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FHWA Resource Center

PLANNING TEAM

Publications

Transportation Planning Update

Summer 2008

View PDF Version of this Newsletter

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

 

REFORM PROPOSAL FOR AMERICA’S TRANSPORTATON FUTURE

The Secretary of Transportation announced a new framework to overhaul the way U.S. transportation decisions and investments are made. Reform is needed to address exploding highway congestion, rising fuel prices, unsustainable gas taxes, and spending decisions based on political influence instead of merit -- all of which are eroding confidence in government and threatening mobility, the economy, and the quality of life in America. The reform plan will:

Renew Federal focus on maintaining and improving the performance of the Interstate Highway System.

Address urban congestion and give State and local leaders greater flexibility to invest in their transit and highway priorities.

How? Create a Metropolitan Innovation Fund that rewards cities willing to combine the powerful mix of effective transit investments, dynamic pricing of highways, and new traffic technologies.

Create accountability measures to ensure investments in transportation will actually deliver results.

How? Define success in terms of increased travel time reliability, decreased delay hours and improved condition of bridges and pavement.

Refocus emphasis on safety using technology and data-driven approaches, while giving states greater flexibility to address their specific safety challenges.

Streamline the Federal review process for new transportation projects.

How? Streamline the Federal environmental and planning processes, without sidestepping or lessening stringency, so that needed projects can go from the drawing board to reality more quickly.

The Secretary invites public comments on the Reform Plan. Please submit your comments online through the U.S. Document Management System (DMS). You may comment at anytime by going to http://www.regulations.gov/search/index.jsp. Comments will be considered during the further development of the proposals.
ENVIRONMENT

NEW RESOURCE GUIDE ON PLANNING & ENVIRONMENT LINKAGES (PEL)

The PEL Implementation Resource Guide effectively explains the concepts of PEL in simple terms -- defining PEL for the purposes of transportation planning -- and provides links and diagrams to help practitioners from multiple disciplines understand how to implement PEL. This approach to transportation decisionmaking considers environmental, community, and economic goals early in the planning stage and carries them through project development, design, and construction. This can lead to a seamless decision-making process that minimizes duplication of effort, promotes environmental stewardship, and reduces delays in project implementation.

Please visit the PEL website for more information on this initiative and for a link to the Resource Implementation Guide at http://environment.fhwa.dot.gov/integ/index.asp

For more information, contact Diane Turchetta at (202) 493-0158 or via e-mail at diane.turchetta@dot.gov OR Becky Lupes at (202) 366-7808 or rebecca.lupes@dot.gov.

GIS: LINKING ENVIRONMENTAL & TRANSPORTATION PLANNING

In October 2007, the FHWA’s Office of Environment, Planning, and Realty convened a 1 ½-day peer exchange for State department of transportation (DOT) graphic information systems (GIS), planning, and environmental staff to explore how GIS might help their agencies accomplish the goals of the FHWA’s Planning and Environment Linkages (PEL) initiative. The FHWA has posted a report highlighting how specific agencies have used GIS to meet PEL goals, as a follow-up to that peer exchange. The report presents three case studies that illustrate how GIS have been used to implement the PEL approach. The PEL approach provides information and tools to help agencies integrate consideration of environmental factors into transportation planning. PEL represents an approach to transportation decision-making that considers environmental, community, and economic goals early in the planning stage and carries them through project development, design, and construction. The report can be found at http://www.gis.fhwa.dot.gov/documents/geospatialPEL_rpt.pdf .

EXEMPLARY 2008 HUMAN ENVIRONMENT & ECOSYSTEM INITIATIVES HONORED

At the end of July, the Office of Natural and Human Environment announced the recipients of the 2008 Exemplary Human Environemnt Inititiaves (EHEIs) and the Exemplary Ecosystem Inititives (EEIs) awards. This year’s recipients include projects in Alaska, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland, North Dakota, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Utah. The EHEIs recognize outstanding examples of transportation projects that either create or improve conditions for human activities while protecting the natural environment. The EEIs identify exemplary ecosystem and habitat projects that are unique or highly unusual in their (a) geographic scope; (b) use of cutting edge science or technology; (c) high level of environmental standards; (d) high quality results achieved; and/or (e) recognition by environmental interests as being particularly valuable or noteworthy. This year, for the first time, projects could be submitted for consideration as both an EHEI and an EEI. This joint consideration reflects that environmental achievements do not have to be divided between natural and human initiatives. Projects in Georgia, Florida, and Utah received this joint recognition. For more information about the EHEIs please contact Gabe Rousseau (gabe.rousseau@dot.gov, (202) 366-8044), and for the EEIs please contact Carol Adkins (carol.adkins@dot.gov, (202) 366-2054). The memo announcing the recipients can be viewed here: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/ehei/memo_2008awards.htm.

SAFETY

NOTICE OF PROPOSED RULEMAKING: HSIP & STRATEGIC HIGHWAY SAFETY PLANS

The FHWA has announced a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to amend the regulations in 23 CFR part 924 Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) to incorporate the new statutory requirements of SAFETEA-LU and to provide State and local safety partners with information on the purpose, definitions, policy, program structure, planning, implementation, evaluation, and reporting of HSIP. The docket for the NPRM closed June 23, 2008. To view copies of the proposal see http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2008/pdf/E8-8742.pdf .

