The Capital Region Transportation Planning Agency (CRTPA) is required to update the Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP) in five-year cycles. The LRTP is the most important document produced by the CRTPA since it provides guidance on the direction of the transportation system in the region for a horizon period of 20 years. This document will include all modes of transportation ranging from pedestrian, bike, transit, roadway, freight and rail. The LRTP, known as the Connections 2045 Regional Mobility Plan, or RMP is scheduled to be adopted in November 2020.
CRTPA BOARD MEETINGS
The project was kicked off at the June 17, 2019 CRTPA Board meeting with additional Board presentations at the January 21, 2020 and February 18, 2020 meetings. The following are the discussion points that were presented at the January and February 2020 meetings.
The presentation for the January meeting includes the discussion point below.
One of the first efforts to occur with the updating of any long range transportation plan is setting the goals for the project. This effort provides directions for staff and consultants to utilize in the development of the plan.
The Connections 2040 RMP Goals provided a great foundation and should require minimal change.
However, shortly after adopting the Connections 2040 RMP in November of 2015 a new transportation bill was passed by Congress known as Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act). Contained within the FAST Act legislation are “planning factors” that are to be used in the development of long range plans such as the Connections 2045 RMP.
The good news is that the Goals that were developed for the 2040 RMP are well organized and will require very little change to ensure that the FAST Act legislation is met or exceeded. Therefore, the Connections 2045 RMP will build on the previous goals developed by the Technical Advisory.
Committee (TAC) and Citizen Multimodal Advisory Committee (CMAC) to demonstrate compliance with the new legislation. The Goals for the Connections 2045 RMP address:
- Land Use
- Economic Development
- Natural Resource Protection and Conservation
- Public Health
One of the major tools being utilized for citizens input into the Connections 2045 RMP process is a MetroQuest Survey. The benefits to the survey are that it allows for access from your phone or computer at your convenience. Since the survey was introduced in November 2019 there has been 270 participants with the Project Team gathering survey data from public meetings and at the City of Tallahassee Winter Festival. Additionally, at the beginning of January 2020 the Project Team worked with City of Tallahassee Neighborhood Services to provide the survey link to all neighborhood associations and homeowner associations in Leon County (over 450). The survey is open for input until the end of January, so the Project Team is expecting the responses to increase.
One of the major milestones of the RMP is to approve the Cost Feasible Plan in June of 2020. This will allow for the projects to be immediately utilized in the Project Prioritization Process and the Project Priority Lists to be submitted later this year. In order to meet this deadline, the Project Team developed a schedule that will require CRTPA Board meetings for January – June of 2020. The Draft schedule includes:
- Needs Plan
- Prioritization Criteria
- Jurisdictional and Agency Outreach
- Necessary Needs Plan
- Prioritized Projects – Draft
- Prioritized Projects – Revised
- Projected Revenues
- Project Cost Estimates
- Cost Feasible Plan – Layout and Assumptions
- Cost Feasible Plan – Draft
- Public Workshop Series #2
- Cost Feasible Plan – Adoption
- Project Documentation – Outline
The presentation for the February meeting includes the discussion point below.
The Needs Plan is created to aggregate all projects into a single list for evaluation and analysis to determine if the project should move into the next step of the process. The projects are not ranked, and it does not matter where the projects are located. The documents used to create the Needs Plan include previous plans, public input, congestion data, and safety conditions. After the Needs Plan is created the Evaluation Criteria is applied to determine which projects move further into the RMP process for evaluation using the Prioritization Criteria. Both the Evaluation Criteria and Prioritization Criteria are presented and discussed on the following pages.
The overall process for producing a Cost Feasible Plan calls for the Needs Plan to be measured against criteria that will provide a list based on a project’s viability and utility (the process used in the development of the 2040 RMP). After the Board reviews and provides comments on the criteria, the next step will be to assign a “score” or “weight” to each project based on how well each project meets that criteria. The “scoring” and “weighting” of the criteria is scheduled to be discussed at the March Board meeting.
After the Evaluation Criteria analysis is complete, the next step in the process is the application of the Prioritization Criteria to the remaining projects. The Prioritization Criteria determines the performance of each project against the other projects to create a priority list of projects. Like the Evaluation Criteria, after the Board reviews and provides comments on the Prioritization Criteria, the next step will be to assign a “score” or “weight” to each project based on how well each project meets that criteria. The “scoring” and “weighting” of the criteria is scheduled to be discussed at the March Board meeting.
After the Prioritization Criteria process is complete, additional steps include the application of projected revenues to the prioritized list (April 2020) followed by creating “Tiers” of projects (May 2020) that feed into the Priority Projects List (June 2020).
