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MODULE 4 Putting It All Together The objective of this Guidebook is to provide small- and medium-sized MPOs with a set of guidelines to support the development and implementation of a freight planning program. It is meant to expand on the freight planning emphasis of ISTEA, TEA-21, and SAFETEA-LU to pro- vide specific actions that MPOs should take to initiate a freight transportation planning program. Although most MPOs will not undertake all the sequential steps required to develop a program of this type all at once, it is imperative that staff understand how the components it undertakes fit into the overall picture of a comprehensive freight program. Table 4.1 provides a list of steps that constitute a comprehensive metropolitan freight plan- ning program. Staff should refer to this list as it develops initial activities; then, with each sub- sequent update, the process should evolve toward a complete program. The Florida DOT, District 4 has spent the last several years developing a regional freight trans- portation program. As part of this program, it has supported freight initiatives by its MPOs. As part of the freight program development, the District developed a comprehensive freight pro- gram procedure. The following text box and Figure 4.1 summarize this procedure. Although the District operates differently than MPOs, the procedure was developed to support a regional pro- gram. Today, most MPOs recognize the importance of work within a regional framework. Fur- ther, MPOs throughout Florida have been challenged to develop regional transportation programs through partnerships with other MPOs and regional partners to qualify for a new funding program administered by the state. The following procedure addresses the basics of freight transportation that apply to MPOs and regional DOT offices. 4-1
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Table 4.1. Steps to develop a freight program. Step Description Step 1 Assign a Freight "Lead" or POC. · A freight technical lead should be designated within the MPO. This POC will be the liaison between the MPO and the freight industry, between the MPO's various transportation initiatives, and between the MPO and other agencies and stakeholders. The time commitment of this position will be determined by the magnitude of the MPO's freight program. However, time commitments should be made in the MPO's UPWP on an annual basis. Step 2 Establish Goals and Objectives for · Freight goals and objectives should be developed as one of the first steps of a freight program. The Freight Program. goals and objectives will be refined as the freight program is developed. However, the individual freight planning activities described in this Guidebook will be directed by the preliminary goals and objectives. Step 3 Develop a Regional Freight Profile. · It is important to quantify the physical and operational characteristics of a region's freight system and supporting market forces. This should include the collection of qualitative and quantitative data from industry representatives through surveys, interviews, or both. Step 4 Engage the Private Sector. · The private sector freight industry should be given the opportunity to contribute to the freight pro- gram development throughout the process. This should include informal outreach to stakeholders through interviews, surveys, workshops, and/or formalized inclusion through the formation of a freight steering or advisory committee. Step 5 Define Freight · The region's freight issues, needs, and deficiencies should be identified based on a review of the Issues/Needs/Deficiencies. physical and operational data provided in Step 3. In addition, data should be collected from the region's freight stakeholders (planners, carriers, shippers, manufacturers, and others) through partnership building activities conducted in Step 4.
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Step 6 Key Decision Point. · Steps 1 through 5 provide a preliminary program direction, a description of the freight system, and an identification of the region's freight needs and deficiencies. At this point in the process, the MPO should review the results of the previous steps to determine appropriate next steps; specifically, what type of freight program is appropriate for the region? Some MPOs may find that all their freight issues are roadway-related and already are being addressed within their existing transporta- tion program. Those MPOs should conduct Steps 1 through 6 on an annual basis as part of their general transportation planning activities. Other MPOs may have larger or more complicated issues that require a formal continuation of program development, which can be accomplished by undertaking Steps 7 through 14. Step 7 Refine Program Goals and · At this critical step in the process, the preliminary goals and objectives established in Step 2 should Objectives. be reviewed to incorporate the specific flavor of the program based on the Step 6 evaluation. Step 8 Develop Ongoing Freight Data · The freight planning program must have an ongoing, reliable stream of data and information to Collection/Tool Development and drive the analyses that allow for project identification and evaluation. This is important even for Improvement Program. those MPOs that may not be developing a full, comprehensive freight program using Steps 7 through 14. A data collection program can be as simple as collecting truck counts regularly, collecting infor- mation from freight stakeholders on key freight issues or bottlenecks, or updating port throughput numbers on an annual basis. Alternatively, it could be much more complicated, using truck trip dia- ries, commodity flow data purchases, or other techniques. Step 9 Establish Performance Measures. · Performance measures are necessary for the ongoing evaluation of how well the freight planning program is addressing its goals and objectives. Because data collection activities are a key compo- nent of performance measure development, this step should follow Step 8. In fact, based on the identified performance measures, staff should review the results of Step 8 to ensure the data collec- tion program will provide all necessary data before advancing to Step 10. Step 10 Identify Freight Projects and · MPO staff should work with regional freight stakeholders to identify potential freight projects for Strategies of Regional Significance. inclusion in the MPO transportation program. These could be infrastructure projects or operational strategies, such as truck network designations, to address the needs identified in Step 5 and the goals and objectives refined in Step 7. (continued on next page)
