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Planning and Air Quality

Publications: Transportation Planning Update


Fall Edition 2004

Dear Reader,

Welcome to our fourth joint issue of the Transportation Planning Update! We hope you enjoy the information presented. If you have transportation planning information to share please contact us.


Sherry B. Ways
Transportation Planner, FHWA Office of Planning

Ben Williams
Metropolitan Planning Specialist, FHWA Resource Center

In This Issue

Transportation Planning Excellence Awards
What’s New for FHWA’s Vital Few
Planning Oversight
Planning Video Conference
Statewide Planning
Public Involvement
NHI/NTI Planning Courses
Scenario Planning
Transportation Conformity
Modeling Tools
Bicycle and Pedestrian News
Tribal Planning
Transportation Data
Planner Profile
Calendar of Events

The Transportation Planning Excellence Awards

The Transportation Planning Excellence Awards (TPEA) website has been updated to include an overview of the awards program, and the application and selection processes. The updated website also includes project information for each award winner and honorable mention.

In the summer of 2004, eleven Awards and five Honorable Mentions were presented for projects in: Phoenix, Arizona; Los Angeles, Oakland, and Sacramento, California; St. Petersburg, Florida; Atlanta, Georgia; Hanalei, Hawaii; State of Michigan; Detroit, Michigan; Kansas City, Missouri; Poughkeepsie, New York; Lincoln City, Oregon; and Houston, Texas.

For further information regarding the TPEA and the 2004 winners and honorable mentions, please visit the TPEA website or call the FHWA Office of Planning at (202) 366-0106 or the FTA Office of Planning & Environment at (202) 366-5653.

Please check the website for information about the 2006 Awards.

What's New for FHWA's Vital Few?

The Vital Few priorities are the focus areas that show the biggest performance gaps in the transportation system and present opportunities for FHWA to make the greatest difference. We are committed to being successful in these focus areas. This section features the activities currently being undertaken in FHWA’s Vital Few focus areas.


New GIS Use in Environmental Streamlining And Stewardship Workshop (GIS4EST)

The FHWA Resource Center and the Office of Project Development and Environmental Review have developed a 1 ½ day workshop on the use of spatial data in facilitating environmental considerations in planning and project development. We are looking for a Pilot State for the workshop. For more information contact Ben Williams, FHWA Resource Center, at (404) 562-3671, or ben.williams@fhwa.dot.gov.

Congestion Management

Microsimulation User Guidelines

More MPOs and States are using microsimulation models to get another viewpoint on the impact of Congestion Management Systems and operational issues in planning. The FHWA Office of Operations recently has produced a primer on traffic analysis tools and user guidelines for their use..

Transportation Demand Management

FHWA and the Association for Commuter Transportation have released an updated report on the role of travel demand management strategies on congestion. The report entitled "Mitigating Traffic Congestion: The Role of Demand-Side Strategies"


Freight Advanced Commute Workshop

Having trouble figuring out how to get a freight study started? This interactive seminar examines the reasons and methods for performing freight studies within the transportation planning process. Its audience is small and medium sized MPOs. As background, three questions are addressed: what is freight transportation; why do we do freight studies; and why are we seeing all these trucks on the roads? In addition, growth of containerization, e-commerce, and freight impacts on traffic are reviewed. In a brainstorming setting, participants are invited to discuss their personal knowledge of freight movement through and within their communities to determine if there is a "freight problem", its magnitude and causes. Participants are encouraged to familiarize themselves beforehand with congested areas and times within their areas. Once a determination is made that there is a problem, a methodology is presented to determine the causes and possible remedies. Contact: Robert Radics, FHWA Resource Center, (404) 562-3692 or robert.radics@fhwa.dot.gov

Planning Oversight


FHWA and FTA are holding workshops in each of the FTA Regions on the TMA Certification Process for both FHWA Division and FTA Regional staff. The topics will include the Certification Field Handbook, certification tracking system and travel forecasting methods. Sessions will be held at the following locations:
December 14-15, 2004
Location: Dallas, Texas

December 2004 or January 2005
Location: Boston, Massachusetts

For more information contact: John Humeston, FHWA, at john.humeston@fhwa.dot.gov. (404) 562-3667 or Candace Noonan, FTA, at Candace.Noonan@fta.dot.gov. (202) 366-1648.