Since the January 21, 2020 CRTPA Board meeting, the Project Team has scheduled meetings to discuss the Connections 2045 RMP with member governments including:
- February 7, 2020 – Town of Havana
- February 7, 2020 – City of Midway
- February 26, 2020 – City of Quincy
- February 26, 2020 – City of Gretna
- February 28, 2020 – Town of Greensboro
- February 28, 2020 – City of Chattahoochee
Additional meetings are being scheduled to discuss the project with the City of Sopchoppy, City of St. Marks, and the City of Monticello.
Since the January 21, 2020 CRTPA Board meeting the Project Team has been pursuing additional opportunities to let citizens in the region know about the MetroQuest survey. To date, the survey was included in the Tallahassee Democrat (February 2, 2020) on the Leon County Link page. This page can also be found on Leon County’s website at:
There were a number of topics that were going to be covered at the March 2020 Board Meeting regarding the Connections 2045 RMP. However, due to COVID-19 these topics were delayed until August of 2020.
The topics under discussion at the August 2020 Board Meeting include:
- Needs Plan
- Existing Plus Committed Network
- Prioritization Criteria
- Prioritized Projects
- Projected Revenues (as provided by FDOT in 2019)
- Estimated Project Costs
The Needs Plan is developed through the collection of a wide-range of data. This is the first step in the process of creating the Cost Feasible Plan. The collection of this data has been underway since the project was initiated in June of 2019. This process does take some time to complete to incorporation of citizen feedback and gather the MetroQuest Survey results. Ultimately, the final products of the Needs Plan are a series of lists that sorted by the type of project. These two lists include Corridor Projects (Attachment 1), Intersection Projects, Interstate Projects and Interchange Projects (Attachment 2).
In total, the Needs Plan includes:
- 6 Corridor Projects – These projects are located along major roadways with safety, congestion, and mobility needs.
- 20 Intersection Projects – These projects are located at intersections for safety and congestion improvements.
- 6 Interchange Projects – Interchange projects located along I-10 where upgrades are needed.
- 3 Interstate Widening Projects – FDOT has identified widening projects along I-10 within the MPO boundary.
It should be noted here that project such as roadway resurfacing or bridges are not the purview of the CRTPA. These projects are either jurisdictional or the responsibility of the Florida Department of Transportation.
At the end of July 2020, the CRTPA received the final Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) Master Plan. This plan includes near-term, mid-term and long-term improvements which are shown as Attachment 3. The ITS projects will be included in the RMP Needs Plan and Cost Feasible Plan. Further details of the plan are going to be presented to the Board at a future meeting.
Existing and Committed Projects
Contained within the Needs Plan are projects that are either currently under construction or committed to be constructed in the next five-year time period. Since these projects are programmed they were removed from the Needs Plan and subsequent analysis. There may be some adjustments to the scheduling of these projects based on the COVID-19 pandemic which are unknown at this time. As the impacts of the pandemic are reflected in the Transportation Improvement Program or other local programs some projects may be deferred. Currently, the following projects fall under the “Existing and Committed” category and will not be pursued further in the RMP.
Existing and Committed Roadway Projects
- Bannerman Road – Thomasville Road to Bull Headley Road
- Capital Circle, Southwest – Orange Avenue to Springhill Road
- Capital Circle, Southwest – Springhill Road to Crawfordville Road
- Crawfordville Road – Leon County Line to Bloxham Cutoff (currently under construction)
- Crawfordville Road – Bloxham Cutoff to East Ivan Road (currently under construction)
- Orange Avenue related to any Blueprint Airport Gateway improvements
- Welaunee Boulevard – Fleischmann Road to Roberts Road
- Welaunee Extension – Shamrock Street to Welaunee Boulevard
- Coastal Trail – Surf Road to Tower Road (currently under construction)
- Coastal Trail – Tower Road to Wakulla High School
- Coastal Trail – St. Marks Trail to Lighthouse Road
With the Needs Plan developed and the Existing and Committed projects removed from the process, the next step in the process is the application of weighted evaluation criteria (Attachment 4) to the Needs Plan. The weighted criteria were developed in support of the established RMP goals and objectives, as well as the required federal planning factors. The result of this process is a Prioritized Projects list, shown as Attachment 5 and Attachment 6.
The Evaluation Criteria utilized datasets from various sources which included the recently updated CRTPA Congestion Management Process, existing and future traffic (FDOT and the travel demand model), crash data, wetlands, critical habitats, and state and national designated areas, US Census, US Department of Housing and Urban Development, transit routes, bicycle and pedestrian plans, adopted growth scenario, freight network, evacuation routes, flood hazards and storm surge, SIS routes, and scenic byway routes.
Examples of the roadway project prioritization is described below:
Woodville Highway/SR 363 (Paul Russell Road to Capital Circle, Southeast), with a total of 295 points is included in the project list for widening from 2 to 4 lanes. This project has been identified as a priority for the following reasons:
- Project phases have been completed (project development and environment (PD&E), utilities, design and right of way (ROW) with the only construction phase remaining and ongoing agency cooperation between CRTPA and FDOT.
