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Transportation Planning Capacity Building Program

A Five Year Review Fiscal Years 2004-2008

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U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration  •  Federal Transit Administration




Table of Contents


Executive Summary

1.0 Program Information

Federal requirements and programs related to surface transportation planning are complex. In an effort to foster effective transportation planning in state, metropolitan, rural, and tribal settings, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has created and sponsors the Transportation Planning Capacity Building (TPCB) program.

Jointly administered by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and Federal Transit Administration (FTA), with assistance from the U.S. DOT's Volpe National Transportation Systems Center, TPCB products and services provide information, training, and technical assistance to the transportation professionals responsible for planning for the capital, operating, and maintenance needs of our nation's surface transportation system. The diagram below provides an overview of the program's goals and objectives:

TPCB Has Broad Goals:
  • Enhance professionals' understanding of the Federally-defined transportation planning process, their role within the process, and the relationship between the planning process and community goals.
  • Strengthen understanding and build skills in planning, consensus building, and understanding policy guidance and regulations.
  • Disseminate commendable examples of effective transportation planning practices.
  • Equip new metropolitan planning organizations (MPO) and areas newly designated as air quality nonattainment areas (NAA) with skills and knowledge needed for effective transportation planning.
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TPCB Meets Goals Through Objectives:
  • Gather and disseminate examples of effective transportation planning practices from across the nation.
  • Act as a central clearinghouse for information and contacts within the transportation planning community.
  • Create and deliver training programs, and support peer-to-peer information exchanges.

Clients in urban, rural, and tribal areas take advantage of the resources provided by the TPCB Program; program participants include members of MPO policy boards or executive committees, non-metropolitan local officials and staff (both elected and appointed), members of technical committees and advisory groups, and tribal government officials and their staff.

Many different types of TPCB resources are utilized in order to improve the capacity of transportation planners. These resources include classroom and web-based training developed and delivered by the National Highway Institute (NHI) and National Transit Institute (NTI), TPCB peer exchanges and workshops on scenario planning designed and facilitated by Federal planning staff, and conferences hosted by national associations and stakeholder groups.

Created in 2001 as the Metropolitan Capacity Building program with a focus on the MPO planning process, the expanded TPCB Program has achieved success in developing a high performing workforce, enabling professionals to make better transportation decisions, and facilitating the development of better transportation plans and projects.

The full report provides a summary of the TPCB Program's accomplishments during the past 5 fiscal years (FYs 2004–2008); it is organized into the following key sections:

  • What is Transportation planning Capacity Building (TPCB)?
  • Overview of TPCB Resources
  • Training in Transportation Planning
  • Funding Resources and Applied Research in Planning
  • Information Dissemination and Outreach
  • Other Professional Capacity Building Programs Funded by U.S. DOT
  • Requesting TPCB Technical Assistance

This executive summary provides an overview of TPCB accomplishments during FYs 2004-2008, and the program's future.

2.0 Accomplishments

During the past 5 years, the TPCB Program has realized significant accomplishments in many areas. In some cases, these accomplishments are quantified (e.g., the number of peer exchanges that have been hosted) while in others they are qualitative (e.g., the positive feedback and opinions shared about conferences and events).

In just 5 years...
39 TPCB Peer Program events
37 Transportation Planning Excellence award recipients
28 Additional planning workshops
15 Scenario Planning Workshops

TPCB activities take place in all areas of the U.S., and address a score of topics related to transportation planning — from freight issues and financial planning to bicycle and pedestrian facilities and land use. During the 5-year period, the TPCB Program sponsored a total of 39 Peer Program events — an average of eight peer events per year.

TPCB Program staff collect feedback forms at the close of each peer event, and conduct follow-up telephone interviews with participants approximately 6 months after each event. Typical responses include:

  • "Very productive, I appreciate the opportunity to participate."
  • "Great job in organizing and facilitation."
  • "Free conversation led to interesting questions and responses."
  • "I feel now that we [MPO staff] all know each other. If I have a question...there are experts to contact and resources to use."
  • "The event had people from a lot of different backgrounds. We can now look at issues from different angles and make better decisions in the future."

The reach of the TPCB Program is broad, with participation by professionals in all corners of the U.S., from rural and tribal areas to the nation's largest metropolitan corridors. From FYs 2004 to 2008, the TPCB Program has sponsored peer exchanges and scenario planning workshops in 32 states and the District of Columbia. The map below features the host cities for peer exchanges and scenario planning workshops during the 5-year period.

Scenario Planning Workshop and TPCB Peer Locations, FY2004-2008 shown on a map of the U.S.

During the same 5-year period, trainers at NHI and NTI have enabled hundreds of professionals to better understand topics like coordinated land use and transportation planning, public participation, the environmental review process, traffic monitoring, and air quality conformity, among many others. The figure below shows the total number of participants and the number of times classes were offered across all topics in each of the 5 years.

NHI and NTI trainings reach thousands of professionals. Bar chart showing participant/course levels.

3.0 Main Program Elements

With a broad and ambitious mission, the TPCB Program relies on its managers to identify the specific objectives and activities that will result in meaningful and positive impacts on the transportation planning community. These many core activities are organized around three main program elements: Planning Resources, Training, and Information Dissemination and Outreach.

Planning Resources — The Value of Peers

Professionals at all levels need resources that help them gather knowledge, build their skills, and stay "ahead of the curve." Learning and capacity building happen in a variety of formats, and the planning resources that are delivered to TPCB customers capitalize on the expertise found among peers who are engaged in transportation planning. Enabling peers to interact with one another, and showcasing the accomplishments and "lessons learned" by professionals around the U.S. is one important way that the TPCB Program meets its objectives. Key peer-based planning resources include:

FHWA and FTA programs have funded more than 200 separate research initiatives spanning a wide range of transportation planning topics.
  • The TPCB Peer Program, created to fund, design, and facilitate small group meetings among participants in transportation programs, including MPO, tribal, and state DOT peers who are struggling to answer challenging transportation planning questions. These meetings often include site visits and the sharing of work products and internal publications that can help staff in one agency learn from staff in another.
  • Scenario Planning workshops are larger group meetings moderated by FWHA staff. These workshops describe and showcase cutting-edge visualization techniques and long-range planning strategies, and are particularly useful for MPOs, counties, and states that are exploring the linkages between land use and transportation planning.
  • The Transportation Planning Excellence Awards are conducted biennially, jointly by FHWA and FTA, in cooperation with the American Planning Association (APA), as a means of identifying and publicizing innovative, successful examples of effective local, regional, and statewide transportation planning efforts. The national transportation planning community can take part in the awards ceremony, and a companion publication offers detailed descriptions of these laudable projects.

Training — The Value of Experts

When planning topics and regulatory issues are particularly complex, expert-led training can complement peer-based dialogue. Biennial events such as the FHWA/FTA Planners Seminar, a Washington, D.C.-based meeting featuring extensive panel discussions among Federal headquarters and field staff, can synthesize vast amounts of new information and tackle complex subject matter. The seminar provides a forum for Federal staff to exchange information that will enhance service delivery from central offices to the field and from the field offices to state and local customers.

Additionally, experts deliver classroom and web-based training through NHI and NTI. These courses, which may span multiple days, include formal evaluation and testing to ensure that concepts are understood by students, and provide planners with course materials for their own reference library. For those who are unable to attend multi-day courses, NHI and NTI also provide telephone- and web-based courses that are self-directed but rigorous.

Information Dissemination — The Value of Sharing

small image of the TPCB homepage

Learning from peers and experts are two essential elements of the TPCB Program. The third acknowledges that information dissemination, outreach, and networking are effective ways of raising awareness, discussing best practices and lessons learned, and fostering connections among staff with different roles, in different agencies, and at different scales of planning (local, metro, state, and Federal).

Cover of 2004 Briefing Book on Key Issues in Statewide and Metropolitan Transportation Planning

The TPCB website (www.Planning.dot.gov) acts as a source of information and provides resources about planning news, guidance, policies, and practices. Its calendar of events keeps planners and transportation stakeholders abreast of training sessions, peer exchanges, and other upcoming activities. The website archives all major TPCB Program publications and makes them available for download and printing at any time. The website is a one-stop clearinghouse for state-of-the-practice transportation planning information and resources, averaging more than 600 visits per day in FY 2008.

In concert with maintaining its website, the program has published many popular guidebooks, brochures, and reports for experts, new planning staff, and transportation planning stakeholders. The 2007 update to the 2004 Briefing Book on Key Issues in Statewide and Metropolitan Transportation Planning serves as an invaluable guide to board members and planning staff around the country. In addition to printing more than 10,000 copies of the book, its online version was accessed more than 12,000 times in FY 2008.

Other widely-distributed publications include a 20-page booklet on scenario planning, and the 78-page guide "Transit at the Table: A Guide to Participation in Metropolitan Decisionmaking." These, along with many brochures on key topics (e.g., planning for operations), are made available electronically and in hard copy.

4.0 Program Administration

The TPCB Program is unique in its collaborative management approach. Because statewide and metropolitan transportation planning requirements and programs affect multiple surface transportation modes, the planning professionals at FHWA and FTA jointly oversee the program's activities. This collaboration is aided by the technical expertise of community planners and transportation analysts at the U.S. DOT Volpe Center.

Strategic planning occurs periodically with the participation of high-level staff at each agency. Day-to-day activities are carried out by Volpe Center staff in coordination with FHWA and FTA program managers. Professional trainers affiliated with NHI and NTI lead courses, while executive leaders and professional staff at agencies around the country facilitate peer exchanges and dialogues.

There are several sources of funding for TPCB Program elements (both discretionary grant programs and formula funding programs). In order to provide a comprehensive and well-rounded set of resources, TPCB leadership successfully leverage multiple funding streams: the Surface Transportation Environment and Planning (STEP) cooperative research program, FTA Section 5314-Research, and FTA Section 5327-Oversight, all provide direct financial support for information dissemination, training and technical assistance, and applied research.

Some TPCB funding is provided by FTA and FHWA to the Volpe Center to enable the continued administrative and technical support of its staff in carrying out TPCB Program activities.

5.0 Future of the Program

FHWA and FTA have built a strong foundation upon which to deliver planning resources, training, information dissemination, and outreach. The TPCB Program will evolve as surface transportation planning becomes increasingly complex and involves a growing number of issues and stakeholders. In the coming years, the TPCB Program will rigorously track performance and customer satisfaction in order to strategically use available resources leading to the greatest benefit. Moving forward, FHWA and FTA will focus on new and emerging areas in transportation planning, such as:

  • Responding to new provisions that may result from Federal legislation with transportation planning implications.
  • Publicizing innovative, successful examples of effective statewide, regional, local, and tribal transportation planning efforts.
  • Identifying and developing planning resources and materials to better address new and emerging areas in planning.
  • Improving information dissemination and outreach to stakeholders.

back to Table of Contents


What is Transportation Planning Capacity Building (TPCB)?

The mission of the Transportation Planning Capacity Building (TPCB) Program is to support effective transportation planning in state, metropolitan, rural, and tribal settings. It provides products and services designed to help decisionmakers, transportation officials, and staff resolve the increasingly complex issues faced when addressing community transportation needs. The TPCB Program is jointly sponsored by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) with support from the Volpe National Transportation Systems Center (Volpe Center). Information and resources are provided to a diverse audience of transportation professionals through technical assistance, education, and outreach.

