.

Here is the schedule of the upcoming webinars. You can register for each webinar at the following links:

• Mar. 7, 2012 State Infrastructure Banks 101
• Mar. 14, 2012 GARVEEs, SIBs, and Section 129 Loans Q&A
• Mar. 21, 2012 Introduction to the TIFIA Federal Credit Assistance Program

For questions, contact Thay Bishop at (404) 562-3695, thay.bishop@dot.gov.


TRANSIT ACTIVITIES
CTOD Webinars on TOD

The Federal Transit Authority (FTA) along with the Center for Transit-Oriented Development (CTOD) is continuing the webinar series showcasing effective TOD practice case studies. Upcoming CTOD webinars are as follows:

• Feb. 28 Webinar on TOD 101
• Mar 13 Regional Planning
• Apr. 10 Cargo-Oriented TOD
• May 8 TOD and Families
• Jun. 12 TOD 101

For more information, contact: Jeff Price, (202) 366-0843, jeff.price@dot.gov.

TOD Database Enhancement

FTA and CTOD will host a briefing to mark the enhancement of the National TOD Database. The FTA-sponsored tool will include additional stations, improved interactive functionality and the comprehensive set of ACS census data 2005-2009. The launch will take place in February to coincide with the New Partners for Smart Growth conference. Contact: Jeff Price, (202) 366-0843, jeff.price@dot.gov.

Transit at the Table III

FTA is preparing to release a new report, “Transit at the Table III: A guide to A Guide to Effective Participation in Statewide Decision-Making for Transit Agencies in Non-urbanized Areas.” The report uses eight case study States to identify processes, experiences, and results of transit agency participation in statewide transportation planning, focusing on non-urbanized or rural areas. This report is the third in the “Transit at the Table” series on successful consideration of transit in the transportation planning process. The report and individual case studies can be found at: http://www.planning.dot.gov/focus_transit_attable.asp.

HUD Announces Regional Planning Grants

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant program supports metropolitan and multijurisdictional planning efforts that integrate housing, land use, economic and workforce development, transportation, and infrastructure investments. For more information about the 2011 grantees, please visit the HUD Web site at: http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/program_offices/sustainable_housing_communities/sustainable_communities_regional_planning_grants.

Colorado Energy Smart Transportation Initiative

Beginning in May 2011, a Collaborative Team of Federal and State agencies, MPOs, and rural planning partners in Colorado came together to explore ways to develop “energy smart transportation” strategies.

A work group on planning considered several possibilities, including:

• Policies - Adopt a new high-level policy to consider energy in transportation infrastructure planning and spending across all aspects of the Colorado Department of Transportation’s (CDOT) work (planning, purchasing, facilities, design, and construction).

• Long-Range Transportation Planning - Incorporate consideration of energy efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) into the guidance, development, and public outreach for the 2040 Statewide Transportation Plan. Integrate energy efficiency into corridor visions, modal transportation plans, and scenario planning.

• STIP and TIP Development - Encourage the planning regions and CDOT to use GHG emissions and energy as a secondary evaluation criterion for project selection and provide tools to measure impacts and make decisions.

• Project Development - Incorporate energy considerations into the CDOT Design Manual and construction specifications.

A summary of the Energy Smart Transportation Initiative collaborative process, strategy development, results of analysis, and recommendations for next steps will be documented in a report developed in early 2012. Contact: Dave Beckhouse, (720) 963-3306, david.beckhouse@dot.gov.

St. Louis Regional Plan for Sustainable Development

A HUD Challenge Grant through Citizens for Modern Transit, a transit advocacy organization in St. Louis, funded the first of three Urban Land Institute (ULI) Technical Assistance Panels (TAP) in the St. Louis region. ULI professionals examined the possibilities for Transit Oriented Development (TOD) opportunities at the Belleville MetroLink Station, located in Belleville, Illinois, for the first of the three TAPs. This TAP, composed of local experts on land use, policy, and development, will analyze TOD opportunities for the Belleville Station, interview stakeholders and develop a market-ready RFP/RFQ. The Richmond Heights and Union Station/Civic Center sites are slated to be studied by the next two TAPs. All information gathered from these Panels will be available at www.stl-tod.com. Contact: Mark Bechtel, (816) 329-3937, mark.bechtel@dot.gov.

