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Office of Planning, Environment, & Realty (HEP)

Transportation Planning Update Newsletter

Winter 2001 Edition

In this Issue:

Transit ITS Impacts Matrix Website
Environmental Justice and Community Mitigation
Updated Websites
January Planners' Meeting
Atlanta Conforms to CAA Requirements
Working Group Plans CTPP 2000
Census 2000: New TMAs and MPOs
FTA/FHWA Planning Video Conferences
US-Mexico Joint Working Committee
Rails with Trails Report
Trail Related Conferences
FHWA Environmental Research: A Decade of Accomplishments 1990-2000
Recreation Accessibility Conference
Future FTA/FHWA Planning Quarterly Newsletters

By Paul Branch, FTA

Mitretek Systems, under the direction of the FTA Office of Research, Demonstration and Innovation, has created a web site which provides qualitative and quantitative benefits information and general descriptive information, for Transit ITS technologies and services (automatic vehicle location, pre-trip transit planning, guidance/steering assistance, etc.). The web site, called the Transit ITS Impacts Matrix, is located at

The web site displays the impacts of Transit ITS Technologies and Services. The web site is intended as a diagnostic tool for transit planners and operations personnel; however, anyone can use it to learn more about Transit ITS. In addition, a user can submit benefits information on line. The information will be added to the web site after it has been reviewed, subject to approval.

The Transit ITS Impacts Matrix is a result of the dedicated efforts of the FTA, ITS Joint Program Office, ITS America, and the APTS Stakeholders Forum, a group of representatives from transit agencies, manufacturers, and consultants, which provided input to and content for the web site. Mitretek Systems, under guidance from the FTA, is responsible for updating and maintaining the web site.

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By Barbara Satorious, FHWA

Right-of-way involvement is important to community mitigation and environmental justice. Gene Cleckley, FHWA Southern Resource Center Director, in a presentation to the June 2000 International Right of Way Association Conference, used the Crest Street neighborhood project in Durham, North Carolina to illustrate the important participation of FHWA real estate services staff in achieving the dual roles of meeting the needs of communities and improving our transportation infrastructure.

FHWA realty staff is skilled in using the Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act of 1970, as amended, the requirements and flexibility of Title 23, and coordination with other Federal agencies and programs. They help by providing and securing the resources for state and local agencies who must meet the needs of all of their communities. In addition, the realty staffs assure that property is acquired fairly and people are displaced with consideration for their needs in providing the right of way necessary to build and improve highways.

For additional information, please call 303-969-5772(333) or e-mail of the Office of Real Estate Services or Susan Lauffer, Director of the Office of Real Estate Services at 202-366-4853.

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Updated Websites:

The FHWA Bicycle & Pedestrian Program website was updated recently. It has updated State contact lists and links. Visit their website at:

The FHWA Recreational Trails Program website also was updated recently, with new contacts, links, and trail related publications. Visit their website at

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January 10-12, 2001

For the third year in a row, FTA and FHWA headquarters staff held the Annual January Planners' Meeting at DOT Headquarters in Washington, D.C. The event occurred January 10-12, 2001.

Charlotte Adams of FTA and Cindy Burbank of FHWA formally announced the program through a joint memorandum to field staff of both agencies in November. Coordinators for this year's meeting were Ken Lord of FTA and Stephanie Roth of FHWA.

As in previous years, the meeting was scheduled during the week of TRB's Annual Meeting, allowing participants the opportunity to take part in both events.

The first day of the January Planners' Meeting (the afternoon of Wednesday January 10th) consisted primarily of an FTA New Starts Workshop, offering a detailed discussion on the policies and procedures for the Transit New Starts Program.

The full FTA/FHWA Planners' Meeting agenda began on Thursday January 11th, with both Thursday and Friday dedicated to key issues faced by FTA/FHWA field planners. The meeting concluded at 12:00pm on Friday January 12th.

One of the key goals for the meeting was to develop a program that is both informative and reflective of issues encountered in the field. Field staff of both agencies were heavily involved in designing this year's session.

The FTA/FHWA January Planners' Meeting is the first of a two-part effort. The follow on session occurs in May through the Transportation Planning Seminar, scheduled for May 21-25, 2001. While the January session is intended for preliminary discussions, issue identification, and case studies and examples from the field, the May Seminar will be a chance to follow up on these issues through a more detailed, in-depth discussion, with more dialogue and case studies on each issue.

For more information on the May meeting, please contact Shana Baker, FHWA, at 202-366-1862, or e-mail her at

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Atlanta Regional Commission

Atlanta "Conforms" to Clean Air Requirements
By James M. Shrouds, FHWA

The Atlanta region has experienced extraordinary increases in population and development over the last two decades. Between 1980 and 1999, the population of the Atlanta region grew by 64 percent with 1.3 million new residents. This growth resulted in severe congestion of the region's transportation system and contributed to Atlanta's serious air quality problems.

