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2015 Transportation Planning Excellence Award Winners

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The projects and organizations recognized by the 2015 Transportation Planning Excellence Awards are models for the Nation. The following pages highlight their accomplishments in the hope of inspiring future transportation planning projects to meet the high standards set by these award winners.


Congratulations to the 2015 Transportation Planning Excellence Awards winners and honorable mentions! In 2015, eight agencies are receiving awards for Transportation Planning Excellence and eight additional agencies are receiving honorable mentions.

The Federal Highway Administration and the Federal Transit Administration host the biennial Transportation Planning Excellence Awards Program to recognize outstanding practices in transportation planning.

The 2015 winners and honorable mention projects demonstrate planning practices that are consistent with the U.S. Department of Transportation's goals to advance performance based planning, improve safety, and encourage multimodal transportation planning in urban, suburban, and rural areas. These projects demonstrate a commitment to improving the transportation system in a way that involves diverse communities, improves pedestrian and bicycle access, and advances local goals and objectives through the planning process.

Thank you for your hard work. We look forward to continued excellence in transportation planning.

Gregory G. Nadeau Signature
Gregory G. Nadeau
Federal Highway Administration
Gregory G. Nadeau Photo
Therese W. McMillan Signature
Therese W. McMillan
Acting Administrator
Federal Transit Administration
Therese W. McMillan Photo


About the Awards

The Transportation Planning Excellence Awards (TPEA) Program recognizes outstanding initiatives across the country to develop, plan, and implement innovative transportation planning practices. The biennial awards program is sponsored by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and Federal Transit Administration (FTA), and is co-sponsored by the American Planning Association.

The program is part of the Transportation Planning Capacity Building Program, which is designed to help decisionmakers, transportation officials, and staff resolve the increasingly complex issues they face when addressing transportation needs in their communities. This comprehensive program for training, technical assistance, and support targets State, local, regional, and Tribal governments, transit operators, and community leaders.

The Criteria

Nominations were reviewed by an independent panel of judges who represent a cross section of the transportation industry. Each nomination was evaluated according to criteria that address multiple elements of transportation planning:

  1. Community, Public Involvement, Partnerships: How did this project successfully engage the community in the planning process? Was this program created as a collaborative effort? Are public and private partners still at the table?
  2. Context Sensitive Solutions: How does the effort demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of contexts (local, regional, etc.)? How does the project or process create effective transportation solutions, while preserving and enhancing community and natural environments?
  3. Innovation and Effectiveness: What innovative approaches were used? What has been the result of these efforts?
    How are results being measured?
  4. Equity: What initiatives have been undertaken to ensure that these efforts of this project are implemented in an equitable manner and impacts to individual communities are minimized?
  5. Implementation and Implementation Strategy: Has any part of the planned transportation-related project, plan, idea, model, design, or policy been executed to its final stages?
  6. Multimodalism: To what extent do these efforts efficiently address multimodal transportation options, including bicycle, pedestrian, transit, and automobile?
  7. Potential for Long-Term Benefits: What provisions have been used to ensure the long-term viability of this effort?

The Categories

Nominations were solicited for innovative planning practices in the following categories:

To determine the selected award recipient, judges considered the following criteria in their recommendation:

Best Of The Best

Moving Forward Update: 2035 Regional Transportation Plan Update

Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments

Planning and Environmental Linkages for Livability, Sustainability, and Public Health

The "Moving Forward Update: 2035 Regional Transportation Plan" (RTP) by the Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments (PPACG) used many innovative techniques to create a collaborative, balanced, and financially feasible transportation plan. PPACG, which serves the region's metropolitan planning organization and covers a diverse region surrounding Colorado Springs, CO, began the 2035 Moving Forward Update in July 2010, and adopted it on January 11, 2012. During that year and a half, the RTP team worked and reached consensus with many stakeholders, both traditional and nontraditional. The planning process used a Collaborative Decision Making Framework to include agencies whose decisions impact or are impacted by transportation decisions. This includes Federal, State, local, and nonprofit agencies, including the Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Colorado Department of Wildlife, State Historic Presentation Office, the Colorado Springs Housing Authority, the El Paso County Health Department, the Trails and Open Space Coalition, Kids on Bikes, and other agencies. PPACG incorporated SMART (specific, measurable, assignable, realistic, and time-related) goals into the RTP vision to support objectives that are articulated with short- term, interim, and long-range performance targets. In addition to the SMART goals, PPACG adopted habitat preservation, nonmotorized systems, and regional sustainability plan goals to reflect the broad nature of the vision. Of the 17 performance-based goals selected, 8 were not overtly transportation-related and came out of the collaboration with new agencies not previously engaged in the planning process. Through its extensive stakeholder outreach, the RTP team engaged with many participating agencies that make decisions which impact or are impacted by transportation investments.

