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Technical Guidance for SWCP 17 Identify Study Corridors Step Reason This step uses the criteria established to identify state-significant corridors and applies them either directly or with a weighting scheme to establish a prioritized list of corridors for study or analysis. 9. Applying the criteria This prioritization can be organized in absolute used to identify the ranking (e.g., 1 to 10) or possibly by tiers (e.g., 1 to corridor network, 5 in Tier 1, 6 to 14 in Tier 2, etc.). A tiered prioritize the corridors approach provides some flexibility in proceeding in order of greatest with corridor studies or analyses to best meet state urgency of need for a needs (e.g., any corridor study in Tier 1 should be comprehensive corridor undertaken as soon as possible). study or analysis. In some cases, numerical scoring does not reflect all of the factors that might influence the need for a particular corridor study; therefore, the state DOT should provide opportunities in the prioritization criteria to address other qualitative factors. In some cases, the corridor analysis might be very general, simply using readily available data (such as functional classification or traffic volumes) to identify problem areas and potential solutions without project-level detail. Thus, the state should be able to complete the corridor studies quickly. In other situations, a corridor study that produces 10. Establish a corridor very specific project recommendations (and study strategy and perhaps addresses environmental concerns, modal schedule to conduct alternatives, or other issues) will take a longer time corridor studies over a and most likely a larger budget. It is not likely that pre-determined cycle. a state DOT has the resources to conduct numerous comprehensive corridor studies at the same time. The SWCP process is a continuous one that cycles through different corridors over many years. This step may require a multi-year strategy for undertaking major studies of all corridors listed as part of the study prioritization process. 11. Coordinate with the state DOT's planning This step identifies the study management partners in establishing responsibility and the roles of each agency, as well study roles and as the budget contribution of the participating responsibilities. If partners. Often, the state DOT itself would manage necessary, establish a a corridor study. However, the lead agency might memorandum of also be an MPO, an RPO, or a modal agency. For understanding to define example, in urban areas having multimodal needs, the respective roles. it is likely that MPOs and transit agencies would be partners in corridor studies. Conduct Corridor Studies (Elements Related to the SWCP Approach) Establish Organizing Principles and Institutional Structure Step Reason Statewide plan development may rely heavily on corridor studies that have been done previously. 12. Define level of corridor Such studies for other corridors can be costly and analysis to be used in time consuming, so conducting timely studies for the corridor study all corridors may not be feasible for plan process. development. Other methods may allow a state DOT to address all corridors in a shorter timeframe and at a lower cost (see Appendix B), so the level of effort should be defined at the outset. However, major corridor studies may eventually be desired for all corridors in the SWCP process, so much of this guidance has been developed to address that expectation.
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18 A Guidebook for Corridor-Based Statewide Transportation Planning Step Reason Given the importance of corridor study results to the statewide transportation planning process, it is important that similar management structures be used in all of the studies. For example, a standard procedure might include both a DOT district and central planning staff member for each corridor study to promote consistency with state guidelines. The project decision team or advisory groups could 13. Establish a common also include representatives from transit agencies; corridor study other modal agencies (e.g., a port or airport management or authority); regional planning organizations; advisory structure to be industry stakeholders; local governments; and so used for corridor forth. studies. If the study includes a preliminary environmental assessment for larger scale projects, it could be worthwhile to include representatives from environmental resource agencies or interests as a member of the advisory structure. This step does not require that every corridor management structure will be the same. Indeed, they will most likely be different, given the different contexts and constituencies found in each corridor. Every corridor study has some form of public involvement, local consultation, and resource agency coordination aimed at soliciting input into 14. Incorporate issues of the study. Major state issues need to be addressed state significance into in these efforts. Many studies develop the public public involvement involvement strategy as part of the initial steps in materials and outreach planning. Materials are produced for public efforts. dissemination and presentations are prepared for public meetings. It is important that the materials used in this program reflect the issues of state significance that have been identified a priori. Identification of Vision, Goals, and Performance Measures Step Reason 15. Prepare and use This step is very important for establishing the templates that can be crucial state issues to be addressed in the corridor incorporated into the study. It is not likely that the vision and goals vision, goals, and statement would be significantly different from performance measures those produced by the corridor study, anyway. identified for each However, a set of common performance measures corridor study that for all corridor studies is crucial for establishing reflect state interests. statewide consistency. The state template would be included in the process guidelines adopted at the beginning of the SWCP effort. Problem Identification Step Reason State DOTs often have some policy or problem 16. Prepare and use areas that merit more detailed attention. One way of templates that can be accomplishing this is to require one or more incorporated into the performance measures unique to the specific problem identification problem area. However, another way is to require phase of the corridor specific types of performance issues or even planning process strategies. For example, a state DOT could require relating to policy or identification of problem areas that affect freight problem areas of state movement, place first priority on pavement and significance. bridge condition, or provide a standard method for consideration of transit options.
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Technical Guidance for SWCP 19 Step Reason This step provides an early warning system for projects that might need extra attention due to 17. Identify potential environmental harm. Many DOTs have environmentally adopted procedures and processes aimed at sensitive areas in which avoiding, minimizing, or mitigating environmental extra effort must be impacts. This step could be implemented through made to consider state guidelines on what to look for in corridor potential impacts that studies to identify environmental "hotspots." This could result in guidance could also provide information on NEPA environmental harm. and state environmental law provisions that should be considered as the corridor study proceeds. Alternatives Identification and Analysis Step Reason As a follow-up to the identification of common problem areas, this step identifies the types of 18. Identify the types of alternatives or strategies that should be considered alternatives that are of in the corridor study. For example, the state DOT interest to the state could require the consideration of operations DOT and include them strategies before more capital-intensive actions are in the SWCP process undertaken; the DOT might require the guidelines. identification of opportunities for using ITS technologies or consideration of transit strategies in highly urbanized corridors. 19. Establish common This step promotes consistency among the corridor standards or studies by providing common standards or tools approaches for that can be used in the corridor analysis. For analyzing specific types example, if a statewide travel demand model exists, of alternatives, use of the statewide model estimates in the travel especially those corridor could be recommended. Similarly, identified as being of economic analysis tools (such as REMI or HERS) state interest. could also be required as standard procedures in the study process to determine relative economic benefits. Project and Corridor Evaluation Step Reason Given the importance of the evaluation results to prioritizing projects from different corridor studies, 20. Establish a set of this step will ensure that a subset of the corridor common evaluation study evaluation criteria will be common for all criteria on state issues studies. However, some "types" of corridors may of greatest concern. have very specific criteria related to the context of a particular study (e.g., tourism, freight, environmental sensitivity, etc.). This step will specify the use of common evaluation methods for comparative assessment of the alternatives under consideration. For example, the use of benefit/cost analysis might be required 21. Identify common for all major projects, which could give a consistent methods to be used in basis for comparing projects from different corridor evaluation. studies (such as for safety projects), or the same scoring scheme could be applied for assigning assessment values to categories of projects or potential environmental or community impacts. 22. Provide guidance or a One of the most important steps (but one that is template on the most often done inconsistently) is the estimation of assumptions and project costs. To compare project viability among approaches to be used corridors and projects, it is important to provide a in estimating project common approach for estimating project costs. costs.