Citizens and business groups became concerned about the threat to Atlanta's quality of life, and matters came to a head in January 1998 when Atlanta was unable to demonstrate that its transportation plan conformed to Clean Air Act (CAA) requirements. This triggered a conformity lapse that lasted for more than two years, severely limiting Atlanta's ability to use federal transportation funds for both transit and highways.

In the last year, however, Atlanta made a major turnabout in its transportation and air quality planning. Under the leadership of Gov. Roy E. Barnes and with the cooperation of many area agencies and leaders, Atlanta developed a new transportation plan and program, which are significantly different from the previous ones. By committing the state to addressing air quality, environmental justice, and transportation planning issues, the governor placed the Atlanta region on a path to resolve its long-term transportation problems.

Under CAA, metropolitan planning organizations, such as the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC), must show that their long-range transportation plans and their transportation improvement programs (TIPs) meet, or "conform," to state air quality implementation plans (SIPs). CAA requires each state to prepare a SIP that shows procedures for monitoring, attaining, maintaining, and enforcing compliance with federal air quality standards. The SIP includes a "budget" that sets a limit on the amount of emissions that can come from all motor vehicles. To conform, the transportation plan and the TIP must result in lower emissions than this budget.

The long-range transportation plan, the TIP, and the SIP must be updated periodically. If an updated transportation plan or the TIP fails to conform to the SIP, most new highway and transit projects cannot proceed. This is called a conformity lapse. In January 1998, ARC was unable to develop an updated, conforming transportation plan, and the Atlanta area entered a conformity lapse.

The development of a 20-year transportation plan that meets mobility needs and air quality goals is a major challenge. To help meet this challenge, the Georgia General Assembly in 1999 created, at the urging of Gov. Barnes, the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority (GRTA). GRTA is charged with combating air pollution, traffic congestion, and poorly planned development in the metropolitan Atlanta area to ensure that the area sustains its economic growth and maintains its quality of life. GRTA has the authority to issue bonds, assist local governments in financing mass transit or other projects to alleviate air pollution, approve the TIP in the region, and approve major developments such as large subdivisions or commercial buildings.

ARC developed a new transportation plan, placing more emphasis on transit, bicycle/pedestrian facilities, airquality improvements, and highway system preservation. Equally important in the shift in investment were provisions that ARC adopted to make significant changes in land use, increase density, and facilitate greater use of transit.

As ARC developed this new transportation plan, the Georgia Environmental Protection Division also revised the SIP to demonstrate attainment of air quality standards. Georgia's revised projected emissions budget was declared "adequate" by EPA.

However, several environmental groups challenged the adequacy finding of this revised budget, and the budget was stayed by the Federal Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit. Because the court stayed EPA's adequacy finding of this projected budget, the budget contained in the last SIP approved by the EPA came back into effect. This budget actually sets a lower emissions limitation for the critical nitrogen oxide pollutant than the budget placed on hold by the court.

Using this budget, on July 25, 2000, FHWA and FTA completed a technically rigorous determination that the Atlanta area's transportation plan and TIP conform to its currently approved SIP. The decision follows federal rules and has the support of EPA, which plays a key role because it administers the CAA.

With the approval of the conformity determination, the Atlanta region can now move forward to implement its long-range transportation plan. City and state officials should be commended for setting a new direction that will enhance air quality, reduce the impetus for further urban sprawl, and benefit communities in the Atlanta area that have long been excluded from obtaining needed transportation services. FHWA and the FTA will continue to work closely with their partners in Georgia to ensure the necessary access and mobility for everyone in the Atlanta metropolitan area and to improve air quality for generations to come.

James M. Shrouds is the director of the FHWA Office of Natural Environment.

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CTPP 2000 Working Group Plans CTPP 2000

A group of planners from FHWA and FTA is working with the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) and the Census Bureau to prepare for the Census Transportation Planning Package 2000.

The CTPP Working Group was formed to design the CTPP, which is a set of special tabulations from the decennial census for use by transportation planners. CTPP 2000 is a cooperative effort sponsored by the state departments of transportation under a pooled funding arrangement with AASHTO.

Initiated in the 1970 Census, CTPP contains tabulations by place of residence, place of work and for flows between home and work. In fact, it is the only Census product that summarizes data by place of work and provides information on travel flow between home and work. It also is the only Census product with summary tabulations for Transportation Analysis Zones (TAZs) and other small areas. The CTPP's key variables are: household size, household income, vehicles per household, age and gender of workers, occupation of workers, worker earnings, mode to work, commuting time, work trip departure time, work location and time of arrival at work.