- Improves regional mobility.
- Supports planned growth areas, benefits Title VI communities, and has minimal environmental impacts.
- Though not directly on the project, FDOT travel demand model results show sections south of Capital Circle SE with level of service (LOS) D in 2015 and worsening to LOS E in the 2045 horizon year.
Orange Avenue (Monroe Street to Springhill Road) is included in the project list for widening from 2 to 4 lanes with a total score of 352.5 points. The project has been identified as a priority for the following reasons:
- Supports and improves mobility and accessibility and benefits a Title VI community.
- Segments of the corridor reach LOS F in 2015 with congestion worsening in 2045.
- Addresses safety and improves multi-modal accessibility.
- Supports planned growth areas and has minimal environmental impacts.
- Supports local developments, southwest Tallahassee development plans, and southern Monroe Street development.
- Previous/ongoing multi-agency coordination between CRTPA, Blueprint Intergovernmental Agency and FDOT.
Cost Feasible Plan Process
The cost feasible plan, required by the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act) for long range transportation plans, shows proposed roadway investments that are realistic in the context of reasonably anticipated future revenues over the life of the plan as well as during a series of funding bands. Meeting this test is referred to as “financial constraint.”
This process utilizes three different sets of information including Prioritized Projects, Project Revenues, and Cost Estimates. These topics are expanded upon below.
Prioritized Projects – Up to this point the in the RMP process the focus has been on creating a list of Priority Projects. These projects serve as the backbone for the Cost Feasible Plan with the emphasis being completion of the projects that are already underway. The introduction of new projects can be intertwined with existing projects based on upon the availability of revenues.
Since the Prioritized Projects component of the Cost Feasible Plan Process has been presented in previous pages the following pages are dedicated to expanding on the Projected Revenues and Project Costs.
Projected Revenues – Revenue forecasts are currently being developed based on a review of previous state and local expenditures, current funding trends, and likely future funding levels. All dollar figures initially are analyzed in current year dollars and then inflated to reflect projected year of expenditure or implementation. These revenue estimates include not only state and federal funds, but also local funding initiatives such as Capital Improvement Program (CIP) funding or Blueprint.
The FDOT provides a detailed report, Attachment 7, on the revenues to be used by the CRTPA for the RMP. In total the revenues projected to be available the CRTPA are shown on TABLE 5, page 6 of Attachment 7. It does need to be noted that it is fully anticipated that these estimates will change due to the COVID-19 epidemic and because these are estimates from May 2018.
There are a few notes associated with Table 5, including:
- Capacity Programs* – Estimates for 2018 through 2022 are contained in the FDOT Adopted Work Program.
- “Other Roads” estimates do not include projected funding for the TRIP program of the Federal TMA program (SU Fund Code).
- Transit estimates do not include projected funding for the Florida New Starts program.
- The shaded time periods of 2020 and 2021 – 2025, in both Table 5 and Table 6 (page 7), are currently reflective of the FDOT Work Program.
In addition to the Capacity Programs, the other major funding source for the CRTPA are the Transportation Management Area (TMA) funds. In the FDOT Work Program, these funds are coded as “SU” funds. These funds are provided to all MPO’s that have a population over 200,000. The CRTPA uses these funds to provide funds for the bike and pedestrian projects, smaller efforts such as Feasibility Plans for projects such as the US 90 Shared-Use Path, Mid-town Transportation Study or the Thomasville Road Multi-Use Path. The funds through the horizon year of the Connections 2045 RMP are shown in Table 6 of Attachment 7.
Collectively, these revenues, plus any additional funds from local programs such as Blueprint, form the basis for developing the Cost Feasible Plan.
Cost Estimates – Cost estimates were also being developed for Prioritized Projects. The cost estimates rely, where possible, on previous studies that have been done for the proposed projects. For example, projects such as Woodville Highway construction, or Orange Avenue design have estimated costs from the project status whereas a new project will not have any estimates, yet. It is typical to utilize cost estimates derived using FDOT unit cost information.
The cost of each project is based on the number of lanes, whether it is a new road or expansion, and the location of the road (rural, suburban or urban). These costs are incorporated into the Cost Feasible Plan spreadsheet to produce a cost for each project. The Prioritized Projects with Costs are shown on Attachment 8.
There are a few items to provide additional information on regarding Attachment 8, including:
- Two columns were added to the attachment to provide additional information on whether the provide is currently at level-of-Service (LOS) E or F, and whether the future LOS is at LOS E or F.
- The last column on the right also provide a cumulative cost for the projects.
Cost Feasible Plan
The next step in the RMP process is the creation of the Cost Feasible Plan. Upon the completion of the August 2020 Board meeting, the Project Team will develop the Draft Cost Feasible Plan for presentation at the September Board meeting.