ITE Transportation Planning Council Newsletter

Summer 2006


Click here to read the entire newsletter online.
NOTES FROM THE TPC CHAIRMAN
Richard Hawthorne (rick.hawthorne@mncppc-mc.org)

This newsletter is an experiment with a new format. Due to the great response we had to the Best Program and Best Project Awards, we had many excellent case studies we wanted to highlight for you. However, there is a 12-page limit on each paper newsletter that the councils can distribute. Also, ITE, like most organizations, is moving away from paper newsletters for a variety of reasons. This electronic format allows us to provide you summaries of lots of material, with the complete versions just a “click” away. Full descriptions, including more graphics, are on the Transportation Planning Council page of the ITE Web site. Go to there to learn more about these projects, or use the Web page references or the e-mail addresses we provided for each. 

We will distribute this newsletter only via e-mail. If there are invalid e-mail addresses (“bounce-backs”), we will provide a letter notice than an e-mail was distributed and request an updated e-mail address. Hopefully, over time, we will have the ability to send electronic transmissions to all of our members. We envision newsletters that have not just articles but links to other newsworthy items concerning transportation planning. Let me know how this format works for you and how we could improve it. Your TPC leadership is continually trying to find the most effective ways to provide you, the TPC members, with valuable information.

ITE as an organization is going to be changing the way it communicates with its members in the coming months, better defining the roles and format for ITE Journal and the ITE Web site and making more use of electronic communication. Look for announcements in ITE Journal as well as more and better e-mails coming directly to you from ITE. 

A quick update on a TPC/ITE activity of interest to planners: the process of developing a Professional Transportation Planner (PTP) certification is underway. In June, a group that included members of the TPC Executive Committee met at ITE headquarters to work with a consulting firm that is developing the process. This first meeting was to initially define the knowledge areas that the exam would include and begin developing questions. Over the coming months, many others will be involved with refining the knowledge areas, adding more questions and completing beta testing. Review materials and information for potential applications will also be developed. ITE, along with APA, is hoping to have the PTP process ready for use in early 2007. You will be hearing more on this from the ITE staff.

Thanks to many of you for volunteering to prepare or participate in sessions for the ITE 2007 Technical Conference and Exhibit and the ITE 2007 Annual Meeting and Exhibit. Many of you provided information on innovative projects and are involved in topics of interest to others. Sharing with each other, as the awards finalists did in preparing the project summaries shown in this newsletter and on the Web site, and as others did in identifying ideas for meeting sessions, is a great way to benefit from our profession.

Transportation Planning Council's Leadership

Executive Committee:
Richard Hawthorne, Chairman
Don Samdahl, Immediate Past Chair
Daniel Hardy, Vice Chair

Ahmad Al-Akhras 
Barbara Schroeder
Wayne Berman 
Michael Skene 
James Lee 
Tad Widby
Larry Marcus 
Philip Winters 
Eric Schreffler 

 

BEST TRANSPORTATION PROGRAM AND PROJECT AWARDS
Ahmad Al-Akhras, Editor

The Transportation Planning Council annual Awards Program honors the outstanding program and project completed by a member (or member’s employer) during the previous year. Public agencies, consultants and others are encouraged to apply. For more information on the awards, visit www.ite.org/awards/index.asp.

For 2005, four programs and seven projects were recognized as finalists. In the Best Program Award, the “Seminole County Traffic Calming Program,” sponsored by Seminole County, FL, USA, was selected as the winning entry.

For the Best Project Award, the “Form-Based Code Study,” sponsored by the Grand Valley Metro Council of Grand Rapids, MI, USA, was the winner.

Summaries of all the finalists are included in this newsletter.

Complete article. 


PROGRAM AWARD FINALISTS—

SEMINOLE COUNTY TRAFFIC CALMING PROGRAM
Seminole County, FL

As a result of citizen interest in traffic calming, Seminole County developed a traffic calming program and handbook. The handbook provides information that assists residents and county staff in navigating the project submittal, review and approval process for the installation of traffic calming devices. The handbook contains information on the program, including a description/history of traffic calming; the county’s goals, objectives and policies; the project eligibility and approval/ranking process; and a description of approved traffic calming devices.

The goal of the program is to improve neighborhood livability and safety as well as the overall quality of residential life by reducing or mitigating the negative aspects of vehicular traffic, such as speeding, cut-through traffic and accident experience. The program is a part of the county’s commitment to make Seminole County the “natural choice” for its residents. 

