Combining Every Day Counts innovations on local projects yields success
The value capture part of the equation comes from the Midtown Improvement District (MID), a self-taxing district created by commercial property owners to augment public resources and catalyze economic growth in the area. Through a special assessment on property owners, the MID generates funds for projects and programs aimed at improving Midtown, a high-density commercial and residential neighborhood.
MID-funded efforts include safety and mobility measures for pedestrians, such as crosswalk enhancements and pedestrian lighting promoted in STEP, and a sidewalk improvement program that has completed more than $1 million in upgrades and repairs at 275 locations since 2014.
A project that wrapped up this spring improved five Peachtree Street intersections. Funding for the $1.6 million in pedestrian and vehicular enhancements included $1.13 million from the MID. At Deering Road and Peachtree Street, the final intersection completed, the work included new sidewalks and Americans With Disabilities Act-compliant ramps, fencing, lighting, gateway landscaping, and crosswalk visibility enhancements.
Osceola County, FL, used three EDC innovations—value capture, project bundling, and construction manager/general contractor (CM/GC) project delivery—to advance a roadway and bridge construction program. The county generated funding for the program with a value capture technique known as impact fees, which assessed fees on new property development to pay for related road construction.
The roadway and bridge program was behind schedule and over budget largely because of the cumbersome pace of traditional design-bid-build project delivery. Osceola County devised a plan to bundle projects and accelerate their completion using CM/GC contracting, in which project sponsors hire a contractor to provide feedback on design and constructability during the design phase.
The bundled projects included 11 roadway segments with 13 bridges. The county engaged six construction managers for the projects, matching the type of work to the expertise of each firm. The construction managers worked with the designers to produce construction drawings, and teams met regularly to review plans and discuss costs. The construction managers also provided input on project phasing and maintenance-of-traffic plans.
As a result of bundling and CM/GC, the 11 roadway projects were all ready to begin construction within a year. About $350 million was spent in the first year of construction. Using the CM/GC process saved about $105 million, a 23 percent reduction. Nine out of every 10 construction dollars went to local contractors, boosting the local economy.
The county has since changed its value capture approach to mobility fees that may be used for a wider range of transportation system improvements in the future, including roads, transit systems, bikeways, and sidewalks. The fee structure was designed to encourage denser land development.
Contact Stefan Natzke of the Federal Highway Administration Office of Planning, Environment, and Realty or Thay Bishop of the FHWA Center for Innovative Finance Support for information on value capture.
The Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration released its new “Context Driven Access & Mobility for All Users” to provide guidelines on establishing safe and effective multimodal transportation systems. The guide outlines the growth of pedestrian fatalities in Maryland—up 46 percent between 2009 and 2018—and the relationship between roadway speed and severity of pedestrian crashes.
The guide describes six new context zones and how each relates to multimodal travel, such as pedestrian activity. The six contexts were based in part on national guidance, such as the latest edition of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials Policy on Geometric Design of Highways and Streets (Green Book), including zone categories such as Urban Core, Suburban Activity Center, and Rural.
The guide shows how the Every Day Counts safe transportation for every pedestrian (STEP) countermeasures can be integrated into each design context. For example, the Suburban Activity Center zone shows how the pedestrian hybrid beacon can improve midblock crossings along busy arterials. The guide also references the STEP countermeasure tech sheets and other FHWA resources for designing multimodal transportation systems.
“Addressing pedestrian safety through the lens of context provides a means to proactively implement treatments in areas that have traditionally shown a higher propensity for pedestrian crashes,” said Jeff Davis, design engineer–cost estimator for the Maryland agency. “This allows us to get out ahead of the problems, rather than solely react to issues as they arise.”