Thursday, June 30, 2016

Building Bike Infrastructure Is The New Economic Development

It didn’t feel right when I heard via the Washington Business Journal that Arlington County, Virginia paid energy company Opower $2M to remain and not move away (Opower to Remain In Arlington, February 8, 2016; Daniel J. Sernovitz). This goes against years of policy of not paying companies in money or tax breaks to stay or come to the County. Arlington had always refused to play the old economic development game of attracting and retaining companies by essentially bribing them. If a company didn’t recognize the jurisdiction’s bona fides of proximity to the capital, great schools, great transportation and a young and educated work force than were they a good fit anyway? With a growing vacancy rate perhaps times are changing.
But could the County have gone another way? Word on the street was Opower’s young Millennial staff was looking for, amongst other things, a more bike-friendly place and the vibrancy that brings to place making.
From Pittsburgh to Chicago, from Salt Lake to Austin, and places like San Francisco,Seattle, Portland, Indianapolis, the District and many more, leaders are increasingly fighting the economic development battle by building bike infrastructure which attracts Millenials, and the companies that want them.
Read the rest of the story here.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

WVDOT Dealing With Flood Damage

Every Place Counts Design Challenge Allows Us to Design a Better Future

Today, I traveled to Philadelphia and met Mayor Kenney on the plaza of the Vine Street Expressway. For Philadelphians, this roadway represented almost 30 years of planning and was intended to expedite commuting between the Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers, ultimately decreasing half-hour trips to just a few minutes. However, that vision was never realized and three communities, including Chinatown and the Callowhill District bore the brunt of the damage as many homes, businesses, schools, places of worship, and other places of cultural and community significance were razed to make way for the expressway. Presently, the Vine City Expressway is a six-lane corridor not easily navigated on foot or in vehicle, and represents a very real, physical barrier for those that must traverse it daily.
Read the rest of the essay here.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Bike Lanes Nurture Growth Of Meals On Two (And Sometimes Three) Wheels

As more and more Canadian cities hop onto the protected bike lane bandwagon, new economic opportunities are being presented to merchants who chose to cater to customers arriving by foot or bicycle. While they may purchase less per visit, study after study has discovered that – over the course of an entire month – people arriving by those two modes of transportation regularly outspend drivers at locally owned businesses such as cafés, bars, restaurants, and convenience stores.
Here in Vancouver, forward-thinking entrepreneurs have taken full advantage of the growth in cycling, and strategically located their storefronts along the bustling bikeways. Case studies such as Bomber BrewingTandem Cafe, and Cycle City Toursdemonstrate that bike lanes really do mean business, and people on bicycles are far more likely to stop and make an impromptu purchase than those racing by in a car.
Let’s not also forget the fact that Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association President and CEO Charles Gauthier has become one of the most vocal proponents of bicycle infrastructure in the city, reversing his organization’s position on the protected bike lanes, supporting walking and cycling improvements to theBurrard Bridge, and championing the imminent arrival of bike share this summer.

Read the rest of the story here.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Route 460 Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement Ready For Review

RICHMOND – The United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) have issued a Notice of Availability of the Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) for the Route 460 Project Southeast Virginia. Comments will be accepted for 30 days following the Notice of Availability, published on June 24, 2016.  After the close of the comment period and consideration of any comments received, a permit decision from USACE is anticipated.
Following the issuance of a Draft SEIS in September 2014, the Final SEIS is the next step in the environmental review process, under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969, and provides decision-makers with information about the Project to help them decide whether or not to advance it. Comments received during the public comment period on the Draft SEIS have been considered and addressed in the Final SEIS. The Final SEIS provides a detailed description of the development and identification of the FHWA/VDOT Preferred Alternative, which was first presented during VDOT’s May 2015 public meetings.
If a favorable permit decision from USACE is received, the Project will also be scored under SMART SCALE: Funding the Right Transportation Projects in Virginia (formerly, Virginia House Bill 2). In addition, a Record of Decision on the Final SEIS must be received from FHWA. Once the necessary environmental decisions have been made and the Project is scored, the Commonwealth Transportation Board will decide whether or not to advance the Project.
The Final SEIS may be viewed at the following link: A printed version of the Final SEIS may be viewed during business hours at the following locations:

Public Libraries:
Isle of Wight
Windsor Branch - Blackwater Regional Library
18 Duke Street,
Windsor, VA 23487
Sussex County
Wakefield Branch - Blackwater Regional Library
100 Wilson Avenue
Wakefield, VA 23888
Southampton County
The Walter Cecil Rawls Library
22511 Main Street Courtland, VA 23837
Surry County
Surry Branch - Blackwater Regional Library
270 Colonial Trail East
Surry, VA 23883
Prince George County
Prince George County Library
6605 Courts Drive
Prince George, VA 23875

VDOT Offices:
Hampton Roads District:
1700 North Main Street
Suffolk, VA 23434
Petersburg Residency (Prince George)
4608 Boydton Plank Road
Petersburg, VA 23803
Williamsburg Residency (Surry)
4451 Ironbound Road
Williamsburg, VA 23188
Richmond District
2430 Pine Forest Drive
Colonial Heights, VA 23834
Franklin Residency (Isle of Wight, Southampton, Sussex)
23116 Meherrin Road
Courtland, VA  23837

Project Background: 
The overall purpose of the Route 460 improvements is to construct a facility that is consistent with the functional classification of the corridor, sufficiently address safety, mobility and evacuation needs, and adequately accommodate freight traffic along the Route 460 corridor. Support for such improvements is based on identified needs to address roadway deficiencies, improve safety, accommodate increasing freight traffic, reduce travel delay, provide adequate evacuation capability, improve strategic military connectivity, and support local economic development plans.
Online resources:
Route 460 Project Southeast Virginia Website:

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Four Reasons To Bike In Arlington

Maybe you’ve heard that Arlington County is a good place to get out and explore on your bike, but something inside of you still isn’t sure. As a team of avid bikers and bike novices, we understand your concerns, so that’s why we wanted to share four amazing reasons why you should give biking a try in Arlington County.

Reason #1: The 2015 Bike Map

The BikeArlington bike map isn’t the best map of Arlington just because it says so on the cover! The hugely popular bike map is extremely detailed, with every Arlington street named, parks and community centers labeled, bike lanes and trails shown as well as the famous Arlington Loop, restrooms, drinking fountains, steep hills, bike shops, Capital Bikeshare stations and more. The map also features trail connections from Fairfax County and Washington DC, because although biking in Arlington is fun, who wants to be limited?
The back side is full of useful information, so be sure to turn it over and check out the bike tips. Whether you keep it for bike trip planning, figuring out where Gulf Branch Nature Center is, or wanting to find the closest Metro station to a Capital Bikeshare station, this map has you covered. Keep one where you work and at home, then you are always prepared in case of an emergency, too.

Read the rest of the reasons here.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Columbus Proves Parklets Don’t Have To Be Perfect

In all of Columbus, Ohio, two short blocks and three parking spaces might sound small, but for nonprofit advocacy group Transit Columbus, they’re the seed from which a more pedestrian-friendly city might grow. The group, whose mission according to board member Jess Mathews is to champion a better-connected Columbus with a “21st-century transportation system,” just opened its fourth temporary pedestrian project this week. 

Two blocks of West Cherry Street have been closed to traffic, painted bright blue with big red and small yellow polka dots, and enhanced with picnic tables, planters, and a community mural. A few blocks away, Transit Columbus’s third parklet is installed in a parking space in front of Café Brioso, and just got approval from the city to remain two months longer than planned — until September — because it’s been so successful.

