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Right-Sizing Transportation Investments: A Guidebook for Planning and Programming (2019)

Chapter: Chapter 3 - Integration of Right-Sizing Toolkit with Policy Guidance

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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 3 - Integration of Right-Sizing Toolkit with Policy Guidance." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Right-Sizing Transportation Investments: A Guidebook for Planning and Programming. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25680.
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Page 66
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 3 - Integration of Right-Sizing Toolkit with Policy Guidance." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Right-Sizing Transportation Investments: A Guidebook for Planning and Programming. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25680.
×
Page 66
Page 67
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 3 - Integration of Right-Sizing Toolkit with Policy Guidance." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Right-Sizing Transportation Investments: A Guidebook for Planning and Programming. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25680.
×
Page 67
Page 68
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 3 - Integration of Right-Sizing Toolkit with Policy Guidance." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Right-Sizing Transportation Investments: A Guidebook for Planning and Programming. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25680.
×
Page 68
Page 69
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 3 - Integration of Right-Sizing Toolkit with Policy Guidance." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Right-Sizing Transportation Investments: A Guidebook for Planning and Programming. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25680.
×
Page 69
Page 70
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 3 - Integration of Right-Sizing Toolkit with Policy Guidance." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Right-Sizing Transportation Investments: A Guidebook for Planning and Programming. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25680.
×
Page 70
Page 71
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 3 - Integration of Right-Sizing Toolkit with Policy Guidance." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Right-Sizing Transportation Investments: A Guidebook for Planning and Programming. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25680.
×
Page 71
Page 72
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 3 - Integration of Right-Sizing Toolkit with Policy Guidance." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. Right-Sizing Transportation Investments: A Guidebook for Planning and Programming. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25680.
×
Page 72

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65 3.1 Introduction to the Right-Sizing Toolkit In the course of the research effort that produced this guidance document, the research team conducted extensive outreach with staff at DOTs and other transportation planning organiza- tions around the country. From that outreach, along with review of existing practices, it was determined that while practitioners do not see major gaps in the raw data, methods, and tools available to support right-sizing scenarios, there is nevertheless a need for targeted methods and tools to support integration of right-sizing decisions into agency business processes. In interviews, case studies, and roundtable discussions, agencies throughout the United States had opportunities to describe right-sizing situations and the decision support needs they have for addressing them. This process led to a technical workshop, in which a series of concepts were developed for the right-sizing toolkit. These concepts were subsequently refined, implemented, and tested, resulting in the set of tools and methods presented in this chapter. Further details on that process are contained in Appendix B. This chapter introduces the tools and methods (the “toolkit”) developed in response to right-sizing needs identified within DOT and partner agencies. The right-sizing toolkit rep- resents custom applications of methods, tools, and resources that are widely available in the typical DOT environment to specifically address questions related to right-sizing. The tools and methods can be used to identify and diagnose right-sizing situations, evaluate right-sizing scenarios and make a plausible “business case” for a right-sizing decision or program. In most cases, these methods can apply existing data and technology available in trans- portation departments within existing business processes to make right-sizing opportunities an integral part of planning, programming, and decision making. They intentionally build on the existing state of the practice and offer considerable flexibility and open-endedness in terms of their ability to be tailored to the needs of particular right-sizing situations or agency capabilities. In addition to state DOTs, the research has found that local agencies can use the right-sizing guidance and methods to initiate and evaluate self-help opportunities to undertake locally funded (or partially locally funded) efforts to achieve right-sizing objectives. (The guidance in Chapter 2 on proponent-initiated right-sizing further addresses right-sizing initiated by entities outside a DOT). The right-sizing toolkit is intended for both state DOTs, as well as for local agencies and even private entities to pinpoint, evaluate, and implement right-sizing efforts. This chapter provides several keys and potential structures for applying right-sizing meth- ods, pointing to those elements of the toolkit that are likely to best fit different junctures of the infrastructure life cycle and elements of right-sizing strategy. The chapter also identifies C H A P T E R 3 Integration of Right-Sizing Toolkit with Policy Guidance

