Advancing Metropolitan Planning for Operations

April 07, 2011

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) continue their joint efforts to advance the state of the practice in preparing metropolitan transportation plans (MTP). Chief among these efforts is a focus on applying an objectives-driven, performance-based approach to planning. The agencies fund research to develop new tools and approaches, as well as produce reference materials and deliver technical training and assistance to state and local agencies. A workshop featuring lead researchers for FHWA and FTA, as well as state-of-the-art practitioners took place at the Portland office of Kittelson & Associates, Inc., last week. The presenters discussed newly released reference materials that advance the objectives-driven, performance-based planning approach and discuss real-world experiences.

Jessica Josselyn and Phill Worth, from Kittelson, contributed to the development of a newly released FHWA/FTA document titled, Advancing Metropolitan Planning for Operations: The Building Blocks of a Model Transportation Plan Incorporating Operations – A Desk Reference. The Desk Reference is a practitioner’s resource, designed as an aid to improve their metropolitan transportation plans. Users of the Desk Reference are shown how to develop Strategic, Measureable, Agreed to, Realistic, Time-bound (SMART) objectives and apply them throughout the update process. Particular emphasis is given to operations objectives, performance measures, and strategies that are relevant to their region, reflect the community's values and constraints, and support efforts to create livable, sustainable communities. The Desk Reference offers practitioners a menu of options for incorporating operations into their plans through an organized collection of sample operations objectives and performance measures. It also features excerpts from a model metropolitan transportation plan, illustrating the results of an objectives-driven, performance-based approach to planning for operations. Succinct commentary on the excerpts ensures a clear understanding of the benefits and applications of each element presented.

Deena Platman, Principal Transportation Planner with Metro, joined Jessica and Phill, discussing her involvement in developing the Desk Reference, applying the objectives-driven, performance-based approach, and integrating operations into Metro’s newly adopted 2035 Metropolitan Transportation Plan.

This workshop is equally suited to two unique groups. The first is city, county, MPO, and state planners and engineers that are responsible for developing and implementing their multimodal transportation plans. The second group includes those responsible for operating the transportation system, such as transit providers, public works directors, ITS and signal system engineers, emergency management, and maintenance supervisors.

You can view the presentation slides below. If for some reason the slides are not displayed, you can also reference a PDF version of the presentation HERE. Additional Planning for Operations resources from USDOT can be accessed HERE.

If you are interested in more details about this important topic and how it might apply to work you are involved with, you can contact any of the presenters by clicking on their name below to email one of them directly.

In the true spirit of involvement and sharing best practices, we encourage you to post your experience, insight, and questions in the comment section at the end of this post. Let’s keep the sharing going!

The Presenters

Deena Platman, PE, Principal Transportation Planner, Portland Metro

Phill Worth, Principal Planner, Kittelson & Associates, Portland, OR

Jessica Josselyn, Senior Planner, Kittelson & Associates, Fort Lauderdale, FL

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