To date, the plan has resulted in more implementable projects than previous plans in the region. By using multicriteria analysis for project analysis and prioritization, the RTP team created a plan that is more informed regarding trade-offs of different decisions, financially feasible, and sustainable. Due to this financial planning and high level of coordination, the following subplans were developed and adopted following the finalization of the RTP update:

To further inform the update, the RTP team incorporated innovative tools for forecasting socio-economic growth, monitoring congestion management, measuring habitat conservation, estimating air pollution emissions, and predicting changes in water quality and runoff based on climate, land use, and land cover. With these new applications and cutting- edge methodologies, the plan is a highly informed document prepared to address many changes in the area. The plan
has been recognized by the National Academy of Sciences,

Transportation Research Board, and was selected as one of five case studies for the Federal Highway Administration's "Model Long-Range Transportation Plans: A Guide for Incorporating Performance-Based Planning."

For more information:

Craig T. Casper
Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments Colorado Springs, CO


4th Street/Prater Way Bus RAPID Transit Project

Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County, Nevada

Planning and Environmental Linkages for Livability, Sustainability, and Public Health

The Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) began the 4th Street/Prater Way Bus RAPID Transit project as a planning study in 2011. During this time, the RTC engaged extensively with the community to develop consensus on a design concept for the corridor. The RTC adopted the plan in August 2012 and soon after completed the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and engineering phases, ultimately receiving a $16 million U.S. Department of Transportation Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant to begin construction in 2016. The TIGER grant is the largest single award in the RTC's history. The 4th Street/Prater Way Bus RAPID Transit project connects downtown Reno and Sparks through enhanced zero-emission bus RAPID transit service, accessible sidewalks, and bicycle lanes. This project will support economic development, sustainability, better access to education and employment, and improved quality of life in an area in which 59 percent of households have incomes below $20,000. The project connects these residents to nearly 39,000 jobs within the existing Virginia Street RAPID route. Furthermore, it links to routes serving the University of Nevada-Reno and Truckee Meadows Community College. Even before construction, the corridor experienced high transit ridership and bicyclist and pedestrian traffic, with an alternative mode share of about 34 percent. The added transit service, accessible sidewalks, and bicycle lanes will enhance the safety of these travelers and make those active transportation modes more appealing to residents.

RTC incorporated online and in-person public feedback into the plan to make it the most suitable design for the community. An innovative part of this project is its focus on maintaining the character and promoting the history of the area. As part of the public outreach strategy, RTC partnered with the Reno Bike Project to provide bus, walking, and bicycling historical tours of the corridor. To continue the preservation of the region's charm and history, the project team engaged in substantial collaborations and public-private partnerships to chronicle the history of residents and businesses in the corridor. These community stories are shared online at and through interpretive materials at the transit stations. Additionally, on-site maps will help guide visitors to points of interests and historical sites. A mobile application, found by searching "Reno Historical" in the App Store, enables the public to go on self-guided tours of the area.

RTC collaborated with many public agencies, including: City of Reno, City of Sparks, Nevada Department of Transportation, Washoe County School District, Federal Highway Administration, Washoe Police Department, Washoe County Health District, and Truckee Meadows Regional Planning Agency to develop the project. These partners participated in corridor studies and in regular Technical Advisory Committee meetings about engineering and design processes. Stakeholders included a variety of local businesses and community groups, all of which expressed enthusiasm in improving this historic corridor.

For more information:

Lee Gibson
Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County Reno, NV

Bus Stop Accessibility Study

Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission

Modeling and Technology Applications

The Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission partnered with the Greater Roanoke Transit Company (GRTC), RADAR Unified Human Services Transportation Systems, Inc., RIDE Solutions, the City of Roanoke, and the Blue Ridge Independent Living Center (BRILC) to develop a new system to use routinely collected data to prioritize bus stops for pedestrian accessibility enhancements. This Bus Stop Accessibility Study created a bus stop activity index based on boardings and alightings data at each bus stop from the National Transit Database (NTD) on-board survey. The partners then prioritized the bus stops for pedestrian accessibility infrastructure investments by considering the activity index in conjunction with the bus stops' proximity to high-frequency pick-up/drop-off paratransit locations. The innovative evaluation process has already led to one major bus route adjustment and dedicated funding for accessible pedestrian enhancements to bus stops along a high-activity corridor in a low-income and minority area.