Planning Video Conference

"Let's Talk Planning" Videoconferences

The FHWA Office of Planning and the Resource Center are initiating a dialogue on planning issues and concerns called Let's Talk Planning. This is basically an internal planning peer exchange for FHWA and FTA field planners, headquarters and resource center staff. The idea for this Let's Talk Planning series came as a result of feedback that the Resource Center, Transportation Planning Capacity Building Program (TPCB) and the FHWA Planning Discipline team have received from Division Offices throughout the past year. In particular, at the August annual planners' conference, many Division Office planners indicated that such a forum would be very helpful. The Let's Talk Planning series’ primary goal is to provide an opportunity for Division Office planners to share common experiences and discuss similar issues they may be experiencing.

The first videoconference session will be on December 16, 2004 with two sessions to accommodate all of the Division Offices and time zones. The first session will take place from 12:00 noon to 1:30 pm EST, for participants in the Eastern and Central Division Offices. The second session will take place from 3:00 pm to 4:30 pm EST, for participants in the Mountain and Western Division Offices. The forums will be interactive and informal. Topics are based on suggestions from Division Offices. The staff contact for the FHWA Resource Center is Bob Radics at Robert.radics@fhwa.dot.gov. The staff contact for the FHWA Office of Planning is Jose Dory at jose.dory@fhwa.dot.gov.

Planning Status Reviews

The Tennessee Division of the Federal Highway Administration, Federal Transit Administration’s Region 4 office and the Tennessee Department of Transportation are developing a process to assess the non-TMA MPOs’ planning activities in meeting the planning regulations. The assessment will also be used for the federal and state agencies to determine how and where to focus technical assistance. Priority improvements identified through the Planning Status Review (PSR) will be included in the MPO’s subsequent Unified Planning Work Programs (UPWP). A demonstration of steps and timeline to show progress in improving the specified areas will also be included.

Each PSR will include a one-day review of MPO material, one-on-one time with MPO staff to clarify questions, and an assessment tool where focus areas and technical assistance strategies are identified. For more information contact,
Theresa Hutchins, FHWA TN Division Office, theresa.hutchins@fhwa.dot.gov. or
Maureen Bluhm, FHWA TN Division Office, maureen.bluhm@fhwa.dot.gov.

Statewide Planning

What’s New in Statewide Plans?

In 2002, FHWA, with support from the Volpe National Transportation System Center, disseminated a review of Statewide Long Range Transportation Plans. The review noted the emergence of issues such as freight, safety, system preservation, and performance measurement in Statewide Plans. To see the results of the review.

In the last three years more than half of the states have updated or replaced their Long-Range Plans. State Plan updates may reflect changes in State administrations, reduced forecast of revenue and concern over infrastructure security.

We would like to assess the current trends and identify notable practices in statewide long-range planning without having to review each and every plan. Instead, we would appreciate if interested FHWA and FTA planners volunteering the following:

What are key changes in the most recent statewide plan?

What new issues does the plan identify?

Would you consider the statewide plan innovative? If so, how it is innovative? Has it won awards? Received exceptional positive feedback from stakeholders?

What lessons would you like others to gain from the plan?

The Volpe Center then will document the most interesting and innovative practices so they are available to other states. If you have thoughts, suggestions or want to get more information, please contact David Kuehn, FHWA, at (202) 366- 6072 or david.kuehn@fhwa.dot.gov.

Public Involvement

Public Involvement Tool Available

An updated version of the Public Involvement Techniques for Transportation Decision-Making guide is now available at www.planning.dot.gov/PublicInvolvement/pi_documents/toc-foreword.asp. The guide shares a wide variety of public involvement techniques that have been used and tested in the field. Like the 1996 version, the new guide groups techniques by function and discusses them in a question and answer format.