Broadly, the TPCB Program exists to help state and local transportation staff meet complex political, social, economic, and environmental demands. It provides information, training, and technical assistance to help transportation professionals create plans and programs that respond to the needs of the many users of their local transportation systems. The TPCB Program's primary goals are to assist state and local transportation staff with meeting the needs of transportation users.

The goals of the TPCB Program are to:

  • Provide background information for transportation officials to enhance their understanding of the transportation planning process, their role within the process, and its relationship to community and societal goals.
  • Strengthen transportation planning staff skills in the areas of consensus building, understanding policy guidance, and grasping the technical elements of their job through training and peer-to-peer exchanges.
  • Provide a means for disseminating commendable examples of transportation planning practices across the nation.
  • Provide new metropolitan planning organizations (MPO) and areas newly designated as nonattainment areas (NAA) for air quality with information, training, and technical assistance.

The objectives of the TPCB Program are to:

  • Gather and disseminate examples of effective transportation planning practices from across the nation.
  • Act as a central clearinghouse for information and contacts within the transportation planning community.
  • Create training programs and support peer-to-peer information exchanges that strengthen staff understanding of policy guidelines and of the technical elements of the planning process.
  • Provide information, training, and technical assistance to states, local and tribal planning organizations, and transportation agencies.

The audiences for the TPCB products and services are:

  • Members of policy boards or executive committees.
  • Non-metropolitan local officials and staff, including elected and appointed officials with an interest in transportation planning.
  • Staff who participate in the statewide, metropolitan, and local transportation planning processes as members of technical committees, advisory groups, or MPO subcommittees.
  • Tribal government officials and staff.

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Section I: Overview of TPCB Resources

The TPCB Program develops and offers a wide range of resources that help state, regional, local, and tribal agencies improve their transportation planning processes and better serve the needs of transportation system users. TPCB Peer Program Events, Scenario Planning Workshops, the Transportation Planning Excellence Awards (TPEA), and The Colloquy on the Coming Transformation of Travel are a few of the key programs by which resources and information are disseminated to agencies around the country.

In the 5 years between FYs 2004-2008, the TPCB Program supported 39 Peer Program Events, 15 Scenario Planning Workshops, and 28 additional transportation planning workshops. The TPEA Program named 37 awardees and 21 honorable mentions over three award cycles (FYs 2004, 2006, and 2008).

Transportation Planning Peer Exchanges

The TPCB Peer Program provides opportunities for transportation planning professionals to share experiences and solution-based ideas. The Peer Program is a critical piece of the overall TPCB Program. It is designed to meet the TPCB Program's core objective to disseminate examples of effective transportation planning practices and to provide information and training to a variety of transportation stakeholders. During Peer Program events, selected peer agencies meet with a requesting agency and other relevant stakeholders. Peer agencies share their best practices, lessons learned, and technical information with the requesting agency. The resulting dialogue among the peers not only strengthens transportation planning practices but also builds relationships and reinforces cooperation among the participating agencies.

The Peer Program addresses the specific needs of state, regional, local, and tribal agencies. To develop a peer event, Peer Program staff work with the requesting agency to design the appropriate type of peer outreach, including identifying the most qualified peers to provide the requesting agency with assistance. The resulting event may be a peer exchange, a peer workshop, roundtable, series of teleconferences, or topic-specific forums arranged as part of an existing meeting or conference. Each event format may differ slightly. For example, a peer exchange typically involves small group discussions on a specific issue, whereas peer workshops typically use a hands-on format for participants to learn how to apply specific planning tools. Peer roundtables typically involve discussion of innovative practices with participants and implementers or national experts. Additional event formats may be developed, depending on the needs of the requesting agency.

The TPCB Peer Program sponsored a total of 39 events during the 5-year period of FYs 2004-2008, an average of eight peer events annually. There are a total of 17 focus areas for peer events, though FHWA and FTA identify new focus areas as the challenges facing the transportation planning community change. Reports on the Peer Program events are available on the TPCB website located at: www.planning.dot.gov/peer.asp.

Peer Program Events

Listed below are the topics and host locations of the 39 peer events that occurred during FYs 2004-2008.

Bicycle and Pedestrian Facilities Planning

  • Pedestrian and Bicycle Standards and Innovations in Large Central Cities
    New York, New York (September 23, 2005)
  • Best Practices in Bicycle Facilities Planning
    Chicago, Illinois (June 13, 2008)

Health and Human Services

  • Integrating Health and Physical Activity Goals Into Transportation Planning
    Portland, Oregon (January 22, 2004)

Complete Streets

  • Roundtable Discussion on Context Sensitive Solutions
    Columbus, OH (May 17, 2005)
  • Completing the Streets for Transit — 2006 Rail~Volution Conference
    Chicago, Illinois (November 13, 2006)
  • Completing the Streets for Transit — 2007 American Public Transportation Association Bus and Paratransit Conference
    Nashville, Tennessee (May 7, 2007)

Data or Information Management

  • Developing an Asset Management Program
    Raleigh, NC (August 14–15, 2007)
  • Developing an Electronic Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (E-STIP) Administration, Amendment Process, and Fiscal Management Information System (FMIS) Interoperability in Connecticut
    Webinar (May 20-21, 2008)

Environmental Issues

  • Linking Planning and NEPA — 2005 American Public Transportation Association Rail Transit Conference
    Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (June 7, 2005)
  • Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) Peer Exchange to Improve Environmental Processes
    Atlanta, Georgia (November 2–4, 2005)
  • Managing Expectations through National Environmental Policy Act — 2007 American Public Transportation Association Rail Conference
    Toronto, Ontario (June 5, 2007)

Financial Planning and Forecasting

  • The Role of State Department Transportations in Guiding Transportation Investments
    Nashville, Tennesse (September 27–28, 2004)

Freight

  • Sharing Successes ... Building Visions: Freight Peer Exchange
    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (January 18–20, 2005)

Interested Party Participation

  • Effective Public Involvement Procedures throughout a Multi-Disciplinary Agency
    Tucson, Arizona (October 4–5, 2004)
  • Identifying and Engaging Low Literacy and Limited English Proficiency Populations in the Transportation Decisionmaking Process
    Atlanta, Georgia (May 5, 2004)
  • Implementation of Title VI and Environmental Justice Programs for Western States
    Sacramento, California (September 27–29, 2005)

Land Use and Transportation

  • Integrating Land Use and Transportation Planning
    Fort Collins, Colorado (August 7–8, 2007)
  • Tulsa Transportation and Land-Use
    Tulsa, Oklahoma (April 24, 2008)

Management and Operations

  • Operations Data for Planning Applications: Identifying Needs, Opportunities, and Best Practices
    Washington, D.C. (May 4, 2005)
  • Value Pricing: Managed Lanes on Interstate 15 in San Diego County
    San Diego, California (January 30–31, 2006)

Metropolitan Planning or Regional Planning

  • A Two-Phase Peer-to-Peer Roundtable on Potential Transit Projects in the Nine-County Philadelphia Region
    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (April 8, 2004, and June 16, 2004)
  • Best Practices for Small and Medium Sized Metropolitan Planning Organizations
    Fort Smith, Akansas (April 21–23, 2004)
  • Peer-to-Peer Exchange on the Electronic STIP (E-STIP) Amendment Project
    Lansing, Michigan (June 15–17, 2004)
  • The Role of Regional Planning Agencies in Iowa's Rural Planning Process
    Dubuque, Cedar Rapids, Waterloo, Ames, Centerville, and Burlington, Iowa (August 21–25, 2006)
  • Rural Transportation Planning in West Virginia
    Charleston, West Virginia (June 1, 2007)
  • Best Practices in Long-Range Project Prioritization Methodologies
    Atlanta, Georgia (October 29–30, 2008)

MPO Organization or Structure

  • Effective Models in MPO Consolidation
    San Diego, California (March 11, 2008)

Performance Measures

  • Performance Measures to Improve Transportation Planning Practice
    Charleston, South Carolina (May 6, 2004)
  • Non-Traditional Performance Measures
    Boston, Massachusetts (July 12–13, 2005)

Statewide Planning

  • Safety Conscious Planning Peer Exchange
    Detroit, Michigan (May 3–5, 2005)
  • Developing Statewide Long-Range Transportation Plans
    Lansing, Michigan (June 14–15, 2005)

Transit Oriented Development

  • Public Transit in a Gaming and Resort Community
    Las Vegas, Nevada (November 13, 2006)
  • Preparing for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Games
    Salt Lake City, Utah (March 2–4, 2004); Bellingham, Washington (March 15–18, 2004)

Tribal Planning and Coordination

  • National Tribal Roads Conference Peer Workshop for Tribal Transit Service Development
    Albuquerque, New Mexico (March 2, 2004)
  • State DOT Tribal Liaison Roundtable and Panel Discussion
    Spokane, Washington (June 7–8, 2005)
  • Long-Range Transportation Plans: The Experiences of Tribal Planners
    Scottsdale, Arizona (November 2, 2005)
  • Experience of Tribal Data Managers and Tribal Planners
    Cabazon, California (November 15, 2006)
  • Key Considerations in Metropolitan and Statewide Tribal Consultation
    Reno, Nevada (May 28–29, 2008)

Peer Exchange Locations FYs 2004–2008

The Peer Program events listed in the section above were hosted in 25 states and the District of Columbia, in both urban and rural locations. The map below shows the host cities, marked by a diamond for each peer event.

TPCB Peer Program locations FYs 2004-2008 as shown on map of U.S.

Scenario Planning Workshops

The TPCB Program also develops Scenario Planning Workshops that act as a framework and an analytical tool to identify and assess future growth alternatives within a region. The overall purpose of the Scenario Planning Workshops is to introduce scenario planning processes to a variety of stakeholders, including State Departments of Transportation (DOTs), MPOs, regional planning associations, local government agencies, and others in the public, private, and academic sectors concerned with population growth, transportation planning, and its effects on communities. Scenario Planning Workshops address the TPCB Program's core objective to disseminate examples of effective transportation planning practices and provide information and training to a variety of transportation stakeholders.

Scenario Planning Workshops fulfill similar goals and objectives as the TPCB Peer Program events. The workshops rely on U.S. DOT Headquarters and field staff professionals as peer planning experts. The scenario planning workshops focus on the technical application of specific analytic tools or frameworks relevant to the field. The workshops are developed on the recommendation of FHWA, though agencies can also request that a particular topic be explored.

During Scenario Planning Workshops, staff from FHWA Office of Planning and FHWA Resource Center provide detailed information on scenario planning background, tools, and specific resources. State, regional, and local planning experts also participate in Scenario Planning Workshops in order to study lessons learned and the best practices for implementing a particular approach. During the workshops, information is provided on regional growth trends, transportation demand issues, and the projected consequences of these factors. Typically, a question and answer, discussion, or breakout session with participants concludes the workshops. Workshops typically last for one or one-and-a-half days.

A total of 15 Scenario Planning Workshops were held across 14 states from FYs 2004–2008. The map on the next page identifies the locations (marked by a circle) where workshops were held.

