SSTI’s March 2017 webinar looked at emerging tools and data for measuring accessibility, along with ways of operationalizing these measures in planning, project evaluation, equity analysis, and design. Putting these measures into practice can present its own challenges, but interested agencies don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Virginia’s Smart Scale requires transportation projects to be scored based on six criteria — including accessibility — to qualify for funding. Over the past several years, VDOT, Renaissance Planning Group, Citilabs, and SSTI have worked to improve the methods and processes for measuring accessibility and scored hundreds of proposed projects.
Planners and transportation professionals are moving toward measures of accessibility to describe how well a transportation system lets people meet a variety of daily needs — e.g. getting to work, shopping, and socializing. As useful as these measures can be, data and technology have just recently made them widely available and easy to use. That leaves many key questions about operationalizing them. SSTI, Renaissance Planning Group, and Citilabs are working throughout the U.S. to develop tools, standards, and practices needed to operationalize accessibility measures in different applications including planning, project evaluation, equity analysis, and design. This work has also led to the development of two distinct measures representing both work and non-work accessibility.
DOTs have very limited resources available to explore projects falling outside of their core responsibility of providing safe and efficient transportation facilities. Learning from the experiences of those DOTs that have already worked through issues associated with renewable energy facilities in the ROW can enable agencies embarking on these projects to save time and money, and avoid potential pitfalls. In this webinar, you can hear from Allison Hamilton, the Oregon Solar Highway Program Manager; and Lily Oliver, Solar Photovoltaic Energy Program Manager at MassDOT about their states’ experiences with solar energy along highways. FHWA staff will also join us to answer questions about federal resources and support for these programs.
In May 2016, Arizona DOT issued their long-awaited Complete Transportation Guidebook, which they view as a conversation about sustainable transportation. It includes tools for local partners to work and plan with ADOT on flexibility in speed and other roadway design elements, interacting with other modes of transportation, and more emphasis on complete streets than had been previously present in their official publications. This guidebook recognizes that lane widths and other design standards should be different in dense urban settings than in rural areas with little development. But their “main lines” often become “main streets” when they come into cities and towns, so the same road be built differently to meet the community context.
SSTI’s summer 2016 Community of Practice meeting will be held July 27-28, 2016 The meetings focus on peer-to-peer interaction between CEOs of state departments of transportation. These meetings allow attendees to share ideas and learn from one another’s experiences leading state DOTs. The meeting is open to state DOT CEOs and is by-invitation to others. For more information, contact Eric Sundquist, email@example.com.
The first round of Virginia’s groundbreaking project-selection process, SmartScale, has just concluded. It was not only a technical success in ranking projects across modes and regions, but was also a political success, satisfying critical stakeholders including legislators. Even before any of the projects were awarded, the process resulted in creative thinking and right-sizing that saved millions of dollars. After a few improvements, including a platform for assessing accessibility that will be available to practitioners across the state, SmartScale’s second round is scheduled to begin later this year.
Tennessee DOT and SSTI hosted a meeting for senior state DOT staff with key responsibilities for sustainability. The meeting both explored topics related to implementing sustainable practices and other topics suggested by the sustainability directors network. If you or someone in your organization is interested in attending future meetings, contact Eric Sundquist, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anonymous GPS data can now let planners and transportation providers better understanding trip-making patterns without relying on surveys, traffic counts, or travel demand models. Join us to learn how SSTI used the data to find opportunities for managing demand and improving connectivity through relatively small investments in Northern Virginia.
Policy-makers, planners, and project developers have long known that speed of traffic on road segments is a crude measure of success in getting people and goods to their destinations. A better measure would be accessibility, which takes into account the distance of trips as well as travel speed. However, until recently use of this metric has been mainly relegated to research. New tools now make it readily available to practitioners. SSTI will demonstrate some types of analyses that can improve investment decisions. As part of their move towards a performance-based planning framework, USDOT has also been moving beyond road conditions and travel speed since those measures fail to adequately measure how well the system provides access to jobs, schools, healthcare, shopping, friends, and critical destinations. USDOT is calling this ability to access to essential services and destinations affordably and efficiently connectivity, and they are supporting a significant body of research in order to improve the state of practice in understanding how to measure connectivity.
M2D2 is a technical assistance approach that helps transportation agencies meet changing demands on their systems by building internal capacity to plan, design, construct, operate, and maintain context-sensitive transportation networks that work for all modes of travel. Through a series of workshops, agencies can identify ways to update documents and decision-making approaches to meet and balance the needs of motorists, freight handlers, bicyclists, pedestrians, transit riders, and other travelers in a variety of contexts.