66 Right-Sizing Transportation Investments: A Guidebook for Planning and Programming likely partners for providing data and supporting information to support the implementation of each right-sizing method or tool, typical agency planning, and programming processes in which right-sizing tools can be readily applied. The chapter also identifies how to use tools to follow the right-sizing road map if establishing an agency-wide policy. The tools are intended to be modular, and may be applied concurrently or in sequences as practitioners deem appro- priate to any given agency process or project. They are also intended to be flexible, with the examples in this guidebook serving as templates by which users may fashion their own unique versions for customized situations. Table 16 summarizes the methods included in the right- sizing toolkit. 3.2 Toolkit and the Infrastructure Life Cycle Even in the absence of overarching policies and formal right-sizing initiatives, the methods of the right-sizing toolkit can be incrementally applied at selected junctures in the infrastructure life cycle (as previously introduced in Table 2) to bring right-sizing and alignment consider- ations into the decision-making process. Table 17 serves as a guide to which elements of the toolkit may be most useful in different parts of the infrastructure life cycle. Agencies or practitio- ners responsible for activities in each of the agency functions shown in the columns of Table 17 are invited to look up the indicated methods and tools to consider ways to integrate right-sizing into the infrastructure life cycle. Because the most leverage for right-sizing exists early in the scoping and development of a project, the right-sizing methods and tools can be most widely applied in project and policy development stages. By the time a project enters the planning and environmental clearance or Methods and Tools Right-Sizing Decision-Support/Problem Addressed Support transportation planners in looking beyond aggregate volumes to understand how different trip-making patterns may point to a reconfiguration of the balance between modes. Roadway Utilization/Cost Screening Systematic screening procedure for identifying outliers in the road network that impose disproportionately high life-cycle costs for the level of traffic (or other metrics of utilization) that they serve. Apply a cost–benefit analysis to help practitioners understand when investments that compromise travel speed to accommodate a changing development context become beneficial. Stratified ROI Calculator Provide a consistent decision-support framework for considering differential return on investments from the perspective of multiple entities involved in a potential right-sizing scenario. Identify the full community of potential funding entities (public and private) with potential incentive to invest in a transportation system or facility, based on improved awareness of surrounding development trends. Congestion Threshold Testing Support right-sizing in the context of growing areas by facilitating a conversation about diminishing marginal returns and relaxing congestion threshold targets. Assess the spatial network implications of decisions to relax pavement performance standards. Project Scoping Method Reduce the risk of over-build or under-build by incorporating information about multiple types of performance deficiencies as well as possible sensitivity of needs to different economic and technical futures into the project scoping process. Roadway Spacing Analysis Create networks with sufficient mobility and connectivity for intended future land use and supported activity. Performance-Based Practical Design (PBPD) Checklist Provide for systematic review of an agency’s STIP to determine whether projects could be additionally right-sized through PBPD. Trip Length Analysis to Assess Modal Balance Development-Sensitive Safety Analysis Funding and Development Awareness Method Asset Deficiency Mapping Method Table 16. Methods included in the right-sizing toolkit.

Integration of Right-Sizing Toolkit with Policy Guidance 67 design stages of the life cycle, there are fewer choices available for right-sizing. However, even in the design stage, there are opportunities for right-sizing to consider things like appropriate congestion thresholds, trade-offs between speed and safety (development-sensitive safety analy- sis), roadway spacing, and a performance-based practical design (which in many ways is a final validation for right-sizing at the project level). The only element of the life cycle in which there is little-to-no leverage for methods in the right-sizing toolkit is within the construction process itself. However, as outlined in Table 2, there are nevertheless policy questions that can be asked with respect to right-sizing at all stages. 3.3 Toolkit and the Elements of Right-Sizing Strategy If an agency is developing an agency-wide right-sizing strategy and developing guidelines as suggested in Chapter 2 governing its investment decisions to set and achieve right-sizing out- comes, the right-sizing toolkit can be applied to implement this strategy. Because right-sizing methods and tools are customized to answer specific questions that arise when seeking to iden- tify and capitalize on right-sizing opportunities, the tools can be especially useful when agencies undertake policy tasks (such as evaluating right-sizing proposals from proponents, forming partnerships, and applying right-sizing decisions at different levels of scale and complexity). Table 18 serves as a guide for which right-sizing methods and tools an agency may wish to con- sider when devising its own approaches to support the elements of right-sizing strategy identi- fied in Chapter 2. P ro je ct D ev el o p m en t P o lic y D ev el o p m en t P la n n in g & E n vi ro n m en t- al C le ar an ce D es ig n C o n st ru ct io n O p er at io n & M o n it o ri n g Trip Length Analysis to Assess Modal Balance Roadway Utilization/Cost Screening Development- Sensitive Safety Analysis Stratified ROI Calculator Funding and Development Awareness Method Congestion Threshold Testing Asset Deficiency Mapping Method Project Scoping Method Roadway Spacing Analysis Performance-Based Practical Design Checklist Right-Sizing Tools and Methods Infrastructure Life Cycle Table 17. Right-sizing methods in the infrastructure life cycle.