Scenario Planning Workshop Topics  Listed below are the host locations and topic areas of the 15 workshops organized chronologically.

Binghamton, New York — June 2, 2004
Long-range transportation plan update

Newport, Rhode Island — June 7, 2004
Land use growth challenges and updates to land use plans

Honolulu, Hawaii — June 24, 2004
Maximization of transportation investments and assessing growth scenarios

Orlando, Florida — December 9, 2004
Demographic, environmental, and transportation safety challenges

Dubuque, Iowa — May 13, 2005
Planning processes and land use issues

Champaign, Illinois — June 15, 2005
Regional growth trends and corridor studies

Mooresville, North Carolina — July 20, 2005
Critical growth issues and an update to land use and transportation plans

Kansas City, Missouri — April 5, 2006
Ensuring quality development

Monterey, California — June 2, 2006
Addressing growth and housing issues

Traverse City, Michigan — July 27, 2006
Comprehensive multimodal transportation plan update

Chico, California — August 9, 2006
Critical regional growth issues

Frankfort, Kentucky — March 6, 2007
Statewide transportation planning processes, land use, and funding issues impacting growth

Fargo, North Dakota — March 4, 2007
Long-term transportation processes and changing economic situations

Burlington, Vermont — November 9, 2007
Completed the metropolitan transportation plan update

El Paso, Texas — June 4, 2008
Development of a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system and land use change projections

Scenario Planning Workshop locations FYs 2004-2008 as shown on map of U.S.

Additional TPCB Workshops

The TPCB Program provided funding for a variety of additional workshops and webinars that help to inform the broader transportation planning community about emerging issues and noteworthy trends in the field. During the 5-year period of FYs 2004–2008, the TPCB Program sponsored approximately 16 workshops with key industry partners across a range of transportation planning topic areas. Following is a list of workshop partners and topics.

FY 2004 Workshop Partners and Topics:

  • American Public Transportation Association (APTA) — Accelerated scans and appraisals
  • Transportation Research Board (TRB) — Supported Standing Committee On Planning peer review
  • American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) — Regional workshops
  • Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) — In this FTA Transit Finance and Joint Development workshop, senior FTA policymakers toured a Transit-Oriented Development (TOD)/Joint Development venture in Boston, MA

FY 2005 Workshop Partners and Topics:

  • AASHTO — State DOT consultation with local officials in statewide planning and regional workshop: Rural consultation
  • Association of Metropolitan Planning Organizations (AMPO) — Land use sessions and peer workshops
  • TRB — Supported Standing Committee On Planning peer review

FY 2006 Workshop Partners and Topics:

  • AMPO — MPO regional workshops
  • TRB — Peer-to-peer exchanges on "Coordinating Planning and Operations"
  • Surface Transportation Policy Project (STPP) — Seven "From the Margins to the Mainstream" workshops to increase understanding of Federal transportation law and policy
  • Center for Transportation and the Environment (CTE) — Webinar on Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) for Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users' (SAFETEA-LU) statewide and metropolitan planning regulations

FY 2007 Workshop Partners and Topics:

  • AASHTO — Cost estimating and management and congestion management
  • AMPO — Land use and transportation workshops
  • National Association of Regional Councils (NARC) — Land use and transportation workshop and regional workshops on SAFETEA-LU implementation
  • CTE — Webinar on NPRM for SAFETEA-LU's statewide and metropolitan planning regulations

FY 2008 Workshop Partners and Topics:

  • AASHTO — Planning and innovative financing integration
  • Taxicab, Limousine, Paratransit Association (TLPA) — Two "Planning Ahead Seminars" to help private for-hire vehicle operators better understand the metropolitan transportation planning process

Transportation Planning Excellence Awards (TPEA)

The purpose of the TPEA Program is to recognize outstanding initiatives across the country to develop and implement innovative transportation planning practices. The TPEA Program meets the TPCB Program's core objective to collect and synthesize examples of effective transportation planning practices from across the nation and disseminate this information to stakeholders. By recognizing and disseminating effective planning practices, the TPEA Program helps to strengthen transportation professionals' understanding of the state-of-the-practice. These professionals can then better meet the needs of transportation users.

FHWA and FTA created the TPEA Program and announced the first round of awardees in 2004. Subsequent award ceremonies were held 2006 and 2008. The TPEA awards are co-sponsored by the American Planning Association (APA).

Using an online form, nominators submitted applications to the TPEA Program in one of several subject categories. After the close of the submission period, a panel of expert judges reviewed applications to select winning projects. Award-winners and honorable mentions received a plaque commemorating their projects and were recognized in special ceremonies during TRB's Joint Summer Meeting. Award and honorable mention winners were also recognized in the TPEA Booklet, a print publication describing winning projects that was distributed at key venues after awardees were announced.

The text below describes the TPEA Program process, judges' panel, and award winners and honorable mentions for each FY in which the TPEA occurred (2004, 2006, and 2008).

FY 2004 TPEA Program

In FY 2004, there were over 220 award nominations submitted in 10 categories. The categories for submission were:

  • Academic/Student Projects
  • Homeland and Personal Security
  • "Playing it Safe" Safety Conscious Planning
  • Planning Leadership
  • Technology Applications
  • Tribal Transportation Planning
  • Transportation Planning Integration with other Planning and Engineering Activities
  • Transportation Planning and Environment
  • Transportation and Land Use Integration
  • Public Involvement, Education, and Outreach

A major focus of the FY 2004 TPEA Program was promoting the integration of safety and transportation planning. The category of "Playing it Safe" Safety Conscious Planning was developed to highlight those nominations that prioritized safety in the planning process. For this special category, a select panel of judges evaluated nominees according to criteria that included innovativeness, effectiveness, replication, partnerships and collaboration, demonstrations of evaluation, and leveraging of resources and funding.

A panel consisting of 10 judges selected 11 award winners and five honorable mention winners from the 220 nominations. The judges used several criteria to assess each nomination. Criteria included demonstrations of innovation, partnerships, results and replicability, intermodalism, equity, sustainability, and safety conscious planning, as well as leveraging of funds and resources.

The award winners represented several MPOs and Council of Governments (COG), a state DOT, a city government, and transit agencies from across the country. Honorable mention winners represented two state DOTs, a city government, and a tribal transit agency. Award and honorable mention winners were recognized at the 2004 TRB Joint Summer Meeting of the Planning, Economic, Environmental, Finance, Freight, and Management Committees in Park City, Utah. An FY 2004 Awards Program was developed and provided to attendees of the awards ceremony at the TRB Joint Summer Meeting. The two-page program provided a brief overview of the TPEA Program, the award selection process, a list of award categories, judges' panel members, and award and honorable mention winners and presented the agenda for award presentations. A 2004 TPEA booklet was developed to commemorate the award and honorable mention winners and publicize the 2006 TPEA Program.

FY 2006 TPEA Program

There were over 100 award nominations submitted in 12 categories for the FY 2006 TPEA Program. Several new categories were introduced for the FY 2006 TPEA Program while other categories remained the same as in FY 2004. The complete list of categories for the FY 2006 TPEA Program included:

  • Asset Management and Planning
  • Education and Training
  • Freight Planning
  • Homeland and Personal Security
  • Linking Planning and Operations
  • Modeling and Technology Applications
  • Planning Leadership
  • Public Involvement and Outreach
  • Safety Planning
  • Transportation and Land Use Integration
  • Transportation Planning and Environment
  • Tribal Transportation Planning

For the FY 2006 TPEA Program, a panel comprised of eight judges selected 13 award winners and seven honorable mention winners. To assess the nominations, the judges' panel used criteria that included demonstrations of innovation, community and public involvement, partnerships and collaboration, multimodalism, equity, sustainability, results, and replicability.

The award winners represented five state DOTs, as well as several MPOs and COGs from across the country. Honorable mention winners represented a tribal government, three state DOTs, and three MPOs. Award and honorable mention winners were recognized in July 2006 at the 2006 TRB Joint Summer Meeting of the Planning, Economics, Environment, Finance, Freight, and Management Committees in La Jolla, California. An FY 2006 Awards Program was developed and provided to attendees of the awards ceremony at the TRB Joint Summer Meeting. The two-page program provided a brief overview of the TPEA Program, the award selection process, a list of award categories, judges' panel members, and award and honorable mention winners and presented the agenda for award presentations.

An FY 2006 TPEA booklet was developed to commemorate the award and honorable mention winners and publicize the FY 2006 TPEA Program. Approximately 1,000 copies of this 24-page booklet were produced and distributed to multiple stakeholders, including FHWA Division Offices and Regions, FTA Office of Planning and Environment, the award and honorable mention winners, the Association of Metropolitan Planning Organizations (AMPO), the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), and others at the conference of the APA.

FY 2008 TPEA Program

There were just over 70 nominations for the FY 2008 TPEA Program. Nominations were submitted in the following 11 categories:

  • Education and Training
  • Freight Planning
  • Homeland and Personal Security
  • Linking Planning and Operations
  • Modeling and Technology Applications
  • Planning Leadership
  • Participation and Consultation
  • Safety Planning Transportation and Land Use Integration
  • Transportation Asset Management
  • Transportation Planning and Environment
  • Tribal Transportation Planning

For the FY 2008 TPEA Program, a panel consisting of 11 judges selected 13 award winners and nine honorable mention winners from the nominations. The judges used several criteria to assess each nomination, including demonstrations of innovation, community and public involvement, partnerships and collaboration, multimodalism, equity, sustainability, results, replication, effectiveness, and transferability. The criterion of "demonstrated results" included two new areas-effectiveness and transferability-neither of which was included in the FY 2006 TPEA Program.

Award winners included three joint submissions from an MPO and two state DOTs; from town and county governments as well as a state DOT; an FHWA State Division Office, a state DOT, and a tribal government. Other award winners represented four state DOTs, a tribal transportation agency, a national transportation association, three MPOs, and a city government. Honorable mention winners included a joint submission from a state DOT, an FHWA State Division Office, and a Federal agency. Other honorable mention winners represented four state DOTs and four MPOs. Award and honorable mention winners were recognized in June 2008 at the 2008 TRB Joint Summer Meeting of the Planning, Data, Finance, Administration, Freight, and Management Committees in Baltimore, Maryland. An FY 2008 Awards Program was developed and provided to attendees of the awards ceremony at the TRB Joint Summer Meeting. The two-page program provided a brief overview of the TPEA Program, the award selection process, a list of award categories, judges' panel members, and award and honorable mention winners and presented the agenda for award presentations.

An FY 2008 TPEA booklet was developed to commemorate the award and honorable mention winners and publicize the FY 2008 TPEA Program. Approximately 1,300 copies of the 28-page TPEA booklet were produced and distributed to multiple stakeholders, including FHWA Division Offices and Regions, FTA Office of Planning and Environment, the award and honorable mention winners, AMPO, AASHTO, TRB, APTA, and to others at the conferences of APA and the Community Transportation Association of America (CTAA).

More information about the TPEA Program is located at: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/planning/tpea/index.htm.