Lincoln Institute’s Smart Growth Leadership Forum

On December 2, the Lincoln Institute held its New England Smart Growth Leadership Forum, “Putting Sustainability into Practice” in Boston, MA. This forum brought together New England’s leaders from governmental agencies, non-profit organizations, and the private sector who play a critical role in shaping growth in New England and provided an opportunity for participants from across New England to share information about successes and challenges in smart growth, and to learn from national experts about advances in the field. This event was sponsored in partnership with the EPA, HUD, and the Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston. Contact: Joanne Weinstock, (617) 494-2484, joanne.weinstock@dot.gov.

Upstate New York Convenes First Transportation Forum

Upstate New York transit providers, MPO members, mobility managers, social service providers, non-profit organizations, and businesses came together in downtown Ithaca from September 22-23 for the 2011 Upstate Transportation Forum. This event gave attendees the chance to share their transportation challenges, solutions, and aspirations with the goal of inspiring new partnerships. To that end the event included speakers in various stages of brainstorming, research, implementation, and evaluation across such issues as carsharing, marketing transit, creating your own farebox, and complete streets. The organizers plan to hold the Forum again on a biannual basis. Contact: Leah Flax, (212) 668-2326, leah.flax@dot.gov.

BIKE / PED / TRAILS
Pedestrian Forum Newsletter

The FHWA has posted the Fall Edition of the Pedestrian Forum Newsletter on the web. The newsletter highlights information about the U.S. Access Board’s Accessibility Guidelines for Public Rights-of-Way, an Advance NPRM for Shared Use Paths & Accessibility Guidelines for Outdoor Developed Areas, and a FHWA Guide for Maintaining Pedestrian Facilities for Enhanced Safety. You can find the newsletters posted at http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/ped_bike/pedforum.

Updated Community Assessment Tool

The Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center has released the latest update to its community assessment tool that is used for the Walk Friendly Communities program. It is avalable at http://www.walkinginfo.org/.

NEWS FROM OUR PARTNERS
Model Street Design Manual

Los Angeles County produced a Model Design Manual for Living Streets. It was created during a 2-day writing charrette, which brought together national experts in living streets concepts. It seeks to accommodate cars while ensuring that pedestrians, cyclists and transit users can travel safely and comfortably. It is available on the web at http://www.modelstreetdesignmanual.com/.

The Future of Transportation Planning in State DOTs

A request for proposals was issued by the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) to develop guidance on how State departments of transportation can continue to provide planning decision support that agencies need to preserve, maintain, operate, and improve transportation infrastructure and services. Proposals were due January 11, 2012. See http://apps.trb.org/cmsfeed/TRBNetProjectDisplay.asp?ProjectID=3300 for more details.

Transportation Agency Sustainability Performance Measurement

TRB has published a new NCHRP Report on a Guidebook for Sustainability Performance Measurement for Transportation Agencies. It describes the principles of transportation sustainability, possible goals that can be used to address those principles, and performance measures that can be used to address those goals. A reference of performance measures, data sources and examples are also included. Click on this report link for the online version.

Project Prioritization and Performance-based Planning Efforts in Rural and Small Metropolitan Regions

The National Association of Development Organizations has released a report that provides an overview of the state of the practice in non-metro regional transportation planning, including the rural planning organizations’ common organizational and leadership
structures, work elements completed through planning contracts, funding and staffing levels, and decision-making processes. and committee structures. The report also examines the long-range planning efforts and criteria used to rank regional priority projects. Case studies of Agencies in North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Washington, are included. See the report link.

Virginia Rural Planning

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is nearing completion of a new four-year initiative for their Rural Transportation Planning Program. VDOT partnered with the Virginia’s Planning District Commissions and the local governments to develop Rural Long Range Plans (RLRP) for each of the 20 regions. VDOT worked with each region to evaluate the transportation system in the rural areas to recommend a range of transportation improvements that could best satisfy existing and future transportation needs. These regional plans identify needs based upon the goals and objectives established by the region as well as incorporating further consideration of environmental issues and local desires.

This initiative was aimed at creating regional transportation plans in rural areas that compliment those in the metropolitan areas of the State. The development and components of each RLRP was modeled after the federally mandated metropolitan transportation planning process (continuing, comprehensive, and cooperative). The transportation plans have a minimum planning horizon of 20 years, and address expected impacts of population and employment growth on the transportation system. Each RLRP was developed as a vision plan and will be reviewed every five years. The development of the transportation plans was broken into four general phases: Goals and Data Collection, Analysis and Problem Identification, Public Outreach and Recommendation Development, and Public Endorsement and Regional Adoption.