2007 TRAFFIC FATALITIES DOWN

On August 14, the U.S. Department of Transportation released National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration data on highway fatalities in 2007. Total highway deaths in the U.S. for calendar 2007 were 41,059. This is a very significant drop of 1,649 from the 2006 total. To put it in perspective, this means that almost 5 less people died every day in 2007; 5 people who returned safely to their homes and families.

This improvement builds upon the fatality decreases seen in 2006; and represents an historic low rate of 1.37 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled. It’s important to recognize that these 2007 figures reflect successes prior to the fairly dramatic decreases being seen in vehicle-miles traveled and increases in fuel prices beginning in early 2008, which appear to be contributing to additional safety improvements this year. “Thanks to safer vehicles, aggressive law enforcement and our efforts, countless families were spared the devastating news that a loved one was not coming home last year,” Secretary Peters said. “You can be sure that we’re not stopping here, the quest is not over until that bottom line number is zero.”

She noted, for example, that motorcycle safety continues to be a problem. Motorcycle fatalities now account for 13 percent of all fatalities and, in 2007 alone, the number of motorcycle riders or passengers killed on the nation’s roads increased 6.6 percent over the previous year, the Secretary said. To view the 2007 report in its entirety, please visit http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/811017.PDF .

July Newsletter on Transportation Safety Planning

The Transportation Safety Planning Working Group has posted their July Newsletter. You can find it at :
http://tsp.trb.org/assets/FHWA_Newsletter_Vol4_Issue3_July08[1].pdf .

Congestion

WORKSHOPS ON ADVANCING OPERATIONS IN PLANNING HELD

Two new interim Guidebooks on topics that changed under SAFETEA-LU -- the Congestion Management Process (CMP) and incorporating Management and Operations (M&O) into the Metropolitan Transportation Plan -- were recently released by the FHWA. They can be found on the Web at: http://www.plan4operations.dot.gov. To support the implementation of these Guidebooks, regional workshops on “Advancing Management and Operations and the Congestion Management Process in Transportation Planning” were held for groups in Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, Philadelphia, Providence, and Seattle this summer. Sessions for Sacramento and Austin are scheduled. These complement the FHWA Resource Center workshops on the Congestion Management Process (CMP).

For more information on hosting the Regional workshops, contact Rick Backlund at (202) 366-8333, richard.backlund@dot.gov or Egan Smith at (202) 366-6072, egan.smith@dot.gov. For more information, on the 1-day CMP sessions or for technical assistance in this area, contact Ben Williams at (404) 562-3671, ben.williams@dot.gov.

OPERATIONS

NEW ASSESSMENT: STATE OF EVACUATION TRANSPORTATION MANAGEMENT

Much of what is known about evacuations is based on preparations for incidents, such as hurricanes, for which there is advance warning. With advance warning, evacuations can be planned and managed using procedures and systems that have been developed as a result of extensive and methodical pre-planning.

On June 26, the FHWA Office of Operations, in collaboration with the Intelligent Transportation Systems Joint Program Office (ITS JPO), issued a report entitled, Operational Concept: Assessment of the State of the Practice and State of the Art in Evacuation Transportation Management, as part of a study in this critical area. The report outlines a concept of operations for transportation management during a no-notice emergency evacuation. This report illustrates how agencies interact with each other, what information is shared, and how transportation systems are effectively managed during disasters. The Operational Concept is intended to help agencies address who, what, when, where, why, and how the transportation management system needs to operate during a major no-notice event or disaster requiring evacuation. A high level description of activities that occur during each phase of the evacuation process is provided. To download the report, go to: http://www.ops.fhwa.dot.gov/publications/fhwahop08020/index.htm.

EVACUATION PRIMERS AVAILABLE

The FHWA has two and expects the third primer in the Routes to Effective Evacuation Primers Series to be issued soon. The primers were written with planners in mind. The two primers in the series that are currently available include:

Using Highways during Evacuations Operations for Events with Advance Notice - http://ops.fhwa.dot.gov/publications/evac_primer/00_evac_primer.htm .

Using Highways for No-Notice Evacuations http://ops.fhwa.dot.gov/publications/evac_primer_nn/index.htm .

The third primer, Evacuating Populations with Special Transportation Needs, is expected within the next few months. The purpose of the third primer is:

“To summarize information in the other primers that touch on moving populations with special transportation needs. The Primer provides findings, lessons learned and best practices that aid in developing evacuation plans. Its specific focus is those with special movement requirements, including the elderly, those with medical conditions, transit- dependent populations, pets and service animals, and people being held by law enforcement officials.”

The primers are available as hard copies or are two of the 40+ documents on the recently produced “Best of Public Safety and Emergency Transportation Operations” CD. Additional information about these and other documents may be found via the following websites: Operations website http://www.ops.fhwa.dot.gov, the Emergency Transportation Operations website http://www.ops.fhwa.dot.gov/opssecurity, and the DHS Lessons Learned Information Systems ETO Channel (http://www.llis.gov). To request copies of either the CD or of those documents that are available in hard copy, please send an email to ETO@dot.gov and one will be sent to you.

