Regional Models of Cooperation – Congestion Management

Webinar Transcript

Webinar Date: February 11, 2016

Speakers/Presenters:
Volpe Center: Anthony Thomas
FHWA: Ken Petty, Dave Harris, Wayne Berman
Genesee Transportation Council: Joe Bovenzi
Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission: Zoe Neaderland
TriMet: Alan Lehto

Anthony Thomas:  Thank you very much. Good afternoon everyone, and welcome to today’s webinar on Regional Models of Cooperation and Congestion Management. This is Anthony Thomas from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Volpe Center and I will be moderating today’s webinar. Ken Petty and Dave Harris from the FHWA Office of Planning will be your hosts. Today’s event will feature an introduction on Regional Models of Cooperation as well as presentations from three MPOs and local agencies working on congestion management. But before we get started, I would appreciate it if you could answer a few quick poll questions to give us a better sense of who is in the audience today. The polls should appear on your screen now. We will give you a few quick moments to answer and review the results as they come in.

So it looks like most people are participating in the webinar by themselves, though we do have a couple of people who are watching with other individuals. And it also looks like the majority of the people on the webinar today are from MPOs. But we do have quite a showing from USDOT as well as individuals from state DOTs. So thank you all for joining today.

It looks like the primary role of the people on the webinar today are planning and programming but we also do have some program managers and executives, as well as modeling and data coordinators. So thank you all for joining us today and I’m going to flip back over to the presentation.

So in a moment, I’ll introduce Ken Petty who will be your host for today’s event. But first, there are just a few quick things to keep in mind. At any time, during today’s webinar please enter any questions you have in the Q&A pod at the bottom of the screen. Questions will be answered at the end of the webinar. If your question is for a specific presenter, please note that in your question. Today’s presentation is also being recorded. The recording will be available on FHWA’s Office of Planning website within a couple of weeks. If you would like a copy of the slides, you will also be able to download them from the download pod when we get to the Q&A portion of today’s event. Contacts and links for the Regional Models of Cooperation initiative will also be provided at the end. So now, without further delay, I’d like to hand things over to Ken Petty to get us started.

Ken Petty: Well, thank you, Anthony, and good morning and good afternoon, everyone. My name is Ken Petty. I’m the director for the FHWA Office of Planning. And I want to begin with a quick review of what regional models of cooperation is. So bear with me if you’ve already heard this spiel, but I must do it again.

The purpose of regional models of cooperation is to promote best practices for transportation planning across jurisdictions. It’s also about looking for opportunities where MPOs serving the same or adjacent urbanized area can work together on the development of planning products across jurisdictional boundaries. Now, this includes not only MPOs but also state DOTs, transit agencies, cities, and other agencies that have formal roles in the transportation planning process. Identifying opportunities to work together on regional planning where it makes sense, can enhance the process and result in a better transportation system.

Regional models of cooperation is a joint planning emphasis area of FHWA and FTA and it’s specifically under our Every Day Counts program. So why is enhanced regional coordination necessary? The goal of metropolitan transportation planning is to produce a seamless, coordinated multimodal transportation system that meets the needs of a diverse population. Working together to ensure that transportation planning transcends jurisdictional boundaries is often critical to making that happen. However, for historical and political reasons, geographic regions may have multiple transportation agencies with multiple boundaries that may not align. For example, urbanized areas may have multiple MPOs with planning responsibilities for the region divided among them. Air quality nonattainment areas may encompass areas beyond the MPO boundary. And transit service may need to be coordinated across multiple states, counties, and transit authorities.

As urbanized areas have grown and expanded over the years and new MPOs have been created, coordination becomes even more important. So, issues like air pollution and traffic congestion don’t stop at the state DOT and MPO boundaries. However, traditional planning responsibilities oftentimes do. Coordinating planning activities across the organization boundaries requires a broad vision, some persistence, and a shared commitment to achieving the best outcomes for the wider region. A lack of coordination can sometimes lead to project delays, or process inconsistency, and reduced reliability. Increasingly, thinking beyond traditional borders is needed to address modern-age transportation challenges and is necessary to exploit the competitive advantage that regional planning provides. Regional planning also has the ability to spur economic development, improve freight movement, and reduce traffic congestion supporting health and quality of life. Coordinating projects across jurisdictional boundaries can also help deliver projects faster and produce consistent system performance and reliability. This is particularly important where more than one MPO serves an urbanized area or adjacent urbanized areas where an urbanized area crosses state boundaries and in many other complex planning contexts.

So, that’s my quick assessment of what regional models of cooperation is all about. Next, I’ll highlight how FHWA and FTA are supporting states and MPOs and implementing it.

We're hosting a series of webinars, such as this one, to promote successful stories of regions that have developed innovative and effective ways of working together across jurisdictional boundaries. We’re working with state DOTs and MPOs to host peer exchanges and workshops, where there are opportunities for both FHWA and FTA to support specific efforts to build or strengthen regional cooperation and consideration. And we’re also developing a handbook that will document coordination types, case studies, tools, and other resources in a comprehensive guide to how states and MPOs are making multijurisdictional coordination work across the country. We certainly look forward to making the regional models of cooperation resources available for states and MPOs to use later this year.

So, back to today. Today’s webinar is the fifth of ten that we plan to host through December of 2016. Just for historical purposes, the first webinar was an overview of regional models of cooperation that also featured innovative examples from Utah and Florida MPOs. The second webinar addressed coordination and the air quality planning process, featuring examples from Memphis, Greater Charlotte, and the San Joaquin Valley in California. The third webinar focused on regional transit planning, and featured examples from Atlanta, Greater Phoenix, and the Chicago Metropolitan Regions. The fourth webinar focused on the collaboration of the safety planning process featuring presentations from mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission and the New York Regional Planning Commission.

And let me also note that all recordings of the webinars are now available on the FHWA planning website and we’ll share that site with you soon.

Today’s webinar, along with the next five in the series will feature MPOs and state DOTs, discussing successful coordination models in the area of transportation planning including congestion management, freight planning, data sharing, and multimodal planning. We're hopeful you can join us for the webinars in this series. However, again, if you miss one please be sure to visit the FHWA Office of Planning page where, again, the recordings of the webinar will be posted.

So today’s topic is regional cooperation and congestion management. We have four outstanding speakers from regional planning and transportation agencies here to speak with you today. And for the sake of time, I’ll let Wayne, Jay, Zoe, and Alan introduce themselves as they present. All of the speakers have great stories to tell so I want to make sure that they have as much time as possible for Qs and As at the end. So without further ado I’ll hand the webinar over to you, Wayne, our first speaker. It’s all yours.