It is VDOT’s goal that each region will be able to use these plans to identify regional priorities for transportation funding and to better quantify the statewide magnitude of needs. For additional information visit http://www.virginiadot.org/projects/rural_regional_long-range_plans.asp or contact Darrel Johnson, VDOT Rural Planning Manager at (804) 371-8868 or Darrel.Johnson@VDOT.Virginia.gov.

Mass DOT Rail PPP

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts and CSX have entered into an agreement that has transferred ownership of South Coast Rail Lines from CSX to Mass DOT, in support of a planned transit project, known as the South Coast Rail Project. This agreement also transferred ownership of the Boston Terminal Running Track, the West First Street Yard, and the Grand Junction secondary line, to Mass DOT. In September 2012, Mass DOT will also receive property rights along the Boston Main Line, between Framingham and Worcester. This action will also result in at least 20 additional commuter trains running to and from the city of Worcester, in addition to the five Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority commuter trains that have already begun traveling between Framingham and Boston, over CSX’s Boston line.

This public private partnership will result in full double-stack access to Massachusetts by improving the clearance of 31 bridges, thus benefiting businesses and consumers by increasing efficiencies and reducing costs in the movement of goods throughout the region. CSX will be making an investment of more than $100 million in intermodal facilities in Worcester, West Springfield, and Westborough, as it relocates its facilities from the Beacon Park Yards in Boston. For more information, please contact Paul Maloney, P.E., in the Massachusetts Division Office, at paul.maloney@dot.gov, or Paul Nelson, Mass DOT Office of Transportation Planning, at paul.nelson@state.ma.us. More information is available about the Commonwealth’s South Coast Rail Project at: http://www.southcoastrail.com/. Those interested in following this project on Twitter may visit: http://twitter.com/MassEOHED.

FREIGHT
Freight and Livability Webinar

The FHWA will be hosting a webinar to explore the linkages between freight movements and livability and highlight examples of transportation projects and programs underway to improve the quality of life for communities across the United States. It is intended for the FHWA, FTA, HUD, USDA & EPA Regional Partnership Staff. The event will be March 15, 2012 at 1:00-2:30 p.m. eastern. The session will include:

• “Freight and Livability”- Chip Millard, FHWA Office of Freight Management

• “Reducing Diesel Idling Emissions in EJ Areas of Southern California Near the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles”- Michelle Shultz Wood, California Air Resources Board)

• “Transportation and Livability Case Studies”- Jason Bittner, University of South Florida Center for Urban Transportation Research

• What Can Regional Partnership Staff Do?

Click to Register for this event. For additional information, please contact: Kirk D. Fauver, (614) 280-6839, kirk.fauver@dot.gov.

Talking Freight

The Talking Freight seminars are sponsored by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and are held via web conference. To register for these seminars, please visit http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/freightplanning/registration.htm. You will need to register for each seminar individually by clicking on the “Enroll” link to the right of the seminar information. The seminars are held on the third Wednesday of each month from 1 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. EDT. Archives of past seminars can be found at http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/freightplanning/talking.htm.

EXCELLENCE AWARDS

Planning Excellence Awards

The application period for the Transportation Planning Excellence Awards (TPEA) Program ended on December 1, 2011 and nominations are being reviewed by “judges” that have been selected by FHWA and FTA. As you may know, TPEA recognizes outstanding initiatives across the country to develop, plan, and implement innovative transportation planning practices. This biennial awards program is sponsored by FHWA and FTA.

Each nomination will be evaluated according to criteria that address multiple elements of transportation planning, including: community and public involvement; equity; implementation strategy; innovation; intermodalism; livability/sustainability; and partnership. To learn more about the program and eligible project categories, please visit the TPEA Web site at: http://planning.dot.gov/tpea2012/ or contact Rae Keasler 202-366-0329.

TMIP UPDATES

Activity Based Modeling Webinars

In 2012, the Travel Model Improvement Program (TMIP) will be hosting a series of 12 webinars on Activity Based (AB) Modeling. The series will be delivered by Resource Systems Group and PB Americas and will introduce all major components of AB Modeling. The target audience will be transportation modelers with no prior experience in AB Modeling. There will also be three webinars devoted to the managerial considerations of developing, using and maintaining AB Models. The format will be two hours of presentation followed by 30 minutes of questions and answers.

