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2019 N A T I O N A L C O O P E R A T I V E H I G H W A Y R E S E A R C H P R O G R A M NCHRP RESEARCH REPORT 917 Right-Sizing Transportation Investments: A Guidebook for Planning and Programming Chandler Duncan Michael Brown Metro AnAlytics Bountiful, UT Naomi Stein econoMic DevelopMent reseArch Group Pittsburgh, PA David Rowe Daniel Rotert Burns & McDonnell Kansas City, MO Michael David Hurst vAnAsse hAnGen Brustlin, inc. Tysons Corner, VA Tim Lomax texAs A&M trAnsportAtion institute College Station, TX Peter Hylton hiGh street consultinG Columbia, SC Hugh McGee huGh McGee, llc Tysons Corner, VA Anne Morris Anne Morris, llc Columbia, SC Subscriber Categories Administration and Management â¢ Finance â¢ Planning and Forecasting Research sponsored by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials in cooperation with the Federal Highway Administration
NATIONAL COOPERATIVE HIGHWAY RESEARCH PROGRAM Systematic, well-designed, and implementable research is the most effective way to solve many problems facing state departments of transportation (DOTs) administrators and engineers. Often, highway problems are of local or regional interest and can best be studied by state DOTs individually or in cooperation with their state universities and others. However, the accelerating growth of highway transporta- tion results in increasingly complex problems of wide interest to high- way authorities. These problems are best studied through a coordinated program of cooperative research. Recognizing this need, the leadership of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) in 1962 ini- tiated an objective national highway research program using modern scientific techniquesâthe National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP). NCHRP is supported on a continuing basis by funds from participating member states of AASHTO and receives the full cooperation and support of the Federal Highway Administration, United States Department of Transportation. The Transportation Research Board (TRB) of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine was requested by AASHTO to administer the research program because of TRBâs recognized objectivity and understanding of modern research practices. TRB is uniquely suited for this purpose for many reasons: TRB maintains an extensive com- mittee structure from which authorities on any highway transportation subject may be drawn; TRB possesses avenues of communications and cooperation with federal, state, and local governmental agencies, univer- sities, and industry; TRBâs relationship to the National Academies is an insurance of objectivity; and TRB maintains a full-time staff of special- ists in highway transportation matters to bring the findings of research directly to those in a position to use them. The program is developed on the basis of research needs identified by chief administrators and other staff of the highway and transportation departments, by committees of AASHTO, and by the Federal Highway Administration. Topics of the highest merit are selected by the AASHTO Special Committee on Research and Innovation (R&I), and each year R&Iâs recommendations are proposed to the AASHTO Board of Direc- tors and the National Academies. Research projects to address these topics are defined by NCHRP, and qualified research agencies are selected from submitted proposals. Administration and surveillance of research contracts are the responsibilities of the National Academies and TRB. The needs for highway research are many, and NCHRP can make significant contributions to solving highway transportation problems of mutual concern to many responsible groups. The program, however, is intended to complement, rather than to substitute for or duplicate, other highway research programs. Published research reports of the NATIONAL COOPERATIVE HIGHWAY RESEARCH PROGRAM are available from Transportation Research Board Business Office 500 Fifth Street, NW Washington, DC 20001 and can be ordered through the Internet by going to http://www.national-academies.org and then searching for TRB Printed in the United States of America NCHRP RESEARCH REPORT 917 Project 19-14 ISSN 2572-3766 (Print) ISSN 2572-3774 (Online) ISBN 978-0-309-48094-9 Library of Congress Control Number 2019953540 Â© 2019 National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. COPYRIGHT INFORMATION Authors herein are responsible for the authenticity of their materials and for obtaining written permissions from publishers or persons who own the copyright to any previously published or copyrighted material used herein. Cooperative Research Programs (CRP) grants permission to reproduce material in this publication for classroom and not-for-profit purposes. Permission is given with the understanding that none of the material will be used to imply TRB, AASHTO, FAA, FHWA, FMCSA, FRA, FTA, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology, PHMSA, or TDC endorsement of a particular product, method, or practice. It is expected that those reproducing the material in this document for educational and not-for-profit uses will give appropriate acknowledgment of the source of any reprinted or reproduced material. For other uses of the material, request permission from CRP. Cover photo description: The Big Four Bridge spanning the Ohio River in Louisville, Kentucky, was built for rail use in 1865. As of 2013, the bridge is now a greenbridge used by pedestrians and bicyclists. Cover photo credit: Shutterstock.com. NOTICE The research report was reviewed by the technical panel and accepted for publication according to procedures established and overseen by the Transportation Research Board and approved by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The opinions and conclusions expressed or implied in this report are those of the researchers who performed the research and are not necessarily those of the Transportation Research Board; the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; or the program sponsors. The Transportation Research Board; the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; and the sponsors of the National Cooperative Highway Research Program do not endorse products or manufacturers. Trade or manufacturersâ names appear herein solely because they are considered essential to the object of the report.