This project relied to a great extent on interagency partnership and collaboration. RIDE Solutions, GRTC, and the Roanoke Valley Transportation Planning Organization (TPO), which is the designated metropolitan planning organization for the region staffed by the Regional Commission, coordinated on collecting and analyzing the data for each NTD survey. The NTD data, combined with the data provided by RADAR on paratransit pick-up/drop-off frequency and locations, helped the City of Roanoke implement infrastructure improvements. The BRILC offered guidance on the design and location of accessible facilities. Together, the partners have also used the Bus Stop Activity Index to successfully appeal for funding of pedestrian accessibility improvements from the Roanoke Valley TPO Policy Board and the Virginia Commonwealth Transportation Board. The resulting enhancements include Americans with Disabilities Act ramps, landing pads, and bus shelters that enable people with disabilities to more easily use the bus system rather than relying exclusively on paratransit services.

The Regional Commission's Bus Stop Accessibility Study demonstrates leadership in modeling and technology applications through the innovative use of commonly collected data for practical planning purposes. Agencies around the country can create similar bus stop activity indexes using NTD on-board survey data and paratransit pick-up/drop-off counts. Moreover, because the NTD survey occurs every few years, agencies can repeatedly update their activity indexes and evaluate whether the pedestrian accessibility improvements have led to increased use of bus stops, particularly by people with disabilities. The project partners incorporated modeling into their evaluation process by assigning each bus stop a unique identification name to match ridership data with its spatial location using Geographic Information Systems. The resulting map allowed for easy visualization of the relative use of each bus stop, enabling the partners to prioritize bus stop improvements, make route adjustments, and evaluate the efficiency of the transit system. Overall, the Bus Stop Accessibility Study presents a state-of-the-practice method for prioritizing infrastructure investments in pedestrian accessibility at bus stops, thereby promoting the attractiveness and equity of the transit system.

For more information:

Cristina Finch

Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission Roanoke, Virginia

Photo of person in wheelchair waiting to board bus. A GRTC bus stop (Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission)

CHCNGA-TPO Community-Sensitive Performance-Based Planning

Chattanooga-Hamilton County/ North Georgia Transportation Planning Organization

Planning and Environmental Linkages for Livability, Sustainability, and Public Health; Public and Educational Planning, Training, and Outreach

The Chattanooga-Hamilton County/North Georgia Transportation Planning Organization (CHCNGA-TPO) developed an innovative "Community to Region" performance framework for its 2040 Regional Transportation Plan (RTP).

The framework addressed several common challenges of the planning process, including the conflict between the need for investments in the local community and the need for those targeted to increase the region's economic competitiveness. To reconcile these competing goals, CHCNGA-TPO, with support from Cambridge Systematics, Inc., authored the framework, which establishes three categories of projects:

CHCNGA-TPO's "Community to Region" performance framework is especially notable for its capacity to link project prioritization and environmental analysis in a way that leads to livability and sustainability benefits. For instance, the performance measures used to evaluate potential projects include vehicle-miles-traveled (VMT) reduction, nonmotorized access to community resources, and the filling of gaps in bicycle, pedestrian, and/or transit networks. Due to the different weighting of the 12 performance measures within the 3 categories, a local bicycle path project that might score low in the Region to Region category could still compete with a large regional project by receiving a high score in the Within Community category. The resulting prioritization of investments identified projects that are diverse in scale and in the modes they benefit. Due to incorporating environmentally friendly multimodal and VMT reduction goals into the project prioritization process, bicycle and pedestrian as well as systems preservation investments have doubled, transit capacity investment has increased 6 percent, and roadway capacity investment have decreased 20 percent. CHCNGA- TPO's Community to Region performance framework, recognized by Transportation for America in their Innovative MPO guidebook and published by the Transportation Research Board, presents an exciting example of planning and environmental linkages for other transportation agencies to consider in their project prioritization processes.