“Our organization fully understands the importance of improved public spaces, streets being not only for all modes of transportation but destinations as well,” says Mathews. While most of Transit Columbus’ work focuses on expanding public transportation options, the group’s Placemakes initiative is all about activating streets as public space. “Streets are a huge asset for every city that I think goes unrecognized or are not always fully used to their potential.”
That’s in part because a lot of people don’t see them as public space — even though many argue we should count them as such. “[People] think of public spaces and they think of parks or beaches, and not necessarily streets,” says Mathews. “So we try to broaden their minds on that.”
The West Cherry Project may be the first in Columbus to close off a street to create a pedestrian plaza. Technically, it’s temporary, a two-month public engagement process that kicked off last week. But Mathews says the city is already in talks about keeping the space longer, and possibly extending it. West Cherry Street is just four blocks of downtown Columbus, closed to through traffic on one end and feeding into a riverside park on the other. If it were permanently preserved as a pedestrian space, it could serve a vital role in connecting the Scioto River to the High Street commercial corridor.

Read the rest of the story here.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

The Miami Parking Debate

There are few public issues in Miami more visible and divisive than parking.
On a broad scale, the city is studded with parking garages of all shapes and sizes, vast surface lots and now even self-parking robots, all meant to serve the nearly 2 million registered vehicles in Miami-Dade County.
Even so, many of Miami’s average Joes and Janes find themselves circling the block around their favorite restaurant, or waiting for a space to open on the street near their friend’s apartment.
But behind the scenes, a seismic shift among some developers and public officials is underway as they try to distance themselves from Miami’s notorious car-dependency in favor of a more urban and walkable city.
The single largest factor dictating development rules for parking is zoning.
For residential projects, Miami zoning rules require a minimum of 1.5 parking spots per residence. On a small scale for single-family homes or townhouse projects, that minimum might seem small. For a development aiming at more than 100 units, however, it quickly compounds.
But recent years have seen legislators push through caveats and exemptions to the zoning code aimed at helping foster greater ridership for public transit and lessening the pressure on developers to build parking.
In October, city commissioners passed an amendment to the code that allowed developers of any new building near a transit corridor and sized under 10,000 square feet to decide how much parking they want, if any at all.
There’s also a buffer zone of 500 feet between those developments and any single-family residence, meant to prevent parking spillover in surrounding neighborhoods.

Read the rest of the story here.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

CTB Approves Six-Year Improvement Program

RICHMOND - The Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) approved today the latest Six-Year Improvement Program (SYIP), which allocates $14.4 billion to transportation projects over the next six fiscal years beginning July 1, 2016. Projects include highway, road, bridge, rail, transit, bicycle/pedestrian paths and other transportation improvements across the state.
The SYIP provides funding to more than 3,200 transportation projects to improve the state’s infrastructure. For the first time the program includes projects that were scored and approved for full funding under the prioritization processpassed by the General Assembly in 2014. This process is now called SMART SCALE, Funding the Right Transportation Projects in Virginia(Access link to view the Governor’s release.)
FY 2017-2022 Six-Year Improvement Program breakdown:
$10.7 billion – Highway construction
$3.7 billion – Rail and public transportation
$14.4 billion – Total six-year program
VDOT’s Annual Budget for FY 2017  
The Virginia Department of Transportation's (VDOT) annual budget for Fiscal Year 2017 is $5.4 billion, representing an 0.8 percent increase from the revised FY 2016 budget.  The growth over the previous year is primarily driven by additional federal funding and revenue dedicated to the Highway Maintenance and Operating Fund.  The annual budget is based on the most recent official state revenue forecast from February 2016 and estimated federal funding.
Funds that will be provided for highway maintenance and operations represent nearly 40 percent of the total budget, followed by nearly 35 percent for highway construction.
Smaller portions of the budget are directed to address the needs and requirements of debt service, support to other agencies, tolls, administration, and other programs.
The breakdown:
$352 million – Debt Service

$2.127 billion – Road maintenance and operations (includes city and county street payments)

$513.3 million – Support to other agencies, tolls, administration and other programs

$1.869 billion – Construction
$496.1 million – Funding dedicated to Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads Regions for local and regional transportation projects
$5.35 billion – Total VDOT annual budget

Monday, June 20, 2016

Upcoming TTA Workshops


*VDOT employees MUST register through Virtual CampusAll others may click on the workshop links below*

