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80 CHAPTER five Reported Effectiveness of Program Implementation This chapter presents findings related to the implementation of · Measuring impacts on speeds and accident rates where access management, including the results of a literature search access management has been implemented. and a summary of results and lessons learned from the survey · Tracking the number of variances granted. questionnaire. It includes survey findings relative to access · Tracking the number of driveways consolidated. management-related court decisions, areas where additional · Tracking the number of miles of access rights acquired information or resources are needed, and information concern- or controlled. ing states' evaluations of their access management programs, · Learning the reasons access management could not be including the successes and strengths of these programs, barri- implemented in cases in which an apparent opportu- ers and difficulties encountered, and areas for improvement. nity existed. Literature Search Survey Results As indicated in NCHRP Report 548 (3, p. 34), performance Survey participants were asked a variety questions relating monitoring and evaluation are integral parts of most govern- to the effectiveness of access management programs in their ment programs. Most policies need monitoring and evalua- state. The following sections includes survey findings rela- tion to assess their value in terms of benefits versus costs. tive to access managementrelated court decisions, areas for which additional information or resources are needed, and The TRB Access Management Manual (1, p. 37) identi- information concerning states' evaluations of their access fies the following sample questions that may provide use- management programs, including the successes and strengths ful information in the evaluation of access-related practices. of these programs, barriers and difficulties encountered, and Useful information includes current practices that relate areas for improvement. to access management, problems to be resolved, roles and responsibilities, and better coordination of access-related Court Decisions activities. Sample questions for this effort are as follows: Of the 45 DOTs responding to the entire synthesis survey, · How would you define "access management"? some 25 (56%) indicated that their access decisions had · What state statutes, agency policies, procedures, rules, been challenged in the courts at some time, compared with standards, or guidelines are you aware of related to only 4 of the 43 responding local agencies (9%). Figure 43 the location, design, or management of access to state illustrates the basis for these challenges from responding highways? state DOTs that had access-related cases brought before the · What practices or work tasks of your division directly courts. or indirectly affect access to state highways? · What challenges have you faced in your practice as it "Reasonable access" (43%) was the most-commonly relates to managing roadway access? noted basis for court challenges among responding state · Do you have any suggestions for addressing any of DOTs, followed by "lack of direct access" (41%), and these challenges? "reduction in property value" (32%). Some 30% of the · How could a state access management program help responding state DOTs indicated that they had been chal- you accomplish your division's objectives? lenged on the basis of perceived inequalities relative to other accesses being granted in the area. This finding NCHRP Report 548 (3, pp. 3435) identifies the following underscores the need to deal with any unusual access- potential measures as examples that may be used to identify related circumstances through a waiver or variance pro- performance related to access management: cess. Doing so avoids establishing a precedent that other potential challengers can point to in the future, but a · Determining the rate at which access management is waiver or variance process does not eliminate the potential implemented when opportunities emerge. for legal challenges.