The Colloquy on the Coming Transformation of Travel

The Colloquy on the Coming Transformation of Travel was created to help planning practitioners make long-term decisions regarding highway, transit, intermodal, and intercity transportation facilities. The project was a partnership of the New York State Association of Metropolitan Planning Organizations and FHWA, with technical support from the Volpe Center. More than three dozen leading researchers in economics, demographics, technology, public policy, and the environment gathered for 2 days of structured discussions. The group developed statements of common expectations for long-term trends that may have implications for metropolitan transportation planning. They also produced recommendations for metropolitan transportation planning. (http://www.nysmpos.org/colloquy_travel.html)

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Section II: Training in Transportation Planning

Training is a key aspect of the TPCB Program that includes events to educate transportation professionals from the public, private, and academic sectors on current issues in the state-of-the-practice issues, as well as future challenges that planners may face. Training formats vary depending on subject matter and audience needs and include formal classroom trainings, webinars, seminars, etc.

TPCB Training activities taking place between FYs 2004–2008 included three sessions of the biennial Planners' Seminar in Washington, D.C., which was attended by more than 300 Federal staff. Also during this period, the National Highway Institute (NHI) and National Transit Institute (NTI) offered 23 in-class training courses a total of 514 times with the participation of 13,969 attendees from across the country; an average of 27 attendees per class.

FHWA/FTA Planners' Seminar

The FHWA/FTA Planners' Seminar provides a forum for Federal headquarters and field staff to exchange information and perspectives regarding current transportation planning policies, useful procedures, and opportunities for improvement. The 3-day event highlights methods to enhance service delivery from central offices to the field and from the field offices to state and local customers. FHWA/FTA Planners' Seminars are held every other year and serve to explore a variety of topics relevant to the evolving professional needs of FHWA and FTA planning staff.

The following text provides information on FHWA/FTA Planners' Seminars over the past 5 years, including event dates and locations; topic areas highlighted, and selected speaker information.

Alexandria, Virginia — August 10-13, 2004

The 2004 FHWA/FTA Planners' Seminar was attended by approximately 100 staff from FHWA and FTA headquarters and regional offices, as well as staff from the Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization, a nonprofit agency focused on the planning and revitalization of a central transportation corridor in Arlington, Virginia. Also participating were staff from the Anacostia Waterfront Initiative, an effort coordinated by the District of Columbia Office of Planning to revitalize the shores of the Anacostia River and surrounding communities.

The seminar included approximately 20 sessions on an array of topics, including program technical assistance, safety conscious planning, air quality management, scenario planning, highway functional classification, integrating planning and the environment, and a number of other areas. Staff from FHWA Office of Planning, Office of Environment and Realty, Office of Safety, Office of Operations, Office of Project Development and Environmental Review, and Office of Human and Natural Environment attended, as well as staff from FTA Office of Planning and Environment, FHWA Resource Center, FHWA Census Transportation Project, and others. Staff gave presentations and led discussions to facilitate the information-sharing across agencies and departments.

Washington, D.C. — April 19-21, 2006

The 2006 FHWA/FTA Planners' Seminar had more than 180 attendees representing FHWA and FTA field and headquarters staff, including the Office of Federal Lands Highway. While the seminar focused on implementation of SAFETEA-LU, it also included sessions on other topics of diverse interest to planners in both agencies.

Remarks by the Acting FHWA Administrator, as well as discussions with the FTA Associate Administrator for the Office of Planning and Environment; FHWA Associate Administrator for the Office of Planning, Environment, and Realty; and the Associate Administrator for the Federal Lands Highway Program, provided opportunities to discuss agency priorities and emphasis areas in SAFETEA-LU implementation.

Washington, D.C. — July 22-25, 2008

The 2008 FHWA/FTA Planners' Seminar involved attendees from various headquarter and regional offices within FHWA and FTA, as well as the Office of Federal Lands Highway. Attendees were given a detailed overview of reauthorization issues and highlighted issues, including proposed solutions to the Highway Trust Fund shortfall and a discussion on the challenges facing FHWA and FTA relating to reauthorization and revenue constraints.

The seminar agenda focused on current issues in transportation planning, including the reauthorization and status of the Highway Trust Fund, and provided information on new and long-standing issues including climate change, planning for operations, freight planning, coordinated public-transit human services, and coordinating Federal lands, Federal transit, and Federal-aid planning, as well as several other topic areas.

Training Classes from NHI and NTI

Formal training courses provide a rigorous background in the substance and methods of the planning process. The TPCB Program includes formal training in a broad range of transportation planning subjects. These training courses meet the TPCB Program's core objective to create educational programs and support peer-to-peer information exchanges that strengthen staff understanding of policy guidelines, the planning process, and current issues. Training sessions are geared toward the needs of decisionmakers, transportation officials, professional staff, and FHWA and FTA field staff. New courses are developed based on feedback from transportation professionals and are intended to respond to new and emerging needs.

Transportation planning training courses are offered by the National Highway Institute (NHI), the National Transit Institute (NTI), FHWA, FTA, and the Travel Model Improvement Program, as well as by other organizations offering NHI-, NTI-, and FHWA -recognized courses. Selected NHI and NTI transportation planning courses are now eligible for American Institute of Certified Planner (AICP) and APA Continuing Education Credits. For more information, contact NHI and NTI directly.

Listed below are some of the courses created and offered by NHI and NTI with funding from FHWA and FTA. Detailed listings are located at: http://www.nhi.fhwa.dot.gov/training/brows_catalog.aspx and http://www.ntionline.com/Courses.asp.

Administration of FHWA Planning and Research Grants: Responsibilities of and relationships among Federal, state, and local agencies involved in the administration of FHWA planning and research funds to states and state sub-grants to MPOs and local governments.

FHWA Planning and Research Grants 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008
Number times offered 1 1 3 3 9
Total participants 34 30 62 76 234

Advanced Seminar on Managing the Environmental Review Process: Efficient and effective management of environmental processes in the development and construction of transit and multimodal transportation projects by providing current information on Federal requirements, identifying best practices, and facilitating the sharing of information and insight among advanced practitioners.

Managing Environmental Review Process 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008
Number times offered 0 0 0 2 2
Total participants 0 0 0 198 102

Application of the FHWA Traffic Monitoring Guide: Application of procedures published in FHWA "Traffic Monitoring Guide" (TMG) and other recent developments in traffic monitoring.

FHWA Traffic Monitoring Guide 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008
Number times offered 3 5 0 3 3
Total participants 91 129 0 84 51

Applying Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Spatial Data Technologies to Transportation (NHI): How to implement transportation planning applications that rely on spatial data technologies. This course describes example applications and discusses topics, including the level of effort for development, technological challenges, training needs, and evaluation measures.

GIS and Spatial Data 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008
Number times offered 1 4 2 4 2
Total participants 24 119 42 108 39

Environmental Impact Assessment Part A: NEPA as a Decisionmaking Tool in Planning: Introduces the environmental impact assessment process as required under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

NEPA as Decisionmaking Tool 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008
Number times offered 0 0 0 0 2
Total participants 0 0 0 0 25

Environmental Impact Assessment Part B: The Environmental Impact Statement and Related Topics: Brief review of the NEPA process, including components of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and issues relevant to SAFETEA-LU requirements on NEPA implementation.

EIS and Related Topics 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008
Number times offered 0 0 0 0 1
Total participants 0 0 0 0 16

Estimating Regional Mobile Source Emissions: Assists planners and practitioners responsible for estimating mobile source emissions in developing the necessary skills to incorporate best practice techniques into their areas of practice.

Mobile Source Emissions 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008
Number times offered 3 2 1 0 0
Total participants 48 36 12 0 0

Fundamentals of Title VI/ Environmental Justice: Presents a framework for using a variety of approaches and tools for accomplishing environmental justice goals in the transportation planning and project development processes.

Title VI/ Environmental Justice 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008
Number times offered 2 3 3 5 2
Total participants 63 74 50 118 52

Highway Program Financing: Overview of the Federal-Aid Highway Program, focusing on various aspects of highway program financing unique to the FHWA.

Highway Program Financing 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008
Number times offered 0 0 20 28 19
Total participants 0 0 563 953 579

Introduction to Metropolitan Transportation Planning: General introduction and overview of the metropolitan transportation planning process, covering the basic concepts, products, and participants in the process.

Intro to Metropolitan Transportation Planning 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008
Number times offered 24 11 10 6 5
Total participants 782 329 265 161 123

Introduction to Statewide Transportation Planning: Overview of the state transportation planning process including tools, methods, and best practices, that covers Federal regulations and differing state and local requirements, required products of the statewide planning process, the players and their roles, as well as the major elements of the plan and how evaluation methods and performance measures are used to implement it.

Intro to Statewide Transportation Planning 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008
Number times offered 0 7 7 3 4
Total participants 0 200 150 69 114

Introduction to Transportation Conformity: Basic information about conformity requirements and the relationship of the transportation and air quality planning processes; intended to prepare agency staff (Federal, state and local) for participation in interagency consultation and working effectively in resolving conformity issues.

Transportation Conformity 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008
Number times offered 0 0 0 4 4
Total participants 0 0 0 122 119

Introduction to Transportation/Air Quality Conformity: This course is developed for staff unfamiliar with the broad ramifications of the conformity process. The course presents basic information about conformity and the relationship to the transportation planning process in order to prepare agency staff to participate in interagency consultation and work effectively in resolving conformity issues.

Introduction to Air Quality Conformity 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008
Number times offered 8 7 5 0 0
Total participants 259 194 111 0 0

Introduction to Urban Travel Demand Forecasting: Through classroom lectures and interactive workshops, this introductory course covers the traditional four-step modeling process of trip generation, trip distribution, mode choice, and trip assignment. The course includes presentations on land use inputs, network and zone structures, time-of-day factoring, and reasonableness checking.

Intro to Urban Travel Demand Forecasting 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008
Number times offered 7 2 3 4 2
Total participants 154 43 51 77 54

Linking Planning and NEPA-Executive Program: This course covers the current requirements and practice and will be updated in subsequent years to reflect new regulations and guidelines. The Executive Seminar is aimed at upper-level managers and directors who are responsible for transportation planning, environmental analyses, and/or project development, and who are working in both planning and resource agencies.

Linking Planning and NEPA 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008
Number times offered 29 16 10 2 1
Total participants 916 602 329 60 20

Linking Planning and NEPA - Manager Workshop: This course covers the current requirements and practice and will be updated in subsequent years to reflect new regulations and guidelines.

Linking Planning and NEPA-Managers 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008
Number times offered 2 4 1 0 0
Total participants 77 124 37 0 0

NEPA and Transportation Decisionmaking: This course considers FHWA's policies and procedures for applying NEPA to the project development and decisionmaking processes related to transportation facilities.

NEPA and Decisionmaking 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008
Number times offered 15 14 21 15 14
Total participants 416 424 615 328 424

Public Involvement in Transportation Decisionmaking: Employs public involvement techniques to convey key learning outcomes about the complexities of public involvement.

Public Involvement 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008
Number times offered 5 8 5 13 15
Total participants 133 201 109 367 372

Safety Conscious Planning: Identifies opportunities for improving integration of safety as a key planning factor and performance measure into all transportation plans and programs.

Safety Conscious Planning 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008
Number times offered 5 0 4 0 0
Total participants 135 0 97 0 0

State and Metropolitan Transportation Programming: Provides basic concepts, components, and participants in the transportation programming process, incorporating current and best practices. Covers the metropolitan and statewide programming processes required under Federal transportation planning regulations, and the variety among state programming processes including typical legal, political, and traditional process constraints, as well as aspects of local programming.

