Transportation Thursdays

NOTE: NARC newsletters are typically uploaded to the website on the Friday of the week they were sent out.


November 8, 2018


Congress will return on November 13.

Committee Leadership Shuffle
With Democrats set to take control of the U.S. House of Representatives after this week’s mid-term elections, Peter DeFazio (D-OR) is poised to become the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman when the 116th Congress is seated in January. The committee’s ranking member has yet to be determined, however. Sam Graves (R-MO) has announced he is running for the position – complete with a campaign website and leadership blueprint. Jeff Denham (R-CA) is a second likely candidate for the position if he holds off his challenger in a yet-to-be-called race.

Though the Senate will remain in Republican control, there will likely be some changes in key transportation committees. Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee Chairman John Thune (R-SD) is expected to become Senate Majority Whip in elections to be held next week and will relinquish his gavel to Roger Wicker (R-MS). Ranking Member Bill Nelson (D-FL) is headed to a recount in a close race in Florida, though he is trailing his opponent. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) is next in line, but if she declines the position, Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) would be next up. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee leadership remains the same, with John Barrasso (R-WY) as Chair and Tom Carper (D-DE) as Ranking Member.

More Talk About Infrastructure
In the wake of Tuesday’s elections, Congressional leaders and the White House have all spoken of the potential for an agreement on infrastructure in the next Congress. Potential Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) mentioned infrastructure in her victory speech on Tuesday night and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) indicated he has already discussed it with Pelosi. President Trump said that he will look to the Democrats for a plan and will negotiate. Incoming Chairman of the House Transportation Committee Pete DeFazio (D-OR) has committed to delivering a major infrastructure package as well, though was quoted as saying he wants a “real” infrastructure bill with “real money,” an obvious nod to the administration’s proposal which was heavy on leveraging federal funds with private funds or higher requirements for local and state investment.

This confidence is reminiscent of the period after the 2016 presidential election, which was followed by months of uncertainty and continually recurring “infrastructure weeks” and finally an administration plan that was dead on arrival. Perhaps things will be different this time, but the high degree of partisanship and impending presidential election – to say nothing of disagreements over how to pay for such a package – will likely prove to be too much to overcome for something to happen this year.

Transportation Safety Planning and the Zero Deaths Vision: A Guide for Metropolitan Planning Organizations and Local Communities
FHWA has released this new guidebook geared towards MPOs and local stakeholders to reduce fatalities and serious injuries across transportations systems. To address this, USDOT seeks to foster collaboration across all stakeholders to improve the behaviors and conditions that impact these safety outcomes. The Guide seeks to assist MPOs, communities, and other transportation agencies to utilize, implement, and evaluate their safety planning processes to further the zero deaths vision.

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California Voters Reject Measure to Repeal Gas, Diesel Taxes
On Tuesday, Californians voted against Proposition 6 which would have repealed a recently-passed state gas tax hike. The tax went up 12 cents last November and will go up another 5.6 cents this upcoming summer, raising around $5 billion in annual tax revenue for the repair of state roads, bridges, and highways. Diesel fuel tax and sales tax were also raised in last year’s law and were also preserved by Tuesday’s vote. Voters opposed Proposition 6 with 55 percent, which meant keeping the new taxes in place.

Transportation Ballot Initiatives
California won big by protecting their new transportation investments but across the board results are more even. In Maine, voters approved the sale of $106 million in bonds and Michigan approved a proposal to legalize and tax recreational marijuana, which included some of the revenue for road and bridge maintenance. Voters in Colorado rejected both statewide measures and Missouri voters rejected a measure to raise the gas tax. On the county level in Florida, Hillsborough County and Broward County both supported measures to raise sales tax by a penny to fund transportation.