Basic Work Zone Traffic Control
07/12/2016  |  Chester, VA

Intermediate Work Zone Traffic Control
07/13/2016 — 07/14/2016  |  Chester, VA

Crash and Intersection Safety Data Analysis
07/14/2016  |  Chester, VA

Basic Work Zone Traffic Control
07/19/2016  |  Charlottesville, VA

Advanced Work Zone Traffic Control
07/20/2016 — 07/21/2016  |  Charlottesville, VA

Modeling Stormwater 1: Best Management Practice
07/20/2016  |  Weyers Cave, VA

Modeling Stormwater 2: Best Management Practice
07/21/2016  |  Weyers Cave, VA

Intermediate Work Zone Traffic Control
07/26/2016 — 07/27/2016  |  Henrico, VA

Performance Based Design Practice (Engineering & Practical Applications)
|08/02/2016  |  Arlington, VA

Basic Work Zone
08/02/2016  |  Roanoke, VA

Intermediate Work Zone Traffic Control
08/03/2016 — 08/04/2016  |  Roanoke, VA

Low Cost Safety Improvements
08/03/2016  |  Midlothian, VA

Intersection Safety
08/04/2016  |  Midlothian, VA

Effective Culvert & Box Culvert Installation Practices
08/10/2016  |  Roanoke, VA

Effective Culvert & Box Culvert Installation Practices
08/11/2016  |  Roanoke, VA

Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices
08/16/2016  |  Arlington, VA

Basic Drainage
08/16/2016  |  Harrisonburg, VA

Overview of the Virginia Supplement to the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD)
08/17/2016  |  Arlington, VA

Maintenance of Gravel Roads
08/17/2016  |  Harrisonburg, VA

Effective Culvert & Box Culvert Installation Practices
08/18/2016  |  Arlington, VA

Fundamentals of Traffic Engineering
08/23/2016  |  Arlington, VA

Highway Safety and Roadway Design
08/24/2016  |  Arlington, VA
EDC Exchange: Smarter Work Zones
June 23, 2016
2pm – 4pm
(See registration locations and links below)
Work zones are responsible for over 130 injuries, one fatality, and 10 percent of all congestion each day. One option for addressing these issues is to implement Smarter Work Zones (SWZs).  SWZs utilize innovative strategies to better coordinate construction projects and/or deploy innovative technology applications to dynamically manage and minimize work zone safety and mobility impacts.  SWZ techniques can improve safety and mobility for travelers, reduce schedule delays due to conflicts between projects, reduce overall operating costs to agencies, and increase the satisfaction of the traveling public, business owners, nearby residences, and politicians.
Examples of ways in which local and tribal agencies can benefit from SWZs include:
  • Developing a process to better track when and where all projects that impact travel in a region are occurring, regardless of whether they are due to work by the local agency, utility company, or private developer;
  • Implementing work zone intelligent transportation systems (ITS) such as those that monitor and disseminate travel times along routes approaching work zones, allowing motorists to better choose alternate routes.
FHWA has collected and developed a number of example policies, practices, and tools to help agencies implement SWZs. This EDC Exchange will present success stories from local agencies using SWZ project coordination and technology application strategies to improve safety and mobility in and around work zones within their jurisdictions.  It will also include discussions on planning and implementing SWZ within your region.  This Exchange will be of interest to local and tribal agencies involved with or interested in implementing SWZ.
 Please join FHWA, the Virginia ocal Technical Assistance Program Center and the Virginia Department of Transportation for a presentation on Smarter Work Zones via a live webinar on June 23, 2016 from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm ET.
The following are locations for your participation:
 Suffolk, VA
VDOT District Training Center
1700 North Main St., Suffolk, VA 23434
Windsor Room
Fairfax, VA
4975 Alliance Dr.
Fairfax, VA 22030
Accotink Room
Richmond, VA
Federal Building
400 N 8th St., Suite 750
Richmond, VA 23219
FHWA conference room
(Bring picture ID)
Our mailing address is:
Transportation Training Academy
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Virginia

351 McCormick Road, Thornton Hall

P.O. Box 400742

Charlottesville, VA  22904-4742

434-982-2897 (office)

434-982-2856 (fax)
Copyright © 2015 Transportation Training Academy, All rights reserved.