TRANSIT ACTIVITIES

NEW FTA CIRCULAR 8100.1C:
GUIDANCE FOR METRO, STATE PLANNING, & RESEARCH GRANTS

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has issued final guidance (effective September 1, 2008) in the form of a circular on Metropolitan Planning and State Planning and Research Program Grants. The circular provides program guidance and application instructions for the metropolitan and statewide planning programs. The final circular revises and combines into one document the contents of previous Circular 8100.1B on the Metropolitan Planning Program and previous Circular 8200.1, on the State Planning and Research Program. The final circular contains information on the Consolidated Planning Grants program between the FTA and the FHWA. This program now allows the FTA and the FHWA metropolitan and statewide planning funds to be combined into a single consolidated grant. The Circular has been posted at http://www.fta.dot.gov/regional_offices_8454.html. For more information you can contact Mr. Victor Austin, Community Planner at (202) 366-2996 or victor.austin@dot.gov

PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION PARTICIPATION PILOT PROGRAM–III

The FTA is currently sponsoring applied research that will develop innovative approaches to improving public participation in the planning of public transportation. This research is part of the Public Transportation Participation Pilot Program (PTP) authorized as an earmark in SAFETEA-LU, under Section 3046. The results of the studies will be posted to the FTA-PTP site http://www.fta.dot.gov/planning/programs/planning_environment_5925.html and the Planning Capacity Building site http://www.planning.dot.gov .

The applicants selected for the PTP-3 Program are:

Project for Public Spaces (NY) $150K -- Developing a tool for transit agencies and MPOs to better engage the public re: the walking environment around transit stops.

NYU Wagner Rudin Center (NYCity) $175K – Innovative public participation at MTA through surveys and/or focus groups of affected populations, interview with press people, elected officials, agency staff, advocacy organizations.

Sarasota County Transportation Authority (Sarasota, FL) $115K – a comprehensive program of stakeholder involvement where citizens are engaged throughout the entire planning process; emphasis is on transit and TOD.

Texas Citizen Fund (Austin, TX) $93.6K – Resolving common barriers to access that involve fixed-route bus stops and their systems interface for persons with disabilities. This will involve customer surveys and a phone survey of 400 disability passengers.

University of Utah (Salt Lake City, UT) $115K – Designing a public participation model utilizing “crowdsourcing”, a web-based, distributed problem solving model.

Hunter College/CUNY (New York) $147K – Providing easy access to information about visualization applications to public participation within an interactive website.

Denver Council of Governments (Denver, CO) $110K – Innovative use of web technologies to help stakeholders collaborate and share information.

WalkBoston (Boston, MA) $94.5K – Providing guidelines to help citizens speak-out about their concerns during transit project design through walking audits.

For more information, contact: Victor Austin, FTA Office of Planning and Environment, at (202) 366-2996.

TRANSIT AGENCIES GET NEW PEDESTRIAN SAFETY GUIDE

The FHWA has posted its new Pedestrian Safety Guide for Transit Agencies on the Web. The guide is intended to provide transit agency staff with an easy-to-use resource for improving pedestrian safety.

The guide includes a variety of approaches to address common pedestrian safety issues that are likely to arise near transit stations, bus stops, and other places where transit (bus or rail) is operated. It provides references to publications, guides, and other tools to identify pedestrian safety problems. Descriptions of engineering, education and enforcement programs that have been effectively applied by transit agencies are included, as well as background information about pedestrian safety and access to transit. You can find it at: http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/ped_bike/ped/ped_transguide/ .

TELUS for TRANSIT

The Nation is being challenged to maintain mobility in the face of rising costs and uncertainty about the future supply of energy. Public transit can play a significant role in creation of a sustainable transportation system, but only if transit investments are supported by compatible land use policies and integrated with other economic development tools. As a result, an exciting new addition to the Transportation Economic Land Use System (TELUS) is being furthered. TELUS for TRANSIT is an FTA research project being carried out by the New Jersey Institute of Technology. Cambridge Systematics Inc. and Resource Systems Group, Inc. have been selected to be members of the research team.

The goal of TELUS for TRANSIT is to improve the economic and environmental sustainability of urban areas through compatible systems-level planning of land uses, urban form, and investments in public transportation facilities. The project also seeks to improve the communication of these concepts to elected officials and the public through the development of enhanced visualization techniques.

The research is intended to answer questions about the interactions of land use policies and transit investments, posed in two forms. First, if alternative transit investment proposals are being evaluated for a community, what land use policies will be needed to optimize the effectiveness of those investments? Second, if specific changes in land use policy are being considered for a community, what types of transit investment will be most cost-effective for each land use policy scenario? Planned products of the research include simplified models and quantitative methods to predict the effectiveness of various land use/transit investment scenarios, guidelines for incorporating transit investments into master plans, zoning ordinances and site plans, and visualization techniques to promote improved understanding of proposed transportation and land use plans.

For more information, contact: Charles R. Goodman, FTA, Director, Systems Planning, at (202) 355-1944, charles.goodman@dot.gov, or Effie Stallsmith, FTA,
at (202) 366-5653, effie.stallsmith@dot.gov.

DATA

ACS DATA RELEASE CALENDAR

The 2007 Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS) data release marks the first time that 3-year estimates are released for areas with populations of 20,000 and greater. Approximately 14,500 geographic areas will receive single-year and/or 3-year ACS estimates based on current residences, depending on the population of the geographic area.

Data Release Dates:
August 26 - Income, Earnings and Poverty data for areas with populations of 65,000 or more,

September 23 - Social, Economic, Housing, and Demographic data for areas with populations of 65,000 or more,

December 9 - The first set of three-year estimates for data collected between 2005 and 2007 will be released in December. It will include Social, Economic, Housing, and Demographic data for areas with populations of 20,000 or more.

