Transportation Thursdays

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


October 12, 2018

Please Connect Us with Your COG Lobbyist
Do you have a COG lobbyist here on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.? NARC is planning a meeting of COG lobbyists in early November, so we can connect with them and help them connect with each other on shared federal legislative priorities. Please send Erich Zimmermann an email at with your COG lobbyist’s contact information so we can send them an invitation to this upcoming meeting.

Five Year FAA Bill Passed
The President signed the five-year FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 into law last week. He was joined by current Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA) and his father and former Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Bud Shuster. The Senate voted 93-6 on the legislation on October 3 with a few days to spare before authorization expired on October 7. Senator John Thune (R-SD), Chairman of the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, said “there’s a lot to like in this bill, especially if you’re fed up with shrinking airline seats. It also goes to show that when folks in Congress put aside their differences, the public comes out the winner.” This is the longest reauthorization of the FAA since 1982 and you can find the summary from the House and Senate here.

WRDA Heads to President’s Desk
On Wednesday, the Senate passed America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018 (S. 3021), the vehicle for WRDA, by a 99-1 voteThe House passed the same bill by voice vote last month. The National League of Cities (NLC), U.S. Conference of Mayors, and National Association of Counties (NACo) noted that this bill has several provisions that will help communities upgrade their water and wastewater systems. It includes: providing financial resources and technical assistance to address lead contamination, increasing resilience to natural hazards, providing workforce development within the water sector, reauthorizing the Drinking Water State Revolving Funds and the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) program, and requiring the Army Corps of Engineers to engage with local stakeholders on WRDA projects.

AV 3.0 Released, Research Pilot Program Announced
It has been busy recently with automated vehicle (AV) news from the administration, with the release last week of Automated Vehicles 3.0: Preparing for the Future of Transportation and the appearance this week of a Federal Register Notice (NHTSA-2018-0092) seeking feedback on a pilot program to allow for collaborative AV research.

AV 3.0 builds upon, but does not replace, the earlier AV 2.0 version which was released in September 2017. AV 3.0 continues to rely upon voluntary safety self-assessments from manufacturers to ensure the overall safety of the vehicles themselves. The new version also remains “tech neutral,” meaning it does not take a position on whether vehicles should operate on 5G or DSRC communications. The new policy also recognizes that definitions of “driver” and “operator” do not refer exclusively to humans. The document indicates a fundamental revamping of NHTSA safety standards may be required, that the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) will be rewritten to include AVs, and that the agency will encourage states and localities to reconsider regulations that create barriers to implementation. This is also the first multi-modal consideration of AVs, including a more robust consideration of transit and rail.

Some of the notable elements that are not considered in much additional depth in this new version include cybersecurity, privacy, and interactions with cyclists and pedestrians.

As part of the release of AV 3.0, the administration announced it will remove the designation granted to ten recipients as AV proving grounds under the Obama administration. USDOT plans to unveil a new initiative that will lead to testing and deployment nationwide by public and private stakeholders. As mentioned above, the advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) from NHTSA is seeking feedback on how to structure a pilot program to assist the safe deployment of AVs.

Comments on the ANPRM are due November 23, 2018 and comments on AV 3.0 are due December 7, 2018. NARC is working to develop comments to both documents in coalition with other local official associations as well as other stakeholder associations.

If your organization is interested in providing feedback or being involved in any way, please email Erich Zimmermann at

Want your organization featured here? Send details to

Anthony Foxx Joins Lyft as Policy Chief
Lyft recently welcomed Anthony Foxx, former U.S. Transportation Secretary, as their chief policy officer and adviser to founders. This decision comes in response to the challenges created by local government regulations across the US and Lyft’s expansion efforts into electric scooters, self-driving cars, and bike-sharing. With plans to go public next year, Lyft is taking a proactive approach to prevent future regulatory challenges such as those faced in their home town of San Francisco. Foxx wrote an interesting post outlining his reasons for joining the company.