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81 FIGURE 43 Most commonly cited reasons for access-related court challenges (45 responses). Additional Resources and Research Needed · Additional cost factors--Additional quantifiable cost- savings factors associated with the benefits of access Survey participants were asked what additional resources management techniques would be desirable. and research they would like to see developed to improve · Relationships to other areas of current interest in the implementation of access management. Resource sug- transportation--It would be useful to have a greater gestions from the respondents included the following: understanding of the relationships between access management and other key policy objectives, such as · Enhanced online resource center for general public the following: and legislators --This online resource would be geared Smart growth and sustainability toward a nontechnical audience and include presenta- Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) tion materials on the benefits of various access man- Context-Sensitive Solutions (CSS) agement techniques--such as construction of raised Transit provisions medians and the consolidation of access points--as Pedestrian provisions well as case studies of success stories. The purpose of · Applications of the "Michigan U-turn" concept in such a tool would be to educate local officials, busi- retrofit circumstances. ness owners, and other affected stakeholders regarding · Statistics indicating the improved safety and the benefits of various access management techniques. increased capacity associated with the application (Idaho DOT noted that FHWA's Safe Access is Good for of access management. Business publication was widely distributed through- out the state and has been an effective publication for Research suggestions from the respondents included the communicating the importance and economic benefits following: of access management to business owners and elected officials.) · Access management guidance for "fringe" areas -- · Additional case studies of success stories --Well- Fringe areas are typically suburban or actively devel- documented case studies of access management suc- oping areas located between developed urban areas cesses are helpful in convincing others of the need for and undeveloped rural areas. Because of the focus on access management and the real-world benefits that imminent land development and the associated need can be realized. In particular, case studies concern- for transportation improvements, fringe areas present ing methods of overcoming legal challenges on retrofit excellent opportunities to implement access manage- projects would be helpful. ment proactively or to incorporate retrofit highway
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82 improvements. Access management guidance usually · Access Management Conference proceedings is limited to either "urban" or "rural" areas. · NCHRP research reports · Acceleration lanes for at-grade intersections -- · Key access managementrelated papers and research More research and guidance is needed regarding the reports use and length of acceleration lanes at at-grade inter- · Guides and handbooks section. Respondents noted that current guidance in · State access codes and related state program the AASHTO "Green Book" and the TRB Access information Management Manual were limited. · Model access management ordinances and local · Additional nationwide research on the economic regulations benefits of access management. · Link to state's access management websites · "Profiles" spotlighting bad examples of failed cor- · Digital video library and other media ridors --Examples would be helpful to demonstrate · Outreach materials the associated capacity and speed reductions of poor access management decisions or lack of access man- What is clear from the survey findings of this synthesis is agement planning. that greater awareness is needed with respect to the existing · Cost-benefit analysis of a roundabout versus a signal- access management resources that are available. ized intersection, including a quick test to determine which intersection control type is more appropriate. Program Successes and Strengths · Accident and crash statistics relative to roadway classification, traffic volume, number of accesses, Periodic "self-evaluations"--and associated follow-up pro- and spacing of accesses may be useful. gram adjustments--are key aspects of any successful access · Impact of median openings on rural expressways management program. As part of the synthesis survey, all (especially with ADT volumes less than 12,000). 50 state DOTs were asked to rate the success of their access · Guidance for Interchange AMPs incorporating management program. Figure 44 summarizes the results. both transportation and land use elements. · Before-and-after studies. As shown in Figure 44, 40% of the responding state DOTs rated their access management program as successful or very TRB's Access Management website (www.accessman- successful, and 46% indicated mixed success. A total of 12% agement.info), in particular the "Resources" link, contains of the responding state DOTs indicated that their programs a wealth of information that addresses many of the noted were unsuccessful (8%) or very unsuccessful (4%). Among topics. Among other items, the website includes links to the the 43 local respondents, a total of 53% rated their access following: management program as successful or very successful, with FIGURE 44 Rating of access management program success among state DOTs (50 responses).
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83 19% indicating mixed success. Approximately 11% of the · Training and education--Education outreach efforts local agencies responded that their programs were unsuc- to local communities, business groups, and the public cessful (9%) or very unsuccessful (3%). were cited as achieving successes in helping to inform stakeholders of the potential safety and operational Survey respondents cited the following particularly suc- benefits of access management. cessful aspects of state access management programs: Figure 45 indicates the most commonly cited strengths of · Possessing statutory authority--Access management access management programs among state DOTs. laws or codes give state DOTs the ability to establish standards and enforce them uniformly statewide. Among state DOTs and local agencies, the most com- · Integration into business functions and opera- monly cited strengths related to the program having some tions--Efforts to broadly integrate access management inherent flexibility for making judgment decisions (76% of standards and procedures across the daily business state DOTs and 53% of local agencies), representing a defen- functions of an agency's planning, permitting, proj- sible administrative rule (60% of state DOTs and 23% of local ect delivery, and operations and maintenance activi- agencies), and providing uniformity when controlling access ties form a strong foundation for access management (52% of state DOTs and 51% of local agencies). Strong orga- within a state DOT or transportation agency. nizational commitment was cited as a strength by 40% of the · Commitment to staffing--Implementation efforts responding state DOTs, and 26% of the local agencies. Some have added effect when state DOTs and transportation specific program strengths cited by state DOT respondents agencies can dedicate staff to access management. underscored the need for flexibility, including the following: · Pursuing AMPs --These plans enable access manage- ment to be implemented on a case-by-case basis along · Allowances for design waivers --To permit flexibility key corridors, particularly where there is local support. under circumstances in which a particular design can- AMPs can become an important implementation tool, not fully adhere to the desired design standard. especially if the state DOT or transportation agency · Flexibility in design guidelines --Flexible guidelines does not have a formal statewide program. enable agency staff to address a range of potential FIGURE 45 Most commonly cited program strengths among state DOTs (50 responses).
