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CHAPTER 3 BEST PRACTICES IN the presence of transit service (as it was previously STATEWIDE TRANSIT GOAL SETTING measured). The Minnesota Legislature codified the service hour goals and created a requirement that Motivation for Transit Goal Setting Mn/DOT develop a Transit Investment Plan to show Although state DOTs generally do not have how the state would meet 80% of transit need in the oversight of local transit systems, they do have in- state by 2015 and 90% of need by 2025. creasing responsibility for the passenger trans- In Virginia, setting statewide transit goals and portation system. Policymakers are funneling more developing state transit plans came as part of the money to transit today than ever before as con- statewide shift to performance-based planning. cerns about the environment, traffic congestion, Recently, Virginia has promoted taking a strict, busi- and livability issues take precedence. At the same ness-like approach to government that emphasizes time, transit ridership is increasing and is likely to performance-based objectives. Every state department become an even more popular choice in the future as is required to create a strategic plan with performance demographic trends and economic realities drive con- measures. Virginia DRPT established short-term sumers to consider options other than driving. In re- objectives and performance measures as part of its sponse to these shifts, there is a growing expectation strategic plan, as well as broader multimodal goals in that state DOTs include transit in their transportation VTrans 2035, the LRSTP for the state. Virginia DRPT planning. is developing a transit plan that will set long-term statewide transit goals. Involvement by the State Legislature Limited Transit Funding While nearly half (43%) of the survey respon- dents indicated that they are using statewide goals to Limited funding provides motivation for setting fulfill legislative requirements, only three states in- statewide transit goals. For example, South Car- dicated that their state legislature was involved in olina DOT set transit goals because it had limited setting goals. In the research team's interviews, the transit dollars to allocate. SCDOT established goals DOTs in Oregon, California and Minnesota said to ensure limited funds were targeted, well-utilized, their state legislatures were motivating forces be- and effective to meet future demand. SCDOT ended hind the DOT's shift to a multimodal planning ap- up setting statewide transit priorities and a vision proach. For example, the Minnesota legislature cre- for South Carolina's transit systems. In Virginia, ated transit planning requirements for Mn/DOT. the LRSTP made transit funding an investment pri- ority to ensure a state of good repair. This goal was Shift to Performance-Based Planning the basis for a shift in the state's transit funding distribution formulas, providing a higher funding The general shift in the transportation industry match for public transportation maintenance and re- toward a performance-based planning approach pro- pair projects. vides additional motivation for state DOTs to set statewide transit goals. For example, Oregon DOT Responsibility for Interregional Travel created its first transit plan in 1997 and is now prepar- ing to update the plan in the next couple of years. Transit is often seen as more of a regional or Oregon DOT said a gradual shift to more perfor- local concern, but as South Carolina DOT noted, mance-based transportation planning and a focus on there is a statewide interest in the provision of transit issues of sustainability and livability provided moti- because transit needs extend beyond the service areas vation for the DOT's current round of goal setting. of individual transit providers. Within a region, a Similarly, in Minnesota, the original state statute that local government may be responsible for transit ser- provided state funding for transit set a goal of provid- vice between providers, but when travel needs extend ing transit in every county. As the state approached over regional boundaries, a state agency may be that goal (there is currently service in 75 out of the better positioned to step in and help with coordina- 80 counties), Mn/DOT thought it needed a new goal tion activities. In California, a state statute restricts to work toward that captured the quality of service Caltrans' use of state transportation funding to roads provided. Mn/DOT set a new goal of meeting rural and interregional transportation. Planning for inter- transit needs as measured by service hours, not just regional travel has traditionally focused on the roads 10

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that Caltrans controls. However, a new state re- ing groups of stakeholders (e.g., operators and local quirement (SB391)--that the next LRSTP meet state and regional governments), one for northern Vir- climate change goals--coupled with the rise of blue- ginia and one for the rest of the state, to ensure that print planning at the regional level that places a heavy the state plan would meet the needs of all groups. In emphasis on transit strategies has prompted a shift in several states, regional planning organizations were statewide planning to focus on multimodal interre- often tapped to help guide local outreach surround- gional travel in the current LRSTP. This change also ing the plans, such as for local stakeholder meetings created a need for data about interregional transit or public workshops. South Carolina DOT incorpo- trips, giving added impetus for coordination with rated extensive outreach to local stakeholders in its local transit providers. planning process. In developing the state's Multi- modal Transportation Plan, SCDOT held two meet- ings in each of the state's 10 planning areas: one Approaches to Statewide Transit meeting with public officials and another with the Goal Setting public. In addition, it conducted public surveys and The research team's interviews revealed that the made follow-up calls in order to solicit feedback. process of setting statewide