Wayne Berman:  Great, thanks Ken. And thanks to all of you for joining us today. As Ken said, my name is Wayne Berman. I’m with the Office of Operations in the Federal Highway Administration. And our job is to reduce congestion, manage congestion, [and] improve reliability and system performance. One of the key things that we’ve done over the last decade or so is develop a core program called Planning for Operations that brings the planning community and the operations community together. We found that cooperation is essential, key, the linchpin, if you will, to good congestion management and good operations. And what I want to talk to you about today is to give you a quick overview of the planning for operations program, the role that cooperation plays in that, and then some of the benefits of cooperation and collaboration that we’ve found. We’ve done a lot of research on cooperation over the years, and want to just present some of the tangible benefits of cooperation. And then I’ll finish up with some resources that are posted on our plan and cooperation website that you can go to and check out.

Quickly, the context for planning for operations is that planning for incidents and weather and the non-recurring congestion kinds of activities is different than planning for most infrastructure kinds of activities. And we have to understand that there is a difference. It’s a shorter-in-duration timeframe. It involves different stakeholders and it’s what the public sees. The public on a day-to-day basis sees these critical issues. And it’s not just a project, it’s a whole set of performance and reliability issues that have to be planned for and addressed. It involves maximizing the system performance without necessarily adding new capital or infrastructure, utilizing technology, information sharing, and essentially, especially collaboration across jurisdictional agency boundaries for it to work well.

We’ve learned lot about technology and we hear about technology projects and things along the way. But the technology really doesn’t work if the collaboration and coordination aren’t there to support it across a region. The bottom line is that all of these things have to be planned for and regional collaboration and coordination cooperation is essential to making that happen.

These are just some of the examples and strategies that management operations involves. There’s a demand side aspect to it to managing demands more than just getting people into carpools and van pools. It’s a whole side of demand, managing demand. And there’s also traffic and transit management, transit operations, and there’s a whole listing of things ranging from traffic incident management to parking management, ride sharing. We do realize that a big part of the congestion problem is not the recurring congestion but it’s the non-recurring congestion that needs to be planned for—the incidents, the weather, the work zones, those kinds of things that are not typically addressed in a regional planning setting. And this is kind of the framework for the plan for operations.

And I want you to know the three points here is that it’s not just a project. There are plenty of TIPs around that have lists of operations projects. That’s not what we’re talking about here. We’re talking about performance and we’re talking about a focus on an objectives-driven outcomes-based approach to looking at operations. As I said, coordination across jurisdictional agency boundaries is essential to making this happen. And it focuses on maximizing the existing system and managing demand essentially before capacity solutions are addressed.

But I want to focus on the coordination across agency and jurisdictional boundaries because that’s really the key thing here. We’ve done a lot of research over the years to look at what the tangible benefits of cooperation are, you know, kind of what’s in it for me? It has to benefit an agency. It has to benefit a jurisdiction to really be sustained and real. And a tangible benefit is an outcome or effect from collaboration activity that supports an agency’s goals and objectives. You know, they have to kind of see what’s in for them. The agency can benefit in tangible ways from the number of different of things such as information sharing to joint operations. We’ll go through some of that now.

What does a tangible benefit mean? It means following the money. The collaboration in pursuit of funding, getting smart, sharing expertise and joint learning, speaking with one voice, coordinating communications, and giving a consistent message especially to the public in times of incidents and weather kind of related issues. Being on the same page, and actually developing common procedures and protocols and plans are essential—you need collaboration, coordination, cooperation to be able to do that.

Measuring up, jointly developing performance measures and metrics, how well are you doing? Information sharing so that sharing transportation information to the people, the driving public, the freight as well as the citizens on what needs to happen, what needs to know. Can you hear me now? Developing the tools for efficient communications, whether it’s wireless, through cellphone, through 511 or whatever, they all take cooperation. Sharing the wealth and sharing resources to enable things to happen, building economies of scale, coordinating service and just performing joint operations so that to the driving public it truly is a seamless effort that from one jurisdiction to another they don’t know what jurisdiction is going—they know what’s happening and can kind of follow it. That signals in one system, for example, our time to coordinate with signals in another jurisdiction.

Here are some quick case examples of cities in Denver and in Vancouver that are really doing some good work in coming together to follow the money, getting smart. There are a number of different organizations around NYTEX, which is in the Buffalo region. It has an actual subcommittee to support it. Maryland and Aztec, which is in the Phoenix area, are all doing some good work and just getting smart and helping to share knowledge.

Finally, the high plans quarter coalition shares information to the travelers across state lines, state boundaries, sharing the wealth, again; Vancouver and High Plains kind of work to save money and realize that they can’t do it alone so to save money they have to do it jointly. Building economies of scale, again, NYTEX and Aztec are some good examples here.

Finally, I just want to close that we’ve done some good research over the years to support and develop the whole concept of collaboration and develop kind of the science behind cooperation, if you will. And here are some publications that we’ve developed that support that. The one in the center there—the collaborative advantage—is really kind of the heart and soul and gets at the tangible benefits of collaboration coordination, the regional concept for transportation operations. It’s really a management guide to how to manage the cooperative effort. And the blue and the orange ones there are really the foundational pieces that develop the kinds of the concepts and the thinking behind cooperation. Just a couple more. I’ll point out the light green one on the lower right is a desk reference that’s built on the whole notion of planning for operations and supports, collaboration coordination.

So that’s me. I’d be happy to answer any questions later on. In the discussion you’re going to hear from three very good speakers who support and develop collaborative efforts to support congestion management and planning for operations. And I think the website, the plan for operations website will be posted or has been posted here. So those publications that I mentioned are located on that site if you want to get to get to them. So that's it for me. And let me turn to Joe to continue the dialog. Joe.

Joe Bovenzi:  Okay. Well, thank you, Wayne. So my name is Joe Bovenzi. I am the transportation systems management operations planner with the Genesee Transportation Council, which is the metropolitan planning organization for the Rochester, New York area. And I will get right into the presentation here.

So, first of all, because this is a national audience, I wanted to take a minute and kind of set the stage. This is a map of New York State that shows the 14 MPOs within New York State. The GTC planning region is that large red block in the western part of the state around Rochester. We do coordinate very closely with the staff from the other MPOs and I’ll discuss that a little bit later on in the presentation.

