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Hypothetical Example: Application of SWCP Guidance to the State of South Orange 27 on the major highway in the study area. If major alternative modes (such as rail) run parallel to the corridor and provide an alternative mobility option but are not within this boundary, then the boundary should be expanded. Conduct Corridor Studies (Elements Related to the SWCP Approach) The Director of Planning realized that each corridor study would likely have characteristics and issues specific to each corridor. However, the Director wanted to make sure that each study has common elements so that the studies' recommendations could be compared for relative effectiveness. The following corridor planning steps were identified as having important elements that required that state interests be represented. Establish Organizing Principles and Institutional Structure One of the most important starting points for any corridor study is the creation of a study management and/or advisory committee structure. Given that most of the corridor studies will be managed by agencies other than SODOT (e.g., regional planning agencies), it is likely that the study management structure will differ in important ways from one part of the state to another. However, the Director of Planning wanted to ensure that SODOT had representation on every corridor study management and/or advisory committee structure to ensure that the state's interests were represented throughout the study. Therefore, corridor study guidelines required that a SODOT representative from the Bureau of Transportation Planning and from the relevant SODOT district office be part of each corridor study. SODOT wants each corridor study to result in a purpose and need statement that will satisfy federal and state environmental requirements. Thus, SODOT has recommended that representatives from the state environmental agency be part of the corridor study committee structure, as well as representatives from federal resource agencies, if agency participation can be obtained. The corridor process guidelines also included a recommended set of minimum steps that each corridor study should follow. This overall planning framework was intended to ensure that each study would have common characteristics and would result in similar types of project and strategy information. One of the more important steps in the corridor study process is the development of a public involvement program. SODOT has developed materials relating to issues of state interest that should be incorporated into every corridor study public involvement program. Identification of Vision, Goals, and Performance Measures SODOT already had an adopted policy statement that outlined the vision and goals for a statewide transportation program. This policy statement was synthesized and put in the form of a template that could be used in corridor studies. As one would expect, the vision statement and planning goals were defined in rather abstract terms, so the SODOT Bureau of Transportation Planning identified several common performance measures that were to be part of every corridor study assessment. These measures were considered important by SODOT officials because this information was to be used later in the process when projects from different corridor studies would be prioritized into a statewide investment program. It was fully expected that each individual corridor study would produce its own set of performance measures that reflected the problem definitions of local stakeholders, but SODOT wanted to ensure that some measures were the same for every study.
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28 A Guidebook for Corridor-Based Statewide Transportation Planning The system performance measures required by the state included · Travel time delay, volume/capacity ratios, and level-of-service measures, both during normal operation and during periods of evacuation (South Orange is in a hurricane zone); · New transit ridership (if appropriate); · Number and extent of bottlenecks; · Crashes by type (fatality, personal injury, and property damage only); · Accessibility to major employment and industrial sites; · Pavement and bridge conditions; and · Environmental conditions (noise levels at sensitive locations, emission levels at key spots, acres of wetlands impacted by the transportation system). SODOT officials spent considerable time developing this list of performance measures. The process was not as simple as might be expected. The natural tendency was to identify a large number of performance measures that covered every possible topic of interest to the state, but the planning director knew that the more performance measures there are in the list, the more difficult it is to establish a sense of what is really important. In addition, the Secretary of SODOT wanted to ensure that the performance measures that were to define "state interests" truly reflected a sense of what was important to state officials and key stakeholders, as well as the general public. Thus, SODOT commissioned a market research firm to conduct public surveys aimed at gauging the level of public concern on different system performance issues. The Bureau also used its existing public involvement capabilities to interview approximately 50 key stakeholders in the state to identify what they considered to be the most important measures of acceptable system performance. The final six measures resulted from this effort. In fact, the Secretary was so impressed by the effort to identify these measures that she decided to use them as the foundation for an annual "state of the system" report to be produced by SODOT. Problem Identification Corridor needs and problem areas will differ from one study to another. However, SODOT identified several policy areas that every corridor study should investigate. A template, in the form of a set of questions, was prepared for each policy area. An example template for freight issues is shown below. Template for Considering Freight Transportation in Corridor Studies What are the current and expected freight flows in the corridor? Where are the most important intermodal facilities and distribution/warehousing centers and what is their future growth? Where are the highest numbers of truck-car or rail-car crashes? What is the expected growth in freight traffic? Where are the key freight bottlenecks today? In the future? Will there be any changes in land use that could significantly affect freight movements in the corridor? What types of strategies can be implemented to improve freight flow in the corridor? Is modal diversion a feasible option? What types of innovative funding strategies can be used to support freight- related infrastructure improvements?