2016 e-Construction Summit


e-Construction Summit


October 26-27

Renaissance Portsmouth-Norfolk Hotel

VDOT, FHWA and the Virginia Local Technical Assistance Program (LTAP) will host a summit on e-Construction of transportation projects on October 26-27, 2016 in Norfolk, VA.  The summit will include the latest progress reports from leading states, and presentations and discussions on how and in what way e-Construction initiatives can be used in various organizations. It will also provide support to the highway construction community in their goals to adopt target technologies, methodologies, and implementation strategies under FHWA’s Every Day Counts initiative. The conference is designed to benefit individuals and agencies that use or are interested in e-Construction technologies.  The ​summit will include State and Federal Transportation officials from around the country.
Renaissance Portsmouth-Norfolk Hotel
425 Water St, Portsmouth, VA 23704      
Travel Info
For more information on registration, travel or cost, please email us at
Copyright © 2016 UVA Transportation Training Academy, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
351 McCormick Rd., Thornton Hall
P.O. Box 400742
Charlottesville, VA 22904-4742
(T) 434-982-2897

Governor McAuliffe Announces Virginia’s First Transportation Program based on an Objective, Data-Driven Prioritization Process

RICHMOND – Governor Terry McAuliffe announced today the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) voted on the first wave of transportation projects scored by Virginia’s new data-driven prioritization process. The process (formerly called House Bill 2 or HB2) has a new name, “SMART SCALE, Funding the Right Transportation Projects in Virginia.” SMART SCALE stands for System for the Management and Allocation of Resources for Transportation. It is a prioritization process that evaluates each project’s merits using key factors, including:  improvements to safety, congestion reduction, accessibility, land use, economic development and the environment.

The CTB approved $1.7 billion in funding to build 163 projects that were selected through the SMART SCALE process, which became law under HB2, carried by Delegate Chris Stolle in 2014. The projects, now included in the Six-Year Improvement Program, are fully funded through all phases of project development and construction.

“Virginia is the first state in the country to use an outcome-based prioritization process to select transportation projects,” said Governor McAuliffe. “My team and I were proud to work with a bipartisan coalition from the General Assembly and localities and regional bodies across the state to develop reforms that make the absolute best use of taxpayer dollars by investing in the right transportation projects. No longer are we allowing politics and wish lists determine what gets built. This process is critical to moving people, jobs, and commerce, all of which is essential to building the new Virginia economy.”

Transportation Secretary Aubrey Layne added, “In the past, Virginia had a politically driven and opaque transportation funding process that was filled with uncertainty for local communities and businesses. The SMART SCALE process makes the best use of renewed state funding approved in 2013 and the recently approved federal transportation bill. Each project was scored based on its merits and value. The projects are in the six-year program, and they will get built.”

Last fall, more than 130 localities, metropolitan planning organizations and transit agencies submitted 321 proposed projects, totaling nearly $7 billion in funding, to be scored, with $1.7 billion in available funds. The SMART SCALE process identified projects that provided the greatest return on investment, and the results were used by the CTB to select projects for funding.

Funds were made available to communities under two new programs created by the 2015 Governor’s Omnibus Transportation bill that refocused the program on core needs and eliminated a complex and opaque set of funding programs. State and federal construction funds are distributed to three programs – 27.5% for High Priority Projects, a program for key statewide and regional projects; 27.5% for the Construction District Grants program, in which funds are distributed to each district for competition among localities; and 45% provided to the State of Good Repair program for capital reconstruction of deteriorated bridges and pavements, which is subject to a separate asset managementprocess.

The law requires projects to be scored based on how they ease congestion, improve economic development, provide accessibility to jobs, improve safety and environmental quality, and support transportation-efficient land use. The CTB and the Office of Intermodal Planning and Investment worked collaboratively with the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Department of Rail and Public Transportation, and local and regional governments to develop the scoring system that has been used to measure the merits of projects.