Complete article.

MOVING NORTHWEST INDIANA FORWARD SUMMIT
Northwest Indiana Regional Planning Commission

Over 600 people at the Moving Northwest Indiana Forward Transportation Summit in November 2005 were able to express their views via interactive polling throughout the one-day event.

“We used a process for audience participation called key-pad polling,” said NIRPC Executive Director John Swanson. “This was a first for Northwest Indiana. We were very pleased with the number of people who used it, and the degree of interaction that took place between the attendees, the speakers and the elected officials who were there.”

The audience was asked to answer 60 questions on a wide range of topics about all forms of transportation, the region and investment strategies being considered by the Indiana Department of Transportation and the newly formed Regional Development Authority. Questions were also asked about each person so that we could see how representative the audience was of the region.

Complete article.

 

“RACKS WITH PLAQUES” PROGRAM
San Luis Obispo, CA

This innovative new program grew out a very difficult time for San Luis Obispo, CA,. Recent state budget takeaways as well as dwindling city revenues have required the city to close budget gaps of approximately $7 million of an annual $35 million operating budget over the past four years. As a result, many city programs were discontinued or under-funded. Such was the case for our general plan’s alternatives mode program.

Undaunted, transportation planning staff worked with an area innovator of a new bicycle rack design to develop an innovative new public-private participation program that allowed private individuals to donate bicycle racks throughout the city. In exchange, the sponsor receives a dedication plaque placed on the rack. This is simple, yet significant.

Figure 1: Innovative rack design reduces bicycle entanglement

Figure 1: Innovative rack design reduces bicycle entanglement

Complete article.

 

CUSTOMER SURVEYS IN AN ELECTRONIC TOLL COLLECTION ENVIRONMENT
MTA Bridges and Tunnels, New York

Toll authorities are, first and foremost, transportation providers. Therefore, information about customers' travel patterns and trip purposes is essential for effective project planning and better customer service. Yet the traditional methods for conducting origin and destination (O-D) and other customer surveys are often incompatible in an electronic toll collection (ETC) environment. 

To address this issue, B&T decided to conduct two separate parallel surveys: one for cash and one for E-ZPass. The cash survey was distributed in the toll plaza as in past years; the E-ZPass survey was distributed by mail, so E-ZPass customers' movement through the plazas would not be disrupted. To ensure that the resulting E-ZPass and cash survey data could be combined, the distribution of both cash and E-ZPass surveys had to be intricately linked together. 

Complete article.

 

PROJECT AWARD FINALISTS– 

 

FORM-BASED CODE STUDY
Grand Valley Metro Council
Grand Rapids, MI

In October 2005, Grand Valley Metro Council's (GVMC) Land Use Department in Grand Rapids, MI, completed its form-based code study. The report provides local governments a template for zoning ordinances that emphasizes the urban design of locations. This is a new approach to zoning that supports traditional town and city forms such as main streets, village greens and neighborhood centers. A copy of the study can be found at http://www.gvmc.org/landuse/formbasedcode.shtml 

Complete article.

 

DON VALLEY CORRIDOR TRANSPORTATION MASTER PLAN
City of Toronto, Canada

The Don Valley Corridor Transportation Master Plan (DVCTMP) provides a framework for a coordinated system approach to transportation improvements in the Don Valley Corridor, with the goal of improving person-carrying capacity throughout the corridor. The DVC extends from Lake Ontario to the northern city boundary at Steeles Avenue and into the neighboring region of York. The study was undertaken by the City of Toronto in collaboration with the Toronto Transit Commission, Government of Ontario (GO) Transit and York Region. 

The master plan approach used in undertaking this project is particularly significant to the Public Agency Council because it demonstrates the move toward sustainable transportation planning; the coordination of agency needs and resources; the development of a realistic and achievable action plan for implementation; and the integrated consultation with the communities and agencies affected throughout the corridor. 

Complete article.

 

TRANSPORTATION 2030—PLACEMAKING FOR PROSPERITY
Binghamton Metropolitan Transportation Study
Binghampton, NY

The Binghamton Metropolitan Transportation Study is the metropolitan planning organization (MPO) for the Binghamton, NY region. Among our responsibilities is the preparation of a long-range regional transportation plan. While initiating our 2005 update, a decision was made to use a new approach to the plan. Bolstered by a Federal Highway Administration peer exchange workshop held in Binghamton in 2004 (www.fhwa.dot.gov/planning/scenplan/nyscenplanrpt.htm), we chose to apply scenario planning to our update.