Interregional Policy Board Established to Improve Passenger Rail Service along CA Central Coast
The regional planning bodies of California’s central coast have formalized their relationship through a Memorandum of Understanding, establishing the Coast Rail Coordinating Council. More specifically, this council is comprised of the San Luis Obispo Council of Governments (SLOCOG), Santa Barbara County Association of Governments (SBCAG), Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission (SCCRTC), Transportation Agency for Monterey County (TAMC), and Ventura County Transportation Commission (VCTC). Together they have committed to the central mission of improving the frequency, speed, and reliability of passenger trains between San Francisco and Los Angeles through collaboration and integration of intercity, local, and state rail plans, as well as capital improvement projects.

Transit Tech Spotlight: Trip Planning – Fare Collection – Integration
Webinar 1: December 4th, 2:00 EST
Webinar 2: December 11th, 2:00 EST
The Coalition for Smarter Transportation (CoaST) released Transit Tech Spotlight: Trip Planning – Fare Collection – Integration to highlight available technologies in these areas to increase transit ridership. More directly, the focus of their paper aims to improve rider experience, promoting seamless multi-modal planning and fare collection. Implementing use of such technologies can be costly, which is why CoaST integrated information to leverage federal funds to access these types of products and services. The release of the paper will be closely followed by toolkits and a webinar series in December.

Together for Safer Roads Opens Application to Help Cities Understand Road Safety Root Causes and Catalyze Interventions
Applications due: February 2019
Together for Safer Roads (TSR) opened applications for the Safer Roads Challenge 2019-2020 at the Vision Zero Cities Conference in New York City. This challenge encourages public and private sector collaboration, whereupon community leaders identify safety challenges and work with TSR subject matter experts to devise solutions. Following a review by a panel of experts, successful applicants will be invited to the TSR Annual Membership Meeting in June 2019 to kick-off their projects. TSR presented this year’s challenge at the Vision Zero Cities Conference, while also highlighting the partnership with Vision Zero to deliver peer-to-peer learning through a multi-sector scholarship program.

View full list of jobs!

RFP: Performance Audit Services
Association of Central Oklahoma Governments, Oklahoma City, OK

Project Manager
Broward MPO, Fort Lauderdale, FL

Planner/Research Analyst
Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, Philadelphia, PA

Transportation Travel Demand Modeler
Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission, Pittsburgh, PA

GIS Transportation Data Analyst
Space Coast Transportation Planning Organization, Melbourne, FL

View full list of grants and events!

NARC Webinar! NARC-LISC Opportunity Zones Webinar
November 15, 3:00-4:00 PM ET
NARC and the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) will hold a webinar on the Opportunity Zones program on November 15. The presentation will provide an overview of the program, how it aims to attract private investment to underserved areas, and what to expect over the next phases of Opportunity Zone implementation. Wasatch Front Regional Council will also be featured, sharing their role in designating Opportunity Zones in Utah and potential opportunities this program presents for their organization and their region.

EDC-5 Regional Summits
The objectives of the Every Day Counts (EDC) Regional Summits are to: facilitate dialogue, encourage creative thinking, and celebrate a shared vision for new opportunities. These Summits are an integral component of the EDC model, bringing together transportation leaders and front-line professionals responsible for the development and delivery of highway projects. The Summits provide transportation professionals the opportunity to learn about the 10 innovations promoted through EDC–5, exchange ideas with their state, local, and industry counterparts, and provide feedback to FHWA on the support and resources needed to adopt the innovations. Remaining summits will be held in Portland, OR, and Orlando, FL.

Learn the Ropes: How to Start Your Safe Routes to School Program
November 13, 1:00 – 2:00 PM ET
Safe Routes to School programs can take many forms, developing organically or through a structured process. This webinar will highlight different types of programs and how each was started. Hear from city and school staff on best practices and ideas for how to start a program in your community.

Transportation Data Privacy Project
November 13, 1:00 – 2:00 PM ET
Transportation safety and mobility applications rely on time-sequenced location data, which leads to concerns over privacy. To address this issue, methods have been investigated to advance transportation data utility while mitigating privacy risk. Participants of this ITS JPO Data Program webinar will learn about privacy risks; time-sequenced geolocation data; a method to evaluate privacy designs; and the new method for selectively eliminating elements from geolocation data streams to balance privacy protection and data access.