2008 HIGHWAY TAXES AND FEES RELEASED

Highway Taxes and Fees 2008: How They Are Collected and Distributed,” which was first published in 1981, has been released by the FHWA Office of Highway Policy Information. This publication contains State submitted information on taxes and fees collected and distributed. Certain tables appearing in this refer- ence were periodically included from 1946 to 1977 in the annual publication entitled Highway Statistics. The 2008 edition is only available via the Web at: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/ohim/hwytaxes/2008/index.cfm . For more information contact: Bryant Gross (202) 366-5026, bryant.gross@dot.gov .

OUR NATION’S HIGHWAYS IS ISSUED

Our Nation’s Highways 2008 provides a condensed overview of facts and figures about the Nation’s highways. These data include information about highway financing, motor fuel use, driver’s licensing, vehicle registration, traffic, and travel data. It is designed to be of interest to the average citizen. An online version can be found at : http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/ policyinformation/pubs/pl08021/index.cfm. For more information, contact: Tianjia Tang (202) 366-2236 or tianjia.tang@dot.gov

NATMEC CONFERENCE PRESENTATIONS POSTED

The North American Travel Monitoring Exposition and Conference (NATMEC) was held in Washington, D.C., from August 6 – 8. This conference is held every
2 years and focuses on traffic monitoring.

As in past years, the integration of transportation planning and operations makes this conference important to planners, and there were several examples of using the ITS Archived Data User Services (ADUS) in planning applications found in the presentations delivered. In addition, improvements in data transmission (now relying heavily on cellular networks) and opportunities for automated data quality checking, ADUS, and allowing for comparisons with past data (to look for anomalies that may result in checking the equipment for malfunctions) were among the topics addressed. Non-intrusive technologies (that is, equipment that does not require installation in the pavement) that make significant advances, including infrared, laser, and video, were also discussed. Presentations from the conference can be downloaded from the Web at: http://www.natmec.org

The next Association of Public Data Users (APDU) conference is scheduled for September 24-25 at the Brookings Institute. Session topics include 2010 Census, Energy Costs and the relationship to consumer expenditures on groceries and gasoline, and Federal Travel Data. For more information, visit the ADPU Website at http://www.apdu.org.

TRANSPORTATION FOR THE NATION

Accurate information about the Nation’s transportation system is a national resource that will be used by decisionmakers from both the public and private sectors to make more informed choices and better investments. “Transportation for the Nation” is an effort to build a national, highly-accurate, intermodal, geo-spatial transportation information system with the best facts and data from all sources -- Federal, State, and local governments, as well as the private sector, and other groups. The effort is being promoted by the National States Geographic Information Council, which represents the lead GIS contacts from each of the States. For more information on the “Transportation for the Nation” effort, contact: Dan Widner (804) 416-6198, dan.widner@VITA.virginia.gov .

In a related effort, a pooled-fund project known as, TPF 5 (108): Software Tools for Sharing and Integrating GIS Data, is developing tools needed to make the concept a reality. Seven States are currently participating in it. For more information on this project, contact: Mark Sarmiento, FHWA, at: (202) 366-4828, mark.sarmiento@fhwa.dot.gov, or Tami Griffin, WSDOT, at griffit@wsdot.wa.gov.

NEWS FROM OUR PARTNERS


CSXT, MDOT & SEMCOG:
WORKING TOGETHER FOR THE ENVIRONMENT

On May 27, CSX Transportation (CSXT), the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), and the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG) announced the introduction of two ultra-low emission GenSet locomotives at the CSXT’s Rougemere Yard in Dearborn, MI.

The project is the first of its kind in Michigan. This project is considered innovative and precedent-setting because it is the first time Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) funding has been used for a “point and area” source of pollution in the State. The locomotive engines were retrofitted with clean-burning diesel engines. This eliminates about 40 percent of the air pollution that otherwise would be emitted by the existing engines in the locomotives. The two locomotives are located at the Rougemere Rail Yard and will remain there for a minimum of five years. The cost of the project is $2.8 million. Federal funding provided to MDOT and SEMCOG accounted for 80 percent of the project cost, and CSX Transportation provided a 20 percent match.

TEXAS 2030 COMMISSION

The Texas Transportation Commission has formed a committee to coordinate a comprehensive update of Texas’ transportation needs through the year 2030. This new “2030 Committee,” comprised of experts in business and transportation, will begin their effort by holding public hearings in Austin on July 24. The committee is charged with presenting an estimate of the State’s transportation needs in the context of today’s economic reality.

The 12-member committee is expected to issue a report in December 2008 on the State’s transportation needs. Although the committee will not attempt to calculate available funding or identify funding solutions, it will work to quantify and describe the need for infrastructure investment over the next 20 years and beyond. The results will roll into the next Statewide Long-Range Transportation Plan update due out in May 2009.

FREIGHT

“TALKING FREIGHT”
SEMINARS

Registration for the September Talking Freight seminar is now available at www.ops.fhwa.dot.gov/freight/FPD/talking_freight.htm. Planned topics for the next few seminars are as follows:

September 17, 2008 Commercial Motor Vehicle Size and Weight

October 15, 2008 Rising Fuel Prices/ The Effects of Energy Prices on Global Trade Patterns

November 11, 2008 Freight and Land Use

December 10, 2008 Establishment Surveys

All seminars will be held from 1:00 – 2:30 p.m. ET.
When registering, please make sure to enter your correct e-mail address, as once you register, the login information for the seminars will be e-mailed to you.