This update includes:

New and revised material on working with minority populations and with low-income populations; electronic interaction (such as websites and 3-D visualization); working with community-based organizations; and how to make public involvement accessible for people with disabilities.

The "Planning Assistant," a self-diagnostic tool to help form ideas, identify techniques, and organize notes for a public involvement activity

A "Notebook" to create and save a record of responses to the "Planning Assistant," document parameters of a public involvement activity, and collaborate public involvement ideas by sharing results with colleagues.

For more information or to suggest techniques to be included in future updates, please contact David Kuehn, FHWA, at (202) 366 -6072 or david.kuehn@fhwa.dot.gov.

NHI/NTI Planning Courses

AICP Endorses NHI and NTI Planning Courses

The American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) has endorsed seven National Highway Institute (NHI) and National Transit Institute (NTI) joint multi-modal planning courses for their Continuing Professional Development Program (CPDP). These courses are as follows:

Metropolitan Transportation Planning

Introduction to Statewide Transportation Planning

Statewide and Metropolitan Transportation Programming

Coordinating Transportation and Land Use

Public Involvement in Transportation Decision Making

Financial Planning

Bus Rapid Transit

Certified Planners may receive Continuing Professional Development Program hours for taking these courses.

For more information about the American Institute of Certified Planners Continuing Professional Development Program.

Scenario Planning

Scenario planning is a process in which transportation professionals, local elected officials, and citizens work together to analyze and shape the long-term future of their communities. Using a variety of tools and techniques, participants in scenario planning assess trends in key factors such as transportation, land use, demographics, health, economic development, environment, and more. The participants bring the factors together in alternative future scenarios, each of these reflecting different trend assumptions and tradeoff preferences. As a result of the process, all members of the community-the general public, business leaders, and elected officials- reach agreement on a preferred scenario. This scenario becomes the long-term policy framework for the community's evolution, and is used to guide decision-making.

In FY05, FHWA will hold four peer workshops on scenario planning to be co-sponsored by four FHWA Divisions. To date, the schedule is as follows:

December 2004 Florida Division
February 2005 Iowa Division
April 2005 Illinois Division
July 2005 North Carolina Division

The Peer Workshops provide participants with an overview of the scenario planning process and examples of scenario planning efforts from elsewhere in the country. In addition, information on available resources and tools to assist with scenario planning analysis are also discussed. The results of the workshops will be posted on a new FHWA Scenario Planning website which will be launched in early 2005.

Other FHWA efforts include a National Broadcast on scenario planning in March 2005, as well as the completion of a synthesis research on scenario planning activities across the country. For more information, contact Sherry B. Ways, FHWA, at (202) 366-1587, or sherry.ways@fhwa.dot.gov.

Transportation Conformity News

EPA Reclassifies Nine Ozone Nonattainment Areas

On September 17, 2004 U.S. EPA announced the reclassification of nine areas to "marginal" instead of "moderate" nonattainment of 8-hour ozone standard. The reclassified areas are: Cass County, MI; Muskegon County, MI; the eight-county Detroit, MI metro area; Greensboro County, NC; Kent and Queen Anne counties, MD; Lancaster County, PA; LaPorte County, IN; the counties surrounding Memphis, TN; and the counties surrounding Richmond, VA. Although the new classification lifts some CAA mandates, including auto tailpipe emissions testing, it mandates faster compliance, requiring standards to be met by 2007 instead of 2010. For transportation conformity, these areas (except Greensboro, NC, which is an Early Action Compact area) will be allowed to choose between either the no-greater-than-2002 test or the greater-than-no-build test to demonstrate 8-hour conformity if interim emissions tests are applicable in these areas. However, it should be noted that the effective date of the nonattainment designation has not changed from June 15, 2004. The one-year grace period for conformity will expire on June 15, 2005 for these areas (except Greensboro).