Just to zoom in on our planning region a little bit, we encompass nine counties with about 200 municipalities. The light gray area is our metropolitan planning area. And the small yellow areas you see are the cities and villages within the region. We’ve got about 4,700 square miles, about 1.2 million residents, about 540,000 jobs. Manufacturing, agriculture, and food processing are key industries. We expect very modest growth in population and employment over the next few decades. So we have positive growth but it’s very stable. We also have a very diverse land use and developing conditions ranging from fairly well developed urban areas to very rural areas. A number of cultural and historic resources—the Erie Canal and eight of 11 Finger Lakes—are in our region.

As far as the transportation system goes, we’ve got about 27,000 lane miles in total. About 27 percent of those are federal aid eligible and we’ve got about 1,600 bridges. And then, just to clarify, our congestion management process covers the metropolitan planning area but the recommendations are applicable beyond the boundaries of that area as well.

So GTC for at least the past probably 10, 12 years GTC has made systems management operations a central component of its overall work activities. And, of course, as [with] all metropolitan planning organizations we’re guided by a number of goals, including increased safety, promote efficient system management operations, and facilitate partnerships and planning, financing, and implementing transportation initiatives. And so we see TSMO as a key element to achieving those goals.

There’s a list of activities here, I won’t read them off entirely. A number of them are standard activities, any MPO will undertake. You know, we develop and maintain a long-range plan. We’re actually working on a new one right now. We should have it done this summer. We, of course, maintain our transportation improvement program but we’ve also taken on a number of tasks over the years to sort of boost our role in TSMO and operations including developing and maintaining a regional ITS strategic plan, facilitating what we refer to as the transportation management committee, which is one of my jobs. I maintain a regional IPS architecture. And, of course, I also work on the congestion management process.

So in our long-range plan we have 52 recommendations in total. Twenty-five of them are based on systems management operations. And those 25 recommendations are further subdivided into three main categories: coordination, technology, and demand.

My next few slides will discuss in detail each one of these categories. I will point out the building in the picture is our regional traffic operations center, which opened back in 2002. And that’s one of the key examples of interagency and interjurisdictional coordination for TSMO programs in our region.

Basically, the facility is jointly operated by the New York State DOT, the Monroe County DOT, the New York State Police, and the Monroe County Airport Authority. And because Monroe County serves as the traffic engineer for the city of Rochester, all traffic signals in the metro area are operated by basically two agencies, the county DOT and the state DOT. And those agencies jointly operate them from one control room within that building. And this has been a very successful, very beneficial activity for both those agencies and the general public.

As I mentioned earlier, we developed and maintained an ITS strategic plan. The first strategic plan was put together back in the mid-1990s, and at that time you could see was only tangentially involved. But since then we’ve become much more involved. So we have a plan than was developed in 2011. And we’re looking to later this year begin work on a new one as well.

This plan is designed to be multi-agency. It has representatives from the state and county DOTs, the city, the transit authority, law enforcement, and a few other agencies that are involved in one or another in operations. It’s multijurisdictional and covers our entire nine-county area. And it’s also multimodal. So obviously, we’re looking at improvements to freeway operations but also looking at how we integrate transit into the broader TSMO picture and how ITS deployments can benefit all modes. So the plan is designed to provide a rationale for why we’re investing in TSMO. Why are we spending money on these things when we should be spending money on maybe fixing roads and bridges? What are the roles and responsibilities? Who does what and why? Our operational strategies. And then we have a 10-year timeframe for this plan as well. And this plan is available on our website. I can provide a link to you if anyone is interested.

Continuing with coordination, I mentioned earlier, we had this transportation management committee, which actually was originally established about 25 years ago based on a specific construction project that required greater coordination than was normal between several different agencies. But this group has evolved to a regular committee that meets every other month. It’s fairly high level. It’s not a decision-making body but it’s more about coordinating and providing information and updating each other on major construction projects, on the response to major incidents. And also from my point of view I can use it as a venue to update our stakeholders on federal policy and programming activities. And, again, the representatives are local transportation departments, transit, and several law enforcement agencies. Sort of based on the—you know, Wayne mentioned earlier one of the key issues in congestion management is incidents, and incident response and so for the past year or so we’ve had discussions about organizing a regionwide technical training symposium, as we call it, for first responders. And so the first one we held was last October. We had about 200 attendees. And the point of this event was to build awareness on the part of the different first responder agencies as to what each other and what, you know, the state or the county DOTs will do in the event of an incident. And so you’ll have a list of the specific session topics we had. This was a day-long event. There’s a web link at the bottom of the slide. I’m not going to play that for you but that leads to a local news story that was done on this symposium. And I mention it here not only because it was the first one that we did but because GTC funded a little over half of the total cost of the event we paid for. And the rest of it was paid for from attendee registrations. And we had some exhibitors who came in as well. And so overall it was very well received and we’re looking at what we can do to hold it again in the future. But, again the point is to provide the technical training to our first responders who are actually out having to manage incidents while also be aware of their own safety themselves and the traveling public.

I showed you the map earlier of the New York State MPOs. So, again, there are 14 MPOs in New York State. We all come together, our statewide association of MPOs. And, of course, New York isn’t the only state that has one of these associations. I know Oregon does and I think a few other states do as well but ours is—we have eight working groups made up of MPO staff and usually every quarter we have conference calls sometimes more often on the topics that are listed here. And as you can see TSMO is one of them. It’s actually the newest. It was formed about a year and a half ago. And I serve as the facilitator of that group. And basically, this association allows us to provide information, updates, technical training, and resources to each other. And it’s been tremendously beneficial. Also, if there’s a new federal initiative or something like that comes out that we want to update each other on, this is a very easy and effective way to do that. I included the NYSAMPO website at the bottom of those slides. So if you want to check out the association website you’re welcome to do that as well.

Moving on just briefly, as far as technology goes, we look at ITS as sort of the tools that enable a lot of the coordination activities including congestion management. And as Wayne alluded to earlier, ITS deployments is a way to help reduce the need for infrastructure expansion. I’m sure you’re all aware, we don’t have enough money to maintain the facilities that we have. So we’re looking for ways to get more use out of those roads and bridges and installations. Our focus though is identifying the agency capabilities, not so much on specific analogies. And so we don’t say—you know, our planning process, our ITS plan doesn’t say, that, oh we’re going to have 10 traffic cameras and three DMS boards along a certain stretch of highway. It says, well, identifies those capabilities. And then we leave it to the implementing agencies to get to that next level of detail and say, okay, what are the specific deployments that we need to make?