Meeting attendees seated at table. Stakeholder meeting (CHCNGA-TPO)

For more information:

Melissa Taylor
Chattanooga-Hamilton County/
North Georgia Transportation Planning Organization Chattanooga, TN

Humanizing Infrastructure: Design for the Replacement of I-95

Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, District 6-0

Planning and Environmental Linkages for Livability, Sustainability, and Public Health; Public and Educational Planning, Training, and Outreach

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT's) reconstruction of the I-95 Girard Avenue Interchange in the City of Philadelphia demonstrates inspirational commitment to meeting local community and environmental needs that are often challenging to accommodate in major highway construction projects. PennDOT partnered with the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation (DRWC) and received funding from the William Penn Foundation to design welcoming underpasses, multimodal accommodations, and green spaces through and around the I-95 Interchange that had previously separated Philadelphia's river wards from the Delaware River waterfront. Project elements include 10-foot wide sidewalks, bike paths, upgraded trolley tracks and stops, and improved pedestrian crossings, as well as LED lighting, green stormwater infrastructure, and clear sound barriers to maintain Delaware River views from the neighborhoods. The partners also incorporated public art in the highway underpasses to reflect the local history of indigenous Lenape Native Americans. Construction on the first two phases is nearly complete, and construction of the third phase is underway.

Photo of car on new roadway with elevated highway in background. I-95 Interchange during construction (PennDOT)

The Humanizing Infrastructure project exemplifies planning and environmental linkages through its early consideration of Federal and State highway design and environmental clearance processes and its innovative use of those processes to incorporate context-sensitive solutions that benefit the local community. For instance, by designing the project landscaping to both filter stormwater and soften the appearance of the highway structure in residents' backyards, project partners ensured that green spaces will be preserved due to environmental permitting requirements for regular maintenance of the stormwater facilities. The project also represents the first use of the City's new green stormwater infrastructure requirements for a large-scale infrastructure project.

PennDOT and DRWC showed impressive leadership in public outreach and community involvement as well. PennDOT created a Sustainable Action Committee made up of community groups, businesses, nonprofits, and public agencies to identify relevant, appropriate, and affordable waterfront and community projects. Regular staff attendance at community events presented additional opportunities for community input, while "near neighbor" meetings with residents in walking distance of specific improvements dramatically increased participation by community members and facilitated attendance by residents without cars. These dedicated and successful efforts to involve the community in the project planning process resulted in many street-level benefits that have enhanced the neighborhoods' livability as well as led to innovative maintenance solutions involving leasing and maintenance agreements with other public agencies, community groups, and private property owners. Overall, PennDOT's I-95 reconstruction acts as a best practice example for linking the planning and environmental review processes and involving the community in large infrastructure projects.

For more information:

Chuck Davies
Pennsylvania Department of Transportation District 6-0
King of Prussia, PA 610-205-6670

Minnesota's 20-Year Safety Highway Improvement Plan

Minnesota Department of Transportation

Categories: Public and Educational Planning, Training, and Outreach

In December 2013, the Minnesota Department of Transporta- tion (MnDOT) adopted the "Minnesota 20-Year State Highway Investment Plan" (MnSHIP), a fiscally constrained 20-year cap- ital investment plan to guide MnDOT's investment decisions on online input. The site received more than 900 visitors, 565 of which provided input. Additionally, during the nine stakeholder outreach meetings, the team presented "MnSHIP: The Game," a budgeting exercise that allowed participants to build their own budget. 12,000 miles of State highway. This fiscally constrained plan provides for $18 billion to be invested over 20 years; however, projected needs total $30 billion. Using risk-, performance- and scenario-based planning techniques, MnDOT developed pri- orities to minimize the impact of that $12 billion gap. To better prioritize its investments, MnDOT also considered Federal and State law, existing system conditions, and public input. MnDOT began developing this plan in January 2012 and adopted and published it in December 2013.

Cover page of brochure. MHMTP cover page (ODOT)

The first 10 years of priorities balance preservation of existing roads and bridges with investments focusing on safety, new multimodal connections, economic development, and quality of life improvements. Two new investment categories— Bicycle Infrastructure and Accessible Pedestrian Infrastructure— were added to account for nonmotorized and multimodal investments. The second 10 years of priorities focus almost exclusively on preserving existing infrastructure. MnSHIP further promotes the performance-based planning concepts for which MnDOT is already nationally recognized. The planning partners calculated the investment needed to meet its performance targets within anticipated funding constraints. Additionally, MnDOT adjusted its performance measures to fit with those outlined in the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21), thereby preparing to meet MAP-21 targets once they are established.