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Hypothetical Example: Application of SWCP Guidance to the State of South Orange 29 Given the concern for potential environmental impacts, SODOT has required that an environ- mental overview be conducted as part of each corridor study to identify areas of high environ- mental sensitivity--that is, areas where some effort would likely be needed to avoid, minimize, or mitigate environmental impacts. SODOT suggests that the corridor agency sponsor use the environmental resource base maps prepared by the state environmental agency for identifying these sensitive areas. By using GIS, the corridor study sponsor should delineate locations where changes to the transportation system could cause major environmental disruption. Participation from the state environmental agency should occur at this early stage. SODOT has also stressed in its process guidelines that problem definitions should be multi- modal to the extent possible. This means that a problem should not be defined as "widen State Route 93 from city X to city Y." Rather, the problem definition should be portrayed as being "inadequate or insufficient transportation system capacity to provide desired mobility." This implies that such capacity could be provided with different transportation modes or by managing the demand more judiciously to free up capacity during peak periods. Alternatives Identification and Analysis Each corridor study will identify strategies and project types relevant to the problems in the corridor. SODOT, however, wants to ensure that certain types of alternatives are considered in each study. Accordingly, the corridor study guidelines include the following strategies to be considered in each corridor: · Multimodal strategies, where appropriate, that encourage the use of alternative modes of travel; · ITS technologies as described in the ITS statewide systems architecture; · Transportation demand management (TDM) strategies that reduce the demand for road capacity at the most congested locations (including pricing strategies); · Transportation system management (TSM) strategies that promote the more efficient utilization of existing transportation system capacity; · In collaboration with local communities, land use strategies that provide a long-term benefit in reducing traffic demand on the state's road network; and · Strategies aimed at reducing crashes, including non-engineering strategies targeted at risk drivers. The SODOT Director of Planning attended a conference where the illustration shown in Figure 4 was presented. The Director felt that this illustration indicated quite well the types of strategy combinations that each corridor study was expected to produce. Figure 4 was thus included in the corridor study guidelines. Given that many of the corridor studies will likely be undertaken by consultants, the Director of Planning wanted to ensure that the data and analysis methods used in each study were consis- tent with state practice. Accordingly, SODOT included the following requirements in the process guidelines: · The state travel demand model should be used to obtain the external-external, external-internal and internal-external trips in the corridor. It is expected that the state's travel demand model will be used by the consultant in obtaining this information. · The socio-economic forecasting for the corridor should be consistent with the state's own forecasts for population and employment in the corridor. · Crash data will be obtained from the state's crash database. · The planning time horizons for analysis will be 5 years, 10 years, and 25 years. · If a corridor is of such a length that it traverses multiple regional planning agency boundaries, efforts shall be made to make the corridor analysis consistent with each agency's own planning analysis efforts.
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30 A Guidebook for Corridor-Based Statewide Transportation Planning Intelligent Transportation Systems Transit Facilities and Services Growth Management Planning & Zoning System Operations Intermodal Facilities Phasing/Adequacy and Services Urban Design Mobility Traffic Engineering Mixed Use and Bike/Walkways Accessibility Density DEMAND MANAGEMENT Pricing Alternative Alternative Employer Support Modes Work Locations Programs Financial Incentives and Disincentives Source: Meyer, M., and E. Miller, Urban Transportation Planning: A Decision-Oriented Approach, New York: McGraw-Hill (2001). Figure 4. Combination of corridor strategies. Project and Corridor Evaluation The purpose of an evaluation process is to assess the relative merits of different alternatives and to determine which are more feasible, more performance-effective, or more cost-effective based on the stated goals. For projects under SODOT jurisdiction, state officials will be faced with the typical challenge of choosing among a set of projects given limited funding. Accordingly, the corridor study process guidelines include a requirement for certain types of information to be provided as part of the evaluation process. Of special importance, they need to be tied to the alternatives recommended for state consideration. In addition, some of this infor- mation will result from the application of certain types of evaluation methodologies, such as benefit/cost analysis. Therefore, not only is SODOT requesting specific types of information, but in some cases it is requiring that certain evaluation methods be used as well. Changes in the following information are to be provided to SODOT for any state projects resulting from the corridor study: · Congested hours in the period of 6:00 A.M. to 8:00 P.M. (number of hours); · Peak free-flow average speed/current peak average speed; · Volume/capacity ratio; · Crashes (3-year average); · Industrial sites accessed (number of sites); · Benefit/cost ratio; · Cost/rider for transit; and · Key environmental measures specific to potential project impacts. To provide consistency from one study to another, SODOT has developed a manual on how such information can be provided with emphasis on how to conduct a valid benefit/cost analysis. The Director of Planning realized that one of the weaknesses of previous corridor studies has been the non-standard approaches toward estimating project costs. Therefore, the Director has incorporated into the guidelines a requirement that study analysts must use a standardized