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3-2 Guidebook for Freight Policy, Planning, and Programming in Small- and Medium-Sized Metropolitan Areas Once the STIP is approved by FHWA and FTA, improvement projects can move to the imple- mentation stage. 3. UPWP. The UPWP is the management plan for an MPO. It identifies and schedules all of the planning activities that need to be accomplished on an annual basis. It integrates policy, plan- ning, and programming activities. It includes the activities previously defined on an annual work program cycle, as appropriate. It is critical that freight-related activities be integrated into the UPWP development process, because this is where the actual allocation of staff and funding resources occurs. Finally, it is important for users to keep in mind that freight planning should be entered into as an evolutionary and dynamic process that provides MPO staff and the regional partners with the opportunity to build their knowledge and expertise iteratively over time. Therefore, as ini- tial freight planning activities are identified, it is helpful to keep in mind what the complete process might look like if the program was developed sequentially, from start to finish. Module 4 provides a step-by-step list of activities developed in support of the Guidebook to illustrate a comprehensive freight program. This section also provides users with a case study example of a freight program developed in this way. Overview of Freight Policy, Planning, and Programming Guidelines Specific guidelines are provided for each of the 13 freight planning subject areas listed in Table 3.1. Each section contains the following five subsections: · Overview. The subject area is described, including the reason it is important and the approach the Guidebook takes to address it. · Basic versus Advanced Approach. For each subject area, users are provided with basic and advanced approaches for implementation. This section briefly describes the distinction between the two. · Key Activities. This section presents the actual guidelines for the basic and advanced approaches. For each approach a summary of key issues is given. A "snapshot" of information is also pro- vided. These snapshots contain information on the estimated level of effort, technical complex- ity, and data, outreach, and training needs related to each set of guidelines. These snapshots enable users to quickly scan basic and advanced approaches to find the approach that best suits their needs and resources. Table 3.2 shows the information provided in these snapshots. · Common Issues and Potential Solutions. This section describes some of the key issues or challenges that users will face while implementing the guidelines and provides some potential solutions. Developing a Freight Policy Directive Overview The freight policy directive represents the activities required to establish the content and direc- tion of an MPO's freight program. As part of these activities, MPO staff will work to develop a mission statement, goals, objectives, and policies to guide freight program development. At some MPOs, development of policy components is controlled by the governing boards, who rely on staff to support and implement the policies after they have been adopted. In other locations, the process is more iterative between staff and board members. These components provide a frame- work for how funding and staff resources will be allocated to conduct freight planning activities
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Integrating Freight into MPO Activities 3-3 Table 3.1. Description of guidebook subject areas. Subject Area Description Freight Policy Directive · The policies set by an MPO drive the direction and content of its transportation program and can provide a frame- work for how staff and funding resources will be allocated to conduct freight planning activities. The guidelines provided in this section address the development and inclusion of freight-specific goals, objectives, and policies in the transportation program. Regional Freight Profile · A freight profile provides a description and analysis of the existing conditions in a region. It functions as the key data source for many other activities and provides educational material for staff, partners, and the public. The guidelines provided in this section define the elements and activities necessary to develop a regional freight profile. Freight Needs and · The identification of needs and deficiencies specific to freight operations is a critical element in the planning process. Deficiencies This activity provides the data and information necessary to begin to identify and develop potential improvement projects. The guidelines in this section define the processes that can be used to identify freight needs and deficiencies. Freight LRP Element · The projects selected and implemented by an MPO are first identified and defined as part of its LRTP. It is critical that freight considerations be integrated into this process. The guidelines provided in this section define ways to develop a freight-specific element within this process. Freight Project Identification · Once the needs and deficiencies have been defined, specific projects must be identified and developed. In many instances, freight-specific elements can be integrated into other transportation projects, such as a roadway corridor study as part of one or more alternatives. Other projects may be exclusively developed to address freight needs. The guidelines provided in this section define the processes available to identify freight-specific projects. Freight Analysis in Corridor · Corridor-specific initiatives represent major investment decisions by MPO staff and partners, including detailed Plans/Studies alternatives analysis. To effectively address regional freight mobility issues, it is important to include freight needs as part of these activities. The guidelines provided in this section define ways to effectively integrate freight into the standard activities. Freight Project Evaluation · Once projects have been identified and defined, it is critical that there be a process that allows staff to evaluate each Criteria project on its own merits and compare it with other freight projects and other transportation projects. The results of this activity facilitate the advancement of the project into an MPO's TIP. The guidelines