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I-45 To deal efficiently with new technologies, public agencies need to be as nimble as possible. Adopting flexible policies and plans and careful crafting of the language used in proposed regu- lations or regulatory amendments can help agencies adapt more quickly as technology changes and new applications show up on the street. The agency should be prepared to frequently review and adapt its plans and procedures to keep up with rapidly changing conditions. The days when an agency could safely wait 10 years to update its long-range comprehensive plan are gone. At the very least, an agency needs to moni- tor current trends and update its plans, policies, codes, and ordinances every few years as new technologies enter the marketplace and others drop out. Through it all, it is critical that the agency maintain a clear vision of its mobility, safety, equity, and environmental goals, and how the agency expects new technologies to contribute to achiev- ing those goals. Without this clarity of vision, the agency can quickly get off track and get lost in the details as it attempts to adapt to new developments in technology. 9.1 Technology-Agnostic Regulations State and local agencies are well experienced at writing technology-specific regulations. Numerous style guides and resources are available to assist staff in crafting regulations. In many states, the state league of cities will provide guidance on ordinance writing for that state. Examples of state-specific guidance from Oregon and Texas can be accessed from the last two entries in the following list: â¢ The American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA) produces guides on best practices and model legislation (https://www.aamva.org/best-practices-and-model- legislation); â¢ The National League of Cities (NLC) provides a Model Code for Municipalities (https://www. nlc.org/resource/model-code-for-municipalities-0); â¢ The Open Law Library provides national and state-specific style guides (http://www. openlawlib.org/resources/legislative-drafting-guides); â¢ PlannersWeb.com provides guidance tailored to planners such as âDrafting Clear Ordi- nances: Doâs and Donâtsâ (http://plannersweb.com/2010/04/drafting-clear-ordinances- dos-and-donts); â¢ The League of Oregon Cities, in its Manual for Ordinance Drafting and Maintenance, December 2017 (http://www.orcities.org/Portals/17/Library/ManualforOrdinanceDrafting andMaintenance12-15-17.pdf), offers guidance specific to Oregon; and â¢ The Texas Municipal League, in its 2005 document on ordinance drafting (https:// www.tml.org/legal_pdf/OrdDrafting.pdf), offers guidance specific to Texas. C H A P T E R 9 Be Nimble
I-46 Foreseeing the Impact of Transformational Technologies on Land Use and Transportation The unique challenge of transformational technologies is to word the regulations in a way that they can continue to deliver the agencyâs desired results (e.g., mobility, equity, safety) even as new technologies come out. The ideal regulations are technology agnostic and performance based. Although specific guides are not yet available to cover all the technologies likely to be deployed in the coming years, two currently available guides are tailored to regulating specific transformational technologies: â¢ The National League of Citiesâ Autonomous Vehicle Pilots Across America (https://www. nlc.org/resource/autonomous-vehicle-pilots-across-america) (National League of Cities 2018), and â¢ The National Association of City Transportation Officialsâ NACTO Policy 2018, Guidelines for the Regulation and Management of Shared Active Transportation, Version 1 (https://nacto. org/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/NACTO-Shared-Active-Transportation-Guidelines.pdf) (NACTO 2018). The guide by the National League of Cities deals with establishing rules and regulations for pilot testing of fully autonomous AVs. The NACTO guide deals with establishing regulations for shared active transportation vehicles (e.g., bicycles and scooters). To the extent possible, the language of the regulations should attempt to be performance oriented as opposed to targeting a specific technology. For example, the agency might con- sider if its safety goals can be met by writing the regulation to apply to all vehicles of a certain gross vehicle weight range and maximum speed range, rather than specifying that the ordi- nance applies to âe-bikes.â As another example, the state agency might consider rewriting its vehicle code to prohibit vehicles from following each other at âcloser than their safe-stopping distance,â rather than saying vehicles cannot follow âcloser than 200 feet.â The key constraint on the flexibility of language in policies, rules, and regulations is that they must remain clear and specific enough to be enforceable. Broadly worded regulations are useless if they cannot be understood and enforced by a reasonable enforcement officer and a judge in a court of law. 9.2 Regulating Through Incentives Another consideration the public agency might take into account is setting fees and writing regulations that enlist the private sectorâs own monetary drivers in achieving the agencyâs desired mobility, safety, equity, and environmental goals. For example, if an agency is con- cerned about the private sector underinvesting in certain areas of its jurisdiction (e.g., low- income areas or rural areas), the agency might consider creating a sliding scale of license fees that offer ârebatesâ for the desired behavior. Using this approach, it is essential to find the cut-off point at which the fees achieve the desired behavior. It may take some trial and error to find the cut-off point. Staff will need the data to monitor the results in real time, and staff will need the flexibility (sometimes afforded by enabling legislation) to adjust the fees until the desired behavior is achieved. 9.3 Flexible Plans Although the trend has been to develop more comprehensive, specific, and exhaustively analyzed long-range transportation and land use plans, the rapid evolution of technologies has introduced uncertainties regarding what socioeconomics, land use development, and transportation systems will be like in 20 years. Scenario planning can be used to identify the likely spread or performance of a certain technology; given all of the uncertainty, however,
Be Nimble I-47 it is difficult to develop a particular long-term plan with a specific list of future land uses and transportation improvements. What is needed is an approach that creates more technologically robust and flexible plans. Taking two steps will help agencies achieve more flexible and technologically robust plans: (1) using less technology-specific language in longer-term vision or planning documents, and (2) building checkpoints into the plans that can trigger a review (and, if necessary, a course correction). For example: 1. Be Less Technology-Specific. In the 20-year plan, when crafting language about future corridor development needed to deliver 150,000 person-trips per day, instead of specifying that âa six-lane freeway is needed,â the agency might say that âa high-speed combination of technologies and facilitiesâ will be needed and leave the specifics to planning efforts that occur closer to the project delivery date. Similarly, instead of saying, â150 acres of half-acre single-family homes should be built in 20 years,â the planning document could say, âthe corridor will need to provide residences for 1,000 people, supporting services, and jobs for 600 people in the next 20 years.â 2. Build in Checkpoints (Trigger Points for Course Correction). A plan might say, âWhen development reaches 25 percent of the forecast, the plan should be revisited to determine if the original land uses, transportation facilities, and technologies are still sufficient and relevant.â Wording for a different kind of checkpoint could be, âWhen congestion reaches a certain level in the corridor, then project planning needs to begin in the corridor.â Both of these steps use language to specify the desired performance for land use and the transportation system, rather than specifying the solution. 9.4 Empowered Staff To respond as rapidly as technologies evolve, staff will need a certain amount of authority to adapt fees and adjust rules implementing regulations. The legislative authority sets the vision and overall goals and establishes the limits or boundaries within which agency staff can act. Within those limits or boundaries, agency staff has the flexibility to adapt fees and adjust rules. This flexible authority is especially valuable when staff is testing out new or different regula- tory and monetary incentives to achieve the agencyâs goals. The City of Portland, Oregon, is an example of a municipality that has empowered its agency staff. 9.5 Within-Agency Silo Busting and âIn-Reachâ Many agencies may find that internal roadblocks to data sharing are just as great as those faced in dealing with external agencies. A common roadblock is that various cultural and technologi- cal factors may have led departments to operate independently of each other, with the result that the departmentsâ repositories of data are maintained in distinct âsilos.â Agency âin-reachâ (reaching inward and across departments) may be a valuable approach to discovering and open- ing up data-sharing opportunities.