And then, of course, as everyone is aware, one of the upcoming issues is connected and autonomous vehicles. And so we’ve sort of folded that into this idea of Complete Streets. You know, a Complete Street is a street designed for use by all users. And then we think there’s a role for CAV technology there. I mean this is the idea, if we’re building a bridge that has a design life of 100 years, what considerations do we have to include in that bridge that will make it adaptable for CAV deployments when they come in the future?

Just briefly, on-demand is the other side of this, and this isn’t directly related to congestion management but it’s an important component of the overall planning process. So, again, we focus on providing information to travelers. We have a commuter choice program, roceasyride (http://roceasyride.org/). And also we funded a number of municipal planning studies over the years and so that picture of those townhouses is actually right across the street from office here in downtown Rochester, a new [inaudible] development project, but ways of looking at more effective use of land.

So under the CMP sort of our guiding principles on the top here is this idea we can’t build our way out of congestion, which I’m sure you’ve all heard before, but we can hopefully operate our way out. To better understand the types of congestion in our region we identified three different typologies: recurring capacity, which is your basic commuter congestion; planned event which is where you have a road that’s closed from say marathons or festivals, special events; and then non-recurring which is basically incidents. And then we identity the four performance measures at the bottom of the slide here to track congestion.

Obviously, travel time index is probably the most standard, the most important. But we wanted to include—see in Rochester we don’t have a separate—any rail-based transit. We actually did sort of a little historical interest oddity is we had a subway that operated from 1927 to 1956 in the old Erie Canal bed but no longer. All of our transit is by bus. So we wanted to make sure that we included transit in the overall CMP process.

We developed the scale a couple of years ago to provide a quick and easy way to identify and sort of map congestion levels. And we’ve talked about making further changes to this, maybe adding another category but that’s just discussions right now. But this is—the idea was to put together a report or a study where we have to say, okay what road segments are congested? And this gives you kind of a quick color-coded way to identify that and it’s linked to the travel time index. So this is most applicable really for recurring congestion.

So this map here, this shows the AM peak period. I shy away from using rush hour because our congestion is quite minimal compared to most other places in the U.S. You know, again, that’s historically when our highway system was designed and built back in the 1950s there was much greater growth expected for this area than actually happened. So in a way we’re sort of overbuilt. But this map shows you the location of congested road segments in the morning. And you’ll see the one sort of the red line that sticks out as the New York Route 590 expressway and that’s basically gathering commuters from the eastern suburbs and funneling them into the city. And so that kind of—that’s the one that sticks out. But if you look at this map you’ll see the thick black lines are the county boundaries. The thin black lines are the town boundaries. The white gray lines are roads. And so this a good example of that multijurisdictional nature of congestion that Wayne and Ken were talking about earlier and how even if the city of Rochester which is the yellow blob in the middle would implement some congestion management practices, well, there’s still congestion going on outside the city boundaries that impact what’s going on within the city. So you need to take a regional approach to this. And the second app I have is the evening peak period. So, again, you’ll see the spurt of congestion is much broader but we don’t have the same peaks at one high points. But, again, focused mostly on the city and key commuter corridors coming in and out. And, of course, one of our concerns is where you have an incident that occurs as the same time or just before the peak period, how does that impact congestion?

Of course, you’re wondering where all of the data is coming from and the source is largely INRIX. We signed a contract with them a couple of years ago. We just renewed it last year to have access to INRIX analytics and this has been a tremendous benefit to us not just for the congestion management process but for other overall performance measurement for our long-range plan and also special analyses that we’ve done. A few—if there’s some major crashes I can go into the INRIX state and look at what the impacts of those crashes are. Some of you may have been at the AMPO conference in Atlanta in October of 2014. I was there. I gave a presentation on some of the uses of the INRIX data for special incident-related analysis.

So just to wrap up my part of the presentation here, I wanted to spend a couple of minutes talking about how we evaluate projects in our transportation improvement program. Of course, one of the big concerns, as you all know is not just our overall lack of funding to maintain our transportation infrastructure, but how do we integrate consideration for TSMO projects in and among all of the other regular highway and bridge current and maintenance, trail projects that kind of thing that we fund. So basically we update our TIP every two years and whenever an agency applies there are basically a set of common criteria that all projects that are scored by and there’s 14 criteria for those. And then we classify the projects into one of five modes. The vast majority of them, as you can imagine, are highway and bridge, but also we have public transportation, goods movement, bike ped, and of course TSMO. And then so each one of those modes has its own zero to 30-point scale that we then score the projects on. Most of the congestion management-related projects come under TSMO. I mean they may come under others as well but a lot of the highway and bridge projects we have are basically part of the maintenance where you’re not really changing what’s on the road, just maintaining it and keeping it going. So those aren’t really congestion management, at least in my view.

So to look into what the four criteria are for the TSMO projects, again, they’re pretty basic. So looking at how the project reduces travel times, how it reduces incident clearance, increasing the productivity of regional agencies, and that’s basically getting at will this project reduce maintenance needs, that kind of thing. And then lastly, how well does the project support or advance existing ITS. So if you already have some traffic cameras deployed along corridors and we’re going to put in new cameras. Is that better than deploying ITS in a whole new area? So those are the kinds of things that the committee that reviews and scores the projects, our TSMO projects, go over. So that should wrap it up for me. I will at this point transfer the talk back over to Anthony and thank you everyone.

Anthony Thomas:  Great, thank you Joe, very much for giving us that small MPO example of regional collaboration and detailing the cooperation between planning, operations, and incident response in the Rochester area. I really appreciate it. Just to all of our participants on the line, as a reminder if anyone has any questions for our presenters at any time, please put your question in the Q&A pod. We’ll be addressing questions at the end of the webinar. So just feel free to put in questions at any time. Now, I’d like to hand things over to Zoe Neaderland at DVRPC. Zoe.

Zoe Neaderland: Good afternoon. Thank you, Anthony. I’d like to talk a little bit about cooperation and congestion management, and to give you a little bit more of sort of a reflections piece. This is about congestion management in the Philadelphia metropolitan area, a bi-state large MPO. But my background as manager of the Office of Transportation Safety and Congestion Management here includes working at several small MPOs and transit agencies in upstate New York and Massachusetts.

The DVRPC region as I mentioned is bi-state, five counties in southeastern Pennsylvania and four in New Jersey. As a bi-state MPO we deal with different structures in the two states, which include political structures, how things are funded, road ownership, and maintenance, and sometimes even different data definitions for the same or different terms.