Statewide and Metropolitan Programming 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008
Number times offered 3 2 2 3 3
Total participants 91 52 50 84 68

Transit Noise and Vibration Impact Assessment: Overview of the environmental review process and how noise and vibration assessment fits into FTA's planning and project development processes. Covers fundamentals of noise and vibration, specific metrics and impact criteria, different levels of analysis for noise and vibration, considerations in choosing the appropriate level of analysis depending on the type of project and the stage of project development, and various measures to mitigate excessive levels of transit noise and vibration. Covers all the typical transit modes as well as multimodal highway/transit projects.

Transit Noise and Vibration Impacts 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008
Number times offered 0 0 0 1 2
Total participants 0 0 0 22 52

Transit Planning: Intensive, 5-day coverage of innovative service designs and non-traditional concepts, design, and evaluation of alternative service plans, collection and use of data for measuring and monitoring performance, service changes that minimize costs and maximize customer benefits, and ideas for successful transit terminals and on-street facilities.

Transit Planning 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008
Number times offered 0 0 0 1 0
Total participants 0 0 0 23 0

Transportation and Land Use: Helps practitioners develop a multimodal transportation system that supports desired land uses and helps them shape land uses to support the transportation system. Includes the principles of transportation and land use; the processes through which transportation and land use issues can be jointly addressed; and implementation steps to ensure that transportation and land use systems are designed in a compatible, mutually-supportive manner.

Transportation and Land Use 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008
Number times offered 0 0 0 4 9
Total participants 0 0 0 115 237

In addition to the NTI and NHI training deliveries, FHWA worked with the Center for Transportation and the Environment, a University Transportation Center (UTC) at North Carolina State University within the Institute for Transportation Research and Education, to deliver a national course on Community Impact Assessment (CIA). The course focuses on seven key issue areas, including mobility/accessibility, economic sociocultural, sensory/aesthetic, land use, displacement, and safety/health. Among several objectives, the course identifies how to identify the key steps in the CIA process, how to engage in community outreach and participation strategies, and how to maintain accurate and thorough project diaries. Two CIA Pilot Courses were held in Harrisburg, PA (March 22-24, 2005), and Lacey, WA (September 20–22, 2005). There were also two CIA Regional Workshops held in Scottsdale, AZ (June 5–9, 2005), and Trenton, NJ (September 11–14, 2005).

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Section III: Funding Resources and Applied Research in Planning

Several programs exist to fund transportation research activities on issues impacting regional, state, local, and tribal planning agencies. Included among those during the period of FYs 2004–2008 are the FHWA Surface Transportation Environment and Planning (STEP) Cooperative Research Program, and the FTA Section 5314 — Research and FTA Section 5327 - Oversight programs, all of which support the TPCB Program. These programs, in concert with several other grant and research programs such as the Public Transportation Participation Pilot Program (PTP), represent over 200 separately funded research initiatives that support capacity building efforts across a wide range of transportation planning areas. The activities of these research programs are detailed below to provide an overview of past efforts to improve the state-of-the-practice of transportation planning.

Surface Transportation Environment and Planning Cooperative Research Program (STEP)

SAFETEA-LU established the STEP Cooperative Research Program in FY 2006. The objective of STEP is to improve the understanding of the complex relationship between surface transportation, planning, and the environment. STEP is the sole source of SAFETEA-LU funds available to conduct all FHWA research on planning and environmental issues. In addition, Congress mandated several special studies, including the Report on Non-Motorized Transportation Pilot Program and the Annual Report for the Surface Transportation Project Delivery Pilot Program, also funded by STEP.

During the 3-year period of FYs 2006–2008, STEP sponsored a total of 186 initiatives, an average of 62 per year. STEP serves a number of stakeholders who are interested in environment and planning research and broadly includes Federal agencies; tribes, state, and local governments; MPOs; and non-governmental transportation and environmental stakeholders.

STEP emphasis areas include three wide-ranging research topics: Environment, Planning, and Tools to Support Planning and Environment, including resources allocated to Program Management and Outreach. Roughly 23 emphasis areas of research exist under the STEP Cooperative Research Program:

Environment

  • Natural Environment
  • Air Quality and Global Climate Change
  • Water, Wetlands, Vegetation, Wildlife Habitat, and Brownfields
  • Human Environment
  • Historic Preservation
  • Bicycle/Pedestrian and Health
  • Noise
  • Outdoor Advertising Control/Realty Program Management
  • Environmental Process Improvement
  • Environmental Streamlining/Stewardship
  • Context Sensitive Solutions

Planning

  • Congestion
  • Safety Planning
  • Freight Planning
  • State, Local, and Tribal Planning Capacity Building
  • Public Involvement, Environmental Justice, Visualization in Planning
  • National/International Planning
  • U.S./Canada and U.S./Mexico Border Planning
  • National Security, Defense, and Interstate Planning

Tools to Support Planning and Environment Emphasis Areas

  • Travel Modeling
  • GIS/Spatial Information for Improved Decisionmaking

The emphasis area "State, Local, and Tribal Planning Capacity Building" under the STEP Cooperative Research Program provides the necessary funding to support the TPCB Program.

For more information about the STEP Cooperative Research Program and its supported initiatives, please visit the STEP website at: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/HEP/STEP/index.htm.

FTA National Research and Technology Program (Section 5314) and FTA Program Management Oversight (Section 5327)

The FTA National Research and Technology Program (49 U.S.C. 5314(b)) seeks to improve public transportation for America's communities by addressing problems in the public transportation industry and assisting transit agencies in better meeting the needs of their customers. To accomplish these goals, FTA provides the necessary funding to support the TPCB Program and partners with the transportation industry to undertake research, development, and education that will improve the quality, reliability, and cost-effectiveness of transit in America and lead to increases in transit ridership. The FTA Program Management Oversight Program (Section 5327) provides resources for monitoring compliance with federal requirements and for providing technical assistance to correct noted deficiencies.

The National Research and Technology Program and Program Management Oversight Program support increased transit ridership by promoting effective planning and oversight of major capital investments; developing research on innovative transportation planning techniques; conducting policy studies on topics such as mobility management, equitable access, and transit-oriented land-use; collecting data and analyzing transit industry performance; and providing funding for the TPCB program.

Other FTA-Sponsored Research

The Public Transportation Participation Pilot Program (PTP)
The PTP Program was authorized and funded under SAFETEA-LU to support the development of innovative public participation tools, techniques, and strategies in public transportation planning. In 2006, the PTP Program began to sponsor small, short-term, applied research that resulted in innovative products (e.g., tools, methodologies, and evaluation results). The products are implemented by agencies around the country to advance the state-of-public-participation practice. Projects are focused on one or more of the following themes:

  • Improving data collection and analysis with a focus on transportation access for all users of public transportation systems.
  • Supporting public participation from systems-level planning through the project development.
  • Using innovative techniques to improve the coordination of transportation alternatives.
  • Enhancing the coordination of public transportation benefits and services.
  • Engaging stakeholders in supporting the development of transportation plans and programs.
  • Measuring and reporting on transportation system performance.

The PTP Program funded 23 projects between FYs 2006–2008, which are organized below by fiscal year, grantee, project title, and purpose.

FY 2006 Projects:

  • Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT) and Surface Transportation Policy Partnership (STPP)'s "Public Participation in Transportation Planning" — To educate advocates on the public transportation process to better understand how and why specific decisions are made.
  • Central Florida Regional Transportation Authority's "Community Advocacy and Service Engagement (CASE) Project" — To develop, implement, and validate the effectiveness of public participation tools, strategies, and grassroots coalition building.
  • Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission's (DVRPC) "Dots and Dashes: Game Playing For Long-Range Consensus Building" — To develop a game that builds public understanding of the metropolitan planning processes in a region-wide, multimodal context.
  • Mid-America Regional Council's "Guide the Ride" — To craft and review transportation alternatives through structured public engagement in order to define the region's short- and long-range transportation objectives.
  • Hunter College, City University of New York (CUNY), and Parsons Brinkerhoff's (PB) "Evaluating Visualization Tools" — To evaluate the effectiveness of widely-available 3-D visualization tools in support of public participation.
  • Tri-County Community Action Program, Inc.'s "Educating Human Service Agencies on the Benefits of a Regional Transportation System" — To teach human service providers and the general public about transportation coordination.
  • Virginia Tech and Waterford Inc.'s "Enhancing Public Participation in Regional Public Transportation Planning" — To examine "diversity" in public participation practices though surveys and interviews with MPOs around the country.

FY 2007 Projects:

  • CNT and STPP's "Public Participation in Transportation Planning (Phase II)" — To educate advocates on the public transportation process to better understand how and why specific decisions are made.
  • Center for Tax and Budget Accountability's "Getting to Work Illinois" — To identify gaps in transportation for low wage workers and develop fundable solutions through an interactive community engagement model.
  • Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles' "Guide to Public Participation Workshop Series" — To improve public participation in transportation planning processes by helping to improve communication between low income residents, community organizations, and transportation agencies.
  • Regional Transportation District (RTD) of Denver's "Innovative Applications of Digital Video" — To deliver a national tool for public participation in regional transportation planning processes using innovative applications of digital video and to assess the effectiveness and/or limitations of this media.
  • Research Foundation of the State University of New York at Buffalo's "Civic Engagement in Shaping Revenue Generation Strategies" — To examine the feasibility of new transportation pricing schemes designed to discourage automobile use in declining cities.
  • Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission's "Regional Transit Assessment Toolkit" — To organize feedback from users of transit for transit improvements in the Charlottesville, VA region.
  • University of Kentucky's "Structured Public Involvement Methods" — To deploy "electronic polling equipment" (e.g., keypads) to produce better public participation.

FY 2008 Projects:

  • Denver Council of Governments' (DRCOG's) "Improving Public Participation in Transit-Oriented Development" — To use innovative web technologies to help stakeholders collaborate and share information to improve civic engagement in support of TOD.
  • CUNY and PB's "Choosing Visualization for Transportation" — To develop an easy-to-access information database and interactive website about visualization applications to public participation.
  • New York University (NYU) Rudin Center's "Assessing the Implication and Impact of Public Participation Initiatives" — To conduct surveys and focus groups of transit riders and interviews with the press, elected officials, agency staff, and advocacy organizations to better understand the value of public participation at different scales of transit planning.
  • Project for Public Spaces' "Developing Public Participation Tools in Transit Dependant Communities" — To develop tools for transit agencies and MPOs to better engage the public in shaping walkable environments at transit stops in traditionally underserved communities.
  • Sarasota County Transportation Authority's "Citizen Engagement in the Transportation Planning Process" — To design and implement a comprehensive program of stakeholder involvement where citizens are engaged throughout the entire planning process with an emphasis on TOD.
  • Texas Citizens Fund's "Austin Accessibility Assessment Improvement (AAAIM)" — To resolve common barriers to fixed-route transit access for persons with disabilities.
  • University of Utah's "Crowdsourcing Public Participation in Transit Planning" — To use the idea of web-based "crowdsourcing" to harness the power of online communities in order to solve transit planning challenges.
  • Walk Boston's "Walking to Transit" — To provide guidelines to help citizens speak out about their concerns during transit project design through walking audits.