The National Academy of Sciences was established in 1863 by an Act of Congress, signed by President Lincoln, as a private, non- governmental institution to advise the nation on issues related to science and technology. Members are elected by their peers for outstanding contributions to research. Dr. Marcia McNutt is president. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964 under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences to bring the practices of engineering to advising the nation. Members are elected by their peers for extraordinary contributions to engineering. Dr. John L. Anderson is president. The National Academy of Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine) was established in 1970 under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences to advise the nation on medical and health issues. Members are elected by their peers for distinguished contributions to medicine and health. Dr. Victor J. Dzau is president. The three Academies work together as the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to provide independent, objective analysis and advice to the nation and conduct other activities to solve complex problems and inform public policy decisions. The National Academies also encourage education and research, recognize outstanding contributions to knowledge, and increase public understanding in matters of science, engineering, and medicine. Learn more about the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine at www.national-academies.org. The Transportation Research Board is one of seven major programs of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The mission of the Transportation Research Board is to provide leadership in transportation improvements and innovation through trusted, timely, impartial, and evidence-based information exchange, research, and advice regarding all modes of transportation. The Boardâs varied activities annually engage about 8,000 engineers, scientists, and other transportation researchers and practitioners from the public and private sectors and academia, all of whom contribute their expertise in the public interest. The program is supported by state transportation departments, federal agencies including the component administrations of the U.S. Department of Transportation, and other organizations and individuals interested in the development of transportation. Learn more about the Transportation Research Board at www.TRB.org.
C O O P E R A T I V E R E S E A R C H P R O G R A M S CRP STAFF FOR NCHRP RESEARCH REPORT 917 Christopher J. Hedges, Director, Cooperative Research Programs Lori L. Sundstrom, Deputy Director, Cooperative Research Programs Lawrence D. Goldstein, Senior Program Officer Anthony P. Avery, Senior Program Assistant Eileen P. Delaney, Director of Publications Natalie Barnes, Associate Director of Publications Linda A. Dziobek, Senior Editor NCHRP PROJECT 19-14 PANEL Field of AdministrationâArea of Finance Peter C. Martin, CDM Smith, San Francisco, CA (Chair) Ben T. Orsbon, South Dakota DOT, Pierre, SD Steven E. Bowman, Iowa DOT, Ames, IA Matthew K. Brady, California DOT, Eureka, CA Brian K. Gage, Minnesota DOT, Saint Paul, MN Elizabeth A. Robbins, Washington State DOT, Tumwater, WA John H. Thomas, Utah DOT, Salt Lake City, UT Ryan J. Westrom, Greenfield Labs, Ford Smart Mobility, Palo Alto, CA Benjamin Hawkinson, FHWA Liaison William B. Anderson, TRB Liaison AUTHOR ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Also contributing to this report were the following members of the research team: Julie Lorenz of Burns & McDonnell; Colby Brown, Jeff Carroll, and Kevin Ford of High Street Consulting; Vincent Matheny of Metro Analytics; and Glen Weisbrod and Peter Plumeau of Economic Development Research Group.