DVRPC’s approach to our congestion management is to look at it as medium-term planning that helps connect our long-range plan and TIP. We really use it to think about what are the most important places to invest in appropriate strategies to move toward our agreed-upon long-range plan goals? We do multimodal analysis of the whole region, define congested corridors and unique appropriate sets of strategies for each congested sub-corridor. Where SOV capacity is being considered we try to coordinate at the earliest stages on considering whether this means other than adding SOV capacity could deal with some significant part of the problem, usually at a lower cost. But where SOV capacity is needed, we work with the project sponsors and a range of partners to develop a multimodal supplemental project table. Our board adopted the fourth edition, our fourth cycle of the CMP in October and board support has been essential to this effort. Again, DVRPC’s board is the ultimate adopting body.

The CMP advisory committee is a broad range of people. It’s essentially an email list. So there’s no problem with continuing to make it broad and inclusive, that it includes representatives for our board members plus people who we figure should be involved in order for us to reach a productive end to the CMP. Plus people who are interested, could be helpful, or ask to be on the email list.

I’m going to share with you some types of CMP-related cooperation that we’ve either experienced or learned from or seen. And then I’ll quickly list these and then we're going to have a slide or two on each of these.

They’re launching a CMP, implementing and maintaining momentum of the CMP, participating in the efforts that flow from the CMP for the CMP to be effective. But then in addition, the CMP we’ve often experienced it as a launch pad to better regional cooperation and being more effective in a whole variety of venues.

Launching the CMP was the hardest part. That first cycle, one—a couple of things that we really took from it is it’s been essential that our work flows from the long-range plan vision, goals, and objectives. And the results of the CMP then flow back into the plan update. Having the participation of trusted CMP voices such as FHWA was essential to getting started.

I spoke a little bit about this earlier, but what was important was to think not only about which agencies should participate but also who, that sometimes if we had just one person at an important agency and they left or whatever that gave us some hiccups along the way. Well, you may see this as I do—oh, it seems to be resolving itself. That’s great.

Anthony Thomas:  Zoe, I’m sorry, there may be a problem with one of those slides.

Zoe Neaderland:  Okay. I’m just going back one. So there’s launching the CMP. In theory, this next slide that you see was going to be a map of our region and the surrounding MPOs with which we work closely.

Just to go on, a point that I wanted to make with that is that an example of our close work with other MPOs has been the Central Jersey Transportation Forum which where the CMP and this project the Central Jersey Transportation Forum have been working together on an important regional, multiregional corridor that is in two MPOs, Route 1. And the coordination of bringing this together, different governmental officials, different levels of government, major employers educational institutions, a whole range of entities, has really brought together a new level of working together and effectiveness in combining the transportation and land-use planning there.

This is a quote—what you see now is a quote by one of our advisory committee members and it gave me a different perspective that I wanted to share with you. I was communicating with them as I was developing this PowerPoint. And this person noted that the technical work that we do, the stable solid technical work has provided a calm, collected way to discuss matters of improving collaboration and communication and transportation. And what you see to the side is an example of our interactive web mapping from our website. And just another example, Joe touched a little bit on the use of the INRIX data. We use it through the I-95 Corridor Coalition. And one thing that we, as staff, do is bring it into our base GIS layer, which takes some doing and that’s a service that is of value to our partners in congestion planning.

Implementing and maintaining momentum is important. We don’t finish a round of a CMP and just go on to other things. We need to continue working with a range of groups and going out to them, not just expecting that they’ll read what we send them. The federal requirements have been really helpful in terms of this. I touched a little bit on the development and support for supplemental projects and the reporting requirements. And building off of those federal requirements has been a really helpful framework for us to stay on track with working with people.

Here’s a few examples of implementation pieces from graphics to reports, to checklists that we’ve developed in different—the checklist is from the CMP procedures and is used in other pieces.

As I mentioned, you don’t do a CMP in a vacuum any more than you plan in a vacuum or do your planning in just one municipality or county or region. There are many different efforts that as you work on the CMP you realize you need to get involved in a lot of different processes and procedures. For one thing, it’s essential to have a firm basis for how your CMP is going to fit with your long-range plan in TIP and how they’re all going to interact.

The CMP has really been a launch board for our work beyond our region, beyond our usual partners for a range of geographic contexts. It’s a way that we coordinate within this fairly large metropolitan planning organization keeping everyone speaking with each other. It’s essential that we not just speak with each other, that we need to speak with interested members of the public and people who make decisions that will affect transportation and land use and operations. And in that context how we communicate is as important as what we’re saying. So we need in-person communication. We need interactive web maps. We need great, quick newsletters. We need catchy outreach material. And I’ll show you an example of one bit of work that we’ve done.

Again, flowing from our work with the I-95 corridor coalition we had started out saying, well what measures should we use? And we started by discussing this in our region and with our surrounding MPOs. And the answer a good five years ago was well, we’re not really sure. So we founded—we started this informal partnership using archived operations data for planning, which is MPOs, DOTs, and other agencies from Massachusetts and New York down to Florida. And one thing that we did do was work together on this PowerPoint based on what we called the elevator speech brochure on what are the issues in our region? What role could operations play? And what could different levels of government and different entities do? And we set this up for ease of use by any of the people participating in this. And another part of our effort was to be ready to confer and maybe develop some shared thoughts once the notice of proposed rulemaking for the performance measures does come out.

A few other DVRPC examples of working together either among unusual groups or across our borders, we have a number of incident management taskforces that have been very effective. I mentioned the Central Jersey Transportation Forum. Something sort of innovative that we do is the greater Philadelphia food system plan and a series of outgrowths from that. We're taking a kind of innovative approach to the coordinated human service transportation planning effort and our regional trails program.

Just a few reflections on cooperation. I don’t mean to be too obvious or anything but some reasons to cooperate is that it helps with doing the best possible work and we all want to be effective. Building a shared history and trust makes it easier to listen to each other and it builds a network for related work. So it sets us all up to succeed. And lastly, it creates a positive reputation as we head into future projects. With that said, I still want to say don’t get over your head. Think about where you want to end up and advance in manageable steps to not get overwhelmed. So I look forward to hearing questions when we reach the end of the whole presentation. And with that I’ll hand it back to Anthony.

Anthony Thomas:  Zoe, thank you very much for detailing for us the large bi-state MPO perspective on regional collaboration and congestion management. I’m sure our participants really appreciated your detailing of the Philadelphia region’s CMP and how it connected, like you said, a launching pad for further collaboration. So I really appreciate that, thank you. Now, I think we’re going to go head west with Alan Lehto with TriMet.