If you have not yet participated in Talking Freight, you are encouraged to do so. These monthly seminars, sponsored by the FHWA, are held via Web conference, which allows you to view the PowerPoint presentations over the Internet while listening to the presenters over the telephone. There is no cost involved and you do not have to leave your desk to participate.

Recordings of past seminars, as well as transcripts and downloadable PowerPoint presentations, are available at www.fhwa.dot.gov/freightplanning/talking.htm.

FREIGHT-LAND USE PEER EXCHANGE: CONNECTING IDEAS, PARTNERSHIPS, & SOLUTIONS

The Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) recently hosted a freight-land use peer exchange in late August. The theme of the peer exchange was “Connecting Ideas, Partnerships, and Solutions.” Joining the ARC were representatives from four MPOs (North Central Texas Council of Governments – Dallas, North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority – Newark, Mid-America Regional Council – Kansas City, and Memphis Urban Area MPO), local government agencies, commercial developers, and freight operators. Representatives from the FHWA’s Office of Freight Management and Operations, the Office of Planning, the FHWA Resource Center – Planning Team, and FHWA’s Georgia Division Office, not only took part in the peer exchange, but assisted the ARC with coordinating and facilitating the meeting. Financial assistance was made available through the Office of Freight Management and Operations’ Freight Professional Capacity Building Program.

With an expansion of warehouse facilities and increasing amount of containerized cargo, a testament to a very active and growing Port of Savannah less than 200 miles away, the need to satisfy the highway infrastructure needs at the same time coordinating freight-oriented land use strategies, the metropolitan Atlanta area made for an appropriate forum for both the MPO representatives and various stakeholders to share their concerns and challenges. As part of the peer exchange, participants toured two intermodal railroad facilities and two warehouse/distributions centers. These facilities demonstrated the challenges of an older facility versus those that were relatively new. Information gathered from the facility tour were used to prompt discussion on strategies that can be used by MPOs, State DOTs, and local governments to effectively balance land use and freight transportation needs in developing metropolitan and statewide transportation and land use plans.

A full report will be forthcoming through the Office of Freight Management and Operations. For more information, contact either Ed Strocko, Office of Freight Management and Operations, at (202) 366-2997, ed.strocko@dot.gov, or Ralph Volpe, FHWA Georgia Division Office, at (404) 562-3637, ralph.volpe@dot.gov.

TRAILS


TRAIL PUBLICATIONS AVAILABLE

The FHWA’s Recreational Trails Program has supported the development of several new trail-related resources:

Equestrian Design Guidebook for Trails, Trailheads, and Campgrounds. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Missoula Technology and Development Center. This guidebook provides information for developing trails, trailheads, and campgrounds that are sensitive to the needs of riders and their animals. The emphasis is on developed facilities and programs in urban, rural, and some wildland areas. The information can be adapted for a variety of settings and levels of development, as well as jurisdictional requirements.
* Web version: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/fspubs/07232816/index.htm
* Hard copy available through the FHWA Report Center: Recreational Trails Program Reports Order Form.

Recreational Horse Trails in Rural and Wildland Areas: Design, Construction, and Maintenance. By Gene W. Wood; with major contributions from 16 contributing authors from around the Nation. Designed as a textbook as opposed to a “how to do it” manual, the book guides readers through how to fit design, construction, and maintenance of equestrian trails into the environments in which they work, as well as the kinds and intensities of use that their trails will receive. Readers are reminded that the trail must fit ecosystem capacities to accommodate sustainable equestrian use. Available from Clemson University’s Forestry and Natural Resources website at: www.clemson.edu/forestres/.

USDA Forest Service Trail Training DVD Series. The USDA Forest Service’s Missoula Technology and Development Center (MTDC) has produced a Trail Training DVD Series. It includes training based on USDA Forest Service publications (listed below):
Handtools for Trail Work
An Ax to Grind
Constructing Trail Switchbacks
Basic Trail Maintenance
Trails in Wet Areas: Turnpike and Puncheon Construction
Surface Water Control Techniques for Trail Maintenance

Copies of this DVD set (ID No. 0823-2D01-MTDC) are available through FHWA’s Trail Publications Order Form found at: www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/rectrails/trailpub.htm.

Snowmobile Safety Information: Avalanche Education Resources. The International Association of Snowmobile Administrators posted Avalanche Education Resources on its website www.snowiasa.org, along with other snowmobile safety resources, such as the Safe Riders program. Avalanche education is not only for people who live in avalanche-prone areas, it is also for flatlanders and people from areas that rarely get snow (tourists) who visit avalanche-prone areas.
Access Guide for Snowmobiling on Private and Public Lands. The American Council of Snowmobile Associations completed an Access Guide as a resource to help clubs, associations, and trail managers establish and retain permission for trails and areas on private and public lands. Although developed from the viewpoint of snowmobilers, this resource is applicable to any trail use. Several FHWA Division offices assisted in reviewing this document: thank you! This guide will be posted at http://www.snowmobilers.org/resources.asp along with other snowmobile-related resources, many of which have concepts transferable to other trail uses.