Hazardous Materials Shipments: Economic and Safety Considerations
November 13, 1:00 – 2:30 PM ET
Hazardous materials shipments are often overlooked when examining non-safety related freight transportation needs, but they contribute significantly to the economic vitality of the United States.  They are transported across the country every day by trucks, railroads, pipelines, barges, and airplanes, ensuring those hazmat products meet our everyday needs and petroleum products and biofuels continue to drive the U.S. economy forward. The recent increases in U.S. shale oil and gas supplies have impacted the entire freight transportation system as more crude oil and natural gas are transported to refineries and export facilities. This webinar will discuss hazardous materials supply chains and the regulatory oversight required to ensure the labeling, packaging, shipping, and storage of hazardous materials meet state and federal requirements.

Transformative Placemaking: Expanding Opportunities for People And Places
November 14, 9:30 – 11:30 AM ET
After decades of sprawl and suburban dominance, U.S. cities are experiencing rebounding populations, growing employment, and new public and private sector investments in places that are walkable, transit-oriented, and support diverse people and amenities. But we know that the benefits of these trends are not equally distributed, presenting an urgent opportunity for local and regional leaders to advance place-led development that produces better economic outcomes for more people in more places. To help deliver on that imperative, the Metropolitan Policy Program at Brookings is launching the Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Center for Transformative Placemaking. The Bass Center will inspire public, private, and civic sector leaders to make transformative place investments that generate widespread social and economic benefits.

Webinar for 2018 Alternative Fuels Corridor Request for Designation Nominations
November 14, 1:00 – 2:30 PM ET
FHWA is establishing a national network of alternative fueling and charging infrastructure along national highway system corridors. Join FHWA and DOT’s Volpe Center for a webinar on the 2018 Alternative Fuels Corridor Request for Nominations.

Walk Audit 2.0: Walkability Assessment Next Steps
November 15, 1:00 – 2:00 PM ET
Walk audits are a great tool in creating communities where residents can participate in making their vision of healthy, safe, walkable streets real. In a walk audit, community members go for a walk together, noting what makes their streets feel comfortable for walking and what’s missing. But what to do with this information? In this webinar, you will hear from community partners in Oregon and Washington who have completed walk audits and explore next steps for turning their vision into reality.

FTA Public Transportation Agency Safety Plans Webinar Series
PTASP Final Rule Frequently Asked Questions, November 15, 2:00 PM ET
Guidance on Using SSPPs to Develop an PTASPs, December 5, 2:00 PM ET
Following publication of two important new safety rules, FTA is hosting a new webinar series to provide technical assistance to transit agencies on the Public Transportation Agency Safety Plan (PTASP) Final Rule. The PTASP Final Rule requires certain rail and bus operators to develop safety plans to better manage their safety risk using Safety Management Systems. FTA’s phase two webinar series runs from October 2018 through December 2018.

Scenarios for Adoption of Autonomous Vehicle Technologies in Freight
November 16, 3:00 – 4:00 PM ET
Innovation adoption research has largely ignored organization adoption, and little work has been done to understand or predict the adoption of innovations by freight organizations. This National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC) session will present a dis-aggregate market penetration model for freight transportation organizations adopting connected/automated vehicle (CAV) technology and demonstrate an application using a case study area in Memphis, TN. The webinar will also highlight future organizational adoption research for CAVs.

Leading with Health: Complete Streets and Bicycle and Pedestrian Planning
November 27, 2:00 – 3:00 PM ET
Complete Streets policies and bicycle and pedestrian plans are two key tools used by cities and counties to support community visions and goals for health, and health stakeholders have a crucial role to play in advancing strong policies and plans in their communities. In this webinar, you’ll hear from a county health department that developed pedestrian plans for unincorporated communities, a health coalition that led a Complete Streets policy effort, and about other ways to bring a health focus to local walking and bicycling initiatives.