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Table 4.1. (Continued). Step Description Step 11 Develop Criteria with Which to · The projects identified in Step 10 need to be ranked and prioritized before they can be integrated into Evaluate Freight Projects and Strategies. the traditional transportation documents, including LRTPs, TIPs, and UPWPs. Freight-specific crite- ria should be developed to evaluate and rank these projects. These criteria should deal specifically with freight issues, however, ultimately they should be incorporated into existing MPO project evaluation and prioritization processes. Step 12 Integrate Freight Projects and · The ultimate goal of an integrated freight program is to successfully integrate freight needs and pro- Needs into Existing Planning Programs. jects into the project development and implementation processes within an MPO. This is accomplished through the development of freight or intermodal elements of an LRTP, the programming of freight projects in a TIP, or a specific line item for a freight staff person in the UPWP. Step 13 Fund and Deploy Projects. · Project delivery helps to legitimize a freight planning program and energize the private sector. Deploying successful freight improvement projects also can maintain momentum for an MPO freight planning program. Step 14 Develop Process for Regular · Any freight planning program must be updated on a regular basis. Once integrated into the existing Update of the Freight Program. transportation program within an MPO, the freight planning program should be reevaluated to ensure that it is meeting the freight needs of the MPO. Steps 1 through 5 should be completed and coordinated with every LRTP update to ensure the project development, selection, and ranking activities take place in a timely manner for incorporation into the LRTP. Regular completion of these initial steps will help freight planning programs evolve and continue to meet the needs of small- and medium-sized metropolitan areas.
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Putting It All Together 4-5 Freight Planning Process Education and Outreach Quick Start Action Items Establish goals and objectives Develop public education/ Assign/identify key district staff of freight program outreach program to champion program development Develop an inventory of the freight system Develop "quick fix" program to Promote "quick fix" program to address smaller projects and illustrate maintain private sector interest commitment to industry Define freight data requirements Establish industry based committee Develop ongoing freight data Solicit participation in freight to provide regular input to freight collection/data improvement program technical advisory committee planning initiatives Identify needs and deficiencies of the freight system Develop education material and Assess condition of program to address public intermodal connectors safety concerns Determine roles and responsibilities of District 4 Define role in region and coordinate/ Ensure close coordination and communicate with other agencies participation in statewide Identify freight projects in southeast Florida freight initiatives of district significance Integrate freight projects into existing Develop scope of work and transportation planning programs Provide ongoing support and schedule for program development (SIS, MPO plans, port/airport master resources to local planning agencies plans, existing district programs) Fund and deploy Identify technical resources freight projects and funding for deployment Figure 4.1. Example of freight planning program development. (Florida Department of Transportation, District 4)
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4-6 Guidebook for Freight Policy, Planning, and Programming in Small- and Medium-Sized Metropolitan Areas Florida DOT, District 4--Development of Regional Freight Program Procedure The Florida DOT, District 4, has undertaken several freight initiatives over the last several years to define the regional freight system, document key needs, and begin to identify and develop potential improvements. These activities consisted of the following: outreach to regional freight stakeholders through freight plan- ning workshops; development of a GIS-based truck volume database and mapping program; active participation in statewide freight initiatives; and ongoing support and guidance to local regional partner initiatives (MPO freight studies, freight cor- ridor analyses, etc.). With the completion of these activities, the District freight champion led the development of a regional freight program procedure to inte- grate work to date and ensure the future work would drive the development of a comprehensive program. Figure 4.1 illustrates the resulting freight program pro- cedure. This program focuses on three categories of activities. 1. Freight Planning Process. This theme defines the major steps required to establish a freight program. It starts with definitions of goals and objectives and ends with funded deployed projects. 2. Education and Outreach. This theme addresses the recommended activities to educate the general public and specific freight stakeholders and provide opportunities for their participation in development of the freight program. 3. Quick Start Action Items. This theme defines the immediate action items sug- gested to get the process started. It defines the key first steps for the freight planning process, such as identifying a staff champion and developing the program's scope. It also highlights a few key areas that should be jump started without waiting for the full program development, such as assessing current intermodal connectors. These quick start action items are also an effective way to engage the private sector freight industry to encourage their initial and long-range participation in the program.