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Regional Bicycle and Pedestrian Planning Framework

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During the 2017 National Regional Transportation Conference, Matthew Day shared the Triangle Area Rural Planning Organization's approach to developing a regional framework for bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure.

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Regional Bicycle and Pedestrian Planning Framework

  1. 1. @tjcognc Regional Bicycle and Pedestrian Planning Framework Matt Day, AICP CTP Triangle Area Rural Planning Organization
  2. 2. @tjcognc Questions to Answer  Why did TARPO choose to develop a regional bicycle and pedestrian planning framework?  What makes it a “framework”?  What did we do, and how?  What does successful implementation of the framework look like?  How do we interact with local and state partners?
  3. 3. @tjcognc Origins of the Project  In 2012, TARPO staff gathered existing local bicycle and pedestrian plans with the goal of compiling them into a single regional map  We found that many of the plans did not have shapefiles (either the files had been lost over time or the maps had not been developed in ArcGIS), requiring that shapefiles be developed
  4. 4. @tjcognc The First Maps… The original maps from 2013 were essentially just compilations of existing bike and ped plan files, and contained a number of inconsistencies
  5. 5. @tjcognc Reaction to First Maps  TARPO committee members were happy to have all the locally-developed bicycle and pedestrian plans on a single set of maps, but were concerned about:  Inconsistencies at borders of local plans (towns improving different corridors, or with different improvement types, overlapping recommendations)  Inconsistencies between plans within a jurisdiction (bike plan, ped plan, comprehensive plan, transportation plan, etc. not in alignment)  Gaps in recommendations, and how to handle areas without local plans  Lack of clear policy on bike and ped priorities at the RPO
  6. 6. @tjcognc Our Approach  We did not have the time or money to do a full-blown plan with a consultant, but we also did not want to lose the momentum from our initial mapping exercise  The TARPO committees agreed to include an item for a Regional Bicycle and Pedestrian Planning Framework as part of the FY14 Planning Work Program to cover staff time on the project. This work later continued into FY15 and FY16.  What is a “framework”?
  7. 7. @tjcognc Our “Framework” Approach  Builds primarily on existing plans, but allows us to look at potential recommended connections/changes for regional consistency  Includes policy guidance for the RPO to use in its decision making on bike/ped issues (particularly related to project funding/prioritization)  Is adopted by the TARPO Rural Transportation Advisory Committee (our governing board for the RPO)  Does NOT supplant or replace local plans, but rather serves as an additional source of information for local decision making  Provides useful information for local governments, neighboring MPOs/RPOs, and others as they develop or update their own bike and ped plans
  8. 8. @tjcognc Step 1: Preparing the Data  TARPO staff created a single geodatabase with information on all existing and planned bicycle and pedestrian facilities, as well as signed/mapped bicycle routes  8 layers in all: existing bike (line), existing ped (line/point), proposed bike (line/point), proposed ped (line/point), and mapped bike route  The data were cleaned up to eliminate overlaps and ensure logical segmentation into projects  Each proposed project segment was assigned an ID number and additional information was attached to each project as shown in the following table:
  9. 9. @tjcognc Step 1: Preparing the Data
  10. 10. @tjcognc Step 1: Preparing the Data Staff used ArcGIS Online as a platform for distributing the mapped data, allowing an easier method for users to read and find information on projects, and making future map/plan updates easier.
  11. 11. @tjcognc Step 2: Steering Committee  In 2013, the TARPO RTAC established the membership for a steering committee to guide the process, particularly with regard to the policy recommendations  The committee included one staff member and one citizen/advocate from each TARPO county, as well as staff from local NCDOT offices and the NCDOT planning branch  The committee held four meetings between Fall 2014 and Summer 2015, culminating in the development of a draft report  The committee brainstormed the policy issues that should be addressed through the plan, which were then refined into a series of goals and objectives
  12. 12. @tjcognc Step 3: Policy Goals & Objectives  Resulted in 5 high-level goals  Plan a robust bike & ped infrastructure within the TARPO region  Implement appropriate bike & ped facilities as part of roadway projects  Increase funding for bike & ped facility construction  Promote healthy lifestyles and improve quality of life  Benefit the regional economy through improved bike/ped infrastructure  Under each goal was a series of objectives and action steps to reach the goal Vision: The Triangle Area RPO will work with its state and local partners to create a connected and effective network of safe and accessible facilities for use by bicyclists and pedestrians throughout the region.