Alan Lehto:  Great, thank you, Anthony. This is Alan Lehto. I’m the director of planning and policy here at TriMet in the Portland Metropolitan Area. I wanted to give you kind of the transit perspective and also the perspective of a region where we pride ourselves on being able to collaborate very well and think about congestion management in context of a lot of other things that we’re doing as a region in planning.

So the first thing I wanted to start off with is just a snapshot of our region where if you take the whole metropolitan area, we’re actually over 2 million. But if you focus in on the part that’s within the MPO for the Portland, Oregon side there are three counties. It’s about 1.5 million, a number of different cities. We operate a transit system that includes 60 miles of light rail and 79 bus lines. We have a directly elected regional government, which makes us a little different from others and makes it so that our MPO function is fulfilled by an MPO board made up of representatives from around the region and an action by the elected government. And we have, of course, an urban growth boundary which underpins a lot of what we do both in terms of land use but also in terms of how we think about transportation and congestion.

Again, for context here, this is a shot of northwest Oregon and southwest Washington showing the urbanized area. The red in the center is the Portland metropolitan area. And part of what’s important about how we think about Oregon and how we got to where we are is if you go in just about any direction for hundreds of miles, there’s pretty much nothing but mountains, deserts, and oceans.

And so the Willamette Valley with its rich farmland and great forests is a really precious resource and that’s what leads us to things like this next map which is a vision of the region which you should see if you talk to any planner in the region that encapsulates the way we think about how we want to use the precious and unique land that we have available. So we have an urban growth boundary that limits the extent of suburbanization into farmland. We also have, though, a focus on the centers. So if we’re going to try to not build out quite so much we need to make the inside of the UGB much more attractive. And that’s both about encouraging economic development, encouraging equity, encouraging the ability for people to get where they need to go. And transit’s role is in both doing capital construction projects and in providing service in ways that strengthen and support growth in this way showing on the map.

We also have, therefore, kind of an approach about congestion management that incorporates a lot of what you’ve heard already but also starts with the premise that hey, if we’re smart enough about planning land use and transportation together we’re avoiding a lot of congestion in the first place and then managing what does come.

So the region is building towards six basic desired outcomes that have been passed by the metro council and endorsed by the regional representatives: vibrant communities, equity, economic prosperity, transportation choices, clean air and water, and climate leadership. And they really are our regional planning, our RTP—the regional transportation plan, the long-range plan, our congestion management plan, our land-use plans, all built from the local plans and then cycle back around to inform those local plans as each gets updated in turn. This is a snapshot of our regional governance structure with that elected Metro Council at the top.

On the left side is really our MPO function showing what we call JPAC, which is the policy group, which includes local elected and agency CEOs, and includes the general manager of TriMet and has for decades. And that’s been really important to coordination within this region to make sure that we have a seat at the MPO table to represent transit needs and have for a number of decades. We support that with a technical committee that includes a TriMet staff person. And then the other side of that graphic shows the land-use management function that’s required by the state. And we have a parallel process of policy and technical. And for TriMet and a number of the other agencies, the technical level is staffed by the same person for both transportation and land use to try and make sure that we are linking those two critical factors.

You heard already earlier we can’t build our way out of congestion but we do try to avoid as much as we can and then manage what we do get. And this is just a snapshot from our recent long-range plan that said that if we weren’t going to do any additional improvements we would have far more congestion than if we do improvements. We can’t get to zero but we can reduce and manage it. And the next two slides really focus in on the importance of land use and development and the way we develop and how it relates to congestion.

So this is from our 2011 household survey in the region that our MPO did. And on the left side you can see what they call ‘disconnected neighborhoods,’ which you can think of as mostly single family, single-use neighborhoods, often on cul de sacs, on hills, in places where sidewalks may be missing. You’re often forced to drive your car to get around to anything. There are very few other transportation options.

On the right are connected neighborhoods. Those are typically older neighborhoods but could be new neighborhoods that are built with Complete Street and sidewalk infrastructures, have transit, have the option for getting around on bicycle. And you can see the stark difference in transportation use in modes between those two. Not only is transit higher in those connected neighborhoods, but walk and bike is far higher. And that means that drive alone, single occupancy vehicle is much lower. As are high-occupancy vehicles even though that’s an important part of the transportation options in those areas. And that reinforces, over time; this is a snapshot, I won’t go into all of the details but the top line is that more of the connected or good transit mixed use. It’s a little different area. So the numbers don’t exactly correspond to the pie charts I just showed you but in 1994 and 1995. And then the bottom line shows the same types of area in 2011. And you can see the walk numbers ballooned by almost 20 percent. The transit numbers are higher. The bike numbers are about the same but that’s because they’re in the areas where the bikes were the best options already. And what that really shows is not only do we get benefits in a snapshot but over time it actually strengthens and we get even more benefit in avoiding congestion and allowing people access and mobility in ways that don’t force more cars onto the road.

Our congestion management process and plan is embedded in our long-range plan and informs our cyclical funding decisions and other efforts. And you can see the five goals there keying on some of the desired outcomes that I talked about but also focusing in on safety and security and the process slide there that really talks about how we create the plan, we implement elements of the plan, we monitor and understand and measure and then update the plan based on that better understanding. And TriMet and the various jurisdictions around the table are always there working with the MPO to do that.

The MPO actually provides a lot of data, pulls it together into a data resource guide, some of it based on data that TriMet provides. And we have a regional data-sharing network that provides a lot of information about freeways, highways, arterials, transit use, bike counts, pedestrian counts—all of it available on the website to various users and academics and practitioners for studies and analysis.

The MPO pulls this information, this kind of information, together into looking at the key mobility corridors in the area so we don’t think about a single road as the issue. We think about the corridor that that road is serving because there are usually parallel facilities and other options for travel within that corridor. I already mentioned safety but I’ll reinforce it. We use a lot of information to try and focus in on key hotspots and you can see the map on the right that really helps us. We do a similar thing for transit incidents that really helps the MPO focus in on where to think about safety and where those dovetail with congestion issues, which they often do.

We, of course, incorporate transportation demand management that is reducing demand for single occupancy vehicles in the first place and transit is, obviously, a very important component of that. Transportation system management so that we are doing smart things with signals and signage and information and the way we manage the facilities that we do have to try and minimize especially those episodic congestions from crashes and incidents. And then I mentioned this kind of suffuses through how we think about funding strategies and short-term efforts so that the long term is connected to the short term and the money goes into things that actually help manage the congestion.