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84 design conditions. This is particularly important when Figures 46 through 50 summarize the state DOT responses access management treatments must be implemented relative to the extent to which access management relates to broadly under widely varying design circumstances these five items. (e.g., a densely developed urban environment versus an undeveloped rural area). As shown in Figure 46, "sustainability" was noted as being relevant to the access management programs of 7% Only six state DOTs--Colorado, Florida, Georgia, New of the responding state DOTs, and moderately or somewhat Hampshire, Utah, and Washington--indicated that their relevant to a total of 62%. Only 18% of the responding state agency used performance measures to identify progress DOTs indicated that sustainability was not considered. made in access management. Of these six DOTs, the perfor- mance measures included the following: Of the local agencies surveyed, 46% indicated that sus- tainability was somewhat (23%), moderately (14%), or very · Before-and-after studies to compare safety performance relevant (9%) to their access management programs, and · Comprehensive safety goals, relative to number of 9% indicated that it was minimally relevant. Nineteen per- accidents per mile of travel cent of the local agencies indicated that sustainability was · A quality assurance program with regular meetings not considered. · A permit database to document and track the speed at which access permits are processed (however, the focus As shown in Figure 47, 49% of the access management was related to "permit processing speed" and "agency programs from the responding state DOTs do not consider responsiveness" rather than product quality) TOD, and an additional 22% consider it minimally relevant. However, 27% of the state DOTs consider it to be very, mod- Respondents were asked how relevant their agency's pro- erately, or somewhat relevant. grams are with respect to the following areas of emerging interest within access management: Similar results were found among the local agencies. Approximately 16% consider TOD to be minimally relevant · Sustainability to their access management programs, and 37% do not con- · TOD sider it. Approximately 16% consider it to be somewhat rel- · CSS evant, and 9% consider it to be moderately relevant. None · Transit provisions of the responding local agencies consider TOD to be very · Pedestrian provisions relevant to their access management programs. FIGURE 46 Relationship between access management and sustainability (45 responses).
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85 FIGURE 47 Relationship between access management and transit-oriented development (45 responses). FIGURE 48 Relationship between access management and context-sensitive solutions (45 responses). As shown in Figure 48, CSS was noted as being very Among the local agencies surveyed, a total of 49% indi- relevant to the access management programs of 16% of the cated that CSS was somewhat (21%), moderately (21%), or responding state DOTs, and moderately or somewhat rel- very relevant (7%) to their access management programs, evant to a total of 62%. Only 9% of the responding state and 16% indicated that it was minimally relevant. Twelve DOTs indicated that CSS was not considered and 11% that it percent of the local agencies indicated that CSS was not was minimally relevant. considered.
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86 FIGURE 49 Relationship between access management and transit provisions (45 responses). FIGURE 50 Relationship between access management and pedestrian provisions (45 responses). As shown in Figure 49, one-third of the access man- transit provisions were minimally relevant, and 28% of the agement programs from the responding state DOTs do not local agencies indicated that transit provisions were not consider transit provisions, and an additional 22% consider considered. them to be minimally relevant. However, 25% consider them to be very or moderately relevant. As shown in Figure 50, pedestrian provisions were noted as being very relevant or moderately relevant to the access Among the local agencies surveyed, a total of only 27% management programs of one-third of the responding state indicated that transit provisions were somewhat (16%), DOTs and somewhat relevant to a total of 31%. Only 13% of moderately (9%), or very relevant (2%) to their access the responding state DOTs indicated that pedestrian provi- management programs. Approximately 23% indicated that sions were not considered.