More information about the PTP pilot program can be found at: http://www.fta.dot.gov/planning/programs/planning_environment_5925.html

FTA/AMPO Innovation in Safety & Security Incentive Grant Program
FTA established the Innovation in Safety & Security Incentive Grant Program in coordination with AMPO in June 2005. The grant program was developed to fund innovative planning work that addresses safety and security considerations in the metropolitan transportation planning process.

Four MPOs were selected to receive grant awards:

  • Gulf Regional Planning Commission's "Emergency Transit Operations Plan" — To create a post-disaster transit recovery plan in Biloxi, Mississippi.
  • North Central Texas Council of Governments' "Study to create an Emergency Responders Uniform Communication System" — To develop a unified first responder communications satellite and radio system in Dallas, Texas.
  • Community Planning Association of Southwest Idaho's "Access Management Strategy Toolkit" — To write an access management strategies report for improving access management principles and roadway safety in Boise, Idaho.
  • Greater Buffalo Niagara Regional Council's "Accident Surveillance System Enhancement & Transit" — To develop a roadway accident report database to include transit accidents in Buffalo, New York.

NARC Transit Security Planning Grant
NARC was awarded a grant to educate regional transportation planners and transit security professionals on the importance of integrating transit security into the transportation planning process, especially in small- and medium-sized communities. NARC developed its own outreach flyer, wrote case studies, and held a webinar based on interviews with three medium-sized communities:

  • St. Joseph Area Transportation Study Organization in St. Joseph, Missouri.
  • Yuma Metropolitan Planning Organization in Yuma, Arizona.
  • KYOVA Interstate Planning Commission of southwestern West Virginia and southeastern Ohio.

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Section IV: Information Dissemination and Outreach

The TPCB Program includes many outreach activities to share information on the complexities of transportation planning. Information dissemination occurs via print and online media. The TPCB Program supported the development of 34 printed and online documents from FYs 2004–2008. These documents provide key information and resources to agency board members, staff, and local officials. The TPCB website also serves as a centralized clearinghouse for information and contacts within the transportation planning community and includes tools such as the MPO Database.

The TPCB Program also conducts outreach by supporting and attending conferences where transportation professionals working across multiple scales and modes come to network and share tools and information. Outreach efforts seek to build awareness of the TPCB Program and identify new activities and program areas that respond to the needs of practitioners in the field. Conference support efforts include organizing/moderating panels and giving presentations, distributing TPCB Program materials (e.g., the Transportation Planning Briefing Book, Peer Program pamphlets and sample final reports, and Transit at the Table), and conducting direct outreach with conference attendees through a fully-staffed TPCB Program exhibit booth. From FYs 2004–2008, the TPCB Program supported or conducted outreach at more than 60 conferences; an average of 12 per year.

Key TPCB Publications

Printed documents are a primary outreach tool and are distributed through FHWA Division Offices and FTA Regional offices, and as handouts at national transportation conferences attended by TPCB target audiences. The TPCB website (http://www.planning.dot.gov) provides both online HTML versions as well as downloadable copies of TPCB documents. The website also provides links to over 150 resources on FHWA, FTA, and non-U.S. DOT websites. The TPCB Peer Program generated about 34 informational books, pamphlets, conference displays, and video products in FYs 2004-2008, as well as an additional 39 reports on the discussions and conclusions of peer exchange events.

Key documents produced and printed in this 5-year period include:

The Transportation Planning Process Key Issues cover
  • The Metropolitan Transportation Planning Process: Key Issues (the "Briefing Book"). This 67-page guidebook was first produced in FY 2004 as an overview of the Federal transportation planning and programming process for transportation decisionmakers, public officials, and planning staff. It was updated in FY 2007 and reproduced as a 72-page book titled "The Transportation Planning Process, Key Issues: A Briefing Book for Transportation Decisionmakers, Officials, and Staff." (http://www.planning.dot.gov/documents/briefingbook/bbook_07.pdf)
  • The Metropolitan Transportation Planning Executive Seminar. This online guide was created to provide MPO board members with an overview of the Federal perspective on the purpose and process of metropolitan transportation planning and the larger context for it and the authority and responsibilities of an MPO, as well as the role of the MPO Board. (http://www.planning.dot.gov/Documents/MetroPlanning/metroTrans.htm)
  • Transit at the Table: A Guide to Participation in Metropolitan Decisionmaking. This 78-page book produced in FY 2004 presents the observations, perspectives, and recommendations of a cross-section of transit agencies from large metropolitan areas on how to secure strategic positions for transit interests in the metropolitan planning process. More importantly, this report can be used as a guide for using those positions to win policy and program support for priority transit services. The challenges to achieving full decisionmaking partnerships in regional settings, the most effective strategies for addressing these challenges, and the rewards of partnerships are presented by transit industry leaders using their own experiences. As of late FY 2008, a second study to examine regional planning partnerships for smaller and mid-sized transit agencies is being developed. (http://www.planning.dot.gov/Documents/TransitAtTable.pdf)
  • Transit at the Table: Executive Summary. This five-page document is intended as a stand-alone summary of key findings from the full Transit at the Table report. (http://www.planning.dot.gov/Documents/TransPlanning/TransTable.pdf)
  • TPCB Program Brochure: Technical assistance training tools for MPOs, state DOTs, technical staff, board members, tribal governments, regional planning agencies. This product is available as both a pamphlet and a mini-CD and includes basic introductory material about TPCB products for transportation planners.
  • TPCB Peer Program Brochure. This pamphlet, which was first produced in 2004 and recently updated in 2008, highlights the offerings of the TPCB Peer Program for state, regional, and local transportation agencies.
  • 39 Peer Event Reports. The TPCB Program has produced final summary reports for each of the 39 TPCB peer events that occurred during FYs 2004-2008.Tthe reports detail event proceedings ad highlight lessons learned during the events. They also provide contact information for follow-up with peer event participants.
    (http://www.planning.dot.gov/peer.asp)
  • TPEA Announcements and Award Winners. The TPCB Program produces two documents in association with each of the biennial TPEA Programs (2004, 2006, and 2008). The first is a two-page brochure intended to briefly list all award and honorable mention winners. This document is provided during the awards ceremony. Following each award ceremony, a booklet is produced that details and describes each of the projects selected for awards and honorable mentions.
    (http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/planning/tpea/index.htm)
  • Childcare Services at Transit Stations. This guide was developed in 2005 to assist communities in the development of childcare services at transit stations. The 34-page publication explains how community organizations, local officials, and transit agencies can partner to plan, fund, and build these facilities. (http://www.fta.dot.gov/funding/finance/grants_financing_2364.html)
  • TOD Lessons Learned. This 12-page booklet summarizes the results of a series of "listening sessions" that FTA held with cities with new or recent transit investments. The goal of these sessions was to hear lessons learned from planners, developers, bankers, and transit agencies in these communities about what worked or posed challenges in building new TOD. (http://www.fta.dot.gov/funding/finance/grants_financing_2364.html)
  • From the Margins to the Mainstream: A Guide to Transportation Opportunities in Your Community. This guidebook reviews how Federal surface transportation law can be used to support local and statewide efforts to build more livable communities and expand travel options. (http://www.fta.dot.gov/planning/metro/planning_environment_5966.html)
  • Using the Federal Transportation Law to Meet the Mobility Needs of Your Community: Report on Workshop Discussions, Findings, and Next Steps. This workshop report describes key findings from the STPP Partners workshop series, which were held in seven locations from January-June 2006. (http://www.fta.dot.gov/planning/metro/planning_environment_5966.html)
  • Realizing the Potential: Expanding Housing Opportunities Near Transit. A report funded by FTA and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development shows that location matters a great deal when it comes to reducing household transportation costs. (http://www.fta.dot.gov/planning/metro/planning_environment_6854.html)
  • TOD 101: Why Transit-Oriented Development and Why Now? A resource funded by FTA and Reconnecting America, this colorful 24-page "picture book" designed in an easy-to-read format that illustrates how shifting demographics and the changing real estate market have opened up an unprecedented window of opportunity for TOD. (http://www.smartgrowth.org/library/articles.asp?art=2840&res=1280)
  • TOD 202: Station Area Planning. This resource, funded by FTA and Reconnecting America, outlines how to create great transit-oriented places through principles of station-area design. (http://www.reconnectingamerica.org/public/show/tod202)
  • TOD 202: Transit + Employment. Transit + Employment is a two-part "TOD 202" guidebook from Reconnecting America that promote best practices in TOD. (http://www.reconnectingamerica.org/public/show/employment202)
  • Transit Joint Development. This presentation was given at the 2007 State Public Transit Partners Conference and provides an overview of transit joint development projects. (http://www.fta.dot.gov/documents/Joint_Development_State_Public_Transit_Partnerships_Conference_2007-08-09.ppt#297,8,)

TPCB Program Website (http://www.planning.dot.gov)

The TPCB Program website has become more central to the information dissemination core area over the 5 years covered by this report. As print documents become more expensive to produce, and as use of the Internet for information-gathering grows more common, the program has been transitioning away from paper documents. Major publications are available in print; however, web statistics show that it is accessed online over 1,000 times per month (more times in 1 year than its total printing of 10,000 copies). The TPCB Program website is a one-stop clearinghouse for state-of-the-practice transportation planning information and resources, averaging over 600 visits per day in FY 2008.

MPO Online Database

The MPO Database was developed in 2004 by the TPCB Program in an effort to provide transportation planning professionals with a resource for examining travel and transportation issues and needs in metropolitan areas. The database contains contact information for all MPOs in the United States. The database assists transportation professionals and others in finding and contacting peers in MPOs or in specific job positions while providing a snapshot summary of agency information, including an MPO's major region covered, area in square miles, population, primary contact (telephone and email), and designation year. MPOs can update the database online by selecting the "New Info?" icon in the MPO Summary Information view. The MPO database is located at: http://www.planning.dot.gov/overview.asp.

Other key components of the TPCB website:

  • Planning pages. The statewide, metropolitan, rural and small community, and tribal planning pages provide legislation, guidance, and links to relevant training opportunities, technical resources, and peer programs.
  • Peer Programs page. Users can learn about opportunities for peer exchanges, apply to host a peer program, and learn about past and future events.
  • Training and Education page. This page provides links to training programs by program area and institution, as well as links to papers about transportation planning education.
  • Technical Resources page. This page, and the technical resources listed on the Planning pages, provides links to over 150 resources sorted by planning category.
  • Resource Index page. This page provides an additional means of accessing publications, case studies, meeting reports, peer program reports, and training and educational opportunities.
  • Calendar of Planning Events. The calendar lists conferences of interest to transportation planners and provides links to conference registration information. It includes annual conferences of all major transportation and planning organizations as well as conferences covering unique topics offered by the TRB, APTA, and NARC.

Statistics for website use provide information on how many individuals visit the website, what they look at, and whether they return. During a single visit, a user may view several different pages. A visitor may enter the site either via the home page or via some other page (such as the calendar of events) by typing the URL, by clicking an item found by a search, or by clicking a bookmark. Web statistics track both the most popular entry pages and the most visited (or most requested) pages.

