OVERVIEW OF THE UNIFIED PLANNING WORK PROGRAM
The Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP) identifies transportation planning and programming activities which are to be undertaken in the Capital District during the upcoming year. The intent of a comprehensive work plan is to coordinate all federally-funded transportation planning and transportation-related planning activities in the region. Such planning activities are assisted by several federal funding sources. These include:
. Federal Transit Administration (FTA): Section 5303 (formerly Section 8) funds and Section 5307 (formerly Section 9) funds;
. Federal Highway Administration (FHWA): 1% Planning (PL), Statewide Planning and Research (SPR) funds and Surface Transportation Program (STP), Congestion Mitigation / Air Quality (CMAQ) or other capital funds committed to planning efforts in the Transportation Improvement Program; and,
. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA): Airport Improvement Program funds.
. US Department of Energy funds supporting the Clean Communities Program
It should be noted that NYSDOT has chosen not to report its Statewide Planning and Research (SPR) activities or its Statewide Transit Planning activities in the UPWP; these are documented separately.
In addition to the required descriptions of tasks using federal funds, CDTC also describes contractual efforts with Albany County, Saratoga County and town of Colonie in the UPWP. Further, CDTC's "Community and Transportation Linkage" Program has increased the amount of local commitment to coordinated regional / local, land use / transportation planning. The 2001-02 UPWP reflects local cash totaling $159,000 and local in-kind services totaling nearly $32,000 to complement CDTC's commitment of federal funds to Linkage Program planning efforts.
Work effort performed for each item listed in the UPWP is undertaken by the CDTC Staff, CDTC's participating agencies' staff, or by consultants. The 2001-02 UPWP also includes over $300,000 in activities in support of and funded by the state's twelve MPOs.
CDTC'S NEW VISIONS REGIONAL TRANSPORTATION PLAN
AND THE UNIFIED PLANNING WORK PROGRAM
The New Visions work grappled with long-term budgetary needs; generated twenty-five planning and investment principles and identified forty-three actions to assure a stable, balanced transportation system; and has raised the stakes regarding transportation and land use integration. As a result of all this work, the CDTC cooperative planning effort in recent years has been directed by the broad vision of the plan.
CDTC completed a thorough update and extension of the New Visions plan, reaffirming the principles and actions, updating budget information and leading to the adoption of the New Visions 2021 Plan in October 2000. A more comprehensive analysis of 2030 issues will continue in the year 2002. In parallel, CDTC's Unified Planning Work Program continues to be directly explicitly by the New Visions recommendations.
The original New Visions plan in 1997 included forty-four specific recommendations for short-range planning efforts. The 2000-01 UPWP identified thirty-four recommendations that had been implemented in part or in whole by early 2000. Six more can be added to the list through work completed over the past year or reflected in the 2001-02 UPWP. These are:
1. "In conjunction with the Regional Development Plan update, establish criteria for and define an Urban Service Area. Articulate the highway and transit facility and service implications and reach agreement on implementation within one year from the date of defining the area. Include study of the transportation infrastructure needs of rural areas. Develop guidelines for investments in rural areas that preserve their rural character." The 2001-02 UPWP commitment (Task 3.77) to work with CDRPC on "New Visions for a Quality Region" will entertain the Urban Service Area concept and fulfill the need for a Regional Development Plan.
2. "Identify a candidate community and work with that community and CDRPC in a shared-cost project to draft model zoning legislation within two years." Task 5.80, NY 5 Corridor Implementation Tools, will build from the NY 5 Land Use and Transportation Concepts Study to articulate model zoning and other regulatory devices for the communities along the corridor. Model zoning concepts will also be explored as part of the New Visions for a Quality Region effort.
3. "Explore further opportunities to use the service road technique in corridors where land is available for cost-effective implementation." In addition to the NY5 corridor and Airport GEIS areas, the 2001-02 UPWP also includes efforts to formally explore a service road plan for US9 in Malta (Task 5.76) and Freeman's Bridge Road in Glenville (Task 5.78).
4. "In cooperation with the Albany County Airport Authority, study the transit market potential for direct express CDTA service to the Airport." In 2000, direct intercity bus connections were established at the Albany International Airport; in 2001 regular service from Saratoga County will begin.