Instead of developing a list of projects that will create a better regional transportation system, this plan develops projects, programs and strategies that demonstrate how transportation investment can support community development goals. 

Complete article.

 

MIDDLE ANACOSTIA RIVER CROSSINGS TRANSPORTATION STUDY
District of Columbia Department of Transportation
Washington, DC

Starting in early 2004, the District Department of Transportation (DDOT), working with consultant KCI Associates, contributed to a major step in the far-reaching Anacostia Waterfront Initiative (AWI) through work on the Middle Anacostia River Crossings Transportation Study. AWI focuses on revitalizing neighborhoods, enhancing and protecting parks, improving water quality and increasing access to waterfront destinations to create an energized waterfront that will unify diverse areas with one of Washington, DC’s greatest natural assets, the Anacostia River.

Figure 2: Possible Anacostia River improvement alternatives

Figure 2: Possible Anacostia River improvement alternatives

In March 2005, Mayor Anthony Williams announced the dedication of local funding to complete the EIS, design and construction of this major transportation system improvement. Most of the near- and mid-term improvement recommendations have either been implemented or are currently in the final design phase, offering further evidence of the success of this transportation study.  The project website is located at www.macstudy.com.

Complete article.

COMPREHENSIVE TRANSPORTATION PLAN FOR THE 
DALLAS CENTRAL BUSINESS DISTRICT
Dallas, TX

The City of Dallas, Dallas County, Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) and the North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG) asked Jacobs to develop a comprehensive transportation plan for the Dallas central business district (CBD). The plan incorporates multimodal transportation systems to support a vision of downtown Dallas emphasizing residential growth, retail activity, pedestrian and transit mobility and all-day/all-week vitality. Our team implemented a robust public involvement process to articulate the vision for downtown Dallas and to evaluate the effectiveness of various transportation strategies as tools to achieve that vision. 

Complete article.

 

2030 METRO VISION REGIONAL TRANSPORTATION PLAN
Denver Regional Council of Governments
Denver, CO

Comprehensive multimodal corridor visions are an important component of the Denver Regional Council of Government’s 2030 “Metro Vision Regional Transportation Plan” (2030 MVRTP) that was adopted in 2005. The multimodal corridor visions were developed for 35 key transportation travel corridors through extensive outreach efforts and participation from local governments and partner transportation agencies. The geographic areas of the corridors were extended in width to cover wider travelsheds and to encompass land uses that would impact, and be impacted by, the many transportation facilities and services. With the expectation of an additional 1.2 million residents in the Denver region by 2030, it was important that the numerous local governments and agencies share common visions for how the growth will be accommodated. Exhibits displaying the multimodal corridor visions are available at the following Web site: www.drcog.org/index.cfm?page=RegionalTransportationPlan 

Complete article.

 

LELAND COLLECTOR STREET PLAN
Wilmington Urban Area Metropolitan Planning Organization
Leland, NC

With urban expansion and the proliferation of rooftops in suburban America, demand for new infrastructure is continual. Rural two-lane roads, which once catered to low volumes and an occasional tractor, are now relied on to serve neighborhood subdivisions and business parks as collector streets. With this inevitable growth, it can be difficult to identify who is responsible for maintaining these roadways and building new collector streets. Diminishing returns on the gas tax means most state DOTs can barely keep up with maintaining the arterial system, let alone the collector streets. More communities are either relying on the development community or undertaking the maintenance and upgrade of collector street systems themselves to provide for bicycle, pedestrian and aesthetic considerations. 

One community up for the challenge was Leland, NC. One of the fastest-growing communities in the state, Leland has experienced 143-percent growth over the past three years. The town’s lack of connectivity within the road system was forcing a reliance on major arterials, resulting in heavy commuter delays and reoccurring congestion. Citizens did not have quality options when traveling through Leland. The “Leland Collector Street Plan”  reflected the importance of integrating land use and transportation through recommendations for improved context sensitive design and the development of “complete streets” that improve circulation, safety and aesthetics of the roadway. 

Complete article.