The MnSHIP project team used a variety of creative communication techniques, in addition to traditional strategies, to educate and engage the public. The team developed an online interactive scenario tool that enabled users to provide online input. The site received more than 900 visitors, 565 of which provided input. Additionally, during the nine stakeholder outreach meetings, the team presented "MnSHIP: The Game," a budgeting exercise that allowed participants to build their own budget. To ensure the team was engaging stakeholders and the public effectively, MnDOT established a Partnership Advisory Com- mittee to provide feedback on the outreach process. MnDOT also created MnMAP, an interactive mapping site, to illustrate MnSHIP's planned and programmed projects to the public. These enhanced and interactive public participation techniques allowed MnDOT to solicit far greater and more diverse public input than that received in typical in-person meetings. These creative outreach efforts ensure that voices from a variety of backgrounds will continue to be heard as engagement contin- ues through implementation.

For more information:

Kathleen Mayell
Minnesota Department of Transportation St. Paul, MN

Mark Gieseke
Minnesota Department of Transportation St. Paul, MN

Mt. Hood Multimodal Transportation Plan

Oregon Department of Transportation

Emergency and Safety Planning

The "Mt. Hood Multimodal Transportation Plan" (MHMTP) is a multimodal, multi-jurisdictional plan for the 70-mile Mt. Hood Highway corridor, US 26 and OR 35. Mt. Hood is a major recreational destination and economic driver in Oregon. The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) developed the MHMTP to improve safety and increase travel options for millions of annual visitors and several rural communities. In the past, Mt. Hood saw many planning efforts start, but none completed. The team built upon these previous efforts in the region and evaluated 300 proposed projects. Planning partners helped to identify projects that would be immediately implementable as well as long-term goals on which the partners would continue to work together. Following this prioritization process, ODOT selected 38 projects as financially feasible, sustainable, and implementable within 15 years. The MHMTP is intended as a rolling plan, with projects implemented as soon as they are feasible. Early partner success resulted in $35 million of immediate improvements, bringing quick and lasting benefits to the corridor. To complete the rest of the projects and achieve the longer-term goals, the partner agencies have committed to regular check- ins to review progress and assess priorities. By narrowing the planning scope and focusing all the partners, the MHMTP was successful in implementing safety projects on a tight budget.

Cover page of brochure. MHMTP cover page (ODOT)

The MHMTP addressed many of the safety challenges associated with the highway corridor. During adverse weather, the corridor is difficult to travel through due to heavy congestion and the high number of safety incidents. By reducing roadway departure crashes, analyzing wider shoulders for bicycling, and adding Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) to provide real-time information, the project sought innovative emergency and safety solutions.

ODOT engaged early with partners such as the U.S. Forest Service, Clackamas County, and Hood River County, each of which jointly sponsored the plan with ODOT. The Federal Highway Administration Western Federal Lands Division provided technical support. Innovative stakeholder and public outreach efforts secured participation from all three major ski areas, private businesses, local communities, nearby Tribes, and members of the traveling public. Due to environmental and financial constraints, the project partners chose not to consider highway widening and instead to focus on what could be done with existing infrastructure. The early implementable projects included the following:

For more information:

Michael Mason
Oregon Department of Transportation Portland, OR

Project Connect North Corridor

Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Capital Metro)

Public and Educational Planning, Training, and Outreach

In 2011, Capital Metro received an FTA Livability Grant to conduct an Alternatives Analysis of a heavily congested and quickly developing 28-mile corridor between Austin and Georgetown, TX. Because over half of the project area was outside Capital Metro's service area, the agency knew it would have to work closely with local jurisdictions along the corridor to achieve its goal of creating a plan that encouraged transit-friendly development. This challenge was compounded by the fact that communities in the area were traditionally auto-oriented and fiscally conservative. To gain community support, Capital Metro and its consultant, HDR, established and collaborated extensively with a Project Advisory Group, which consisted of elected officials and senior-level stakeholders, as well as a Technical Advisory Group, which included planning staff from the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), two counties, five cities, and the regional MPO. These committees and other community involvement techniques led to the development and adoption of a locally preferred alternative that provides for 47 miles of new Connect bus service, 53 miles of new Express bus service, 29 miles of new MetroRapid bus rapid transit (BRT) service, and new Park and Ride facilities, all connected to current and future transit-oriented development along the corridor. These facilities not only support the communities' vision for economic development in one of the most rapidly growing and congested corridors in the country, but are also projected to take 10,000 auto trips off the road and generate 19,000 new transit trips per day.