CTPP 2000 will include several new features such as: improved employer coding, greater use of Geographic Information System (GIS) and database formats, speedier delivery and a user-friendly program to extract data.

CTPP data can be used in travel forecasting, welfare to work planning, transit planning, New Starts, air quality modeling, environmental justice and other transportation and planning functions.

CTPP 2000 is expected to be delivered to metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) and state DOTs in the last quarter of 2002.

This past fall, the working group selected a contractor to produce a brochure, video and an electronic guidebook to explain the uses of the CTPP. In other outreach efforts, members of the working group have attended conferences over the past year to share information about CTPP.

For more information, including draft table specifications, visit

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picture of a woman holding a chart Census 2000 Results Identifying New MPOs and TMAs
Census 2000 logo

Besides determining the number of Congressional seats for each state, the population counts resulting from Census 2000 will also be used to identify areas that are eligible to be identified as Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) and/or Transportation Management Areas (TMAs). MPOs and TMAs are designated based on urbanized area population, with a threshold population of 50,000 for MPOs and 200,000 for TMAs.

The first results from Census 2000 (population counts for the states) are due in December 2000. The first small area data (population counts by race and ethnicity by census block) will be released by April 1, 2001. However, the Census Bureau anticipates it will not be able to designate new MPOs and TMAs until the Spring 2002, as it is recommending new definitions for urbanized areas and urban clusters which will be published for comment in the Federal Register by Feburary 2001.

Though an area may be newly eligible for MPO and /or TMA status, a new urbanized area does not necessitate the creation of a new MPO. Newly-eligible areas could simply be integrated into an existing MPO. That decision remains a local choice. States will have 12 months from the time the urbanized area boundaries are released to establish an MPO.

The earliest time at which the planning funds will need to be redistributed based on these results will be the fall of 2002, for FY2003. However, since any new MPOs are likely to be small, (just over the 50,000 population threshold), the proportion of funds that will change is likely to be small. "The current "PL formula" (utilized to allocate planning funds within a State) will be the basis for each new MPO's share, unless modified by the State with input from the existing MPOs.

For more information, please contact Elaine Murakami, FHWA, at 202-366-6971, or

Additional information is available at the Census Bureau website ( )

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What's a PVC?

FTA/FHWA Planning Video Conferences
By Ken Lord, FTA

image of four people at a video conference
FTA/FHWA Planning Video Conferences (also known as PVCs) are an excellent method for headquarters and field staff to share information.

PVCs are hosted monthly from the Nassif building's Garrett A. Morgan ITS Room. All headquarters and field staff are invited to attend and participate.

The next PVC is scheduled for February 23, 2001, with two sessions being held:

12-1 PM EST

2-3 PM EST

For more information, please contact Joseph McDuffie of FHWA at 202-366-2601, or Ken Lord of FTA at 202-366-2836.

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US - Mexico Joint Working Committee
By Sylvia Grijalva, FHWA

The US-Mexico Joint Working Committee (JWC) on transportation planning met in Santa Fe, New Mexico on October 18 & 19. The meeting came in the wake of the signing of a bi-national Memorandum of Understanding on the JWC by former U.S.DOT Secretary Rodney Slater and Mexican Secretariat of Communications & Transportation Secretary Carlos Ruiz on October 12, 2000 at the international Transportation Symposium. The JWC is comprised of representatives from the Federal Highway Administration, Mexican Secretariat of Communication and Transportation, U.S. Department of State, the Mexican Secretariat of Foreign relations, the Six Mexican border states (Tamaulipas, Nuevo Leon, Coahuila, Chihuahua, Sonora and Mexicali) and the four U.S. border states (Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California). Cindy Burbank, FHWA and Oscar De Buen co-chair the group

The meeting was held to finalize aspects of the new 2-year work plan focusing on the topic mentioned in the MOU. The aspects of the 2001 to 2002 plan that were approved are the Border Infrastructure Needs Assessment Study, Geographic Information Systems Platform, Intelligent Transportation Systems information exchange activity, and the Coordination System for Operation of Border Ports of Entry effort. Other items that will be included are still in the draft stages.

The next meeting of the JWC will be in Chihuahua Mexico in May of 2001.

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By Christopher Douwes, FHWA

There are at least 61 rails-with-trails in the US with many more under development or in concept. There are no design or operation guidelines to determine if these trails are safe and secure for trail users and for railroad and transit operators. Many trail advocates see railroad corridors as ideal

trails for community connections. Railroads and transit operators are concerned about people trespassing on railroad or transit lines, and possible liability if trail users are harmed. In many cases, the railroad does not control adjacent right-of-way and cannot control access to tracks.

