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2010 Transportation Planning Excellence Awards

Honorable Mentions


Trunk Highway (TH) 65-County State Aid Highway (CSAH) 14 Interchange Public Involvement and Outreach

Anoka County Highway Department, Minnesota
Category: Public Involvement and Outreach

Through early, consistent, and respectful communication with local businesses, residents, and institutional sectors, the Anoka County's Trunk Highway (TH) 65-County State Aid Highway (CSAH) 14 Interchange improvement project set a higher standard for public involvement-one that demonstrated the benefit of working with the public early and continuously through the project development process.

With its TH 65-CSAH 14 intersection improvement project, the Anoka County Highway Department sought to maximize safety, capacity, and mobility while minimizing disruption to the nearly 175 businesses and 15,000 residents located within a half-mile of the site. To achieve this goal, the Department utilized enhanced public involvement and outreach strategies particularly focused on involving stakeholders in the business and residential communities early in the project development process.

Elements of the public involvement and outreach strategy included inviting stakeholders to participate at the sketch level of project design, and conducting monthly meetings with an Intergovernmental Task Force, made up of elected officials, and representatives from the chamber of commerce, local school district, and others, to identify public concerns and share project updates. As the project progressed into the construction phase, the Department worked to minimize disruptions to local businesses by providing customized maps for businesses indicating detours and helped create promotional brochures to market businesses and provide coupons to help draw people to the area.

Anoka County Commissioners were pleased with the positive results of this outreach effort. As a result, all projects now involve coordination with the chamber of commerce, early business meetings during preliminary design, and active work with the business community to minimize impacts during construction.

For more information:
Kate Garwood
Anoka County

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Response and Recovery Planning Project

California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) Division of Mass Transportation
Category: Emergency Management Planning

To help facilitate more effective interdisciplinary and cross-jurisdictional planning for emergency response and recovery, the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) hosted a series of workshops across the State. The workshops were the first of their kind and brought together over 500 Federal, State, and local professionals, including emergency managers, first responders, and transportation officials, to identify and resolve gaps in local emergency response capabilities. The results of the workshops, including industry best practices and lessons learned, formed the development of a new Transit Emergency Planning Guidance document. The guidance document helps large and small transit systems to better understand their role in emergency management and to create emergency operations plans that increase safety and security for their system and their community as a whole.

The Caltrans Response and Recovery Planning Project is one of the most progressive transit emergency management initiatives in the Nation. This program incorporates national emergency planning principles, regional best practices and lessons learned, and emergency planning tools in a practical and seamless application. These tools are being used by transit systems across the State of California, resulting in more effective cross-jurisdictional transportation coordination. Additionally, the tools are being used by transportation managers in other States across the country.

For more information:
Kimberly Gayle, Office Chief
Caltrans Division of Mass Transportation

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Implementation of City of Charlotte Urban Street Design Guidelines

City of Charlotte, North Carolina
Category: Transportation and Land Use Integration

The Urban Street Design Guidelines (USDG) are the City of Charlotte's nationally acclaimed policies and technical recommendations for designing and creating more complete, context-sensitive, and livable streets. The USDG include policy statements adopted by Charlotte's City Council, innovative technical methodologies, and recommendations of appropriate design elements for a variety of street types based on land use and transportation context. The USDG also contain a six-step process for the planning and design of complete streets, which relies on early and meaningful public input into street designs.

The application of the USDG is helping the City of Charlotte to better match street designs to the surrounding (existing and planned) land uses, thereby "right-sizing" the streets and creating "complete" streets that improve the mobility, safety, and comfort of pedestrians, cyclists, transit riders, and motorists. Continuing to apply the USDG will offer a greater variety of travel options to Charlotteans as the city continues to grow and intensify. To date, the city has implemented the USDG on eight new complete streets, ten streetscape projects, nine road diets, 11 multimodal intersections, and 15 sidewalk projects.

The guidelines were developed by a team of staff from various departments within the city, including land use planners, transportation planners, design engineers, traffic engineers, transit planners, and urban designers. Various types of public stakeholders were also involved in the development of the USDG and continue to be involved in specific planning and design activities. The ongoing application of the USDG continues to rely on a multi-departmental and multi-disciplinar y approach, together with effective reliance on public involvement.