Artist's rendition of light rail train near pedestrians. Sketch of rail line running through the corridor (Capital Metro)

Capital Metro's Alternatives Analysis of the North Corridor is especially noteworthy for its public and educational planning and outreach. The agency's focus on incorporating the Project Advisory Group's and Technical Advisory Group's input into the planning process and alternatives led to unanimous support for the locally preferred alternative and transformed residents' and officials' views of transit in the region. One mayor stated that "two years ago we thought that public transportation had no role in our community's future. Now, having completed this study, we are convinced that not only does it have a role, but that it is an essential element."

Outside the committees, project staff met with residents along the corridor at dozens of meetings and attended numerous community events to secure input. Currently, Capital Metro is meeting with local jurisdictions individually to discuss and confirm implementation plans and associated funding. These discussions include the use of a spreadsheet tool that allows elected officials and senior staff in each jurisdiction to conduct real-time analyses of various investment strategies. Due to Capital Metro's efforts to ensure that each aspect of the locally preferred alternative can be phased in as development occurs, the jurisdictions can implement the plan in an affordable, step-by-step manner. Project Connect North Corridor provides an inspirational model of public involvement in a large-scale, long-term planning process and shows that strong stakeholder engagement can lead to the adoption of potentially controversial transit and land use plans that provide economic, environmental, and livability benefits.

For more information:

Todd Hemingson
Capital Metro Austin, Texas

Honorable Mention

2035 Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) - Pocket Booklet

Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County, Nevada

Public and Education Planning, Training, and Outreach

Following the completion and adoption of the "2035 Regional Transportation Plan" (RTP) in April 2013, the Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) developed a way to easily communicate the plan to the general public. The 2035 RTP Pocket Booklet is an innovative and readable condensed version of the RTP. The high quality design of the booklet uses photos, illustrations, and other easy-to- understand graphics to convey complex transportation concepts. As the community's primary source of information for transportation projects and services, the RTC sought to find the best avenues of communicating these policies and priorities to the public. In addition to traditional community meetings and workshops, the RTP team created the Pocket Booklet to help a broader audience understand transportation planning by making the policies and programs easier to grasp and understand at a glance. From the beginning of the development of the RTP, the RTC adopted a strategy of "bringing the plan to the public." Other innovative outreach techniques such as a smart phone application, virtual online public meetings, hands-on roundtable discussions, and making the 2035 RTP easily available online all contributed to active and collaborative stakeholder and public engagement.

For more information:

Amy Cummings
Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County
Reno, NV

PPACG and City of Colorado Spring Wildfire Evacuation Plan

Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments

Emergency and Safety Planning

The Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments (PPACG) partnered with the City of Colorado Springs Office of Emergency Management in a planning effort for a large- scale evacuation of residential neighborhoods at risk for wildfires. City fire, police, transit control center, and PPACG staff worked together to develop a custom tool based on metropolitan planning organization (MPO) travel models to identify evacuation issues and support a scenario planning process to create responses to possible problems. The City tested the draft plans through "Up In Smoke" exercises. Final revisions to the plan were made in 2012, after which the City printed maps and map books to distribute. In adopting the MPO travel model for emergency evacuation planning, the team assessed times-to-evacuate, identified choke points of congestion, and developed flexible, cost-effective traffic control plans tailored to the size and needs of each at-risk neighborhood.

The plan was put to the test three weeks after the "Up In Smoke" exercises during the Waldo Canyon Fire in June 2012. Over 32,000 people—more than half the residents in the canyon—were evacuated in 90 minutes. The model estimated the time-to-evacuate at 1.28 to 1.63 hours, which compares to the experienced time-to-evacuate of roughly 1.5 hours. The wildfire was, at the time, the largest Colorado had ever experienced, burning 18,247 acres and destroying 346 homes. The collaborative planning process proved successful in this real-life situation and provided the team with valuable lessons learned so that the plan could be adapted to further meet the evacuation needs of the community.