NCHRP Research Report 917: Right-Sizing Transportation Investments: A Guidebook for Planning and Programming presents guidance to assist state departments of transportation (DOTs) and other transportation planning agencies in identifying right-sizing opportu- nities where greater social and economic value can be realized by repurposing, re-using, or fundamentally re-sizing transportation system assets. The report includes an executive summary (published separately), the guidebook, three spreadsheet models, and a technical appendix available as a web-only document. Across the United States, transportation agencies share common problems: aging infra- structure, unstable funding, changing performance expectations, and programs that need updating to meet future demand effectively and efficiently. At the same time, significant economic and technological uncertainties mean that transportation planning and invest- ment strategies must be more adaptive than ever before. As stewards of public infrastruc- ture and resources, transportation agencies are charged with ensuring ongoing alignment between the life cycle cost, capacity, extent, condition, and function of a piece of infrastruc- ture (or a program) and its intended current and future use. This guidebook is designed to facilitate and enhance that process. Typical transportation investment decisions relate to maintaining, repairing, or replacing infrastructure to an existing design or performance standard or to expanding infrastruc- ture to support an assumed future demand. Right-sizing decisions, on the other hand, are corrective decisions that can encompass a range of strategies, including relaxing or waiv- ing standards, replacing assets to make them smaller or more economical, decommission- ing assets to allow for reuse of land, and in some cases changing jurisdictions to better align infrastructure objectives and ownership. Right-sizing benefits generally fall into four catego ries: (1) reducing/managing life-cycle costs, (2) achieving the best and highest uses of assets and revenues, (3) better aligning funding and decision making with users and benefi- ciaries, and (4) arriving at a cost-effective understanding of needs and solutions. Under NCHRP Project 19-14: Right-Sizing Transportation InvestmentsâMethods for Planning and Programming, the Economic Development Research Group was asked to develop guidance (tools, procedures, and policies) for identifying, evaluating, and com- municating multimodal transportation investment scenarios to explain resource trade-offs and constraints affecting overall system resilience and sustainability. The resulting guide- book is structured in two parts: (1) policy guidance and (2) a technical toolkit of supportive analytical methods. The policy guidance component focuses on how right-sizing principles can be integrated into existing agency business processes. This component includes recom- mendations on how to establish right-sizing goals and policies, right-sizing questions that F O R E W O R D By Lawrence D. Goldstein Staff Officer Transportation Research Board
should be asked at each juncture of the infrastructure life cycle, and tactics for initiating right-sizing. This component also addresses key elements of a right-sizing strategy, includ- ing forming partnerships; understanding the characteristics of right-sizing in urban, sub- urban, and rural contexts; managing and monitoring right-sizing initiatives of different durations; and accounting for uncertainty. This section of the guidebook offers sugges- tions on how to expand agency capacity to make right-sizing decisions, encouraging cross- disciplinary learning to support a new mode of thinking about the economic value of trans- portation assets. The second component of the guidebook, the right-sizing toolkit, offers methods and tools to diagnose right-sizing situations, evaluate right-sizing scenarios, and make a plausi- ble âbusiness caseâ for right-sizing decisions and/or policies. The toolkit builds on resources available in the typical DOT environment, offering custom applications specifically designed to address right-sizing questions and includes three spreadsheet models. These models are available via a link on the TRB web page: â¢ Rightsizing ROI Calculator, â¢ Rightsizing ROI Calculator Example Data, and â¢ Development-Sensitive Safety Analysis. The applications are described in detail in the guidebook. The technical appendix, which is available as NCHRP Web-Only Document 263, includes three white papers. These supplemental white papers cover several topics: (1) the role of jurisdictional transfer in right-sizing, (2) approaches to right-sizing through establishment of performance targets and consideration of performance trade-offs, and (3) right-sizing through project (and network) design. In addition, the research team prepared a set of pre- sentation slides to facilitate communication and implementation of the research products. All supplemental resources, including the executive summary, the three spreadsheet models, the technical appendix, and the presentation slides are available for download from TRBâs website at www.trb.org by searching on NCHRP Research Report 917.