For more information:
Norm Steinman
City of Char lotte

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Choosing Visualization for Transportation

Hunter College, New York
Category: Public Involvement and Outreach

Choosing V isualization for Transportation (CVT) is an innovative web portal designed by Hunter College and Parsons Brinkerhoff to inform planning practitioners of visualization methods and techniques to facilitate and support public participation in transportation planning activities. The website, located at, contains a robust catalog of educational information for visualization tools, methods, and techniques. It also features an interactive guide to help practitioners select appropriate strategies to effectively integrate visualization into public outreach and engagement activities.

Specific features of the site include web tutorials that help users learn about different visualization techniques, scholarly articles and reviews regarding visualization and public participation, project case studies, and a vendor directory where users can find experts from academia, industry, and government. CVT also includes a "Choosing the Right Tool" section to help agencies find visualization tools to meet their project needs and budgets. Many of the tools featured on the site are affordable and accessible to non-technical users. This gives agencies with fewer technical resources the abilit y to employ visualization for public participation.

Since its launch in January 2010, the site has had over 3,200 visits from users across the United States, as well as from Canada, India, Japan, Portugal, and the United Kingdom.

For more information:
Deborah Stattel
Hunter College

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Dequindre Cut Greenway

Michigan Department of Transportation
Category: Livability/Sustainability

The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) transformed the Dequindre Cut, a formerly overgrown abandoned railroad corridor, into a 1.35-mile recreational trail for walking and bicycle use. Serving over 100,000 residents, the Dequindre Cut provides a safe and vital non-motorized connection from popular destinations in downtown Detroit to the beautiful Detroit Riverfront and Harbor.

Transformation of the Dequindre Cut involved extensive community input, and involved a number of private and not-for-profit entities. The Downtown Detroit Partnership led a public involvement, visioning, and planning process to gather input from nearby neighborhoods on how the "Cut" could be transformed and opened to the public. Residents toured the site, discussed options, and provided feedback on conceptual designs, including the popular decision to preserve existing graffiti art along the bridge abutments.

Through the efforts of the public, nonprofit, and private partners, this project transformed a forgotten, unused corridor into a natural greenway for public use, promoting physical activity, and offering residents and visitors a unique experience within the urban framework of Detroit.

For more information:
Amber Thelen
Michigan Department of Transportation

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Imagine KC Project

Mid-America Regional Council, Missouri
Category: Public Involvement and Outreach

The Mid-America Regional Council (MARC) designed Imagine KC, a community visioning exercise, to test innovative, large-scale strategies to engage citizens in discussions about how the Kansas City region could develop more sustainably. Imagine KC involved numerous public forums during which residents identified sustainability issues of importance, including transit, local food policy and production, and walkable neighborhoods.

During a set of five televised public forums on Earth Day 2009, Imagine KC and its partner, Kansas City Public Television, used state-of-the-art fly-over animations to show participants what the region could look like with new developments, such as rail transit and walkable, mixed-use places, in key corridors and activity centers. Those visualizations helped attendees think creatively about planning for the region's future. That creative thinking resulted in changes to the region's longrange transportation plan, which aims to integrate transportation needs and environmental concerns, such as climate change and public health, into a holistic vision of sustainable growth.

The outputs of Imagine KC also encouraged MARC's Technical Forecast Committee to produce, for the first time, an alternative growth scenario, which shows how region-wide policy changes could decrease infrastructure costs, land consumption and roadway congestion, and increase transit ridership.

For more information:
Mell Henderson
Mid-America Regional Council

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Bicycle and Pedestrian Planning Grant Initiative

North Carolina Department of Transportation Division of Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation
Category: Livability/Sustainability

The North Carolina Department of Transportation's (NCDOT's) Bicycle and Pedestrian Planning Grant Initiative is a matching grant program that gives municipalities across the State the opportunity to develop comprehensive bicycle and pedestrian plans. Through the Initiative, NCDOT seeks to institutionalize municipal bicycle and pedestrian planning across North Carolina-not only in large municipalities with rapid growth rates but also in small communities.

These comprehensive plans promote livability by helping communities create bicycle and pedestrian friendly environments that encourage safe walking and bicycling. Each plan, which includes facility, program, and policy recommendations, is created with input from a local steering committee made up of a broad cross-section of the community, including public health, education, law enforcement, recreation, planning, business, and citizen advocates.