TRAIL ADMINISTRATORS MEET

The annual State Trail Administrators Meeting will be held in conjunction with the National Trails Symposium, November 13-15 in Little Rock, AR. It is for State trail administrators and Federal agency personnel who are involved with statewide or national trail programs. To register, please contact Stuart Macdonald at mactrail@aol.com or Christopher Douwes at christopher.douwes@dot.gov. For more information see: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/rectrails/stam2008/index.htm .

 

FHWA HEADQUARTERS

CHANGE OF STAFF

Three key FHWA Headquarters staff have retired at the beginning of September, Martin Weiss and Frank Clark from the Office of Interstate and Border Planning and Fred Skaer, the Director of the Office of Project Development and environmental Review.

New to the Office of Planning are :

Michelle Terrell has been selected for the Program Assistant Position in the Office of Planning. She will provide administrative support to the office.

Sharlene Reed joins us from the District of Columbia government. Sharlene’s focus areas include Land Use, Sustainability, Scenario Planning and Visualization.

Susan Grosser joins us from the National Park Service. Susan will be working on the Transportation Planning Capacity Building Program, Transportation Safety Planning and Education and Training Coordination

TMA CERTIFICATION PROCESS FIELD HANDBOOK UPDATED

The updated version of the TMA Certification Process Field Handbook is now available to use as a reference tool when conducting TMA certification reviews.

Since last fall, a team of 40 FHWA and FTA field, Headquarters, and FHWA Resource Center staff worked on this update. As in past Certification Review Handbooks, this version includes information on logistics for reviews and statutory background for major technical topics, with discussion questions and answers, and examples of field responses to significant issues. Readers will find that this version reflects the new and revised planning provisions of SAFETEA-LU and the February 2007 Planning Rule, along with new planning topics, easier navigation within the document, and links to other resources. Plan to tune into the Let’s Talk Planning session on September 17th, when a focus will be the newly updated handbook.

Those interested can access the handbook via the following password-protected website: http://oversight.volpe.dot.gov/. For more information, contact Spencer Stevens, FHWA, at (202) 366-0149, spencer.stevens@dot.gov.

TRANSPORTATION PLANNING EXCELLENCE AWARDED

Congratulations to the winners of the 2008 Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)/Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Transportation Planning Excellence Awards (TPEA). These partnerships demonstrate the importance of working together to recognize outstanding initiatives across the country to develop, plan, and implement innovative transportation planning practices. The TPEA Program is co-sponsored by the American Planning Association. Award winners were presented with commemorative plaques at the Transportation Research Board’s Summer Meetings in Baltimore, MD, on June 6. Awards were bestowed for projects, processes, and groups that have made outstanding contributions to the field of transportation planning. An independent panel of judges selected the award winners, using the following criteria: innovation; community and public involvement; partnerships and collaboration; multimodalism; equity; sustainability; demonstrated results/effectiveness/replication/transferability; and category-specific considerations.
Congratulations to the 2008 Award Winners:

American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials - Center for Environmental Excellence Practitioner’s Handbooks Series

Montana Department of Transportation, Rail, Transit & Planning Division - Montana Comprehensive Highway Safety Plan and Tribal Safety Planning

Southeast Michigan Council of Governments - Regional Concept for Transportation Operations for Metro Detroit

Wisconsin Department of Transportation - Wisconsin DOT Traffic Operations Infrastructure Planning

Kawerak, Inc., Transportation Department - Kawerak Tribal Transportation Planning

Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency - NOACA Regional Pavement Management System

Montana Department of Transportation; Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes; and FHWA Montana Division - Design of the US-93 Corridor Reconstruction from Evaro to Polson

The Town of Virgil, New York; New York State Department of Transportation, Community Planning and Assistance Unit; and Cortland County Planning Department - Town of Virgil: Land Use and Transportation Management Project

Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission; Pennsylvania Department of Transportation; and New Jersey Department of Transportation - Smart Transportation Guidebook for New Jersey and Pennsylvania

City of Charlotte, North Carolina - City of Charlotte Transportation Action Plan

Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission - Project Region

Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department - I-430/I-630 Interchange Modification Project: Use of Modeling in the Public Involvement Process

Oregon Department of Transportation - 2006 Oregon Transportation Plan – Modeling

For more information, contact: Fred Bowers at
(202) 366-2374 or Effie Sallsmith (202) 366-5653.

FHWA FIELD ACTIVITIES

World Class Planner Sought

The 2008 Beijing Olympics are now complete, and while exhilarating, they have set the mark for future games. How would you like the opportunity to work in a city that is a candidate to host the 2016 Summer Olympics? Are you looking for an exciting opportunity to work in one of the country’s largest metropolitan areas? Have you been yearning for a professional assignment that is as equally challenging as it is rewarding?

If so, then your opportunity is here. The Chicago Metro Office of the FHWA Illinois Division Office is looking for talented, self-motivated individuals to apply to serve as the metropolitan transportation planner for the Northeastern Illinois/Northwestern Indiana areas. This post provides an opportunity to experience life in a world class city, while being no further than 5 hours by plane away from almost any city in the continental United States. Home to two airports, seven interstates, five class I railroads, three transit systems, and bordering a Great Lake, Chicago stands as one of the premier transportation hubs in the United States and North America. The challenges of this position may be great, but so are the rewards.