A NOTE FROM ITE HEADQUARTERS

Welcome All New and Returning Members of the Transportation Planning Council! 

Your membership in the Transportation Planning Council will enable you to stay in sync with the latest advancements and evolving issues of concern to your area of expertise. Equally important, your membership also enables you to play a leadership role in the types of advancements made, and the identification and resolution of ITE issues of concern at both the local and national levels. The geographical diversity among ITE members provides a unique forum for the exchange of individual peer experiences and the evaluation of best practices. 

As a member of the Transportation Planning Council, in addition to receiving the newsletter addressing current technical and non-technical issues, you are able to stay up-to-date by proactively participating in:

  • Internet discussion groups, where matters of mutual concern are addressed (Contact Zach Pleasant (zpleasant@ite.org) to join the council listserv);

  • Working committees that focus on council related topics (See the listing of council projects at: www.ite.org/councils/projects/default.asp); 

  • Scheduled council meetings at the ITE Annual Meeting and Exhibit, during TRB week, and the ITE Technical Conference and Exhibit; and 

  • ITE Council meetings held at the ITE Annual Meeting and Exhibit—all members are welcome (www.ite.org/annualmeeting/councilmeetings.asp).

And, as a Transportation Planning Council member, you have access to all other ITE councils’ newsletters. They are available on each council’s page.

We look forward to your involvement in the Transportation Planning Council.


WEB SEMINARS OF INTEREST TO TPC MEMBERS

Context Sensitive Solutions (Special Discount for ITE Members)
Date: Thursday, August 3, 2006
Time: 2:00 p.m.–3:30 p.m. EST
Site Registration Fee: $50 ITE members/$275 non-ITE members per site 
Credit: 1.5 PDH/.15 IACET CEU 
Background: This course is intended to provide transportation engineers, urban planners, designers and other transportation professionals with an overview of the context sensitive solutions (CSS) design process. This course will introduce concepts as well as discuss a variety of tools now available to help in planning and designing context sensitive major urban thoroughfares for walkable communities including: basic planning and design principles and features for making thoroughfares and adjacent land uses more compatible; and a discussion of the framework of land use and thoroughfare characteristics from which cross-sections and designs are initiated. The presenters will provide both an overview and specific examples of a range of urban CSS applications for arterials and collectors in a variety of settings. The audience will gain an understanding of both process and design details. 

Complete Streets: Introduction and Context Web Briefing
Date: Wednesday, September 27, 2006 
Time: 12:00 p.m. (noon)–1:30 p.m. EST 
Site Registration Fee: $100
Credit: 1.5 PDH
Background: The goal of this Web briefing is to familiarize the audience with the concept and principles behind Complete Streets in two-parts. The first part of the briefing will give an overview of concepts including: the principle of complete streets, elements of a good complete streets policy and effective implementation of the policy. It will also highlight the differences and connections between complete streets and Context Sensitive Solutions (CSS) and how the complete streets policies can lead to CSS.

The second part of the seminar will involve a practitioner going into more detail about the elements of a complete street which often include sidewalks, bike lanes, visible crosswalks, refuge medians, sidewalk bulb-outs, extended pedestrian crossing times, pedestrian countdown clocks, accessible pedestrian signals and crosswalks at all bus stops. The presentation will also show visual examples of complete streets versus incomplete streets. 

Vehicle Infrastructure Integration (VII) Initiative Web Briefing 
Date: Wednesday, September 6, 2006
Time: 2:00 pm–3:30 p.m. EST
Credit: 1.5 PDH 
Background: In 2004, the US DOT began a new initiative based on crash prevention research conducted with the auto industry. The research concluded that if vehicles could communicate with the transportation infrastructure, the potential existed to significantly reduce crashes. The Vehicle Infrastructure Integration (VII) program grew from this research, and is a unique collaborative effort between the auto industry, state and local DOTs, AASHTO and US DOT. This presentation will describe how VII might be accomplished, the program underway to prove the technology and the potential benefits to state transportation agencies and local jurisdictions.

Be sure to also check out the article on the VII initiative in the August issue of the ITE Journal.

For more information and to register for Web seminars visit www.ite.org/education/webinars.asp. For questions about ITE’s professional development program, contact Aliyah N. Horton, Professional Development and Government Affairs Senior Director, 202-785-0060 ext. 137; ahorton@ite.org.