Upcoming Activity-Based Modeling Webinars :

• 03/15/2012 Management Session - Technical

• 04/05/2012 Activity-Based Model Framework

• 04/26/2012 Population Synthesis and Household Evolution

• 05/17/2012 Accessibility and Treatment of Space
• 06/07/2012 Long-Term Location and Mobility Models

• 06/28/2012 Activity Pattern Generation

• 07/19/2012 Scheduling and Time of Day Choice
• 08/09/2012 Tour Mode, Intermediate Stop Location, Trip Mode

• 08/30/2012 Network Integration

• 09/20/2012 Forecasting, Performance Measures and Software

Participants do not need to preregister to attend the webinar. Attendance is limited to 100 connections and is first-come, first-served. You can log on to the webinar at: http://fhwa.adobeconnect.com/tmipvirtualseminars. Check back with the Web site http://tmip.fhwa.dot.gov/webinars for future sessions or to view the recordings of past webinars. Reminders for each webinar as well as more details on each topic will be provided on the TMIP Listserv. Please contact Sarah Sun with TMIP (sarah.sun@dot.gov) or Stephen Lawe with Resource Systems Group (stephen.lawe@rsginc.com) with any questions.

FHWA PLANNING DISCIPLINE ACTIVITIES
Let’s Talk Planning

The FHWA and the FTA strive to provide the planning staff with current policy information, guidance, and an opportunity for dialogue on key programmatic issues. The “Let’s Talk Planning” (LTP) series of video/web meetings are information-sharing sessions for the FHWA and the FTA planners. These internal meetings are generally held the second Thursday every three months via video conference or webinar at 2 p.m. eastern time. Material from previous LTP sessions can be found on the FHWA Planning Discipline SharePoint site.

Mark your calendars! The scheduled date for the upcoming 2012 video conference is:

Mar, 14, 2012 Health Impact Assessment

If you have suggestions for LTP sessions, contact: Ralph Rizzo, ralph.rizzo@dot.gov (401) 528-4548, Rae Keasler, rae.keasler@dot.gov (202) 366-0329 or John Sprowls, john.sprowls@dot.gov (202) 366-5362.

2012 PEAR+C Seminar

The FHWA Learning and Development Seminar for Planning, Environment, Air Quality, Realty and Civil Rights (PEAR+C) is anticipated to be held the week of May 14, 2012. The PEAR+C will provide an opportunity for the Federal-Aid and Federal Lands Division Offices, Resource Center, and Headquarters staff to further their knowledge and skills. The agenda is designed to help staff network with their peers and assist them in their roles as planners and their other multiple responsibilities for air quality conformity, environment, realty and civil rights. The PEAR+C Seminar will be a three-day seminar with two and a half days of technical content and a half day of corporate plenary sessions. In March, a seminar Web site will be opened to provide detailed session and plenary information.

Prior to the PEAR+C Seminar, a series of web-based training materials aimed at FHWA staff with new planning responsibilities, also called the “Boot Camp” will be available that will provide a short overview of essential skills and knowledge to planners of all levels to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to review the knowledge required of a planner. Additional information about the specific dates and location will be provided as it becomes available.

For more information about the “Boot Camp” training, contact Ben Williams, (404) 562-3671, ben.williams@dot.gov. For more information about the status of the PEAR+C Seminar, contact Jody McCullough, (202) 366-5001, jody.mccullough@dot.gov or Rae Keasler, (202) 366-0329, rae.keasler@dot.gov.

FHWA Planning Boot Camp

As part of the FHWA Planning Discipline’s efforts to provide a training resource for new field staff to planning jobs, a series of online introductory modules have been created. It was intended that this would get field office staff up to speed before the 2012 Discipline Conference. In addition to the new self-paced “Boot Camp” modules, there are also a wide variety of introductory materials, resources and PowerPoint presentations on a number of planning topics that DOT planners can take advantage of. These can also be found on the “Boot Camp” page of the FHWA Planning Discipline SharePoint site. The first modules of the workshops are:

• A Day in a Life of a FHWA Planner
• Statewide Transportation Improvement Program Approval Process
• Federal Planning Finding
• TMA Planning Certification Review and
• Unified Planning & State Planning and Research Works Programs

The workshops are accessible by FHWA staff from the Planning Discipline SharePoint site.

”Planning On the Web” Training Seminar Series

To help support the FHWA and FTA staff and promote continuous professional development of agency planners, the FHWA Resource Center is offering a series of internal web-based training seminars through an initiative known as “Planning on the Web” (POW). The POW training sessions are for the FHWA staff and will generally last 90 minutes to two hours.