5. "Within two years, implement an Eco-Pass project to extend transit passes to all employees at a work site. In all of these investigations, the potential for technology to substitute for travel (e.g. telecommuting, teleconferencing) will be explicitly explored, and promoted where appropriate." In 2000, CDTA established a model transit pass program with Albany County, using available CMAQ funds from CDTC's TIP to significantly subsidize transit passes in lieu of parking spaces for employees. CDTA and CDTC are working with the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation in 2001 to encourage a similar program at DEC's new downtown site. In addition, the Travel Task Force is exploring the substitution of technology for travel in its New Visions 2030 work.
6. Initiate a Major Investment Study in the NY 5 corridor within six months after completion of the land use investigation -- if warranted by the land use study. Incorporate transit options into the Northway MIS. Adopt MIS recommendations. The NY 5 corridor recommendations, expected to be adopted by CDTC in May 2001, do not require a follow-up MIS. However, they do call for substantial investment in transit (Bus Rapid Transit), technology, streetscaping, arterial management, and bicycle / pedestrian accommodations. Approximately $45 M of these improvements are included in the draft 2001-06 TIP; pursuit of supplemental funding for more rapid implementation of BRT will continue in 2001-02.
OF THE 2001-02 UPWP
Linkage Program Year Two
The first year of the Community and Transportation Linkage program has proven to be quite successful. Several of the projects are already complete or nearly complete. Others will be well underway by the end of the fiscal year. Two (Troy's Hoosick Street study and Cohoes' NY470 study) will likely rollover in their entirety into the new fiscal year.
The 2001-02 program will include completion of the Pinebush update and the remainder of the consultant-based Linkage studies. It will also include staff time and $120,000 in consultant services devoted to new locally-initiated planning efforts.
The carryover and the new Linkage projects combine to represent a substantial planning effort exceeding $600,000. The range of Linkage projects reflects the commendable state of cooperative regional / local planning effort. Planning efforts include bike and pedestrian planning, urban neighborhood revitalization, suburban town center retrofitting, pre-development master planning for a major suburban area, urban truck / neighborhood compatibility planning , waterfront revitalization and intermodal center exploration.
The staff proposes a major initiative for 2001-02 in the area of safety. CDTC has been working for the past several years with NYSDOT to develop a GIS-based crash data transfer process. In parallel, the staff has been collecting data on "pedestrian friendliness" features, including inventory at 400 intersections; "red light running" data and "yield to pedestrian" data.
The 2001-02 effort will be modeled after the New Visions work, complementing significant technical evaluation of crash data with a task force approach. Task forces will explore land use and highway design considerations, law enforcement practices, and safety education needs. Work will be coordinated with local highway safety boards and others.
The Transit Service Standards Study included as a CDTA lead activity will roll over into 2001-02. The Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) recommendations of the NY 5 Land Use and Transportation Concepts Study, BRT items in the 2001-06 TIP, greater understanding of commuter rail issues and the transit service standards study will set the framework for careful exploration of future transit directions at a level of detail not afforded by the New Visions effort. If appropriate, products of the work will be incorporated into the New Visions 2030 plan.
The transit discussions will be aided by staff pursuit of more responsive demand estimation procedures. The Transit Futures Task Force will be reactivated to help in this exploration.
NYSDOT and CDTC, along with CDTA, the NYSTA and other major players, will pursue the development of a "regional architecture" for the Capital District ITS deployment. A regional architecture essentially describes the operational and data-sharing needs of the ITS system in a "plug and play" style. That is, what elements of inter-relationship among the various ITS operators and data users are essential so that the development of the region's ITS system provides for the ability to easily make those connections.
A major element of this architecture development from CDTC's perspective is defining the methods for regular or continuous feedback from operational data to the planning process. One initial effort will be a CDTC staff effort to analyze frequency, duration and cost of freeway incidents by type and relate this information to traffic volumes. This will provide a locally-calibrated, advanced algorithm for use in CDTC's STEP model.
Additionally, a key CDTC contribution will be outreach to other stakeholders, including coordination with NYSDOT's Rural ITS initiative.
Other Contractual Elements
The 2000-01 UPWP included a broad list of CDTC consultant activities made possible by the new Memorandum of Understanding with CDTA that lifted the previous pre-financing limit. In 2000-01, contracts included providing support to the NYS MPO Association ($100,000, using statewide pooled funds) and NY 5 Corridor supplemental technical activities ($30,000). $175,000 has been assigned from CDTC to NYSDOT for an enhanced survey sample for the National Personal Transportation Study (NPTS). This federal program has been delayed; CDTC's expenditure may rollover into 2001-02.