The FRA, FHWA, FTA, and NHTSA are sponsoring a Rails-with-Trails Best Practices Report. Alta Transportation

Consulting is leading a team to describe the state-of-the-practice and to determine best practices for situations where trails might be built near

railroads and fixed transit. The report is expected in September 2001. A draft state-of-the-practice report is available at

For more information, contact Christopher Douwes, FHWA, at 202-366-5013, or

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image of a mountain with a flag banner

By Christopher Douwes, FHWA

There are many trail-related conferences in 2001. Many of these conferences have sessions on accessible trail design to support the Americans with Disabilities Act. Here are some highlights:

Western Trailbuilders Conference, organized by the Western Trailbuilders Association, February 6-8, 2001, Reno NV. See

California and Pacific Southwest Recreation and Park Training Conference, organized by the California Park and Recreation Society, March 14-17, 2001, Sacramento Convention Center, Sacramento CA. See

The National Bicycling Summit, organized by the League of American Bicyclists, March 28-30, 2001, Washington DC. See

National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council Annual Meeting, March 30 -April 1, 2001, Lenox Inn and American Motorcyclist Association, Pickerington (near Columbus) OH. See

National Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Council Annual Planning Meeting, organized by the National Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Council, April 22-24, 2001, in Omaha, Nebraska. See

Outdoors for All: Creating Solutions for Inclusive Recreation, organized by Easter Seals Colorado and Partners for Access to the Woods, April 29 - May 1, 2001, The Inn at Silver Creek (Granby) CO. See

33rd International Snowmobile Congress, organized by the Illinois Association of Snowmobile Clubs, American Council of Snowmobile Associations, and International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association, June 5-9, 2001, Wyndham Hotel, Itasca (near Chicago O'Hare) IL. See

The 7th Conference on National Scenic and Historic Trails, organized by the Partnership for the National Trails System, August 17-21, 2001, Radisson Hotel Conference Center, Casper WY. See, or contact Gary Werner,

The Mid-Atlantic Trails Conference, organized by Delaware State Parks, Maryland DOT, Pennsylvania DCNR, and Virginia DCR, September 15-19, Arlington VA.

TrailLink 2001, The 3rd International Trails and Greenways Conference, organized by the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, Hyatt Regency Hotel, September 26-29, 2001, St Louis MO. See There will be meetings of State Trail Administrators and State Transportation Enhancement Coordinators in conjunction with this conference.

National Recreation and Park Association Annual Congress and Exposition, organized by the National Recreation and Park Association, Denver CO. See

For more information on other trail-related conferences, see the American Trails website at For more information on the Recreational Trails Program, see or contact Christopher Douwes, FHWA, at 202-366-5013, or e-mail him at

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A Decade of
Accomplishments, 1990-2000
By Constance Hill, Ph.D., FHWA

The FHWA Planning and Environment Core Business Unit (HEP) marks 10 years of supporting transportation environmental research

with the release of a new report, "Environmental Research: A Decade of Accomplishments, 1990-2000." The publication documents the history and accomplishments of the FHWA Environmental Research Program (ERP) and highlights some of the most significant research endeavors. Available in both print and CD-ROM formats, the report includes a detailed database of all of the research activities funded by the environmental program offices under HEP during the last decade. The research projects include model development, investigative studies and analyses, funded conferences and workshops, grants, and cooperative agreements, all of which have advanced the programs of the Offices of Natural Environment, Human Environment, and the Office of NEPA Facilitation.

In addition to the print and CD formats, a Web-enabled version of the database is being developed and tested. The Web version will allow researchers to use the Internet to learn about completed and ongoing research activities, request copies of publications and reports, and link to related web sites on the research and program activities of FHWA and other organizations. The web site will be a valuable tool in developing and maintaining cooperative research efforts, and in leveraging financial and other resources needed to sustain a viable and responsive research program.

An announcement of the completion of the Web-searchable database will be forthcoming. The full accomplishments report is available in the FHWA website at Additional details may be obtained by contacting Connie Hill, FHWA Office of Natural Environment at

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The Outdoors for All Roundtable is scheduled for April 29 - May 1, 2001, in Silver Creek, Colorado (southwest of Rocky Mountain National Park). This conference will explain how accessibility issues need to be addressed in outdoor developed areas: trails, outdoor recreation access routes, beach access routes, and picnic and camping facilities. There is overlap with accessible pedestrian transportation. More information is available at

FHWA employees who might be interested in attending this conference, should reply to Christopher Douwes

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Future FTA/FHWA Planning Quarterly Newsletters

We hope you have found this new newsletter format useful and informative. If you would like to comment on the format, contribute an article, or have ideas for topics you'd like to see covered in future articles, please contact the newsletter team:

Sarah Clements, FTA 202- 366-4967
Ken Lord, FTA 202-366-2836
Joseph McDuffie, FHWA 202-366-2601

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Updated: 1/31/2017
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