Under the reformed process, project sponsors and the business community can have certainty that a project included in the six-year program will be built. Each of the 163 projects in the program is fully funded, including details for design, right-of-way and construction.

Prior to SMART SCALE, projects were often partially funded by the state, dragging out the construction timeframe and increasing costs. Under the 2015 Governor’s Omnibus Transportation bill, once appointed, CTB members no longer serve at the direction of the Governor and can only be removed for cause. Members will be able to vote for the projects they believe are best for the Commonwealth without undue political pressure.

House Speaker William J. Howell:
"Today's announcement is the culmination of a series of major, bipartisan steps to invest in and improve transportation in Virginia. From the legislation introduced in the House of Delegates two years ago to the efforts of Secretary Layne and the Governor's administration, we have worked in a bipartisan fashion to develop this innovative process that I know will be a model for the nation. With SMART SCALE, we are promoting greater accountability, safeguarding against waste and ending the politicization that has been rampant in our transportation process for so long."
Delegate Chris Jones:
"Over the last three years, we have made major improvements to how Virginia funds and selects its transportation projects. We made a major investment in transportation, fundamentally reformed our funding streams, and adopted an innovative and forward-thinking prioritization process that ensures the most important projects move forward first. These are major steps that will allow us to build the 21st century transportation system Virginians need and deserve. I am proud to say we are putting good governance and taxpayers ahead of partisanship and politics."
Delegate Chris Stolle:
“I am pleased to see the results of our bipartisan efforts on transportation reform. These funded projects have been evaluated based on a series of objective and metric-based standards so we get the most value out of precious and limited resources.”

Delegate Vivian Watts:
“When the General Assembly passed historic transportation legislation in 2013, it became critical to make certain the monies are put to the right projects.  Project prioritization is a game-changing breakthrough in scoring and funding the right transportation projects, making localities really think through and analyze their most critical needs based on factors such as congestion reduction and better accessibility.  The result is better transportation for all of us.”
Senator Steve Newman:
 “Virginia now has a project prioritization process that will improve transportation infrastructure by creating an objective method of distributing funds to all parts of the state to meet their needs. These changes have already helped the Lynchburg region, along with the rest of the Commonwealth, to improve our transportation system and grow our economy.”
Senator David Marsden:
“The funding announced today, coupled with the historic bipartisan agreement reached during session to unlock I-66, represent game-changing progress on transportation solutions for Northern Virginia and the Commonwealth as a whole.”
Ab Boxley, Chairman, Blue Ridge Economic Coalition:  
“For the first time, Virginia has set a consistent standard and process that brings local interests together to figure out the best transportation projects based on the most pressing needs in our areas.”
Jim Corcoran, President & CEO, Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce: 
“I applaud the McAuliffe administration, Speaker Howell and transportation leaders in the General Assembly for their work on transportation reform.  Project prioritization is good for business and jobs because the right projects are getting funded, which will reduce congestion and generate more opportunities for commerce.”

Bryan Stephens, President and CEO of the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce:
“The funding announced today and the prioritization process used to pick projects makes good business sense and will lead to reduced congestion in urban areas like Hampton Roads and better access to jobs in the more rural areas of the state.”
Projects met scoring requirements if they were eligible for funding under the High Priority Projects Program and the District Grant Program.  In addition, projects had to demonstrate they met a need identified in the Commonwealth’s long-range plan, VTrans2040, which examines Corridors of Statewide Significance, regional networks and improvements to promote urban development areas.  The CTB must consider highway, transit, rail, road operational improvements and transportation demand projects, including vanpooling and carpooling.

Projects funded with specialized programs, such as the federal highway safety improvement program and Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) program, and projects that rehabilitate aging pavements and bridges, were exempted from scoring.
SMART SCALE and State of Good Repair projects programmed in Six-Year Improvement Program (listed projects are completely funded for construction):