CREATE Partners Mark 75th Street Rail Corridor Improvement Project
Illinois officials and private industry partners joined early this month to celebrate the 75th Street Corridor Improvement Project INFRA Grant Award, totaling $132 million. A cornerstone to the Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation Efficiency (CREATE) Program, the 75thCorridor Improvement Project is expected to eliminate congestion at the South Side Chicago junction for freight and passenger trains. With a $474 million price tag, the improvements to congestion, efficiency, and capacity promise to yield economic benefits well into the billions. The much-anticipated completion is set for 2025.

Newly Adopted ON TO 2050 Plan Sets Course for Metropolitan Chicago
The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) recently adopted ON TO 2050, the long-range plan that takes a comprehensive approach to addressing and solving the regions challenges. ON TO 2050 aims to strengthen communities regardless of race and create a thriving region by incorporating three principles – inclusive growth, resilience, and prioritized investment – into their goals and recommendations. CMAP established clear transportation investments to drive their plan’s goals, many of which focus on multi-modal features and benefits. On Wednesday, they held a successful launch in Millennium Park.

CDC Active People, Healthy Nation
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is leading a new initiative to help 27 million Americans become more physically active by 2027. A key goal of Active People, Healthy Nation will be more extensive coordination and engagement among stakeholders at national, state, and community levels. The CDC is encouraging active transportation and scaling up of community programs to help increase physical activity. Also included are suggestions for how state and local partners can work on five action steps to create an active America.

Eastgate Joins Partners in Washington D.C. to Support BUILD Grant Proposal
Eastgate Council of Governments (Eastgate) Executive Director Jim Kinnick was joined by local elected officials from Youngstown and stakeholders to meet with federal lawmakers on Capitol Hill last week to champion the city’s $10.8 million BUILD grant proposal. The application, sponsored and submitted by Eastgate, describes $26.2 million in transportation improvements to the downtown area. It would include the self-driving shuttle circulator along Fifth and Rayen Avenues, which would run along a widened Fifth Avenue and be cut down to three lanes to make way for a designated shuttle lane. The application also proposes transit waiting stations, pedestrian and bicycle facilities, green infrastructure, streetscaping, and wayfinding linking major regional anchor institutions impacting economic resurgence across the Mahoning Valley. Project partners have contributed $10 million in in-kind donations to help get this project off the ground.

View full list of jobs!

Chief Financial Officer
River to Sea Transportation Planning Organization, Daytona Beach, FL

Transportation Travel Demand Modeler
Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission, Pittsburgh, PA

Executive Director
El Paso Metropolitan Planning Organization, El Paso, TX

Transportation Planner – Transit Program Manager
River to Sea Transportation Planning Organization, Daytona Beach, FL

Transportation Engineer/Transportation Planner
Metropolitan Area Planning Agency, Omaha, NE

View full list of grants and events!

Questionnaire Regarding Access Management
Responses requested by October 12, 2018
The Center for Urban Transportation Research (CUTR) is seeking information from transportation agencies, researchers, and consultants on current practices used to measure the value of access management recommendations at the small project, corridor, and program levels. Cost/benefit methods for other transportation actions that could be adapted for access management projects are also of interest. This short scanning questionnaire is part of National Cooperative Highway Research Program Project 25-47: How to Measure and Communicate the Value of Access Management, led by CUTR at the University of South Florida, along with Texas A&M Transportation Institute.

Access and Mobility Partnership Grants Informational Webinar
October 16, 2:00 – 3:00 PM ET
Access and Mobility Partnership Grants seek to improve access to public transportation by building partnerships among health, transportation, and other service providers. This program provides competitive funding to support innovative projects for the transportation-disadvantaged that will improve the coordination of transportation services and non-emergency medical transportation services. This informational webinar will provide interested applicants with an overview of the program history and purpose, applicant eligibility, eligible projects, local match requirements, proposal content, and project evaluation criteria. Time at the end of the overview is allotted for questions and answers from participants.