68 Right-Sizing Transportation Investments: A Guidebook for Planning and Programming While Table 18 serves as a guide for implementation, it is understood that not every agency will (or should) use every method or tool in the toolkit. There are cases in which the elements of right-sizing strategy can be satisfied without utilizing the tools or methods at all. Instead, when designing a right-sizing initiative, agencies should (1) consider their needs, opportunities, and guidelines for addressing each element of strategy and (2) review the available tools and methods to determine if special right-sizing analysis or technical work can add value to the agency’s specific right-sizing policy. 3.4 Toolkit and the Typical DOT Business Process As with the infrastructure life cycle, even agencies without explicit right-sizing strategies or policies may incrementally implement right-sizing by selectively deploying the right- sizing tools and methods within existing business processes. For example, it is possible that an agency may not be ready to implement an agency-wide right-sizing initiative to all areas of programming but may set a specific goal to include right-sizing opportunities as an element of its FAST Act compliant transportation asset management plan. In a similar way, it is possible that an MPO, city, or DOT district may not have a wider right-sizing policy but may wish to form a right-sizing partnership (or consider right-sizing alternatives) within the context of a specific corridor study. Table 19 provides some guidance for which right-sizing methods and tools an agency may wish to include within the scope of specific agency activities and business processes to incrementally add a right-sizing component to selected business processes and efforts. Initiating Right- Sizing Partnerships Scale and Complexity Rural Suburban Urban Programmatic Trip Length Analysis to Assess Modal Balance Roadway Utilization/ Cost Screening Development- Sensitive Safety Analysis Stratified ROI Calculator Funding and Development Awareness Method Congestion Threshold Testing Asset Deficiency Mapping Method Project Scoping Method Roadway Spacing Analysis Performance-Based Practical Design Checklist Right-Sizing Tools and Methods Elements of an Agency Right-Sizing Policy Table 18. Right-sizing methods applied to support the elements of right-sizing policy.

Integration of Right-Sizing Toolkit with Policy Guidance 69 3.5 Toolkit and Sources of Information Because right-sizing is understood as a collaborative (and often inter-governmental) decision- making process, information from state, MPO, municipal, and in some cases private entities can be applied within the methods of the right-sizing toolkit. Travel demand models and network GIS coverages can be provided by state DOTs, MPOs, and, in some cases, cities and coun- ties. Crash data most typically are maintained by states but can be supplemented with driver and crash report data from local police departments. Zoning and assessor data from cities and counties can play a vital role in adding a key dimension to considerations pertaining to return on investment and likely future land use for considerations such as street spacing. Municipal and county governments also often may have highly granular parcel-based mapping of sewer, water, local streets, bicycle, and pedestrian facilities and other amenities that serve as a guide to development trends (as well as historical information about building permits and zoning). State DOTs asset management systems for pavement and bridge networks and private entities may bring expertise in making projections about business revenue, the value of specific sites, and the sensitivity of such value to infrastructure conditions. Table 20 is a guide to potential data sources that may be available in right-sizing situations and which elements of the toolkit such data can readily support. Table 20 offers a guide to the types of information that can be involved in applying right- sizing methods to enable agencies to consider which partners they should consider for different types of assessments (and where to go for information). However, it is important to note that S ta te /M P O L R T P (P la n n in g ) S ta te /M P O S T IP /T IP (P ro g ra m m in g ) M o d al P la n s A ss et M an ag em en t (O n g o in g ) T A M P /A ss et M an ag em en t P la n C o rr id o r S tu d y Trip Length Analysis to Assess Modal Balance Roadway Utilization/ Cost Screening Development- Sensitive Safety Analysis Stratified ROI Calculator Funding and Development Awareness Method Congestion Threshold Testing Asset Deficiency Mapping Method Project Scoping Method Roadway Spacing Analysis Performance-Based Practical Design Checklist Right-Sizing Tools and Methods DOT Activities Table 19. Right-sizing methods and typical DOT business processes.