  13. 13. @tjcognc Step 3: Policy Goals Example  Goal 3: Increase funding for bicycle and pedestrian facility construction and maximize the benefits of bicycle and pedestrian projects that are funded for construction.  Objective 3.1 – Increase the number of projects that are successfully funded through the NCDOT STI prioritization process  Improve the quality (in terms of scoring) of projects that are submitted to NCDOT for potential funding, to ensure that the set of projects with the greatest potential benefits to the region is being considered  Improve the scoring methodology TARPO uses to assign local input points in the STI process to better reflect appropriate prioritization criteria  Work with local project sponsors to identify potential sources for required project matching funds and to aid in project development  Encourage the NCDOT Prioritization Work Group to improve the way that paved shoulder projects, which are a hybrid of highway modernization and bicycle improvement, are scored in the STI process
  14. 14. @tjcognc Step 4: Review & Modify Maps  The steering committee was given an opportunity to review the existing mapping (cleaned-up existing plan data) and suggest changes:  New facilities necessary to fill gaps in the system  Changes to information from older plans  Check for consistency with plans in neighboring communities outside TARPO  New plan sources that were not previously identified  At the end of this process, we had identified nearly 1200 individual projects in the region (including existing plans and recommended changes)
  15. 15. @tjcognc Step 5: Focus on Prioritization  The steering committee identified improvements to the project prioritization/funding process as one of the key outcomes of this project  Based on the goals and objectives, the committee developed a list of items to be included in TARPO’s local point assignment methodology for NCDOT’s Strategic Transportation Investments (STI) scoring process  There were several rounds back and forth between staff and the steering committee in developing these recommended improvements
  16. 16. @tjcognc Step 5: Focus on Prioritization Old Method used by TARPO  50% local project rankings (county level)  20% safety (crash data and AADT data)  10% connectivity (filling gaps, connecting to existing system)  15% consistency with an adopted plan  5% jurisdictional collaboration New Method  50% local project rankings (county level)  7.5% project purpose (transport or recreation)  10% access to underserved populations  15% safety (crash data and AADT data)  10% connectivity (filling gaps AND connection to activity centers)  7.5% priority corridors
  17. 17. @tjcognc Step 5: Focus on Prioritization  Steering committee identified priority corridors based on trying to connect to the areas identified as prioritization goals (e.g. connections to activity centers, low-income neighborhoods, network gaps, etc.)  This was an attempt to identify projects with a greater regional benefit and reduce the number of projects prioritized for funding to a more reasonable number (reduced from 1200 to 600)
  18. 18. @tjcognc Step 5: Focus on Prioritization Example Full Project Set: Example Priority Network:
  19. 19. @tjcognc Step 6: Report The final report includes:  Vision Statement, Goals, Objectives, Action Steps, and Implementation Plan  Discussion of the Benefits of Bicycle and Pedestrian Infrastructure  Tables and Maps of all planned projects (also links to the online maps, which are easier to read/use)  Recommended Prioritization Process Improvements  Calculated scores for all “Priority Network” projects, to help identify the projects with greatest funding potential  Discussion of Funding Sources/Opportunities
  20. 20. @tjcognc Use of the Framework With Our State & Local Partners  Modified our policy for scoring bicycle and pedestrian projects in the STI process based on the framework recommendations  After only getting 3 projects ($650,000) funded in previous NCDOT prioritization round, received funding for 7 projects ($3.5M) under our revised scoring system and submittal process  Used the recommendations from the regional framework as the basis for the bicycle/pedestrian element of the Moore County Comprehensive Transportation Plan (joint plan developed and adopted by local governments, NCDOT, and RPO)  Used mapping and recommendations to inform NCDOT’s project development consultants on needs related to highway projects  Provided policy language as an input to a local bike/plan underway in Town of Carthage  Shared shapefiles with NCDOT, which was developing a database of bicycle and pedestrian plans around the state
  21. 21. @tjcognc Next Steps  It is likely necessary to update the plan every 3-5 years in order to keep the information up-to-date. Quite a few recommendations are already changing due to new local planning, changes in local priorities, development impacts, more detailed design work being completed, and construction of projects.  TARPO committee members have expressed interest in the tourism promotion potential, particularly related to the bicycle touring routes. We will likely explore opportunities in this vein, such as establishing a web map of the bike routes that local tourism sites could point to, or the development of maps/brochures of the routes.
  22. 22. @tjcognc Questions? Contact Information: Matt Day, AICP CTP Principal Planner Triangle J Council of Governments Triangle Area RPO mday@tjcog.org (919) 558-9397

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