FTA Public Transportation Agency Safety Plans Webinar Series
Bus Guidance and Template, October 18, 2:00 PM ET
Bus Guidance and Template, November 1, 2:00 PM ET
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.

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. The summits will be in Baltimore, MDAlbany, NYSt. Louis, MOPortland, OR, and Orlando, FL.

TMIP Webinar: New Era of Data, Tools, and Models for Transportation Performance Based Planning at ARC
October 22, 1:00-2:00 PM ET
The transportation world is changing rapidly, and big data is becoming increasingly accessible due to the rise of new technologies. The Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) is constantly reassessing its understanding of the transportation system and transportation projects’ short and long-term performance. This presentation will cover the types of data, tools, and methods employed for various regional planning efforts as well for TIP project evaluation. ARC staff will provide examples of how different data tools and methods can make us more effective, as no one tool and data can answer all our complicated questions.

Scenario Planning RFP for Impactful Projects
Proposals due: October 23
The Consortium for Scenario Planning is announcing a Request for Proposals (RFP) to identify and fund impactful scenario planning projects to improve the state of scenario planning practice. The Consortium’s goals include expansion of professional capacity to apply scenario planning to rural and urban planning work, increased user base of scenario planning across both process-based and data/technology-based approaches, and strengthened and scaled-up professional network for scenario planning. Questions regarding the RFP should be submitted by 5 pm EST on Friday, September 28, 2018, and proposals should be submitted via the online form by 5 pm EST on Tuesday, October 23, 2018. Late questions or proposals will not be accepted.

FTA Joint State Safety Oversight and Rail Transit Agency Workshop and Training
October 23 – 25, Washington, DC
The workshop will focus on effective rail transit system safety and current oversight responsibilities. The workshop will also promote the exchange of information between attendees and FTA’s Transit Safety Oversight, Headquarters, and Regional Offices, as well as other Federal agencies, regarding new programs and requirements to strengthen rail transit safety oversight. Contractors supporting the State Safety Oversight program and rail transit agencies are also invited to attend.

CTPP PSAP Update on Small Geography Delineation Criteria and PSAP Participation
October 24, 1:00 -2:30 PM ET
This webinar will discuss the 2020 Census Participant Statistical Areas Program (PSAP) block group and tract delineation criteria. CTPP data releases after the 2020 Decennial Census will no longer report by TAZ, but by block groups instead. Speakers will give an update on the process that was initiated to adapt to this change, including a discussion on how the new PSAP criteria will better enable us to align block group and TAZ boundaries to sustain the value of CTPP data for modeling and transportation planning and analysis.

Winning Strategies to Engage Diverse Communities in Safe Routes to School
October 24, 1:00 PM ET
Low-income communities and communities of color are more vulnerable to unsafe travel partly because of inequities in infrastructure and programming. By engaging diverse communities in Safe Routes to School, we can help change this. Join this webinar to learn about the importance and impact of meaningful community engagement in Safe Routes to School programs.

Autonomous Vehicle Assignment and Routing in Congested Transportation Networks
October 25, 1:00 – 2:00 PM ET
Ridesharing services have been growing since the start of network service companies in recent years and will be further enhanced with the deployment of autonomous vehicles in the future. When the daily trip request pattern is stable based on the steady population composition, economy, and city infrastructure in a long time period, one fundamental question is what the corresponding dynamic traffic condition will be if all vehicles are autonomous and can be dispatched in a centralized way. This presentation will discuss how to optimally assign the available vehicles from different depots to satisfy those stable trip requests, while considering the road congestion endogenously incurred by the interactions of those dynamically assigned vehicles.

Coordination with MPOs on TAM Plans and Activities
October 31, 2:00 – 3:15 PM ET
This webinar will focus on regional coordination on a group TAM plan sponsored by the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) and how asset information was used to support regional investment prioritization and target setting. The speakers will also discuss plans for continuing and improving coordination following the October 2018 deadline for the first TAM plan.

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.

Copyright © 2013 National Association of Regional Councils