The graph below shows that daily website visitors have risen steadily over the last 5 years from an average of 151 per day in FY 2004 to an average of 642 per day in FY 2008. About 30 to 40 percent of all visitors are "repeat" users, defined as those who have visited the site at least once in the previous month.

Bar chart showing TPCB website average visitors per day for FYs 2004-2008 ranging from 125 in 2004 to 307 in 2008.

Data suggest that the typical visitor seeks specific information, finds it within a page or two, and then leaves the site. Table 1-1 below shows that visitors view an average of two to three pages per visit and the average visit length (not shown) has ranged between two and four minutes.

Table 1-1: Daily and Annual Visits to TPCB Website
  Average Visitors/ Day Average Length of Visit (sec) Average # Pages Viewed/Visit Total Annual Page Views
FY04 125 135 3 103,409
FY05 183 185 3 209,742
FY06 225 236 3 220,525
FY07 248 111 2 179,712
FY08 307 121 2 221,172

The entry page shows how users access the website. An entry page other than the home page can indicate either that the user has a particular page bookmarked or that the page was reached by a link from a related website or from a search engine. The most requested pages may be entry pages or may be reached after visiting another site page. As such, the list of most requested pages is expected to include the pages most used as entries. The data, as displayed in Table 1-2 below, show that the home page was the page most frequently used to enter the TPCB website. Since the data in Table 1-3 show that the most frequently requested page across FYs 2004–2008 was the home page, it appears that most site visitors were using the home page to access the website. Indeed, the home page was used as an entry page 84 percent of the time that it was visited.

In general, the most-entered pages correlate with the most-requested pages.

Table 1-2: Most Frequent Entry Pages
Entry Page FY04 FY05 FY06 FY07 FY08 TOTAL
Home Page 8,233 10,717 10,224 10,708 15,260 55,142
Key Issues (Briefing Book) 4,112 3,153 2,712 4,323 9,988 24,288
MPO Page 1,446 2,874 3,237 2,526 3,252 13,335
Returning City 2,082 4,190 2,955 2,023   11,250
Integrating Health       2,619 3,040 5,659
Domestic Scan Tour II     1,867     1,867
Tribal Page   1,264       1,264
Calendar of Events 836         836


Table 1-3: Most Frequently Requested Pages
Most Requested Page FY04 FY05 FY06 FY07 FY08 Total Views
Home Page 9,779 12,518 12,086 27,934 36,211 98,528
Key Issues (Briefing Book) 5,129 4,568 4,027 6,208 14,581 34,513
MPO Page 3,335 4,979 5,239 5,307 6,316 25,176
Returning City 2,256 4,391 3,232 2,428 1,666 13,973
Technical Resources 2,188 2,646   2,734 2,628 10,196
Peer Programs     2,663 2,935 3,200 8,798
Integrating Health and Activity Goals       3,174 3,780 6,954

The Key Issues: Briefing Book and the joint FTA-National Historic Trust document, The Returning City are both popular destinations and common entry pages, indicating that they have been bookmarked by users or that users search for them (using Google or Yahoo) and enter the TPCB website via these two documents. In FYs 2004 and 2005, these two documents combined accounted for nearly three-fourths as many site entries as the homepage. Interest in the Briefing Book more than doubled in FY 2008 when the FY 2004 version was freshly updated.

Interestingly, The Returning City remained one of the top five entry pages at least a year after it dropped out of the top five most requested pages.

TPCB website chart of most requested pages from 2004-2008

The next most requested page however, the Metropolitan Planning information page, was requested twice as often as it was used as an entry. At least half of its visitors are users who have not bookmarked the site, possibly indicating use by new board members and other interested persons who are not transportation planners by profession.

Visits to the four primary planning pages for statewide, metropolitan, rural, and tribal planners and to the technical resources and peer programs pages have remained steady at one to two percent of pages viewed each year (roughly 2,000 visits per year or an average of about five visits per day).

Conclusions

The data detailed above suggest that the TPCB website is currently used as a targeted resource by people with specific needs for information. Most access the site via a bookmark or link to the home page, a popular report, or the Metropolitan Planning page. They follow a link to one or two other pages and then exit the site. The various resource pages receive a steady level of visitors, each at an average of about five per day.

Conferences

The TPCB Program supported, or was represented at, more than 60 conferences on topics from travel demand forecasting to TOD and the planning needs of small- and medium-sized communities in over 20 states around the nation between FYs 2004–2008. The table below provides details on where and for which event the TPCB Program was represented, conducted outreach, or provided conference support:

Date FY 2004 Conferences Location
May 2004 TRB Census Data for Transportation Planning: Preparing for the Future Irvine, CA
August 2004 TRB Performance Measures to Improve Transportation Systems Irvine, CA
September
2004
NARC Land Use and Intermodal Freight Summit Philadelphia, PA
AMPO Travel Modeling Group Kansas City, MO
TRB Tools of the Trade Conference for Small/Medium Communities Colorado Springs, CO


Date FY 2005 Conferences Location
October
2004
APTA Annual Meeting Atlanta, GA
AMPO Annual Meeting San Antonio, TX
American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) Annual Meeting and Expo Salt Lake City, UT
November 2004 AMPO Operations Planning Washington, D.C.
January
2005
TRB Annual Meeting Washington, D.C.
New Partners for Smart Growth Miami Beach, FL
February
2005
NARC Policy Conference Washington, D.C.
National Association of Counties (NACo) Policy Conference Washington, D.C.
March
2005
APTA Legislative Conference Washington, D.C.
AMPO Policy Conference Washington, D.C.
TRB Innovations in Travel Demand Modeling Arlington, VA
April
2005
National Association of Development Organizations (NADO) Policy Conference Washington, D.C.
APA Annual Meeting San Francisco, CA
May 2005 AASHTO Standing Committee on Planning Meeting Charleston, SC
June 2005 CTAA Annual Meeting Seattle, WA
July
2005
NACo Annual Conference Honolulu, HI
Conference of Minority Transportation Officials Annual Meeting Cleveland, OH
TRB Summer Conference Boston, MA
August 2005 NADO Annual Meeting Seattle, WA
September
2005
Rail~Volution: Building Livable Communities with Transit Salt Lake City, UT
APTA Annual Meeting Dallas, TX


Date FY 2006 Conferences Location
October 2005 Rail~Volution: Building Livable Communities with Transit Los Angeles, CA
AMPO Annual Conference Denver, CO
January 2006 TRB Annual Meeting Washington, D.C.
New Partners for Smart Growth Denver, CO
March 2006 APA Annual Conference San Antonio, TX
May 2006 APTA Bus and Paratransit Conference and International Bus Rodeo Anaheim, CA
TRB Innovations in Travel Demand Modeling Austin, TX
August 2006 TRB The Metropolitan Planning Organization, Present and Future Conference Washington, D.C.
Joint TRB-AMPO Performance Measurement and MPO Decisionmaking Conference Washington, D.C.
September 2006 TRB Tools of the Trade Conference for Small/Medium Communities Nashville, TN


Date FY 2007 Conferences Location
October 2006 Visualization in Transportation Denver, CO
AMPO Annual Conference Fort Lauderdale, FL
November 2006 Rail~Volution: Building Livable Communities with Transit Chicago, IL
TRB Programming Conference Seattle, WA
January 2007 TRB Annual Meeting Washington, D.C.
February 2007 New Partners for Smart Growth Los Angeles, CA
CTAA Conference on Disaster Planning for the Car-Less Society New Orleans, LA
April 2007 APA Annual Conference Philadelphia, PA
June 2007 Western Governor's Association Transportation Initiative Washington, D.C.
July 2007 APTA Conference on Sustainability Seattle, WA
August 2007 TRB Coordinating Transit, Transportation Planning, and Land Use Denver, CO
September 2007 TRB Statewide Performance Conference Irving, CA


Date FY 2008 Conferences Location
October 2007 Rail~Volution: Building Livable Communities with Transit Miami, FL
AMPO Annual Conference Little Rock, AR
January 2008 TRB Annual Meeting Washington, D.C.
February 2008 New Partners for Smart Growth Washington, D.C.
April 2008 APA Annual Conference Las Vegas, NV
May 2008 TRB North American Freight Data Conference Washington, D.C.
June 2008 TRB Mid-Year Conference Baltimore, MD
TRB Innovations in Travel Demand Forecasting Portland, OR
July 2008 APTA Sustainability Conference Chicago, IL
September 2008 TRB Best Practices in Statewide SAFETEA-LU Implementation Atlanta, GA
TRB Tools of the Trade Conference for Small/Medium Communities Portland, OR

Additional Transportation Planning Capacity Building Activities

A variety of additional venues serve to fund important transportation research and projects. These activities include, for example, the production of best practices manuals and industry reports that provide review, analysis, and evaluation of existing issues and innovative approaches relevant to the field. During the 5-year period of FYs 2004–2008, approximately 21 such activities were sponsored by the program with an average of about five activities per year. The areas studied cover a range of topics including, but not limited to, bicycle and pedestrian planning, climate change, freight, safety, land use planning, metropolitan, statewide, rural, and tribal planning, travel forecasting, congestion mitigation, fiscal constraint policy, and planning and visualization practices. The activities are organized below by fiscal year, partner agency, and topics area.

FY 2004 Partner Organizations and Topics:

  • National Association of Development Organizations (NADO)/National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) – Build Capacity of Rural Officials to Participate in State in the Transportation Planning Process Access Methods for Training Rural Officials.
  • AMPO – New Metropolitan Planning Organization Training.
  • NACTO – Pedestrian and Bicyclist Standards and Innovations in Large Central Cities: Phase I.
  • National Academy of Sciences (NAS) – Improving Travel Forecasting Methods State-of-the-Practice Study.
  • Inter Tribal Council of Arizona (ITCA) – Tribal Traffic Safety.

FY 2005 Partner Organizations and Topics:

  • NADO – Rural Planning.
  • NACTO – Pedestrian and Bicyclist Standards and Innovations in Large Central Cities: Phase II.
  • AMPO – Ask the Expert Database.
  • NADO/NACTO
    • Access Methods for Training Rural Officials Phase II.
    • Build Capacity of Rural Officials to Participate in State Transportation Planning Process Phase II.

FY 2006 Partner Organizations and Topics:

  • AASHTO
    • Assessment of State Compliance with Fiscal Constraint: Modeling.
    • International Scan Tour: Planning and Designing for Freeway Congestion Management.
  • ITCA - Motor Vehicle Crash, Roadway and Traffic Data Identification and Collection Project.
  • AMPO - MPO Travel Forecasting Working Group.

FY 2007 Partner Organizations and Topics:

  • AMPO/NADO - Metropolitan Planning Organization and Rural Planning Organization Coordination.
  • NACTO and New York University - Pedestrian Safety in Large Central Cities.
  • AASHTO
    • Congestion Management.
    • The Application of Asset Management in Programming and Budgeting.
    • Standing Committee on Planning Website Updates.
  • NARC – Surveys to Regional Councils and Metropolitan Planning Organization, Web Support, and Newsletter.
  • NADO – Emerging Peer Networking Project.

