The 15th National Tools of the Trade conference was held in Charleston, South Carolina, on September 12-14, 2016. The conference provided practical techniques for transportation professionals in small (under 50,000 residents) and medium-sized (50,000 to 250,000 residents) communities. Part 1 highlights the best presentations from the conference as voted on by the conference attendees.
Synopsis of New Methods and Technologies for Collecting Origin-Destination Data
Ed Hard, Texas A&M Transportation InstituteShow Abstract
Data and information on the origin and destination of travel and human activity is a core component in transportation planning and modeling. Origin-destination (O-D) data are needed and used in a wide variety of transportation planning studies such as external surveys, household surveys, corridor studies, freight movement studies, and studies on long distance travel and population flows.
The methods used to collect O-D data have been changing and evolving over about the past decade. Over the past 6 to 8 years, new technology methods such as Bluetooth (BT), cellular data mining, and analysis of secondary GPS data have emerged as new methods for collecting and/or capturing O-D data. During this time, a considerable amount research and studies have been conducted using these new methods to collect and estimate O-D data for various types of studies. More recently, the use of Wi-Fi technology is now also being studied as a possible source to obtain O-D data.
The purpose of this paper/presentation is to provide an overview of the state-of-the-practice in new technology and methods to collect and develop O-D data for transportation planning and modeling purposes. The work will provide insights and guidance to public and private agencies considering purchasing and using this data for surveys, studies, and policy analyses. The synopsis will include the following.
The paper/presentation will also include summary results, insights, and lessons learned from the latest research in this area, from various O-D studies across the country that have used new technology, and from field studies conducted by TTI designed to compare the results between these new technologies.
Financial Strategies for the Community of Innovative Transit
Barry Goodman, Goodman CorporationShow Abstract
The United States Congress, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) encourage recipients of federal funding to utilize a variety of tools to assist in the development and implementation of federally funded public infrastructure improvements and transit operations. The innovative federal tools available to grant recipients enable not just the development and operation of transit systems, but enable transit to be utilized as a catalyst for community revitalization and joint development. The objectives are bettering the pedestrian environment, which leads to a higher utilization of public transportation, and utilizing community betterments to provide opportunities for economic development and revitalization.
The 1998 Transportation Equity Act of the 21st Century (TEA-21) transportation authorization established the strong financial commitment of the Executive Branch and the United States Congress to the improvement of communities under the federal Livable Communities Initiative program. In 2012 the United States Congress maintained this commitment when it approved the current transportation authorization Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21), now under continuing resolution. The provisions contained therein, which provide federal tools for creative transit development solutions have also been extended with the continuing resolutions. It is anticipated that a new authorizing bill will also include federal tools similar to those which exist today.
The proposed presentation will identify and describe innovative funding tools and financial strategies and
The proposed interactive presentation to accompany the paper, entitled “The Community of Innovative Transit” demonstrates how the simultaneous use of the federal tools to support financial sustainability for public transportation can significantly reduce local cash outlays, leverage local investment and maximize the availability of public and provide resources. When applying the traditional approach to the funding of transit capital and operating expenses, associated with the components presented for the City of Innovative Transit, the amount of available federal, state, and local public and private resources fell short $1,542,500 of the resources required to support the City’s capital development and transit operating objectives.
In contrast, when utilizing the innovative federal funding tools which support and encourage public/private partnerships, leverage of local resources, and the generation of joint use revenues, the City of Innovative Transit is able to generate a surplus of $977,500. The use of all available federal tools to connect transit to the community within which it operates, encourage public/private partnerships in the development of capital facilities, and capture local value which is eligible for federal match, can creatively achieve project goals and objectives which, otherwise, might seem unattainable.
Responsive Engagement: The Future of Transportation Meets the Future of Public Involvement
Kathryn Caskey, Minnesota Department of TransportationShow Abstract
When doing engagement, there is often so much information to share but the audience only has so much time and attention. How do you decide what to focus on? The future of transportation meets the future of public involvement in a session on user-driven, responsive engagement.
The Minnesota Department of Transportation is updating the Statewide Multimodal Transportation Plan and the Minnesota State Highway Investment Plan. Both are key documents in MnDOT’s Family of Plans and guide transportation decision-making for the future. The updates create an opportunity to increase public education and engagement on how MnDOT identifies transportation priorities and guides investments on the State highway system.
In this interactive session, we will demonstrate a number of the public engagement tools used as part of the plan update process. Recognizing that there is limited time and a lot of information we could cover, just like at a public meeting, the presentation will start with a live poll of the conference audience to determine which engagement tools they want to learn more about and customize the presentation based on the feedback received. The presenter will be prepared to speak on a variety of engagement tools — workplace-based outreach, event-based outreach, underserved community engagement, MnDOT’s first online accessibility plan, a plain language approach, infographics, social media ads, social media campaigns, Prezi, Mentimeter, GetFeedback, MetroQuest, GoPro, a responsive website and more!
This session will engage the audience like never before through a unique and dynamic presentation. It will give transportation professionals the information they want while demonstrating new ways to approach engagement: looking at the process from the user’s perspective. In addition to engagement, the presentation will also touch on future transportation trends and funding, performance measurement, and all transportation modes.
How Old Is Too Old? The Aging of Household Travel Survey Data and What You Can Do About It
Stacey Bricka, MacroSys Research and TechnologyShow Abstract
Leta Huntsinger, WSP
The collection of travel behavior data to support travel demand model updates can be an expensive and time consuming effort for many small and medium-sized MPOs. Unfortunately, survey response rates continue to decline, which means increased data collection costs. Ten years ago, it was possible to conduct a travel survey for about $100 per household. Today, that cost is between $185 and $225 per household.
While fresh new data is essential for capturing origin-destination patterns in a region, what is often overlooked is the value remaining in the previous data set. Changing demographic patterns, land use patterns, and travel mode options lead to changes in travel for a portion of the population in a region, but what about those demographic cohorts that live and commute in the established land use areas with established transportation modes? To what extent do trip rates and trip lengths change over time for specific demographic groups and specific geographic areas of the region?
The purpose of this paper is to review established methods for “refreshing” data sets through collecting a smaller sample (in lieu of conducting a full wide-scale large sample survey). This will be accomplished through a review of methods developed in the 1980s by Stopher to refresh the data, as well as a review of travel behavior patterns by life cycle to develop a checklist that agencies can use to determine whether they can refresh or if they need a new data set. The analysis will draw on the publicly available National Household Travel Survey, as well as research conducted by the authors on the relationship between life cycle and travel patterns.