Mark your calendars. The dates of the 2012 POW sessions are:

• Apr. 17 Modeling and Analysis 101 for FHWA Planners and Environmental Specialists

• May 8 No POW due to PEAR+C

If you cannot attend the POW session for a particular month, the presentations and other information resources are available on the Planning Discipline SharePoint Reference Library. An Outlook appointment for each session will be sent to the FHWA Field Planners e-mail group approximately three weeks before each session. We hope to “see” you at the next session and hear your feedback on the session, as well as future POW topics. If you have a topic that you think would be valuable to offer as a POW web-based training seminar, contact Lisa Randall, Ken Petty, or any member of the RC Planning Technical Service Team.

Fourteen Days in Qatar

Last April, Robin Smith and five other FHWA employees traveled half way around the world to conduct a “fact finding” assignment in Qatar. The Government of Qatar requested a team of FHWA staff to visit Qatar as a follow up to meetings a delegation from Qatar had with U.S. DOT officials in January 2011. As the host for the 2022 World Cup and for other, longer term national goals, Qatar has undertaken a massive public works investment/construction program and has sought assistance from the U.S. DOT and FHWA.

The two week trip consisted of interviews with a large number of Qatari officials, government employees and consultants, and engineering contractors about how Qatar conducts its business, plans for, designs, and builds roads and highways. In addition, they learned much about the country’s plans to prepare for the World Cup and how it will use that opportunity to improve and expand its transportation system, including the new international airport, its major seaport, and a system of heavy rail subways, light rail routes, people movers, and water taxis or ferry boats.

The final FHWA report has several recommendations to assist Qatar prepare for the World Cup and to achieve its goals to improve the transportation infrastructure for several decades to come. Robin found Doha, Qatar (the major city) to be a fascinating place. It’s an intriguing mixture of Western and Middle Eastern cultures. FHWA staff can find out more about Robin’s trip on her SharePoint site.

TPCB Web Site Redesign!

The FHWA / FTA Transportation Planning Capacity Building Program (TPCB) is pleased to announce the release of the newly redesigned TPCB Web site. The TPCB program is jointly administered by the FHWA and the FTA and provides training materials, technical assistance and support geared towards State, local, regional, and Tribal governments; transit operators; and community leaders. Based on feedback from stakeholders, the Web site redesign features:

• Better organization of content.
• Enhanced search functionality including a resource index with more than 400 technical resources.
• New Focus Pages offering a one-click link to information and resources on Statewide Planning, Metropolitan Transportation Planning; Rural and Small Community Planning; Tribal Planning; Public Lands Planning; and, Transit at the Table

For more information about the TPCB program, contact Michelle Noch at FHWA (202) 366-9206 or John Sprowls at FTA (202) 366-5362.
Social Media & Planning

Social Media tools have drastically changed the way people relate and connect to each other and the world around them. It’s not whether the public, companies, Government agencies, and organizations will embrace Social Media, it’s already here. The January 2012 Environmental Quarterly (EQ) has an article offering a brief history of the Social Media phenomenon, and its impact on the way we communicate with each other. The next issue of the EQ will have a related article about the pros and cons of social media. Link: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/resourcecenter/teams/environment/publications.cfm.

STAFF UPDATES

Staff Changes

There have been changes in staff recently.

From Office To Office

FHWA Field Offices

Olivia Lewis GA DIV. Finance GA DIV. Planning

Cornelius Davis GA DIV. Planning GA DIV. Finance

WORKSHOPS & TRAINING

FHWA Resource Center Training

For information, see contacts at www.fhwa.dot.gov/resourcecenter/teams/planning/index.cfm . You can find the Planning Menu of Resource Center technical assistance, and training at http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/resourcecenter/teams/planning/courses.cfm.

3/13/2012 Fiscal Constraint 101 Trenton, NJ

3/29/2012 Cost Estimation in Planning & Programming Nashville, TN

National Transit Institute Training

For registration instructions see: www.ntionline.com/CourseDates.asp For session dates, see the list below.