1 Chapter 1 Introduction to Guidance 2 1.1 What Is Right-Sizing? 2 1.2 Evolution of Right-Sizing as an Investment Paradigm 4 1.3 Intended Audience and the Case for Right-Sizing 6 Chapter 2 Policy Guidance 6 2.1 Designing a Right-Sizing Policy 8 2.2 Right-Sizing and the Infrastructure Life Cycle 11 2.3 Initiating Right-Sizing 23 2.4 Elements of a Right-Sizing Strategy 65 Chapter 3 Integration of Right-Sizing Toolkit with Policy Guidance 65 3.1 Introduction to the Right-Sizing Toolkit 66 3.2 Toolkit and the Infrastructure Life Cycle 67 3.3 Toolkit and the Elements of Right-Sizing Strategy 68 3.4 Toolkit and the Typical DOT Business Process 69 3.5 Toolkit and Sources of Information 71 3.6 Applying the Toolkit Within the Right-Sizing Roadmap 73 Chapter 4 Technical Guidance 73 4.1 Trip Length Analysis to Assess Modal Balance 81 4.2 Roadway Utilization/Cost Screening 87 4.3 Development-Sensitive Safety Analysis 100 4.4 Stratified Return on Investment Calculator 121 4.5 Funding and Development Awareness Method 125 4.6 Congestion Threshold Testing 133 4.7 Asset Deficiency Mapping Method 138 4.8 Project Scoping Method 147 4.9 Roadway Spacing Analysis 157 4.10 Performance Based Practical Design Checklist 162 References and Bibliography 165 Appendix A Implementation of Research Findings and Products 173 Appendix B Selection and Development of a Right-Sizing Toolkit C O N T E N T S
177 Appendix C Synthesis of the Literature and Practice with Interpretation of Relevance for Right-Sizing 213 Appendix D Bibliography by Topic Area Note: Photographs, figures, and tables in this report may have been converted from color to grayscale for printing. The electronic version of the report (posted on the web at www.trb.org) retains the color versions.
Right-Sizing Transportation Investments: A Guidebook for Planning and Programming P R E F A C E The Tennessee Department of Transportation implements an initiative to strategically relax design standards, saving the department more than $170 million on the first 10 proj- ects under the new policy. Rochester, New York, transforms an underutilized sunken sec- tion of expressway into an at-grade âcomplete street,â with private development creating more than $250 million of value in the local economy in addition to millions more in life- cycle cost savings (interviews conducted with agency staff). An initiative in Dallas, Texas, identifies opportunities to generate nearly $500 million in development by realigning routes and reusing highway infrastructure, thereby boosting neighborhood property values by about $2.5 billion, adding 40,000 jobs, and increasing property tax revenue by $80 million (Rogers 2016). Those are a few examples of the economic value that can be real- ized through right-sizing transportation assets. Right-sizing is a pro- cess by which an agency reassesses the size, extent, or composition of transportation assets to reflect the current economic reality. Right- sizing can involve rethinking the performance standards or func- tion to which existing assets need to be maintained. In other cases, right-sizing may involve finding an altogether better and higher use for the asset and the land on which it rests. Wherever a transporta- tion system has been overbuilt, is in the wrong place, or has been configured in an inefficient way, there is a potential right-sizing opportunity. While right-sizing can take many forms, right-sizing transportation systems always correct an economic problem, free- ing land, government revenue, private and social capital, or other resources to create value in the economy. As shown in the examples in the first paragraph, agencies willing to invest in identifying and realizing right-sizing opportunities can be handsomely rewarded. Agencies overlook- ing right-sizing opportunities may be at a disadvantage when reconciling life-cycle costs with new emerging needs. However, implementing right-sizing as an agency investment strategy requires addressing difficult questions about transportation needs, sources of value, uncertainty, and equitable resource allocation. How can an agency identify and validate a right-sizing opportunity? Who gets to decide what an efficient or rightsized transportation system entails? How can the interests of different owners, users, and payers for infrastruc- ture converge in support of a right-sizing opportunity? This guidebook offers both a policy framework in which to address these questions as well as some practical methods and tools to identify, evaluate, and implement right-sizing initiatives. Fundamentally, right-sizing is Right-sizing can be understood as Repurposing, reusing, or fundamentally resizing (either larger or smaller). An existing asset (or in some cases, plans for a future asset). For a newly understood economic function or purpose.
