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I-28 The first step in addressing the implications of transformational technologies for an agencyâs planning process and products is for the agency to conduct a self-assessment of its readiness. Is the agency prepared to address the implications of new technologies for its regulatory frame- work, planning processes, and tools? Where are the gaps? 5.1 The Self-Assessment Process No guidebooks specifically address self-assessment for new technologies, but several guide- books can be consulted by an agency conducting its self-assessment: â¢ NCHRP Report 829: Leadership Guide for Strategic Information Management for State Departments of Transportation (Harrison, Gordon, and Allen 2016); â¢ NCHRP Report 814: Data to Support Transportation Agency Business Needs: A Self-Assessment Guide (Spy Pond Partners and Iteris, Inc. 2015); and â¢ SHRP 2 Report S2-L06-RR-2, titled Guide to Improving Capability for Systems Operations and Management (Parsons Brinckerhoff, Delcan, George Mason University, and Housman and Associates 2011). These guidebooks focus on specific topics, such as data and transportation systems manage- ment and operations (TSM&O); however, from each guidebook the general framework for conducting a self-assessment can be extrapolated for use in assessing an agencyâs readiness to address the planning implications of new technologies. The agencyâs self-assessment should follow these general steps: â¢ Phase 1: Preparation: â Identify stakeholders, â Develop agencyâs vision for technology, and â Set agencyâs technology goals. â¢ Phase 2: Conduct Assessment: â Inventory current agency resources and capabilities and â Identify gaps. â¢ Phase 3: Prepare Action Plan: â Involve stakeholders, â Set priorities, and â Set milestones. â¢ Phase 4: Monitor and Adjust: â Monitor progress, â Identify shortfalls, and â Adjust action plan. C H A P T E R 5 Self-Assessment
Self-Assessment I-29 The remainder of this chapter focuses on the specific technology-related questions the agency may want to consider as it assesses the readiness of its planning policies, processes, tools, and products for addressing the implications of new technologies. 5.2 Agency Operations and Management The agency should look at its staff and equipment resources and capabilities for dealing with technology questions. Questions to ask in the self-assessment include the following: â¢ Are staff and management sufficiently aware of the agencyâs technology goals? â¢ Does the agency have enough staff sufficiently trained in anticipated new technologies to address planning and policy questions as they come up? â¢ Does agency staff have sufficient equipment? â¢ Do staff members have easy access to sufficient outside resources (e.g., hired experts, private sector partners) to deal with technology questions? â¢ Is agency staff keeping up with technology developments? If the agency plans to employ new technologies in the delivery of governmental services, such as for a smart city, additional questions are: â¢ Does the agency have enough information technology (IT) resources to take advantage of technology trends in improving delivery of government services? â¢ Can the agency maintain the safety and security of its IT infrastructure? 5.3 Review of Regulatory Framework The regulatory framework of the agency (state laws, state and local codes, local ordinances, state and local rules and regulations) affects the day-to-day operation of the agency and its citizenry. A flexible but comprehensive regulatory framework supports agency staff in addressing day-to-day technology challenges. Questions to ask when reviewing the agencyâs readiness for new technologies can be grouped by aspects of the regulatory framework as follows: â¢ Licensing and Permits for New Technologies and Applications: â Does the agency have an adequate licensing and permitting process for dealing with new technologies and novel applications of technology as they emerge? Are the regulations for licensing sufficiently broad and technology agnostic that future technologies can fall within the umbrella of the law? Would a new technology or application fall between the cracks? â Do the reporting requirements for licenses, permits, and fees provide the agency with sufficient and timely data to monitor trends? â Do the licensing, permit, and fee requirements promote the desired behavior on the part of technology deployers and the public? â¢ Motor Vehicle Code: â Do state and local safety requirements, minimum following distances, and the rules of the road need to be updated under anticipated technology developments such as fully autono- mous AVs, e-scooters, and truck platooning? â¢ Land Use Regulations: â Are the automobile, truck, bicycle, and scooter parking (or stand) requirements in the agencyâs zoning and other codes consistent with current technology and usage trends? â Are commercial loading zone and residential delivery box requirements adequate for current trends in technology, such as UAVs? â Are allowed land uses and noise limits by use type appropriate for current technology trends, such as UAVs? Are noise limits in place that are appropriate for residential deliveries?