Travel Demand Model and Network GIS Safety Data Improvement/ Investment History Maps: Supportive and Non- Vehicular Infrastructurea Asset M anagement Systems Development History/Trend Datab Business Revenue/ Site Value Traffic Count/ O-D Datac Trip Length Analysis to Assess Modal Balance Roadway Utilization/Cost Screening Development- Sensitive Safety Analysis Stratified ROI Calculator Funding and Development Awareness Method Congestion Threshold Testing Asset Deficiency Mapping Method Project Scoping Method Roadway Spacing Analysis Performance Based Practical Design Checklist Note: O-D = origin-destination. aSewer/water, bike–pedestrian facilities. bBuilding permits, zoning, tax assessment. cIncludes private data such as Streetlight/AirSage, etcetera. Right-Sizing Tools and Methods Information Sources and Tools for Applying Right-Sizing Toolkit Table 20. Sources of data and information for right-sizing tools and methods.

Integration of Right-Sizing Toolkit with Policy Guidance 71 not every data source or type shown in Table 20 is necessary for the indicated methods, and each agency should review the data requirements given in the toolkit guidance and assess the best sources and partners for the right-sizing situation and objective at hand. 3.6 Applying the Toolkit Within the Right-Sizing Roadmap One final way to understand and apply the right-sizing toolkit is to consider how tools fit into the overall logical structure of the right-sizing process using the right-sizing roadmap (Figure 2). The right-sizing roadmap indicates in dark blue those aspects of the right-sizing process in which special methods and tools can be applied. These junctures include • Initiating a right-sizing process • Assessing an infrastructure portfolio or asset • Identifying appropriate roles for right-sizing partners • Identifying incentives for partners to engage in needed roles • Applying tools to establish right-sizing objectives • Applying tools to identify tactics and options • Applying tools to evaluate tactics and options • Applying tools to monitor the ongoing progress and outcomes of right-sizing decisions Table 21 demonstrates which tools in the right-sizing toolkit apply at each of these junctures and serves as a guide to using the toolkit together with the roadmap when designing and imple- menting a right-sizing initiative.

Initiating Right- Sizing Assessing a Portfolio or Asset Identifying Roles for Partners Identifying Incentives for Partners Establishing Right-Sizing Objectives Identifying Tactics and Options Evaluating Tactics and Options Monitoring Progress and Outcomes Trip Length Analysis to Assess Modal Balance Roadway Utilization/Cost Screening Development-Sensitive Safety Analysis Stratified ROI Calculator Funding and Development Awareness Method Congestion Threshold Testing Asset Deficiency Mapping Method Project Scoping Method Roadway Spacing Analysis Performance-Based Practical Design Checklist Right-Sizing Tools and Methods Key Junctures in Right-Sizing Roadmap Table 21. Application of specific right-sizing methods at key junctures in right-sizing roadmap.

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Transportation agencies across the United States are afflicted with aging infrastructure, unstable funding, changing performance expectations, and programs that need updating to meet future demand effectively and efficiently. Yet, these agencies are charged with ensuring ongoing alignment between the life cycle cost, capacity, extent, condition, and function of a piece of infrastructure or a program and its intended current and future use.

The TRB National Cooperative Highway Research Program's NCHRP Research Report 917: Right-Sizing Transportation Investments: A Guidebook for Planning and Programming provides a guideline for identifying right-sizing opportunities where greater social and economic value can be realized by repurposing, reusing, or fundamentally resizing existing transportation system assets.

There is an executive summary associated with this report, as well as several supplementary materials, including:

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