in this section provide ways to develop and use freight project evaluation criteria. Freight Performance · Performance measures have become a critical element for many transportation planning activities. Understanding Measures how well a program works or how effective a project is at meeting its goals is necessary to ensure staff is investing in projects and processes that enhance the existing system. The guidelines provided in this section define processes for evaluating freight projects using performance measures. Funding and Innovative · Funding is an issue for all MPOs and taking on a new area, such as freight planning, without a dedicated funding Financing Techniques source further complicates this issue. There are opportunities available to fund freight projects, such as CMAQ, bonds, and other public-private partnerships. The guidelines in this section provide options for identifying and accessing the types of funding opportunities that exist for freight transportation investments. Freight Project Impact · Freight projects, like all other transportation projects, must take into consideration the impacts they have on local Assessment and regional communities. These include factors such as economic development, the environment, environmental justice, and land use/permitting. The guidelines provided in this section define methods for conducting these assessment activities. Data and Analytical Tools · Data and analytical tools feed all transportation policy, planning, and programming activities. They provide the information and processes necessary to develop profiles, identify, and evaluate solutions, monitor progress over time, and educate partners. Specific references to data and analytical tools are provided within each subject area. The guidelines provided in this section define the effective use of data and tools and reflect the need for integration with others. Training and Education · Training and education are critical elements of effective freight transportation planning. Many staff, partners, and the public have limited experience in the area of freight transportation and related needs and investments. To build support for and expertise in freight transportation activities, it is important to include training and education in each activity and as a stand alone process. Specific references to training and education are provided within each subject area. The guidelines provided in this section define the overall training and education activities. Outreach and Partnerships · Outreach and partnerships, in part, are directly related to education. These activities focus on data collection, dissemination of information, and development of partnerships. Effectively engaging partners and impacted com- munities is a critical element, because it provides the opportunity to build support and mediate conflicts. Specific references to outreach and partnerships are provided within each subject area. The guidelines provided in this section define the overall training and education activities.
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3-4 Guidebook for Freight Policy, Planning, and Programming in Small- and Medium-Sized Metropolitan Areas Table 3.2. Sample freight planning snapshot. Activity: · One of the 13 subject areas Activity Type: · Policy, Planning, or Programming Level of Effort: · The relative level of effort (staff time, cost, etc.) is provided for each individual or group of steps or actions. The level of effort is described as low, medium, or high. Each of these rankings is defined to provide an order of magnitude estimate. Please note that the level of effort will likely vary based on the resources, staff, and experience of each MPO. · Low, Moderate, or High Technical Complexity: · The technical complexity of an activity is an important ele- ment. It can directly impact training requirements, use of more elaborate data or tools, and require consulting assistance. As such, each guideline or group of guidelines is categorized with an order of magnitude ranking of low, medium, or high. · Low, Moderate, or High Data/Analytical Tool Needs: · The data and analytical tool requirements for a specific guide- line represent critical components and are identified for each guideline or group of guidelines. · Low, Moderate, or High Outreach/Partnerships Needs: · Outreach and partnership activities are often important ele- ments of specific activities and are identified for each guide- line or group of guidelines. · Low, Moderate, or High Training/Education Needs: · Training and education activities can impact other activities and are identified for each guideline or group of guidelines. · Low, Moderate, or High Related Activities: · Identifies key policy, planning, and programming activities that impact or are impacted by this subject area. and can guide specific freight planning activities undertaken by MPO staff. The policy directive should accurately reflect the level of effort staff anticipates giving to freight policy, planning, and programming activities. In addition, the freight policy directive should be developed to be con- sistent with and complementary to the MPO's existing transportation plans and policies. The purpose of the freight policy directive is to ensure that MPO leadership and staff agree upon the direction of freight planning program and to ensure that the region's transportation system ade- quately meets the needs of industry while minimizing impacts on other stakeholders. Basic versus Advanced Approach The development of an effective freight policy directive can be accomplished in a variety of ways. Initial work in this area can be accomplished at a basic level. This can consist of incorpo- rating the term freight into existing transportation policy language to encourage an increased recognition and sensitivity to freight operations. The basic approach focuses on calling out both passenger and freight within established goals and objectives, as appropriate. A more advanced approach could involve more extensive outreach and focus groups with a diverse set of freight stakeholders to develop a set of freight-specific policies. The advanced approach focuses on the development of goals and objectives that specifically address regional freight issues. These would become additional goals and objectives or represent a subset of goals and objectives that feed into and support the overall program.