Interested applicants should point their browsers to www.USAJobs.gov, position # FHWA.LKD-2008-0122. Act now, as the application period closes September 15, 2008. For more information, please contact Jon-Paul Kohler at (217) 492-4988 or J.D. Stevenson at (217) 492-4638.

LET’S TALK PLANNING SCHEDULED

The FHWA and the FTA strive to provide the planning staff with current information, technical assistance, and clarification to the topics that field planners suggest. The Let’s Talk Planning series of video/web meetings are information-sharing sessions for the FHWA and the FTA planners. These internal meetings are generally held the third Tuesday every 3 months via videoconference or webinar, at 12pm and 3pm ET.

Save-the-Dates! The 2008 videoconference schedule is as follows:

September 17th Updated TMA Certification Process Field Handbook
December 16th TBA
March 17th TBA
June 16th TBA

”PLANNING ON THE WEB” MOVES

To help support the FHWA planning discipline and promote continuous professional development of agency planners, the FHWA Resource Center is offering a series of internal web-based training seminars (approximately eight times during FY08) through an initiative known as “Planning on the Web” (POW). The POW training sessions are for the FHWA staff and will generally last 90 minutes to 2 hours.

Mark your calendars, the dates of the POW sessions are changing! They will now be on the third Tuesday of the month at 1:00 pm ET. Below are topics for upcoming months:

October 21 Estimating Toll Road Demand and Revenue: Current and Emerging Issues

November 18 Updates to the Field Planners Guide

If you cannot attend a POW session for a particular month, the presentations and other information resources are available on the RC internal website, as well as the Planning CoP. Pre-registation e-mail for each session will be sent to the FHWA Field Planners e-mail group approximately 3 weeks before each session. We hope to “see” you at the next session and to hear your feedback on the session, as well as ideas for future POW topics. If you have a topic that you think would be valuable to offer as a POW web-based training seminar, please contact Lisa Randall, Rob Ritter, or any member of the FHWA Resource Center Planning Team.

2008 FHWA/FTA PLANNER’S SEMINAR

The 2008 FHWA/FTA Planners Seminar was held the week of July 21, in Washington, DC. The presentations will posted by September 12th on the internal Planning CoP site: http://knowledge.fhwa.dot.gov/cops/tdx.nsf/home?OpenForm&Community=Planning .

For further information on the FHWA/FTA Planners Seminar, please contact Robin Smith at (720) 963-
3072/robin.smith@dot.gov, Jienki Synn (202) 366- 5001/jienki.synn@dot.gov of the FHWA Planning Oversight and Stewardship Team or Victor Austin (202) 366-2996/victor.austin@dot.gov of the FTA Office of Planning and Environment.

GUIDE DELIVERED ON PUBLIC INVOLVEMENT/PARTICIPATION

The Public Involvement/Public Participation in the Transportation Planning Process Resource Guide has been developed to briefly review key issues in public involvement/public participation, summarize key requirements, and highlight a variety of notable practices, tools and techniques. While the primary focus of this guide is on public involvement/public participation at the planning stage, other information is provided that is applicable throughout project development and delivery. The emphasis is that effective public involvement is part of the transportation development continuum.

This resource guide is the follow-up document discussed at the RC Planning Team Planning on the Web session in May which covered Public Involvement/Public Participation. The document will be available (October) via the RC Planning Team website and the FHWA Planning Community of Practice (CoP) website. If you need additional assistance, you can contact Jocelyn Jones (jocelyn.jones@dot.gov).

WORKSHOPS & TRAINING

FHWA RESOURCE CENTER
For information see contacts at www.fhwa.dot.gov/resourcecenter/teams/planning/index.cfm .

NATIONAL TRANSIT INSTITUTE
For registration instructions see: www.ntionline.com/CourseDates.asp

Start Date End Date Location

10/14/2008 10/16/2008 Eugene, OR
Transportation and Land Use http://www.ntionline.com/CourseInfo.asp?CourseNumber=ID802

10/19/2008 10/22/2008 Denver, CO
Transit Trainers’ Workshop http://www.ntionline.com/CourseInfo.asp?CourseNumber=TRI05A

12/2/2008 12/4/2008 Baltimore, MD
Introduction to Metropolitan Transportation Planning
http://www.ntionline.com/CourseInfo.asp?CourseNumber=FP208

12/8/2008 12/12/2008 Louisville, KY
Transit Planning http://www.ntionline.com/CourseInfo.asp?CourseNumber=TRI22-60

National Highway Institute
Try out the new NHI Web site at http://www.nhi.fhwa.dot.gov/home.aspx. Also, you can now check the schedule of web conferences at http://www.nhi.fhwa.dot.gov/resources/webconference/eventcalendar.aspx .
New Course
FHWA-NHI-13003 Advanced Freight Planning
FHWA-NHI-134068 Addressing Uncertainty in Cost Estimating
FHWA-NHI-134078 TCCC GPS Technology

Updated Course
FHWA-NHI-380073 Fundamentals of Planning, Design, and Approval of Interchange Improvements to the Interstate System

Web Courses
FHWA-NHI-141047 Local Public Agency Real Estate Acquisition
FHWA-NHI-141048 Outdoor Advertising Control: Bonus States
FHWA-NHI-141049 Outdoor Advertising Control: Non-bonus States

Scheduled Courses in the next Quarter:

Start Date End Date Location

09/16/2008 09/17/2008 Las Vegas, NV
Highway Program Financing

09/17/2008 09/18/2008 Austin, TX
Fundamentals of Title VI/Environmental Justice

09/23/2008 09/25/2008 Atlanta, GA
Intro. To Context Sensitive Solutions

10/07/2008 10/09/2008 Harrisburg, PA
NEPA & Transportation Decisionmaking

10/08/2008 10/10/2008 Trenton, NJ
NEPA & Transportation Decisionmaking

10/15/2008 10/16/2008 Dallas, TX
Fundamentals of Title VI/Environmental Justice

10/14/2008 10/16/2008 Eugene, OR
Transportation & Land Use

10/21/2008 10/22/2008 Irvine, CA
Highway Program Financing

10/28/2008 10/29/2008 Washington, DC
Statewide Transportation Planning

10/29/2008 10/31/2008 Charleston, WV
Intro. To Context Sensitive Solutions

11/04/2008 11/05/2008 Jackson, MS
Highway Program Financing

11/05/2008 11/07/2008 Washington, DC
Intro. To Context Sensitive Solutions

11/06/2008 Jackson, MS
Highway Program Financing (Executive Session)
11/12/2008 11/14/2008 Carson City, NV
NEPA & Transportation Decisionmaking

11/13/2008 11/14/2008 Houston, TX
Fundamentals of Title VI/Environmental Justice

11/12/2008 11/14/2008 Washington, DC
Transportation & Land Use

11/17/2008 11/19/2008 Shoreview, MN
NEPA & Transportation Decisionmaking

11/18/2008 11/19/2008 Anchorage, AK
NEPA & Transportation Decisionmaking

TRAVEL MODEL IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM WORKSHOPS

For the NHI travel demand courses see the NHI list.
For more details see: http://tmip.fhwa.dot.gov/conf_courses/ or contact: Penelope Weinberger at (202) 366-4054, penelope.weinberger@dot.gov.

Currently the only training that the TMIP program has approved is offered through web seminars. Check the website at: http://tmip.fhwa.dot.gov/discussions/webinars/ for future sessions.

The presentations from the recent “Web Knowledge & Information Exchange: Shining a Light Inside the Black Box: Translating Results into Insights” webinar has been posted to the website.

Mark your calendar for these future sessions:

Project Level Forecasting
September 25, 2008

Travel Modeling Workshop, Part 1
October 16, 2008

Travel Modeling Workshop, Part 2
November 6, 2008

Travel Modeling Workshop, Part 3
December 11, 2008

CALENDAR OF EVENTS

September 23 1:00 - 4:00 p.m. ET,
AASHTO Center of Excellence webcast “Integrating Transportation Planning & NEPA Decisionmaking” To register http://www.tvworldwide.com/events/aashto/080923

September 22 - 23 -- TRB’s North American Freight
Transportation Data Conference - Irvine, CA - Contact: TRB’s Thomas Palmerlee at TPalmerlee@nas.edu or
(202) 334-2907

September 24-26 -- National Workshop on Highway Asset Inventory and Data Collection* Durham, NC
http://www.itre.ncsu.edu/NCassetMgmtConf/index.html .

October 6 - 7 -- TRB’s Northeast Traffic Data Workshop & Exhibit: Successful Strategies in the Collection of Data for Corridors and Planning - Woods Hole, MA - http://guest.cvent.com/EVENTS/Info/Summary.aspx?e=f03941f8-82db-4bc0-9dc1-17629d3aeb28

October 27 - 28 -- TRB’s Impact of Changing Demographics on the Transportation System, Washington, DC.
http://guest.cvent.com/EVENTS/Info/Summary.aspx?e=cbf6ef57-e85b-4aa5-80e7-62f460007f65

October 28-29 -- Rethinking Transportation for a Sustainable Future* Louisville, KY http://www.rethinkingtransportation.com/ .

November 15 – 18 - 19th National Trails Symposium & State Trail Administrators Meeting - Little Rock AR - Contact: Christopher Douwes at (202) 366-5013/christopher.douwes@dot.gov http://www.americantrails.org/2008

U.S. Canada Transportation Border Working Group., Nov. 18-19, 2008 Toronto, Canada - Contact : Roger Petzold 202-366-4074 roger.petzold@dot.gov

U.S./Mexico Transportation Planning Joint Working Committee Dec. 2-3, Tijuana, Mexico Contact : Roger Petzold 202-366-4074 roger.petzold@dot.gov

December 9 - 11, 2008 (by invitation only) - TRB’s Strategic
Highway Safety Plan (SHSP) Peer Exchange and State DOT Safety Engineer Peer Exchange - Houston, TX - Contact: TRB’s Richard Pain at (202) 334-2964/RPain@nas.edu

December 10-12, 2008 TRB’s Advancing Regional Traffic Operations and Management Washington, DC http://rtmo.cts.virginia.edu .

EDITORIAL STAFF:

Ben Williams, Co-Editor
Metropolitan Planning Specialist,
FHWA Resource Center
(404) 561-3671
ben.williams@fhwa.dot.gov

Fred Bowers, Co-Editor
Transporation Planner
FHWA Office of Planning
(202) 366-2374
fred.bowers@fhwa.dot.gov

John Sprowls, Contributing Editor
Community Planner
FTA Office of Systems Planning
(202) 366-5362
john.sprowls@fta.dot.gov

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

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