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87 Among the local agencies surveyed, a total of 52% indi- Many survey respondents elaborated on specific prob- cated that pedestrian provisions were somewhat (21%), lems areas shown in Figure 51. The following is a summary moderately (19%), or very relevant (12%) to their access of the responses. management programs. Approximately 9% indicated that pedestrian provisions were minimally relevant, and 16% of · Political barriers --State DOTs are tasked with pro- the local agencies indicated that pedestrian provisions were tecting the safety and operational integrity of the state not considered. highway system, while trying to achieve a balance with the land use and growth plans of local govern- Program Barriers and Difficulties ments. Final access-related decisions often are influ- enced by political pressures that arise on behalf of State DOTs and local agencies were asked to indicate what the local governments and property owners. Political barriers have been encountered in implementing access man- commitments and influences were noted as contribut- agement within their agency. Figure 51 summarizes the results ing to the "watering down" of access standards to their from the 45 state DOTs that responded to the entire survey. minimum (rather than desirable) values, which then become the "rule" for the development community. As shown in Figure 51, political resistance is the most Elected officials were cited as often making decisions commonly encountered barrier to implementing access based on economic priorities that come before access management among responding state DOTs (80%), followed management concerns, and their perceptions of poten- by a lack of staff and resources (60%), and organization and tial negative economic impacts associated with access institutional limitations (52%). management. Some concerns were noted with respect to access management reflecting an antidevelopment Similarly, among local agencies, the most commonly posture of "heavy-handed government regulation." In encountered barrier is political resistance (49%), followed by addition, elected officials often are supported by well- a lack of staff and resources (21%), technical aspects (16%), organized and well-funded lobbyists for special inter- and organizational and institutional limitations (14%). est groups who may perceive that their agendas may not FIGURE 51 Most commonly cited barriers to implementing access management at state DOTs (45 responses).
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88 align with access management. For these reasons, the debate that is left to the courts to decide and also limits education of elected officials is a key element of imple- what transportation improvements the state DOT can menting a successful access management program. condition on an access permit. Legal issues sometimes · Staffing and funding limitations --Many state DOTs arise when state DOT-funded improvement projects indicated that their access management programs cur- restrict or limit access to previously developed prop- rently are limited in some manner by staffing and hir- erties, or when roadway improvements make greater ing "freezes" (and even staffing reductions), as well as access more desirable, but less available. Costly funding constraints. These situations leave relatively legal actions sometimes result in less than desirable few staff members to review access permit applica- conditions. tions, coordinate with local governments, and develop · Lack of vision--The lack of a clear vision for what and implement corridor plans. Local agencies, par- the state transportation system should look like con- ticularly small cities and towns, often suffer from a tributes to internal conflicts and inconsistencies in the lack of qualified staff. The lack of staff often results application of access management at state DOTs. in a reactive, rather than proactive, approach to access management. Areas for Improvement · No "home" for access management--Good access management practices sometimes are undermined Approximately 71% of the 45 state DOTs responding to the organizationally, because no single unit or group entire survey indicated that changes were needed to make within the agency is responsible for, or deliberately their program more effective, compared with only 40% of committed to, leading the effort. A lack of centralized the 43 local agencies surveyed. Approximately 62% of state staff devoted to access management weakens the over- DOTs--compared with only 19% of local agencies--stated all program. that changes were being planned or currently being imple- · Lack of education and training--Education and mented. These findings suggest that, in general, state DOTs training efforts are needed at various levels. Additional are perhaps more active (or more equipped to act) than local technical training is needed to help state DOT staff agencies in identifying and making changes to their access with the review of traffic impact studies, the process- management programs. Figure 52 illustrates commonly cited ing of access permits, and inspection-related matters, areas for which programmatic improvements are needed, particularly on projects with complex access issues. based on responses from the 45 state DOTs responding to Uninformed staff are more likely to make concessions the entire survey. that undermine program strength. Conversely, they are more likely to be less flexible in the application of In addition, survey participants were asked what improve- access standards in situations in which some creativ- ments could be made to overcome the barriers noted previ- ity and