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Integrating Freight into MPO Activities 3-5 Key Activities The development of a freight policy directive should be undertaken at the onset of freight transportation program development. The goals, objectives, and policies that will be developed will impact all subsequent freight activities. As part of this process, MPO staff will work inter- nally with staff that has long been involved in policy development as part of long-range planning activities and the overall MPO mission. In addition, it will be necessary to reach out to political and technical leaders to build support for freight planning. More advanced activities will include outreach to community and industry partners. The overall objective of this activity should be to successfully integrate freight language into the established transportation program to ensure long-term investment decisions focus on a balanced, multimodal transportation system that meets the needs of both passenger and freight movements. Basic Approach Activity · Developing a Freight Policy Directive--Basic Activity Type · Policy Level of Effort · Low Technical Complexity · Low Data/Analytical Tool Needs · Low. Requires the collection and review of existing policy language. Outreach/Partnership Needs · Low. Requires internal staff coordination. Training/Education Needs · Low. Requires staff to begin building basic freight knowledge; should explore resources available from FHWA. · http://ops.fhwa.dot.gov/freight/FPD/index.asp Related Activities · Provides foundation for all subsequent freight planning activities. Key activity: Incorporate freight-specific language into existing transportation program language. Step 1. Review existing LRP goals, objectives, and policies. Staff should review existing long- range planning documents to better understand how freight already may be incorporated within the MPO's goals, objectives, and policies. This review of existing policy language will allow staff to determine existing levels of freight sensitivity. Step 2. Develop freight-specific language. Based on the Step 1 review, staff should identify opportunities to include freight-specific references. This could consist of calling out "freight" in areas of overall transportation system performance, such as mobility, congestion, and so forth. For example, an MPO goal of "Improve mobility" could be changed to "Improve mobility of peo- ple and goods." Step 3. Incorporate freight language into LRP as amendment or as part of next update. Once the freight language has been drafted, staff will need to build consensus and support for the modifications. The freight enhancement language can be integrated as an amendment or as part of the next scheduled LRP update. Advanced Approach Activity · Developing a Freight Policy Directive--Advanced Activity Type · Policy Level of Effort · Moderate to High
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3-6 Guidebook for Freight Policy, Planning, and Programming in Small- and Medium-Sized Metropolitan Areas Technical Complexity · Moderate Data/Analytical Tool Needs · Moderate. Requires review of existing policy language; collection of data to support development of new language. Outreach/Partnership Needs · Moderate. Requires discussions with private sector freight stakeholders to facilitate development of freight policies. Training/Education Needs · Low. Requires staff to begin building basic freight knowledge; should explore resources available from FHWA. · http://ops.fhwa.dot.gov/freight/FPD/index.asp Related Activities · Provides foundation for all subsequent freight planning activities. Key activity: Develop freight-specific goals, objectives, and policies for inclusion in the existing transportation program. Step 1. Establish outreach program (politicians, general public, and industry) to gather input from key decision-makers and system users. To develop freight policy language that ade- quately reflects a region's needs, it is necessary to gather input from a full range of transporta- tion system stakeholders, particularly the private sector freight community, who are the primary users of the freight system. Guidance on how to engage the private sector is provided later in this module (see section on Outreach and Partnerships). Step 2. Develop freight-specific goals, objectives, and policies. Based upon the input from key stakeholders, specific language can be developed to enhance and expand current policies. The following are examples of freight policy statements: · Enhance connections between the current modal networks to improve the functioning of the overall system; · Manage the heavy demands placed on the regional infrastructure, by balancing the needs of freight and passenger traffic; · Remove specific constraints that act as bottlenecks in the modal networks, such as clearance restrictions on roadway and rail links; · Expand goods access to key regional demand centers through improved freight management, operations, and freight-friendly infrastructure; · Improve the array of transportation options available to regional freight users; and · Ensure that the regional transportation system is safe and secure for both passenger and freight traffic. Step 3. Conduct focus group to build consensus and refine. Once the freight-specific language has been drafted, it is important to take it back to the impacted communities to ensure buy-in and support. This focus group could be formal (e.g., a public meeting) or informal (e.g., visits to indi- vidual stakeholders or stakeholder groups). Step 4. Incorporate or integrate material into overall transportation program. The final step in the process is to formally adopt the new language into the LRP and other agency policy documents. This incorporation will ensure that the language is reflected in transportation deci- sions, and that it is updated regularly. Common Issues and Potential Solutions While the development of freight policy material relies on fairly straightforward actions, there are a few challenges that most MPOs will have to deal with, such as building support both inter- nally and externally and engaging private partners. The following summarizes these challenges and provides some potential solutions.