I-30 Foreseeing the Impact of Transformational Technologies on Land Use and Transportation â Do zoning and land use regulations address the transitioning of uses as technologies evolve? For example, AVs may reduce conventional parking needs, opening up parking structures for reuse by residential, industrial, and commercial uses. â¢ Building Codes: â Do building codes provide sufficient design, electrical, water, and other design loads for transitioning to new uses of structures that may be enabled by new technologies? â Do building codes provide for structure designs that are sufficiently flexible for multiple uses of the same structure that may be enabled by new technologies and consistent with agency policy? â¢ Street and Highway Designs: â Do the agencyâs standard highway and street cross-sections and designs allocate suffi- cient curbside space and travel ways for vehicles and pedestrians under anticipated usage patterns with new technologies such as e-bikes, e-scooters, CVs, and AVs? â Are the design loads, sight distances, and vertical/horizontal clearances for highways, streets, pavement, and bridges sufficient for anticipated technology trends such as truck platooning? â Do the agencyâs signing and striping standards support the safe introduction of new technologies such as e-scooters and AVs? â Are curbside zones and markings adequate for the new parking and pick up/drop off patterns occasioned by new technologies like rideshare and AVs? â Do the agencyâs designs support dynamic lane and curbside management? â¢ Agencyâs Knowledge of Trends: â Does the agency have ready access to adequate, up-to-date monitoring and enforcement data to monitor and evaluate the adequacy of its existing regulations? â Is the data collected and updated frequently enough that it can be used to quickly spot trends? â Are these new data sources employed in the agencyâs day-to-day decision making? 5.4 Capital Improvement Programs Capital Improvement Programs (CIPs) and Transportation Improvement Programs (TIPs) prioritize agenciesâ planned public infrastructure investments, typically over a 5-year to 7-year period. Implementation of an agencyâs CIP and TIP depends on how funding is allocated each year. Questions to consider for CIP and TIP preparation related to readiness for transforma- tional technologies include the following: â¢ Do the CIP and TIP support anticipated technology trends? â¢ Do the projects in the CIP and TIP, as well as their designs, support the rollout of desired new technologies by the public and/or private sector? For example, do the projects include sufficient ROW for broadband internet lines and/or for 5G cell towers? â¢ Do the CIP and TIP take advantage of anticipated technology trends? â¢ Do the projects in the CIP compete with or duplicate infrastructure already in place in the private sector? â¢ Do projects in the CIP implement older technology in cases where newer technology better fulfills the goals of the project? 5.5 Land Development Applications Landowners submit land development applications for local agency approval. Local agencies often ask state DOTs to advise them in the review. Local agencies then set conditions of approval if the development is approved. Land development applications often include transportation
Self-Assessment I-31 infrastructure improvements. They are usually implemented by the private sector in a 1-year to 25-year time frame, depending on the size of the development. Changes in economic condi- tions can expedite or delay implementation. Questions to consider when state and local agencies review land development applications include the following: â¢ Are the agencyâs guidelines and requirements for land development review up to date with the new technologies? â¢ Are the proposed state highway and street cross-sections in the development consistent with expected trends in usage patterns and technology in the short term or over the life of the development project? â¢ Are the proposed state and local circulation infrastructure improvements consistent with expected trends in usage patterns and technology in the short term or over the life of the development project? â¢ Are provisions in place to enable the state and local agency to monitor the effects of tech- nological changes over the course of the development and update project requirements as necessary? 5.6 Long-Range Planning Long-range planning generally consists of state, MPO, and local agency plans prepared with stakeholder input. Long-range plans may guide the agencyâs land development and infrastruc- ture investments over a period of 25 years or more. Specific examples include a local agencyâs comprehensive or general plan and the long-range transportation plans prepared by MPOs and state DOTs. The long-range plan will include elements (as needed) to address specific agency policies related to growth, housing, circulation, economic development, equity, the environ- ment, and government services. Questions to ask regarding long-range planning related to the agencyâs readiness for transformational technologies include the following: â¢ Have the agencyâs goals and policies been expressed in the plan in such a way that they will remain valid given anticipated trends in technology? â¢ Do the socioeconomic growth models and forecasts and the travel demand models and travel forecasts on which the plan is based reflect anticipated technology trends? â¢ Are the housing, land use, and circulation elements in the long-range plan consistent with anticipated trends in technology? â¢ Are provisions in place to monitor the impacts of new technologies on socioeconomic, land use, and travel demand trends? â¢ Do the plans include intermediate checkpoints where monitoring may indicate the need to revisit the plans?