Since the program began, nearly $2.3 million has been awarded to 91 municipalities, many of which are small, financially constrained communities that would not otherwise have the opportunity to develop plans. The communities that received grant funds have used the funding to create bicycle/pedestrian committees; develop education, encouragement, or enforcement programs; establish bicycle/pedestrian-friendly policies; update design/engineering standards; and construct facilities, including multi-use paths and sidewalks.

For more information:
Helen Chaney
Division of Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation

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Transportation Planning Online Database

Oregon Department of Transportation
Category: Modeling and Technology Applications

Over the last 15 years, approximately 200 transportation-related plans have been developed by planning and government agencies in Oregon. Most of these planning documents existed only as hard copies or on CDs and were difficult to access, especially as many smaller cities in Oregon do not have public websites.

In order to improve access to transportation-related documents, the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) developed the Transportation Planning Online Database (TPOD). TPOD is a user-friendly Internet GIS map-based program that allows planners, consultants, government workers, and community members to view transportation-related planning documents developed by local, regional, and State governments in Oregon. An easy navigation system allows users to easily find State transportation plans by simply drawing a polygon on a map.

This unique planning tool has led to greater interaction, efficiency, and cooperation within ODOT and among organizations with which ODOT works. It also helps to increase the public's awareness of the various transportation plans that are created throughout the State.

For more information:
Robin Marshburn
Oregon Department of Transportation

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Transportation of the Future Art Contest

Polk Transportation Planning Organization, Florida
Category: Public Involvement and Outreach

The annual Transportation of the Future Art Contest is a public outreach, involvement, and educational tool organized by the Polk Transportation Planning Organization (TPO). Students in grades four through eight are invited to create artwork that represents their vision of what transportation will look like in the year 2030. Students also compose a short paragraph describing a vehicle, including its fuel source, cost, and speed, as well as how it preserves natural resources and reduces pollution.

Since 2004, over 5,000 students have participated in the contest. By engaging the imagination of children at the elementary and middle school age, the contest seeks to inspire a life-long awareness of the necessity of balancing transportation needs with protection of the environment and the conservation of natural resources. It is also helps students gain an awareness of multi-modal transportation that will help them become knowledgeable citizens and voters. In recognition of the value of this program, teachers have requested a prepared lesson plan for use in their classes in support of the contest.

For more information:
Jan Johnson
Polk Transportation Planning Organization

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South Florida Transit Resource Guide

South Florida Regional Transportation Authority
Category: Transportation and Land Use Integration

The South Florida Transit Resource Guide explores factors affecting the transit and land use connections in South Florida. The document provides an overview of the major employment centers and economic drivers attracting people and goods to the region and makes the case that these areas need to be served by multiple modes of transportation in order to thrive. The Guide provides details on transit supportive plans, programs, and policies currently in place at the State, regional, and local levels. It also profiles a broad spectrum of regional organizations with transit supportive missions.

The in-depth analysis of the relationship between transit and land use provides a foundation from which higher level regional decisions about multimodal transportation can proceed. The Guide will serve as a baseline for evaluating and integrating regional transportation and landuse policy in the future. It provides a resource for planning professionals to identify successful programs and policies that can be replicated in order to expand transit services in the South Florida region.

For more information:
Lynda Westin
South Florida Regional Transportation Authority

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Tempe Transportation Center

City of Tempe, Arizona
Category: Transportation Planning and Environment

Tempe Transportation Center, located downtown at the base of Hayden Butte, is the centerpiece of Tempe's award-winning transportation program. The 2.7-acre site, once a paved surface parking lot, is now an active urban plaza and strategic hub for METRO light rail, regional and local buses, university shuttles, neighborhood circulators, bicyclists, and pedestrians.

The Transportation Center is an integral piece of the regional public transit strategy, demonstrating a holistic approach to designing livable communities. The Center's mixed-use building houses the city's transportation offices, traffic management center, for-lease office space, retail, and food service, as well as Arizona's first bike station, "The Bicycle Cellar," which provides secure indoor parking for 114 bikes, showers, lockers, bike repair, and bike rentals.

As a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)-registered project (seeking Platinum), the building demonstrates an investment of public funds that will continue to save operating and maintenance costs in the future, reducing energy consumption by 52 percent and using less potable water. Innovative sustainable strategies, such as the desert green roof, draw people to the Transportation Center, which serves as an example for future public/private sector transitoriented development.

For more information:
Bonnie Richardson
City of Tempe

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Updated: 1/31/2017
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