Transportation Economic Land Use System (TELUS) for Transit

TELUS is land-use modeling software that incorporates transit. Housed at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, this project aims to improve the economic and environmental sustainability of urban areas. The research project is under way and will include extensive outreach to potential user groups, development of prototype tools and visualization techniques, case studies demonstrating best practices of mutually supportive transit investments and land development patterns, and assistance to MPOs to carry out pilot corridor studies to test the methodologies. Interested parties will be solicited to participate in a user group and case studies.

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Section V: Other Professional Capacity Building Programs Funded By U.S. DOT

Professional Capacity Building (PCB) Programs

The TPCB Program exists in the context of a suite of U.S. DOT capacity building programs. The programs work toward the goal of strengthening transportation agencies at all levels by fostering professional development and knowledge exchange. The PCB programs are jointly directed by the PCB Council, working with NHI, NTI, the UTC Program, and professional associations. The PCB Council coordinates the leadership for an array of PCB programs, including Environmental Competency Building, Freight Professional Development, Intelligent Transportation Systems, Roadway Safety, and Highway Infrastructure Security and Emergency Management. The Transportation Curriculum Coordination Council and the Right-of-Way Program are other PCB efforts that support professional development opportunities in the transportation field.

Descriptions of the PCB Council, PCB programs, and additional programs follow.

PCB Council

The PCB Council (Council) was formed to coordinate the leadership of the various PCB programs supported by FHWA and FTA that collectively address workforce issues. Council members are comprised of the program managers and staff of these PCB programs. Managers meet regularly to discuss common issues and to leverage the efforts being made by each program. The objectives of the PCB Council are to:

  • Improve coordination and efficiency of resource delivery among programs.
  • Exchange effective practices for professional capacity/competency building.
  • Improve the efficiency program administration through better information and taking advantage of common resources.
  • Strengthen the practice of program development and evaluation.
  • Advance the state-of-the-practice in professional capacity/competency building.

TPCB Program staff actively participates in the Council by contributing regularly to meetings and other outreach efforts established by the Council to promote PCB workforce development issues. TPCB managers share their program's methods, strategies, and challenges in the delivery of training and technical assistance programs in an effort to support other PCB program efforts. (http://www.pcbprograms.dot.gov/about.asp)

Environmental Competency Building (ECB) Program

Maintaining the knowledge and expertise of FHWA, state DOTs, resource agencies, and the consulting industry is essential to the effective delivery of an environmentally-sensitive transportation program. The ECB Program provides access to relevant information, guidance, training, and recommendations that will assist the long-term development and maintenance of environmental and transportation professionals. The ECB Program is an ongoing effort and collaboration between transportation and environmental stakeholders with leadership from FHWA, AASHTO Center for Environmental Excellence, state DOTs, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the private consulting industry. (http://environment.fhwa.dot.gov/ecb/index.aspx)

Freight Professional Development (FPD) Program

The FPD Program assists state DOT and MPO staff with gaining the skills and knowledge necessary to meet the challenges arising from the increasing flow of freight on the national transportation system. Meeting this challenge requires an understanding among various stakeholders, including transportation professionals, practitioners, and policymakers about the importance of freight and how it uses and affects the transportation system. (http://ops.fhwa.dot.gov/freight/FPD/index.asp)

Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) PCB Program

The ITS PCB Program provides comprehensive, accessible, and flexible ITS learning for the transportation industry. The Program offers a broad range of resources, including training, technical assistance, web seminars, peer exchange and knowledge transfer, education, case studies, and reference materials. It is a cross-cutting support program within the U.S. DOT's Research and Innovative Technology Administration's ITS Joint Program Office, working most closely with FHWA Office of Operations; FTA Office of Research, Demonstration and Innovation; and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's ITS Commercial Vehicle Operations research program. (http://www.pcb.its.dot.gov/)

Roadway Safety PCB (RSPCB) Program

The RSPCB Program addresses learning needs within the area of roadway safety. The program builds from the work of the AASHTO Strategic Highway Safety Plan and the Highway Safety Manual to identify and deliver the requisite knowledge, skills, and abilities needed for workforce development and successful on-the-job performance. FHWA Office of Safety provides this program to ensure that the transportation workforce is trained in the necessary tools, technologies, methodologies, and policies required in building and operating a safe roadway system. (http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/training/)

Highway Infrastructure Security and Emergency Management (HIS/EM) PCB

HIS/EM PCB was initially established as an FHWA Security PCB Program. Its original objective was to enhance the knowledge and understanding of security among the nation's highway workforce. In 2007, the objective was expanded to also include the need for providing knowledge and understanding about emergency management to the highway workforce. (http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/security/emergencymgmt/profcapacitybldg/)

Transportation Curriculum Coordination Council (TCCC)

The TCCC is a partnership between FHWA, state DOTs, and the highway transportation industry to support training of highway construction and maintenance personnel. Rebuilding the highway construction task force is an industry priority as agencies across the country face a serious shortage of trained and experienced personnel resulting from attrition and an aging workforce. At the same time, cutting-edge construction and system preservation technologies demand new skills and knowledgeable construction personnel. The TCCC's mission is to provide leadership at a national level, develop and maintain a national curriculum for various transportation disciplines, identify training and certification requirements, and coordinate/facilitate training efforts. (http://www.nhi.fhwa.dot.gov/tccc/)

Right-of-Way Outreach and Program Research

The Office of Real Estate Services (HEPR) supports the acquisition and management of real estate as required for the development of transportation services and facilities and offers professional training and technical assistance. HEPR also provides resources on corridor management, property valuation, relocation assistance, utility management, and right-of-way management. HEPR also monitors studies to support web-based submission of annual right-of-way statistics, provides for training in the high-turnover sector within local public agencies, and examines the potential for right-of-way education certification. (http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/REALESTATE/research.htm)

Travel Model Improvement Program (TMIP)

TMIP advances the state of the practice of travel modeling and provides services to support planning agencies improve the techniques they use to inform their decision makers on how growth in population and employment, development patterns, and investments in transportation infrastructure are likely to affect travel, congestion, air quality, and quality of life. TMIP is cooperatively funded by FHWA, FTA, the Office of the Secretary of Transportation (OST), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). (http://tmip.fhwa.dot.gov/)

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Section VI: Requesting TPCB Technical Assistance

PROFESSIONAL CAPACITY BUILDING ACTIVITIES

Professional Capacity Building (PCB) Council
For information on the coordinating activities of Federal PCB Programs see: http://www.pcbprograms.dot.gov/about.asp

Transportation Planning Capacity Building (TPCB) Program
For information on this program or to assist transportation officials and staff, including an application for organizing peer events see: http://www.planning.dot.gov/

Environmental Competency Building (ECB) Program
For information on efforts to serve the transportation and environmental community see: http://www.pcbprograms.dot.gov/individ_env.asp

Freight Professional Development (FPD) Program
For information about training and technical assistance to freight professionals see: http://www.pcbprograms.dot.gov/individ_freight.asp

Intelligent Transportation Systems PCB (ITS PCB) Program
For information about ITS learning for the transportation industry see: http://www.pcb.its.dot.gov/

Roadway Safety PCB (RSPCB)
For information on resources for transportation safety professionals see: http://www.pcbprograms.dot.gov/individ_roadway.asp

Highway Infrastructure Security and Emergency Management (HIS/EM PCB)
For information about the tools used for highway infrastructure security and emergency management see: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/security/emergencymgmt/profcapacitybldg/

Transportation Curriculum Coordination Council (TCCC)
For information about support of training for highway construction and maintenance personnel see: http://www.nhi.fhwa.dot.gov/tccc/

Right-of-Way Outreach and Program Research
For more information about professional training and technical assistance on right-of-way topics see: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/REALESTATE/research.htm

Travel Model Improvement Program (TMIP)
For more information about professional training and technical assistance on travel model improvement see: http://tmip.fhwa.dot.gov/

TRAINING COURSES

National Highway Institute
For transportation training course information see: http://www.nhi.fhwa.dot.gov/Home.aspx

National Transit Institute
For transit planning and multimodal transportation planning course information see: http://www.ntionline.com/

GRANT PROGRAMS

Surface Transportation Environment and Planning Cooperative Research Program (STEP)
For information about support for research on planning and environmental issues see: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/HEP/STEP/index.htm

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Transportation Planning Excellence Awards
For a program overview and information on the nomination process of innovative transportation planning practices see: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/planning/tpea/index.htm

Transportation Economic Land Use System (TELUS) for Transit
For information on the TELUS land use modeling software that incorporates transit see: http://www.fta.dot.gov/planning/planning_environment_initiatives.html

Colloquy on the Coming Transformation of Travel
For information on this research project see: http://www.nysmpos.org/colloquy_travel.html

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Appendix: Key TPCB Publications, FY2004–2008

The following table displays the full list of documents produced under the auspices of TPCB in the 5-year period between FYs 2004–2008, including the documents described above:

TPCB Program Document Format FY
The Metropolitan Transportation Planning Process: Key Issues. A Briefing Notebook for Transportation Decisionmakers, Officials, and Staff 67-page book 2004
TPCB Poster for TRB poster 2004
TPCB Wall and Table Top Displays large format poster 2004
TPCB Program: Peer Program 6-panel pamphlet 2004
Domestic Scan Tour II: Land Use and Transportation Planning Coordination   2004
Scenario Planning 20-page book 2004
2004 Transportation Planning Excellency Awards Announcement pamphlet 2004
2004 Transportation Planning Excellency Awards Announcement book 2004
Transit at the Table: A Guide to Participation in Metropolitan Decisionmaking 78-page book 2004
Transit at the Table: A Guide to Participation in Metropolitan Decisionmaking 5-page book 2004
Transit at the Table: Participation in Metropolitan Decisionmaking 4-panel pamphlet 2004
TPCB Program 8-panel pamphlet 2004
Plan4Operations [promotional material and content upgrades]   2005
www.plan4operations.dot.gov 1-page handout 2005
Transportation Planning Capacity Building Program mini-CD 2005
TPCB Program: Public Involvement Techniques and Planning Assistant Tool 6-panel pamphlet 2005
Planning Assistant [website tool] web tool 2005
Childcare Services at Planning Stations 34-page book 2005
Colloquy on the Coming Transformation of Travel 12-page booklet 2006
From the Margins to the Mainstream: Using the Federal Transportation Law to Meet the Mobility Needs of Your Community 116-page guidebook 2006
2006 Transportation Planning Excellency Awards Announcement pamphlet 2006
2006 Transportation Planning Excellency Awards Announcement book 2006
TOD Lessons Learned 12-page booklet 2006
Using the Federal Transportation Law to Meet the Mobility Needs of Your Community 64-page guidebook 2006
New/revised database of MPOs Online tool 2007
The Transportation Planning Process-Key Issues: A Briefing Book for Transportation Decisionmakers, Officials, and Staff 72-page book 2007
Realizing the Potential: Expanding Housing Options Near Transit 189-page report 2007
TPCB and Transit-Oriented Development 1-page handout 2008
TPCB Program: Peer Program 6-panel pamphlet 2008
2008 Transportation Planning Excellency Awards Announcement pamphlet 2008
2008 Transportation Planning Excellency Awards Announcement book 2008
TOD 101: Why Transit-Oriented Development and Why Now? 24-page picture book 2008
TOD 202: Station Area Planning 24-page manual 2008
TOD 202: Employment + Transit 24-page manual 2008

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