And this is just a snapshot of our upcoming regional flexible funds that is taking federal funds that come into the region and putting it out in both programs and projects that go towards enhancing transit, go towards helping develop transit-oriented development to spread that throughout the region, to travel options so that people don’t have to rely on their car only. To TSMO or transportation system management efforts like intelligent transportation systems, information signals and other things that help move freight and transit.

And the regional transit network from our latest long-term plan, soon to be updated, again, really focuses in on providing capital projects like light rail and bus rapid transit that connect to the densest, most active, and most economically vibrant parts of the region, and providing a bus system that connects to those and connects the rest of the region to communities to each other and those communities to the centers.

I wanted to give just a quick snapshot too of a project that we were involved in that crossed the river, crossed the state border between the MPO that I operate in and the MPO across the river, the regional transportation council. This was the Columbia River Crossing project or CRC, which some of you may have heard of, which was looking at replacing one of only two bridges across the Columbia River in an area where we have 1.5 million people on our side of the river and there are almost half a million people on the other side of the river. There are only two freeway bridges that make that connection. One of them part of it was built in 1917. So this would replace the freeway bridge and add light rail into downtown Vancouver, Washington.

We jokingly called it a Noah’s Ark project because there were two of everything: two DOTs, two MPOs, two major cities, two transit agencies. And the collaboration and technical effort on the project actually, I think, was pretty impressive. We ended up with a kind of governance structure that had a bi-state committee, had a steering committee. Made sure that those—all those elements of the Noah’s Ark were working together well and set the stage for future collaboration. The project itself kind of sunk under statewide politics in Washington State, but it’s led on to additional collaboration and reinforced that. So we continue to have a very collegial relationship across the MPO, across the transit lines, across that state border. The bi-state committee continues and takes up both land use and transportation issues. We are working with our partner C-Tran, the transit agency across the river, to do things like do a study on running buses on freeway shoulders as ways to get buses out of congestion on freeways. We also are working with them on a regionwide cross-state seamless electronic fare system so that next year we’ll be able to introduce a regional transit fare system that works across C-Tran, across TriMet, and other users in the region. And, of course, we continue to share data. We share our unified planning work program and meet together constantly to make sure that we are fully coordinated on things like land-use projections for population and employment. And with that I’m going to stop talking and hand it back over to Anthony.

Anthony Thomas:  Thanks, Alan. It seems as though Portland’s integrated land-use and transportation planning approach plays a really critical part of the region’s congestion management process so thank you so much for sharing that with us. And I’d like to take this time to just extend thanks to all of our presenters, again, Wayne Berman with the Federal Highway Administration’s Office of Operations, Joe Bovenzi from the Genesee Transportation Council, Zoe Neaderland from the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, and Alan Lehto from TriMet. So now I’ll go ahead and open up the webinar to questions. And it looks like we have a couple of questions already posted. But I’d like to remind everyone that if you have any questions to just post your question in Q&A pod and we’ll get to it as soon as we can. And so it looks like our first question is from Nicholas Renna and this is to the Genesee Transportation Council to you, Joe. Do you have any guidance for your agencies to use ITS in Complete Streets?

Joe Bovenzi:  No. Right now we don't. That’s something that we’ve—it’s sort of touched on in our current ITS strategic plan. And it’s a topic that we’re hoping to discuss more in the next few years as we develop a new ITS strategic plan but we don’t have any specific guidance available right now.

Anthony Thomas:  Great, thank you. And this next question is also from Nicholas and it’s to all of our presenters. He says, “Over the past number of months I’ve tried to gather practices for TSMO plans and I’ve looked at DVRPC’s transportation operations master plan, PennDOT’s regional operations plan for Region 6, and Oregon’s Metro TSMO plan. It also looks like GTC’s ITS strategic plan is a TSMO plan of sorts. Could you talk about how these documents relate to your respective regional congestion coordination work, like the CMP and TIP?

Zoe Neaderland:  I can start with that as long as there’s a pause that DVRPC’s work is closely integrated when we—we try to keep the long-range plans CMP and TIP as sort of a center framework but closely coordinated with other policy plans and technical work done at DVRPC, particularly in operations; in operations and freight and transit I would say are three very important areas. Our CMP has this set of 100 strategies in a prioritized policy-based group. So we start with things like maintaining what we have and managing demand for transportation, and there are sets of strategies in each of those. So that whole range of strategies covers the different areas like operations transit, land use, freight management, a wide range of ways to deal with congestion. Because we want to just use all of the tools that are available. So they’re pretty seamlessly integrated. I don't know if there is a more specific question there.

Anthony Thomas:  Great, thank you, Zoe. Would either Alan or Joe like to respond to this question?

Alan Lehto:  Yeah, this is Alan. I’d just say that our transportation system management and operations plan is literally integrated into our regional transportation plan, the long-range plans. So it’s many of the same staff that are working on it and there’s a lot of collaboration both within the MPO and then through the TPAC, the technical group that I talked about to make sure that they are integrated.

Joe Bovenzi:  Yeah, and this is Joe. Just briefly our long-range plan has all of the sort of high-level strategies and recommendations for operations and ITS deployments and those TSMO-related activities. But the ITS strategic plan kind of basically takes it to the next level. So it’s just more detailed. It’s divided up into nine key themes. Incident and emergency management is one, public transportation and expressway management, and so on. So our ITS plan provides much more detail than what you can fit into the long-range plan. And, again, our ITS plan is available as a PDF on our agency website. So anyone can download it from our website or I’d be happy to email to anyone if anyone is interested.

Anthony Thomas:  Great. Thank you. So this question is from Tom Klevan and it’s actually for you, Joe. How are the activities of the New York Association of MPO funded? Does each MPO kick in? Does the New York State DOT help?

Joe Bovenzi:  Yes, each state MPO provides funding for the NYSAMPO. And basically we—NYSAMPO contracts with a consulting firm to sort of facilitate all of those different working groups. So there is a number of people who, consultants, who basically develop the agendas, take notes, minutes, kind of do the technical work to facilitate the working group discussions. And then NYSAMPO also every two years they do a statewide conference, and that’s, again, funded basically by the different MPOs around the state. So it’s a pretty active organization. To be honest I don't know if New York State itself provides any funds. Certainly the state DOT and the New York State Thruway Authority are involved with a lot of the MPO discussions. They have staff that participate in the working groups but to be honest I don't know if they provide direct financial support.

Anthony Thomas:  Great, thank you. The next question is from Heidi Mitter and it’s for you, Alan. How does funding in your long-range plan promote transit-oriented development? Is it with developer incentives, for example?