transit goals is just as After gathering initial input from the public and tran- important as the goals themselves. How a DOT sets sit operators, SCDOT developed a system vision statewide transit goals is shaped by desired out- and transit goals. It then took this information back comes, the level of coordination between parties, to the public and stakeholders to gather public com- and the multiple stakeholders involved. Although ment. SCDOT compiled a matrix of all comments state DOTs have taken numerous approaches to set- received and its responses to those comments, which ting goals, one overarching theme the research team was made available with the revised document. Ex- saw is a high level of collaboration. No DOTs de- hibit 4 provides further detail on SCDOT outreach veloped their statewide transit goals in isolation. to non-traditional stakeholders. The vast majority had extensive outreach to various Similarly, some state DOTs conduct outreach stakeholders. with other state agencies to ensure that transporta- tion goals and investments are coordinated. For ex- Outreach and Collaboration ample, Mn/DOT builds on the state's coordination surrounding human service transportation outreach. There is extensive outreach surrounding goal In Oregon, the state's planning laws require all state setting approaches. Many state DOTs convened and local plans--including the LRSTP--to be con- some form of an advisory committee that included sistent with the state's 19 Statewide Planning Goals. transit providers and sometimes regional planning organizations. For example, Virginia DRPT recog- Cooperation with Transit Providers nized that the urbanized area around the Washing- ton, DC, metropolitan area has a very different set of Transit providers are important participants in needs than the rest of the state. It created two work- the goal setting process, because they will be the parties directly responsible for helping to meet those goals. This is most evident in New Jersey, where NJ Transit is the state's major public transit operator. Exhibit 4 Outreach to Non-Traditional Stakeholders NJ Transit acts as co-lead with NJ DOT in devel- oping the LRSTP. In California, Caltrans is using To guide the development of its Statewide Multi- the transit planning process as an opportunity to build modal Transportation Plan, South Carolina DOT cre- better relationships with the state's many transit ated a stakeholder group to guide the plan's develop- providers. Caltrans is developing a transit plan that ment. The stakeholder group included a broad range can be used by transit providers, based on their ideas of representatives from communities and groups around the state, including from the Catawba Indian and needs. Though the plan is still in the works, Cal- Tribe (the state's only recognized tribe) and the trans has reviewed numerous transit agency plans Gullah Geechee Sea Island community, an African- to identify commonalities in goals and objectives American community with a distinct language. across providers. Caltrans' planning will add to these individual agency plans and sees the limited fund- 11

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ing available as motivation for transit agencies to tem for transit providers to use, in order to allow meet and collaborate. both providers and DRPT to better forecast asset needs. This also supports the department and state Partnerships with Other Planning Activities goals around statewide "state of good repair." A States are required to consult with MPOs and similar initiative is a new requirement that tran- non-MPO officials during their LRSTP planning sit providers develop 6-year transit development plans (TDPs). To ensure that transit agencies that process. The research team saw examples where this receive funds from DRPT are doing multi-year plan- collaboration extends to statewide transit goal set- ning and to help DRPT develop its own programs ting. Most notably this occurs in New Jersey, and budgets, DRPT now requires each of its tran- where the entire state lies within one of three MPOs sit grant recipients to prepare a TDP. TDPs will in- and NJ DOT has a history of coordinating with met- clude individual system goals that match statewide ropolitan planning activities. In South Carolina, 10 transit goals, as well as any related local goals. In state-defined planning regions (councils of govern- order to ensure that the TDPs are comparable and ment) cover the entire state. SCDOT developed can be easily consolidated at the state level, Virginia its Multimodal Transportation Plan and its Transit DRPT produced a model TDP for transit providers Plan in partnership with these planning regions and to follow when developing their plans. In addition, their transit providers. For the Statewide Transit DRPT recognized that not all providers have the Plan, each region developed a regional transit plan capacity in-house to prepare these plans, and so it with identified needs and transit choices. SCDOT made its staff and consultants available to assist with then built on the individual regional plans. The DOT TDP preparation where needed. took this bottom-up approach so as to ensure that New Jersey DOT has developed a 10-year the goals matched the differing local needs across Capital Investment Strategy that addresses asset the state and would meet the common goals of the management and performance measures in support different regions (South Carolina Department of of its LRSTP. Given the nature of New Jersey's Transportation, 2010). Going forward, the regional transit service (i.e., having one major provider), plans are to be updated in concert with the LRSTP the Capital Investment Strategy does not focus update. Oregon DOT's Public Transit Division heavily on transit. NJ Transit does not have lacks the staffing that their MPOs and urban transit a comparable mid-term plan like this currently, agencies have, so Transit Division staff look to those although it has made some effort in this area before. agencies to help provide transit data and expertise when developing the state transportation plans. In A similar approach with a