For more information:

Craig T. Casper
Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments Colorado Springs, CO

Connect Livingston: Linking Our Communities

Livingston County Planning Department

Rural, Small, Regional, and Tribal Community Planning

"Connect Livingston: Linking Our Communities" is Livingston County's transportation connectivity plan that ensures the creation of a vital and sustainable county. The Livingston County Planning Department wanted to develop a multimodal transportation plan that fosters partnerships and connections for the purpose of supporting and promoting a sustainable Livingston County for residents and visitors. The predominantly rural county saw that improved land use and transportation planning would result in better quality of life, mobility, and economic growth.

The Planning Department undertook this effort in March 2012, and the plan was adopted in December 2013. Connect Livingston includes a countywide existing conditions inventory, baseline condition analysis, and systemwide needs assessment. The team then developed, evaluated, and selected alternatives and recommendations to create an implementable action plan. The plan addresses land use changes, regional transportation demand, environmental stewardship, and changing demographics. Livingston County executed an extensive outreach plan that included forming a Transportation Advisory Committee, conducting stakeholder interviews, creating an online survey that received 600 responses, and holding three public information meetings. With the plan adopted, the Transportation Advisory Committee is now focused on moving the action plan forward.

For more information:

Angela Ellis Director
Livingston County Planning Department Geneseo, NY

Regional Plan for Sustainable Development

Evansville Metropolitan Planning Organization

Modeling and Technology Applications

Evansville Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) first established the Sustainable Evansville Area Coalition (SEAC). Working together, the MPO and SEAC developed a holistic, context-sensitive plan, "The Millennial Plan for 2040: A Regional Plan for Sustainable Development." This plan addresses a tri-county metropolitan planning area that encompasses Vanderburgh and Warrick Counties in southwestern Indiana and Henderson County in northwestern Kentucky. The final plan was adopted in April 2014 by the Evansville MPO and shortly thereafter by the City of Henderson City Commission and the Evansville Housing Authority. Several projects included in the plan are also part of the MPO's Transportation Improvement Program, with some projects already in the implementation phase. The plan included the development of an innovative land  use model integrated with a transportation model to analyze scenarios, which resulted in the selection of a preferred growth scenario. The goal of the plan was to shift the focus of the regional development model within the regional area from suburbanization to high-density urban infill. Using the model, named Housing, Employment, Land Use Planning and Visualization Support (HELPViz), the project team was able to analyze the transportation, housing, economic, and environmental impacts of four different development scenarios. The four scenarios outlined different outcomes of moving from suburbanization to urban infill and provided a visual representation for residents to more fully understand the impacts of each scenario.

For more information:

Vishu Lingala
Evansville Metropolitan Planning Organization Evansville, IN

Pamela Drach
Evansville Metropolitan Planning Organization Evansville, IN

Herding Cats and Wrangling Wild Horses: Bicycle Planning in the West

City of Cheyenne / Cheyenne Metropolitan Planning Organization

Public and Educational Planning, Training, and Outreach

The City of Cheyenne partnered with the Cheyenne Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) to create a bicycle master plan for the region. The plan was unanimously adopted in 2012, but to achieve approval and adoption, the project team conducted extensive public outreach efforts. These included developing and circulating written and   online surveys, hosting public open houses, and organizing handlebar tours and numerous presentations to stakeholders to collect feedback and share information. Additionally, the creation of the Bicycle Advisory Committee, a group comprised of government and citizen representatives, resulted in meaningful public engagement throughout the planning process. Through this collaborative process, the project team successfully developed goals and objectives tailored to the local community.

Following adoption of the plan, the City of Cheyenne selected a set of nine priority projects for the first phase  of implementation, which received a Federal grant. These projects are now listed in both the Wyoming 2014 Statewide Transportation Improvement Program and the Cheyenne   MPO 2014 Transportation Improvement Program. By securing broad-based support for the plan through a variety of   creative means, the City and the MPO successfully promoted proactive investment in bicycle infrastructure.