In 2001-02, CDTC will continue to host the statewide MPO association staff contract at $100,000. It is also appropriate that CDTC volunteer to hold the contract for a statewide effort to seek to educate stakeholders and demonstrate methods of integrating community design and transportation system design. This contract will run $100,000 to $200,000 and will be eligible for funding advances to offset cash flow burdens on CDTA.
The CDTC/NYSDOT Public Relations Training and Assistance Program ($50,000) has not been initiated yet, pending a draft scope from NYSDOT Region 1 Design. This will be rolled over into 2001-02.
"Physical Implications of Available Long-Range Northway Options" (formerly referred to as the Pre-MIS Northway Study) is a study effort carried over from 2000-01. Without compromising the ability for NYSDOT to complete the design of the Exit 3 / Exit 4 interchange project, this contractual study will be directed to clearly define the physical requirements of specified service alternatives (e.g., " one EZ-Pass lane in each direction with access below Exit 8, at Exit 7 and Exit 1").
STEP Model Upgrade: The 2000-01 UPWP called for a consultant effort in 2001-02 to help develop the new generation STEP model. A statewide review of modeling practice, and staff exploration of available tools, has qualified the sense of urgency on this effort, allowing for a more careful, deliberative process. CDTC's current STEP model is proving to be very useable in most applications.
The staff's current thought is to acquire a leading, micro-simulation based model platform (perhaps the European VISSIM/VISSUM model) and test its use on a limited (sub-regional, corridor or subject-specific basis) starting in 2001-02. Data from the 2000 Census and NPTS will not be available for detailed regional calibration for a year or two.
The current and serviceable TMODEL2-based STEP model will continue to serve most modeling needs for the foreseeable future. As a result of this shift in thought, funds will be required for purchase of software in 2001-02, but not for major consultant assistance. Migration from the current model to the new model will take several years.
Transportation Improvement Program: The 2001-06 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) will be completed, published and distributed in the upcoming fiscal year. The Second Round TEAP (Enhancement Program) will take place in the Spring of 2001, with heavy CDTC involvement.
Bike/ Pedestrian Planning: The task force continues to meet monthly; it is currently pursuing a student competition to design a regional trail logo and is working with staff to develop a regional trails map. CDTC will continue to provide ample staff and financial support to these activities. The task force will also participate in the New Visions 2030 "visioning" work.
Goods Movement: The task force continues to meet and identify technical work. Integration of the task force into the New Visions 2030 travel task force discussions will be an emphasis in 2001-02.
NY5 Corridor: Consultant efforts are winding down. A set of recommendations will be presented for adoption in May 2001. A follow-up activity, most likely be staff, will be detailed exploration of local ordinances in the communities along the corridor to develop recommendations for action to help foster implementation of the land use portion of the plan.
Arterial Management: The staff will work with stakeholders in updating the New Visions arterial management tools, capacity guidelines and community compatibility indices.
Air Quality: Work to help NYSDOT and NYSDEC pursue designation of the Capital District as a "maintenance area" will be included in the UPWP.
REVEST, Champlain-Hudson International Trade Corridor: These collaborative efforts will continue.
TDM, Access Transit Support: CDTC staff will continue to assist CDTA in both expanding the regional TDM / transit pass program and in developing the Access Transit system. The internet-based Commuter Register program will continue.
Pavement Inventory: 2001 will include the biannual survey of non-state federal aid roads and examination of trends. CDTC has been collecting this information since 1983.
Statewide Activities: The NYSMPO association plans to pursue a statewide investigation of transportation financing needs in 2001-02. Other candidate shared-cost projects include investigation of integration of operations and management issues into MPO processes and statewide examination of international trade corridors. Additional detail will be available in the full draft. CDTC staff will continue to be active in the NYITS community.
National Activities: CDTC will continue to be actively involved in national planning arenas. The Staff Director will complete his term on TRB's Executive Committee and the Surface Transportation Environmental and Planning Research Board. CDTC's leading effort in long-range forecasting and visioning promises to trigger interest from other practitioners. Also, interest in a national cooperative metropolitan research program modeled after the New York MPOs' shared-cost program may require staff time.
Other: Major effort will continue to be devoted to data collection, support to Albany County and the Town of Colonie and expansion of CDTC's internet information services. Support to CDRPC's GIS and RDP efforts will continue.