MOBILE6 Research Study

A recently completed FHWA research study on project-level impacts of the MOBILE6 model is now available. The CAL3QHC roadway intersection model is typically employed to determine potential air quality impacts for project-level analysis. The study is divided into three main components addressing the following three questions: 1) How will changes in MOBILE6 impact project-level results? 2) How will changes in MOBILE6 affect the process for project-level analysis? 3) Will changes in MOBILE6 significantly impact screening assessment procedures? MOBILE6 study results.

Modeling Tools

Release of DYNASMART-P and Training Workshops
A State-of-the-Art Dynamic Network Traffic Operational Planning Tool

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has recently released the DYNASMART-P software tool. DYNASMART-P was developed for traffic operations planning applications under the FHWA’s Dynamic Traffic Assignment (DTA) research program. DYNASMART-P combines (1) dynamic network assignment models, used primarily in conjunction with demand forecasting procedures for planning applications, and (2) traffic simulation models, used primarily for traffic operations studies.

FHWA has also developed an input editor, DSPEd, to assist users in preparing input data. DYNASMART-P and DSPEd are available from the McTrans Center.

FHWA will sponsor two-day application-oriented training workshops on DYNASMART-P at the University of Maryland on December 13-14, 2004 and March 21-22, 2005. The workshops will be free to participants selected by the FHWA. However, space will be limited and each attendee will be responsible for his or her own expenses for travel, lodging, etc. If you are interested in participating in the workshop, please contact Henry Lieu, FHWA, at (202) 493-3273, or Henry.Lieu@fhwa.dot.gov.

Bicycle and Pedestrian News

ProWalk/ProBike 2004

The National Center for Bicycling and Walking held ProWalk/ProBike, the 13th International Symposium on Walking and Bicycling on September 7-10, 2004, in beautiful Victoria BC, under the theme "Creating Active Communities". This is the premier North American conference on nonmotorized transportation for planners, designers, engineers, and researchers. This conference emphasized Safe Routes to School and Active Communities and recognized the increasing public attention toward the need for more physical activity as a measure to control obesity.

State Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinators Meeting

The AASHTO Joint Technical Committee on Nonmotorized Transportation met on September 7, 2004 in Port Angeles WA, with State Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinators. The meeting concentrated on needed research and on mechanisms to suggest ideas through the National Cooperative Highway Research Program. View the State Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinators contact list.

Tribal Planning

FHWA Tribal Transportation Conference

Thirty-nine FHWA representatives and one Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) staff member participated in the Tribal Transportation Conference held on August 17-18, 2004 in Minneapolis, MN. Participation included representatives from 19 FHWA Divisions and two Federal Land Highway Divisions as well as multiple representatives from Headquarters and the Resource Center. Al Steger, DFS East, who previously served as the DA for Minnesota, started the meeting with the success story on the partnership between Tribes and the State DOT in Minnesota. Topics covered included safety planning, Tribal Employment Rights Ordinances (TERO), Tribal Transportation Assistance Program (TTAP) overview and functions, reauthorization, contractual project agreements between States and BIA, and State coordination activities with Tribes. For more information, contact Tim Penney, FHWA, at (202) 366-2698 or Tim.Penney@fhwa.dot.gov.

Transportaton Data

Seasonality of Transportation Data Studied

The American Community Survey (ACS), a continuous measurement survey, will likely replace the decennial census long form. The ACS presents an opportunity to obtain transportation data collected throughout the year, which may reflect seasonal differences. This study looked at whether the data reveals variations that can be attributed to seasonality. The results are of special note for the transportation planning community and policymakers who rely on decennial census journey to work data such as the Census Transportation Planning Package (CTPP).

What are the implications for future "CTPP-like" data products and transportation planning and policies? The wildly fluctuating data streams observed here may also cause alarm about the variability in the data and the usefulness of aggregating data collected at disparate times. Further, many planners currently calibrate most of their models with the census long form data collected in April.
These results show that travel times are shorter and departure times are earlier in the spring. So the models may not represent typical conditions..