Start Date End Date Location

03/07/2012 03/09/2012 Marina, CA
Transportation & Land Use

03/13/2012 03/15/2012 Phoenix, AZ
Introduction to Transportation Conformity

03/13/2012 03/15/2012 Newark, NJ
Intro to Metropolitan Transportation Planning

03/27/2012 03/29/2012 Cleveland, OH
State & Metropolitan Transportation Programming

03/28/2012 03/30/2012 Marina, CA
Financial Planning in Transportation

04/24/2012 04/26/2012 Chicago, IL
Introduction to Transportation Conformity

05/1/2012 05/3/2012 Charlotte, NC
Financial Planning in Transportation

National Highway Institute Courses

Try out the NHI Web site at www.nhi.fhwa.dot.gov/home.aspx. Also, you can now check the schedule of web conferences at www.nhi.fhwa.dot.gov/resources/webconference/eventcalendar.aspx.

With the States experiencing difficulties with travel budgets, the FHWA has invested in web based courses to make it easier for people to get the training they need.

Web based courses available anytime:

Interested in taking an NHI web-based Training (WBT) Course? View this help guide on enrolling in an NHI WBT course.

Please click here for a complete list of NHI web-based courses. Look for these web based courses on NHI’s web site:

ITS Deployment Analysis System

Integrating Freight in the Transportation Planning Process - Standard Version

Integrating Freight in the Transportation Planning Process - Accessible 508 Version

Introduction to NEPA and Transportation Decisionmaking

Administrative Record

Traffic Monitoring and Pavement Design Programs

Highway Performance Monitoring System: An Introduction

Highway Traffic Noise: Basic Acoustics

Introducing Highway Federal-Aid
Standard Version

Introducing Highway Federal-Aid
Accessible 508 Version

Scheduled Courses in the Next Quarter:

Start Date End Date Location

NEPA and Transportation Decisionmaking
03/05/2012 03/07/2012 Phoenix, AZ

Introduction to Urban Travel Demand Forecasting
03/05/2012 03/09/2012 Charleston, WV

Highway Program Financing
03/13/2012 03/14/2012 Harlingen, TX

Water Quality Management of Highway Runoff
03/19/2012 03/20/2012 Sterling, VA

Beyond Compliance: Historic Preservation in Transportation Project Development
03/27/2011 03/29/2011 Charlottesville, VA

Federal-Aid Highways - 101
04/02/2012 04/03/2012 Newington, CT

Highway Program Financing
04/17/2012 04/18/2012 Austin, TX

Advanced Freight Planning
04/24/2012 04/25/2012 Cleveland, OH

CALENDAR OF EVENTS
2012 Calendar

 

Mar. 20-22, 2012 National Bike Summit Washington DC

Apr. 16-18, 2012 9th National Conference on Transportation Asset Management San Diego, California

Apr. 30-May 2, 2012 4th Conference on Innovations on Travel Modeling Tampa, Florida

June 4-7, 2012 North American Travel Monitoring Exposition and Conference Dallas, Texas

June 10-12, 2012 NASTO 2012 Baltimore, Maryland

June 20-22, 2012 6th Oregon Symposium on Integrating Land Use and Transportation Models Portland, Oregon

June 24-27, 2012 TRB 4th Urban Street Symposium, Chicago, IL

July 17-19, 2012 10th TRB National Conference on Access Management Dallas, Texas

Aug. 21-25, 2012 National OHV Program Managers Workshop Great Falls MT

Sept. 10-13, 2012 Pro Walk/Pro Bike 2012 Long Beach, CA

Sept. 11-14, 2012 AMPO Annual Conference Saratoga Springs, New York

Sept. 12-14, 2012 TRB 2012 Tools of the Trade Conference Big Sky, Montana

Nov. 12-13, 2012 12th TRB National Light Rail and Streetcar Conference on Salt Lake City, Utah

FHWA Planning, Environment and Realty:
www.fhwa.dot.gov/hep/calendar.htm

FHWA Resource Center:
www.fhwa.dot.gov/resourcecenter/
calendar.htm
Transportation Research Board:
http://www.trb.org/calendar/

NOTICE: The information and articles in this newsletter are for your information and do not necessarily
constitute policy positions of the Federal Highway Administration or Federal Transit Administration.
The mention of commercial products, their source or their use in connection with material reported herein
is not to be construed as either an actual or implied endorsement of such products.

 

EDITORIAL STAFF:

Ben Williams, Co-Editor
Metropolitan Planning Specialist,
FHWA Resource Center
(404) 562-3671
ben.williams@dot.gov

Rae Keasler, Co-Editor
Transportation Specialist
FHWA Office of Planning
(202) 366-0329
rae.keasler@dot.gov

John Sprowls, Contributing Editor
Community Planner
FTA Office of Systems Planning
(202) 366-5332
john.sprowls@dot.gov

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