about implementing flexible intelligence to create adaptive and economically efficient trans- portation networks and planning processes. Therefore, this guidebook is offered as a starting place for agencies seeking to implement right-sizing principles, and readers are encouraged to innovate, adapt, and build on its recommendations over time. The recommendations contained in this guidebook are based on 2 years of research into the investment practices and decision support methods of transportation agencies through- out the United States. The research has entailed â¢ A review of the U.S. and international literature on disciplines and problems related to right-sizing transportation systems, spanning multiple disciplines ranging from value engineering to transportation economics, public policy, and business management; â¢ Focus groups and in-depth interviews with cross-functional groups of staff from state departments of transportation (DOTs) throughout the United States; â¢ Case studies of examples from throughout the United States, in which agencies have successfully achieved considerable life-cycle cost, economic development, and internal efficiencies by reevaluating and re-scoping their transportation assets and investment decision processes; and â¢ Two national roundtable discussions with executives from state and local transportation agencies throughout the United States focusing on decision making needs, constraints, and shifting paradigms for transportation infrastructure investments in the twenty-first century. Policy Guidance The policy research underlying this guidebook focuses on what constitutes right-sizing from the perspectives of different levels and roles within a transportation agency. From extensive in-depth interviews and case studies, the research offers a concept of right-sizing that focuses specifically on issues of misalignment between the factors driving infrastruc- ture conditions and the types of societal or economic value that infrastructure is intended to support. Addressing misalignment, right-sizing decisions seek to repurpose, reuse, or fundamentally resize infrastructure for a newly understood economic function or purpose. The research also identifies existing planning paradigms upon which right-sizing strate- gies build, as well as key junctures and questions in the infrastructure life cycle at which right-sizing can become relevant. Chapter 1, Introduction to Guidance, and Section 2.2, Right-Sizing and the Infrastructure Life Cycle, reflect those issues. Moving beyond definitional considerations, the research underlying this guidebook iden- tified significant interest among transportation agency staff and executives in approaches for implementing right-sizing decisions within an overall agency business process. Among transportation agencies interested in implementing right-sizing policies, most seek guid- ance on the following topics: â¢ Designing a right-sizing policy, â¢ Initiating the right-sizing process, and â¢ Understanding elements of a successful right-sizing strategy, including â Right-sizing partnerships, â Scale and complexity of right-sizing policies and initiatives, â Duration of right-sizing activity, â Accounting for uncertainty, and â Internal capacity building.
From this understanding of agency needs, the preceding policy areas form the structure of the policy guidance, with the substance and nature of the guidance (along with recom- mended examples of practice) elaborated in Chapter 2. Technical Guidance While most transportation agencies interviewed have not cited major gaps in the raw data, methods, and tools to support right-sizing decisions, there is a clear need for guidance on how to apply analytical techniques to right-sizing problems. There has been consider- able input regarding a need for guidance on using existing data and tools to (1) identify and diagnose right-sizing situations, (2) evaluate right-sizing scenarios, and (3) make a plausible âbusiness caseâ for a right-sizing decision or program. Pursuant to this need, Chapter 4 of this guidebook includes a suite of specific right-sizing tools and methods and demonstra- tions of their practical applications. The introductory material in Chapter 3 focuses on how these right-sizing methods relate to specific existing business processes and technical resources. Appendices A and B cover implementation of research findings and selection of a right- sizing toolkit. Appendix C offers a synthesis of the literature and practice while Appendix D documents additional supplemental references and provides a bibliography by topic area.