For more information:

Jeff Wiggins
City of Cheyenne Parks & Recreation Cheyenne, WY

Sreyoshi Chakraborty
Cheyenne Metropolitan Planning Organization Cheyenne, WY

Southwest Johnson County Area Plan

Kansas Department of Transportation

Transportation, Land Use, Freight, and Operations Planning Linkages

The "Southwest Johnson County Area Plan" evaluated the travel impacts of various land use scenarios for a 21-square mile area that surrounds a new 440-acre intermodal facili- ty, borders a 560-acre logistics park, and involves multiple jurisdictions, several roadways, and a Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) rail line. The new 440-acre BNSF intermod-  al facility and the 560-acre logistics park, which includes distribution and warehouse facilities, are estimated to generate 13,500 truck trips per day by 2040. To accommodate the new developments, the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) wanted to determine the transportation system improve- ments necessary to support the additional traffic while also reducing negative impacts on residential developments, county park property, and natural resources. KDOT worked with the Mid-America Regional Council, Johnson County, City of Gard- ner, and City of Edgerton on this plan. The final plan included implementable projects that the partners agreed would enable efficient vehicular, freight, bicycle, and pedestrian movement in the area. The plan was adopted in November 2013, and shortly after, KDOT built the first diverging-diamond inter- change in Kansas to accommodate the additional truck traffic at I-35 and Homestead Lane.

For more information:

Michael J. Moriarty
Kansas Department of Transportation Topeka, Kansas

Tri-Rail Coastal Link Station Area Analysis

South Florida Regional Transportation Authority

Transportation, Land Use, Freight, and Operations Planning Linkages

The South Florida Regional Transportation Authority (SFRTA) and its project partners studied the economic impact of the future Tri-Rail Coastal Link commuter rail service along the Florida East Coast Railway. This rail service runs through Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami-Dade counties. The study resulted in three interrelated projects:

The study found that the increased mobility within the corridor will help accommodate projected exponential future growth and benefit the existing population, a large percentage
of which is minorities (55%) and persons living below the poverty line (21%). Through the study, communities along this proposed rail corridor also have a stronger understanding
of the development impacts of the Tri-Rail Coastal Link as well as the station area development potential under current land use and zoning codes. This knowledge will help these communities make informed decisions as the project moves toward implementation and as funding discussions occur.

The Tri-Rail Coastal Link service will offer new travel options and economic opportunities for the approximately 80,000 people who live within a half-mile of the proposed Florida East Coast commuter rail line. This is roughly one-sixth of   the total South Florida population. Through its station area analysis, SFRTA was able to assess the economic readiness of the area, build awareness, and prepare for future plans and development.

For more information:

Lynda Kompelien Westin
South Florida Regional Transportation Authority Pompano Beach, FL


North Carolina Department of Transportation

Planning and Environmental Linkages for Livability, Sustainability, and Public Health

"WalkBikeNC" is North Carolina's first statewide bicycle and pedestrian plan. The North Carolina Department of Transportation's (NCDOT) Bicycle and Pedestrian Division led the effort, which includes a comprehensive plan recommending expanded active transportation choices throughout the State. The North Carolina Departments of Commerce, Environment and Natural Resources, Health and Human Services, and Transportation collaborated on the development of this plan and also established an extensive stakeholder network for further input. Representatives from nonprofit organizations, advocacy groups, local governments, and metropolitan planning organizations all participated in the collaborative planning process. The team led 15 focus group meetings, 3 regional workshops, and attended 16 statewide festivals and events to fulfill an extensive public outreach effort. Among other goals, the plan aims to develop and implement education safety programs for all road users to bring awareness and understanding of pedestrian and bicyclist rights, responsibilities, and benefits. The plan links the expansion of bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure and investment to mobility, safety, economic competitiveness, health, and environmental performance measures.

For more information:

Lauren Blackburn
North Department of Transportation Raleigh, NC


R. Todd Ashby
Executive Director
American Planning Association
Des Moines Area MPO
Des Moines, IA

Ralph Buehler
Associate Professor
Metropolitan Institute Virginia Tech
Alexandria, VA

Dan Levine
Policy Associate
Transportation for America
Washington, DC

Mary MacInnes
TPEA 2012 Award Winner
Pioneer Valley Transit Authority Springfi ld, MA

Henry Nejako
Transportation Planner (Retired)
Federal Transit Administration

Dr. Richard Pain
2012 TPEA Judge
Past Transportation Safety Coordinator
Transportation Research Board (TRB)

Robin Smith
Transportation Planner (Retired)
Federal Highway Administration

Gena Torres
2012 TPEA Award Winner
Project Manager
Hillsborough County MPO Tampa, FL

Chris Zeilinger
The National Resource Center for
Human Service Transportation Coordination
Washington, DC

Erich Zimmermann
Director of Transportation Programs
National Association of Regional Councils
Washington, DC

Mariia Zimmerman
Founder and Principal
MZ Strategies, LLC
Arlington, VA

Updated: 3/24/2016
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