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SECTION 4 Hypothetical Example: Application of SWCP Guidance to the State of South Orange This section presents an application of the above guidelines to the planning process in a hypothetical state DOT. The hypothetical example describes the thinking process of the state DOT planning director as an SWCP approach was incorporated into the statewide transportation planning process. Characteristics of the state DOT technical guidance provided to regional planning agencies and consultants are also described. SWCP in the State of South Orange The state of South Orange has decided to restructure its statewide transportation planning process as an SWCP approach. One primary reason was that the Governor and the Secretary of the South Orange DOT (SODOT) decided that the level of information on relative project benefits was inadequate to determine the most cost-effective set of state priorities. Also, since a requirement was established by the SODOT Transportation Commission for a fiscally constrained STIP, SODOT officials needed to have realistic and reliable information on project costs that could be best estimated at the corridor level. SODOT officials used a newly released technical guidance document on how to establish an SWCP process in response to the Governor's and Secretary's request. The following case study describes the steps that were taken. Establish Organizing Principles and Institutional Structure The Secretary tasked the Director of the SODOT Bureau of Transportation Planning with the responsibility of developing the overall approach to SWCP. One of the first decisions made by the Director was that a process guidebook had to be developed that would provide information on the approach to be followed by regional planning agencies or consultants when undertaking a corridor planning study. Figure 2 was prepared to illustrate the relationships between a corridor plan and other products of the statewide transportation planning process. As shown, corridor planning was intended to feed into The statewide transportation plan; SODOT's modal plans that focused on state rail, aviation, transit, bicycle/pedestrian trans- portation, and highways; System management strategies that would improve traffic flow on the state's highway network; and The fiscally constrained STIP. 21

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22 A Guidebook for Corridor-Based Statewide Transportation Planning SODOT Transportation Plan Modal Plans Local Corridor Plans Plans Non-Project Strategies Management Corridor Preservation Maintenance Land Use Policies Operations Growth Management System Management Access Management etc. Statewide Transportation Improvement Program Project Development Source: Based on Idaho DOT's Guidebook on Corridor Planning (2006). Figure 2. Relationship between corridor plans and SODOT activities. The approved SWCP process guidelines included the following requirements: The corridor study goals shall include statewide transportation goals adopted by the Trans- portation Commission and incorporated into the latest update of the South Orange Long Range Statewide Transportation Plan. SODOT has identified the following issues and solution strategies of statewide significance that should be considered in the corridor study methodology: Enhancing statewide and urban mobility; Enhancing the connectivity of the state with special attention given to rural areas; Providing safe and reliable access from the state's military bases to major ports; Providing safe and reliable evacuation routes from the state's coasts to inland areas; Reducing the number and severity of crashes on the state's road network (the Governor is chairman of the National Governors' Association task force on road safety); Improving the movement of freight and goods in South Orange, especially access to major freight intermodal terminals; and Applying, where appropriate, ITS technologies to the state's transportation system. SODOT has been a national leader in developing and implementing a state ITS infrastructure that has so far been primarily focused in the state's urban areas. Public and stakeholder involvement shall occur throughout the process. It is expected that a high-level stakeholder group will be formed early in the study to advise on the overall planning process, as well as provide input on the corridor selection criteria and network definition. As the individual corridor studies are conducted, many more opportunities will be provided for public and stakeholder involvement, with regional and local planning agencies taking the lead. SODOT has an established policy of holding regional forums preceding the Transportation

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Hypothetical Example: Application of SWCP Guidance to the State of South Orange 23 Commission's consideration of the statewide transportation plan and the STIP; thus, the results of the SWCP efforts will be presented at many public forums for input and reactions. Where appropriate, corridor studies are intended to be multimodal--that is, they are to examine the cost-effectiveness of achieving mobility and accessibility goals through different modal investments. In particular, for corridors in urban areas, this multimodal perspective is to include the consideration of different transit options. Similarly, for corridors having signifi- cant freight flows, the multimodal perspective should include the feasibility of both freight rail and trucking. SODOT has adopted a context sensitive solutions (CSS) policy that encourages community involvement in defining project characteristics and desirable project outcomes. This policy is aimed at very specific locations and would most likely be applied within an individual corridor study context. Many of the project designs and accompanying strategies resulting from the CSS approach would not be at the scale and scope needing referral to SODOT headquarters; rather, SODOT division offices and local agencies are encouraged to implement them under their own authority. To provide consistency in traffic analysis across the state, the statewide travel demand model will be used to estimate the traffic flows entering and exiting a corridor, but the actual distribution of internal corridor trips will result from a corridor-specific model. Economic forecasts at the county level will be obtained from the South Orange Department of Community Affairs and will be used as control variables for county population and employment growth forecasts. Crash data shall be obtained from SODOT's crash database, and condition data for pavements and bridges will be obtained from SODOT's pavement and bridge management systems. SODOT's cost template will be used to estimate expected costs associated with different projects and strategies. SODOT realizes that considering the environmental impacts of proposed projects or strategies will be an important element of the individual corridor studies; therefore, corridor-level, project, and strategy assessments will consider the range of impacts that are currently stipulated in federal and state environmental laws and are appropriate for the types of projects and strategies under consideration. In addition, the state has recently adopted a climate action plan that has placed the responsibility of reducing transportation-related greenhouse gases with SODOT. SODOT is in the process of preparing guidance on how such an assessment should be conducted. When approved, this guidance will become part of the SWCP guidelines. Corridor studies shall result in purpose and need statements for candidate projects that might require an environmental analysis. Sufficient detail on potential environmental impacts shall be provided to allow SODOT to conduct a "fatal flaw" analysis of potential new roadway alignments. All proposed capital projects greater than $1,000,000 shall have a benefit/cost analysis conducted that will be considered by SODOT, along with other relevant evaluation criteria. An evaluation template will be used to standardize the presentation of project-specific information to SODOT. Innovative funding sources should be considered in every corridor study, with specific attention given to the steps needed for their use and implementation. Project decisions that have reached a level of consensus from the corridor planning process should be documented and forwarded to the Bureau of Transportation Planning as soon as they are approved as part of the corridor plan. In this way, SODOT does not have to await the final corridor study report to consider a project for inclusion in the statewide plan update or in the STIP. All federal requirements for statewide planning (such as providing opportunities for consul- tation with non-metropolitan officials in the planning process) shall be included in the corridor study design. The SODOT Director of Planning also realized that SODOT needed to be better organized to utilize the SWCP approach to statewide planning and worked with the Secretary and other