flexibility--and an understanding of broader ously. Funding, additional staff, and training and education policy goals and objectives--is warranted. When were commonly cited as areas for improvement. Respon- experienced staff members leave, their replacements dents identified various points of consideration to improve experience a learning curve until they are fully trained. the implementation and enhancement of access management Additionally, the education of elected officials is criti- programs, including the following: cal in gaining program support. · Resistance by the development community--The · Legislation--Strong access management legislation development community is often not in favor of access provides the foundation for a successful access man- management unless they can directly influence pro- agement program. This legislation can take the form gram development. Also, when concessions are made of laws or amendments to the state administrative code to a particular developer, a precedent is set such that that recognize the need for access management, iden- the developer (and sometimes other developers) tends tify the program goals and objectives, and summarize to expect the same at other locations, despite the fact its benefits. that different conditions exist. · Institutional commitment--Access management · Lack of coordination with local governments --A programs are most successful in cases in which the lack of coordination with local governments can lead agency has institutional commitment to implement the to a critical disconnect between land use planning and program. Ideally, this would involve support from the transportation system planning. The ability to manage very highest levels within the organization (e.g., direc- access and mitigate development impacts is compli- tor, commissioner, and so on), down to the permit spe- cated by inadequate local street systems. cialists and technicians who address access issues in · Legal issues --Several state DOTs cited difficulties their daily work. The commitment of the entire orga- over home-rule attitudes and actions that tend to favor nization to access management ensures consistency in property owners. A lack of statewide legal authority program implementation and presents a united front to leaves the concept of "reasonable access" a matter of resist external challenges.
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89 FIGURE 52 Commonly cited areas for needed program improvements (45 responses). · Access champion--A person (or persons) can push the · Education and training --Access management access management agenda within an agency. Ideally, training efforts can be initiated and maintained to these "champions" are people who are high-profile, educate new staff members and reach existing staff energized, and empowered to make changes and with- throughout an agency. In addition, elected officials stand challenges faced by the political pressures. and the development community need to be edu- · Legal case history--Court cases set the legal precedent cated about the rationale and benefits behind access for access management decisions in each state. State management. DOTs with a strong case history of winning court cases · Access committee --One strategy that state DOTs can are more empowered in making future access-related use to address access-related conflicts, and to lessen decisions than those with a history of losing cases, which the effects of external political pressure, is to establish can undermine the authority of the state DOT. an internal committee or review panel that is charged · Case studies --Real-world case studies that clearly with reviewing and ruling on difficult or controversial illustrate the benefits of access management are instru- access-related issues that otherwise cannot be resolved. mental in convincing elected officials, state and local This committee could include an independent body of government officials, the development community, knowledgeable professionals (including representa- and other decision makers of its merits. Ideally, the tives from state DOTs, local agencies, and private enti- case studies would highlight local access management ties) that falls outside the organizational framework of projects with which the intended audience has some normal access permitting operations. Strong assistance familiarity to reinforce the notion that access man- from state officials and DOT upper management can agement principles apply to all roadways. Case stud- support the committee's decisions and resist external ies could involve before-and-after studies of access political pressures. management retrofit projects or safety and operational · Statewide master plan--A statewide plan that pro- performance comparisons of corridors experiencing vides some land use controls at the state level may guide good access management planning relative to poorly local land use and discourage land use actions that are managed corridors. contrary to the state's access management program.
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90 FIGURE 53 Ideal elements of an access management policy or document (45 responses). In addition, survey respondents were asked to identify the Nearly all of the responding state DOTs identified the fol- elements of an ideal access management policy or document. lowing as ideal elements of an access management policy Figure 53 summarizes the results of the responses to this or document: (1) access spacing standards, (2) authority to question from among the 45 state DOTs responding to the manage or deny access, (3) traffic impact analysis require- entire survey. ments, and (4) geometric design standards.