Active Transportation for Healthy Communities
November 29, 2:00 PM ET
Activity-friendly and walkable communities are designed in ways that make physical activity easier and more accessible for everyone. America Walks has seen the dedication, passion, and innovation in communities across the US as they work to improve transportation systems to become more active, healthy, and safe with activity-friendly connections to important places in the area that attract people, provide social interaction, and allow for participation in multiple activities. In alignment with the Center for Disease Control’s Connecting Routes + Destinations materials, this webinar will highlight work being done by three communities of various sizes to create more activity-friendly connections for all.

National Coalition on Truck Parking Annual Meeting Web Conference
December 6, 1:30 – 4:00 PM ET
Continuing its multi-year focus on truck parking safety, USDOT will be hosting a web conference for the National Coalition on Truck Parking (“Coalition”) to discuss truck parking initiatives. The agenda will include an overview of products developed in 2018; updates from states, Metropolitan Planning Organizations, and core partners on truck parking initiatives; and discussion of future Coalition activities.

The meeting will feature presentations by leaders of the working groups. Launched in 2017, the working groups brought together stakeholders from across the nation to create strategies for various truck parking improvement initiatives related to: parking capacity; technology and data; funding, finance, and regulations; and, coordination with regional/local governments. Information on the working groups, meeting minutes, and products are available here.

Introduction to Transportation Conformity
December 11 – 13, Cleveland, OH
The Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency (NOACA) is teaming up with the National Transit Institute (NTI) to host an Introduction to Transportation Conformity course at their office in Cleveland on December 11 – 13. This three-day course will present basic information about conformity requirements and the relationship of the transportation and air quality planning process to help prepare staff of federal, state, and local agencies to participate in interagency consultation and work effectively in resolving conformity issues. There is no cost to attend for public agencies, but advanced registration is required.

5th Annual Walkability Action Institute RFA
Applications Due: December 14
The National Association of Chronic Disease Directors (NACDD) will be hosting their 5th Annual Walkability Action Institute on April 22-25, 2019 in Decatur, GA. NACDD has opened their request for applications (RFA) to offer eight interdisciplinary regional teams a chance to compete for travel assistance to attend the action institute. The course combines traditional learning methods with robust activities and outdoor learning. The teams must have a minimum of public health, planning, transportation, and elected official representation. Start forming your teams now!

Introducing the Exploratory Modeling and Analysis Tool
December 18, 2:00 – 3:00 PM ET
Emerging connected and autonomous vehicle technology, new mobility services, and changing travel patterns will potentially have significant impacts on future surface transportation operations and travel demand. The dimensions and depth of uncertainty around the potential impacts due to changing travel behavior and emerging technologies call for a more comprehensive and exploratory approach to planning future mobility. This webinar will describe the concepts and overall framework behind the development of the Travel Model Improvement Program Exploratory Modeling and Analysis Tool (TMIP-EMAT), a utility to be integrated with existing travel forecasting models to facilitate the application of these models in an exploratory, rather than predictive, manner. Illustrative examples from the proof of concept deployment of TMIP-EMAT using the Greater Buffalo-Niagara Regional Transportation Council regional travel demand model will be presented.

2019 TRB Annual Meeting Resiliency Tabletop
January 13, 2019, Washington, DC, 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM ET
This exercise will assemble fifteen multi-disciplinary teams at the Annual Transportation Research Board (TRB) meeting in Washington, DC. Each team will have representatives in each of the following groups: economics and commerce, infrastructure, emergency management, government transportation entities (all levels), and government non-transportation entities. During the 4-hour exercise, each team will collectively complete a workbook to stimulate a recovery from a freight disruption that affects local communities, regional economies, and national supply chains.

5th Annual Walkability Action Institute RFA Going Live Soon
The National Association of Chronic Disease Directors (NACDD) will be hosting their 5th Annual Walkability Action Institute on April 22-25, 2019 in Decatur, GA. NACDD has opened their request for applications (RFA) to offer eight interdisciplinary regional teams a chance to compete for travel assistance to attend the action institute. The teams must have a minimum of public health, planning, transportation, and elected official representation. Start forming your teams now – the RFA links and materials will be available soon!

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