Alan Lehto:  There’s not specific funding in the long-range plan, but the long-range plan informs what we do in our short-range funding decisions like the example I provided that talked about what we’re doing with regional flexible funds, federal money that comes into the region, and then is distributed to various uses. Part of that money goes to a transit-oriented development program at Metro, at the MPO that they put into directly supporting transit-oriented development projects. It’s also embedded in the sense that the policies that the regional transportation plan develop help forward on and encourage policies like developer incentives in the local jurisdictions but the regional MPO, of course, doesn’t have the opportunity to do that directly.

Anthony Thomas:  Great. Thank you. And it looks like we actually got some follow-up information. Maria Chau shared with us that the New York State Department of Transportation does provide SPR funds to help support the New York State Association of MPOs. So thank you very much for that information, Maria. So this question is for Zoe, “Zoe, can you give an example of how to not get in over your head with cooperation across jurisdictions and disciplines. Do you have any recommendations on how to start small and then build it up?”

Zoe Neaderland:  Sure, I’d be happy to speak to that and I thought you were going to ask me this other question that started with my name but they fit together. An example that I gave was when we started using the archived operations data we started by analyzing one measure for one hour, and asking our partners in our region and just surrounding our region how they were doing their work, seeking to collaborate. When the answer was that nobody was quite sure, we sort of muddled along and did the work that we were able to do, keeping it within what we could get done in a reasonable timeframe. As time progressed, we’ve gone on to work with a wider range of partners and with more measures and with more time. So that was a case where honestly I thought I was being too conservative by saying we’ll only do one measure per one hour and it was still a huge undertaking. Similarly, sometimes we say, oh, it sounds simple enough, we’ll do one outreach meeting with each of our DOTs and one with our transit agencies and transportation management associations each year. But honestly, when you hold a meeting like that there are all kinds of outgrowth efforts and follow ups, and we’ve really had to bump that to more like every two years, in some cases every three years while trying to really stay engaged with the follow up and know organic developments that come from that. It’s important to start with what sounds like a ridiculously small but intelligent undertaking because as you all probably know things take longer and are more complicated than you expect. And what’s important is to not start out with a really daring plan that becomes unworkable and you end up with very little.

Wayne Berman:  Anthony, I’d like to take a little stab at that too to build on what Zoe was saying.

Anthony Thomas:  Of course.

Wayne Berman:  At least from our perspective, the question is absolutely right and Zoe is correct that you really need to start small and grow. What we found, oftentimes, what initiates a good cooperative effort is some kind of event, some kind of an emergency, a political issue that motivates people to come together to resolve it. For example, traffic incident management and having a politician get stuck on the highway because of an incident for a long time brings people together in the community to help resolve it and work together—state police, first responders, planners, traffic engineers, weather, weather emergencies. For example, with the freeze in Atlanta a couple of years ago we brought a lot of people together to begin to cooperate and work together on a plan to deal with that kind of an emergency and that kind of event. The Super Bowl and other sporting events are kind of a big case, but oftentimes they start the relationships and that’s what you really want to do is begin to develop the relationships and build the cooperative effort from that regardless of what it is. That’s led to some very significant technological innovations in an area, as well as joint purchasing agreements. So I think, again, from our perspective in the operations office these events are sort of big motivators for bringing people together and building relationships.

Anthony Thomas:  Great. Thank you very much for that. And the next question that I have it’s actually for Alan. You mentioned some joint planning studies that TriMet is working on with the transit agency in Vancouver, Washington. Have you or the MPOs also considered developing a joint long-range plan spanning the state boundary?

Alan Lehto:  I have not been around for specific conversations around that. There are enough differences in politics in the leadership in each side that I think at the technical level that would be strained. And so what we’ve chosen to do is make sure that we are at the technical level fully collaborating and coordinating so that nobody has a sense that anybody is making decisions for the other side.

Anthony Thomas:  I see. That makes a lot of sense. So it looks like from my end, those are all of the questions that we have today.

Zoe Neaderland:  I’m sorry, Anthony could I follow up for one moment?

Anthony Thomas:  Absolutely.

Zoe Neaderland:  With regard to Kevin’s question about getting the INRIX data through the I-95 Corridor Coalition, he asked, are the MPOs sharing costs of that? And I just wanted to touch on that for a moment because that’s such a nice example of collaboration and coordination. And just as background, FHWA had originally funded the I-95 corridor coalition’s work with archived operations data which was originally the INRIX data and is now multiple sources of data. And they no longer are funded to cover it all and the state members of the I-95 Corridor Coalition are putting in money with both of our states, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. They have elected the option of sharing their data for free with all of the MPOs in their state, which has been a huge help. And I just wanted to note that as an example of great collaboration.

Anthony Thomas:  Great. Thank you, Zoe. We actually had a couple more questions. This first one comes from Chris Zeilinger. This is actually for all of our speakers today. How would you see these collaborative approaches being replicated in places that are smaller than Rochester, Philadelphia, or Portland?

Zoe Neaderland:  I could start with that. Having been staff to one- and two-person MPOs in other places and there while you’re stretched thinner you’re more likely to know all of the people who you’ll need to reach out to. So you have to be even more careful in what you decide you’re going to take on given that you’ll have so little time. But many—virtually all of these practices I do believe can be applied in a very small MPO or regional planning commission situation.

Anthony Thomas:  Great. Alan or Joe?

Alan Lehto:  This is Alan. I’d just reinforce there’s both a challenge to being a very small MPO staff but there’s also that benefit because all of these collaborations work best based on personal relationships. Once you build up some time working with the people there’s a level of trust even if you’re representing very different political views and that's a benefit to be built upon if possible for a small group.

Anthony Thomas:  Okay. Great. And I think those are the questions that we have. I will just say that I’ll give everyone just another moment if you have any questions to enter them in the Q&A pod. But I’d just also like to spend this time and just thank everyone that has come out and has listened to this webinar of the other webinars in the series. And so last call for questions. But if I don’t see any coming in I’d like to turn things over to Dave Harris with the FHWA Office of Planning to wrap us up.

Dave Harris:  Sure, Anthony, thank you. Again, on behalf of Federal Highway and Federal Transit Administrations I just want to thank the presenters as well as the participants. I was kind of looking at the poll there as we were going. I know at our highest point we reached well over 100 participants. So a good turnout today. And then just remind everybody about the next webinar on April 14 which will cover the topics of data sharing systems of tools.

Anthony Thomas:  Great, thank you very much, Dave for that. And it looks like that’s all we have for today. So I’d like to thank everyone, again, for coming out.

Operator:  Ladies and gentleman, again, that does conclude today’s conference. Thank you, again, for joining.