more direct transit focus particular, the DOT has drawn on the planning ex- comes out of Minnesota, where Mn/DOT is devel- pertise of both Tri-Met and Lane Transit, the major oping a Transit Investment Plan. This plan will urban transit providers in the state. identify the funding needs to meet set percentages of transit demand in the non-metropolitan areas of Strategic Planning the state in 2015 and 2025, as mandated by the state legislature. In Virginia, the current transit goals were devel- oped as part of the strategic planning process and Legislative Leadership and Executive Oversight then reviewed and affirmed by the LRSTP. This process meets the state requirement that every state In some instances, the state legislature has set agency prepare a budget and a strategic plan. The goals for state transit, though this does not preclude goals in that plan must be aligned with broader the state DOT from setting additional goals. In statewide goals and relate both to public transit Minnesota, the legislature set a goal of having tran- within the state and the operation of the department sit service in all counties in the original statute pro- (e.g., increasing communication about transporta- viding state transit funding. The DOT later supple- tion choices and telecommuting). Virginia DRPT is mented this goal with a service hour goal, which the completing a statewide transit plan that will identify legislature has since incorporated into its mandated more long-range transit goals. Virginia DRPT has state transit goals. The legislature also directed Mn/ also developed an asset management inventory sys- DOT to develop a Transit Investment Plan to meet 12

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certain thresholds of transit need within given time- Shaping System Investments frames. Sixty percent of the survey respondents who Among the states that the research team inter- have statewide transit goals use their goals in some viewed, several highlighted the presence of a state Transportation Commission charged with setting way to guide transit expenditures. The effect is most statewide transportation policy and overseeing evident in states where the state DOT has some level the state DOT. The research team found several in- of transit funding control. Some examples of how stances where these advisory bodies take an active goals are affecting transit investments are as follows: role in guiding DOT policy. For example, Virginia's South Carolina DOT set several transit goals, in- Commonwealth Transportation Board adopted a cluding one to "increase statewide public transit Transit Sustainability and Investment Policy in 2008 ridership on average by 5% annually through that provides guidance to Virginia DRPT regarding 2030" (South Carolina Statewide Transit Plan, (1) the allocation of transit funding and (2) setting 2008). SCDOT indicated that this and its other policy goals for the funding to achieve, namely that goals are used to help determine how transit the funding be used to funding needs to be distributed throughout the Increase transit ridership per capita by at least state. SCDOT modified its Section 5311 fund- 3% annually ing formula to include ridership, in response to Maintain existing transit assets as the first new data available through its operating statis- funding priority tics monitoring report. Support improved land use, protect the envi- Oregon DOT's new Flexible Funds Program ronment, and maximize the use of available was created in response to the Oregon legis- funding. lature's direction to invest in non-highway modes, including transit. The program sup- In Oregon, both the Oregon Transportation Com- ports sustainable non-highway projects that mission and the state legislature are actively involved improve modal connectivity, sustainability, in statewide planning. The legislature has several livability, and the transportation system's op- planning requirements that affect transit, including eration. Investment in the state's transit sys- (1) the general requirement that all plans be consis- tem will help Oregon DOT meet its statewide tent with the Statewide Planning Goals, (2) required transit goals relating to modal split, ridership, biennial reporting as part of the budget process, and and service availability (Oregon Department (3) recent bills that have led to a new focus on a mul- of Transportation, 2010). timodal and balanced transportation system. The Virginia DRPT updates its annual program Transportation Commission oversees many of these application to reflect department priorities. mandates. It is supplemented with area commissions DRPT then puts a draft of the application out made up of local officials, planners, and public to the grantees and holds workshops about it works employees. These deal largely with the State (prior to the actual application period) to ensure Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) and that there is collaboration and agreement around have more recently begun considering multimodal so- those priorities. DRPT has found that this leads lutions to issues in their areas. to better applications. Another way that statewide transit goals shape Using and Achieving Transit Goals transportation system investments is by using the What state DOTs do with their statewide tran- goals to inform short-term plans that are more directly sit goals once set is often closely related to their tied to project implementation. New Jersey DOT saw impetus for setting them. Transit goals established its LRSTP goals setting the stage for shorter term from a shift to performance-based planning are plans like the Capital Investment Strategy, individual often likely to be ultimately directed toward guid- program areas for the State Transportation Improve- ing transit investments and funding allocation. ment Program, and the 1-year annual capital program Where goal setting was mandated by the legisla- approved by the legislature. New Jersey's Capital In- ture, the actual use may be more at the discretion vestment Strategy is notable for being a mid-term of the DOT. plan, between the 4-year STIP and 20-year LRSTP. 13