Meet Joyce Newland

Image of Joyce Newland

Joyce Newland has worked with the Indiana Division of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) for 7 years as an Environmental Specialist and now as a Transportation Planner. Ms. Newland is responsible for working with the Indiana MPOs, INDOT, and EPA to ensure conformity. Currently, she is responsible for planning activities for the Indianapolis, Anderson, Muncie, Kokomo, and Fort Wayne MPOs. Ms. Newland is also a FHWA Professional Development Program (PDP) Coach for the first time and is looking forward to helping PDP participants become community planners within the agency.

Prior to joining the FHWA, Ms. Newland spent 9 years with the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) in a variety of positions that range from performing feasibility studies (establishing purpose & need), managing the old Section 18 and Section 16B programs as a transit manager to developing the procedures for CMAQ funding and creating environmental compliance policies as an environmental analyst. Ms. Newland worked for the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) in the Air Quality Office for four years and developed the MOUs that rule the conformity process.

Ms. Newland holds a Masters degree in Public Administration with a concentration in Environment from Indiana University and a Bachelors degree in Planning from Ball State University. Her husband of 18 years, Mark, is the Director of the Intelligent Transportation Systems Program at INDOT. Mark and Joyce enjoy playing golf and hiking. The couple and their three cats Jake, Elwood, and Cosmo reside in the same Indianapolis neighborhood where Joyce grew up.

THE DEADLINE FOR CONTRIBUTIONS FOR THE NEXT ISSUE is January 30, 2005. Please forward submissions to Sherry Ways at sherry.ways@fhwa.dot.gov. or Ben Williams at ben.williams@fhwa.dot.gov.

Here are a few of the upcoming events of interest to the planning community:

December 15, 2004
FHWA Talking Freight Series: Multijurisdictional Coalitions.

For more information contact: Eloise Freeman-Powell, FHWA, at Eloise.Freeman-Powell@fhwa.dot.gov. or Scott Johnson, FHWA at scott.Johnson@fhwa.dot.gov.

December 16, 2004
Let’s Talk Planning Video Conference

For more information contact: Bob Radics, FHWA Resource Center, at Robert.radics@fhwa.dot.gov. or Jose Dory, FHWA, at jose.dory@fhwa.dot.gov.

January 9-13, 2005
Transportation Research Board 84th Annual Meeting
Washington, DC

For more information contact: TRB’s Linda Karson at Lkarson@nas.edu.

February 4-8, 2005

National Association of Regional Councils (NARC) 2005 Washington Policy Conference Washington, DC.

February 27- March 5, 2005
AASHTO’s Legislative Briefing
Washington, DC

For additional information contact: Janet Oakley, AASHTO, at (202) 624-5800 or joakley@aashto.org.

March 8 – 10, 2005

Contact: Ralph Volpe, FHWA, at (202) 366-4048 or:
Ralph.Volpe@fhwa.dot.gov. Highway Performance Monitoring System (HPMS) Data Collection Workshop
Salt Lake City, Utah

March 16 – 18, 2005 National Bike Summit
Washington, DC
Contact: League of American Bicyclists (202) 822-1333

March 19 – 23, 2005 American Planning Association Annual National Planning Conference
San Francisco, CA
Phone: (312) 786-6397
or conference@planning.org.

April 3-6, 2005
AASHTO Geospatial Information for Transportation Symposium Lincoln, Nebraska

For more information contact: Ben Williams, FHWA Resource Center at (404) 562-3671 or Ben.Williams@fhwa.dot.gov. You may also contact Mark Sarmiento, FHWA, at 202-366-4828, or Mark.Sarmiento@fhwa.dot.gov.

May 15-17, 2005
2005 Transportation Management Association Summit

Radisson Plaza Hotel- Minneapolis, MN
See: ACT at 2005 Transportation Management Association Summit


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