Short and Long Range Transportation Planning
Long Range Transportation Planning
The 2030 OCARTS Plan was developed in accordance with the federal planning requirements of the previous surface transportation law, the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century, known as TEA-21. In Aug. 2005, TEA-21 was replaced by the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU), which identifies federal funding levels for the nation's transportation infrastructure and establishes how states and metropolitan areas are to conduct long and short-range transportation planning.
The long-range plan must look at least 20 years into the future and is based on past trends, forecasts of population and employment, and future travel patterns and conditions. Additionally, the plan must address methods for improving mobility and accessibility, which include multiple modes of travel. A multimodal approach to moving people and goods and improving the connections between modes are priorities of the long-range planning effort.
SAFETEA-LU also calls for preservation of the nation's previous investments in its transportation infrastructure. Congestion reduction techniques are encouraged rather than only construction of additional highway lanes. Social and environmental considerations, such as those affecting air quality, must also play a major role in the plan design. Energy conservation, efficient system management and an improved quality of life are key planning factors required by federal legislation, as well as safeguards that the plan will not adversely affect low income or minority populations disproportionately.
Production of the 2030 OCARTS Plan was a collaborative process involving area cities, towns, counties and agencies including the Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT), the Federal Highway and Federal Transit Administrations (FHWA and FTA), the Central Oklahoma Transportation and Parking Authority (COTPA) and the University of Oklahoma Transit Services. The Plan reflects not only the involvement of public entities, but also issues and ideas developed by area citizens, businesses, neighborhood interest groups and other stakeholders. The Plan was approved in August 2005 by the Intermodal Transportation Policy Committee (ITPC) and endorsed by the ACOG Board of Directors, which include representatives of various transportation agencies and locally elected officials from the communities within Central Oklahoma.
Transportation Improvement Program (TIP)
Every year, ACOG's technical and policy committees prepare a four-year Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) that identifies the federally funded transportation projects to be awarded in the region. These projects implement the long-range transportation plan. To be eligible for federal funds, local projects must be in the TIP, which is developed and approved through ACOG and the Oklahoma Department of Transportation, which serves as the Governor's designee.
Public Involvement Process
To improve the long-range planning process, federal law calls for increased emphasis on early citizen involvement in the development of the long- and short-range transportation plans. As a result, ACOG, along with state and local planning partners, has developed a Public Involvement Process (PIP) to outline methods and approximate time frames for encouraging citizens, affected organizations and other interested parties to be involved in and comment on development of the long-range plan; the short-range Transportation Improvement Program (TIP); and the ongoing transportation planning process. Methods for encouraging involvement include providing access to plans and programs, and their supporting materials, and opportunities to comment as the plan or program develops.
Traffic and Accident Data Collection and Analysis
Traffic and accident data are collected annually and compiled in various computerized transportation files at ACOG. Through the use of in-house data processing facilities, the MPO has refined its database management capabilities. These tools have allowed for quicker response to inquiries and more efficient processing of data.
ACOG's comprehensive traffic counting program is based on a two-year cycle. The goal is to systematically collect traffic volume data for key links on the OCARTS Plan network. These counts support various tasks including Vehicle Miles of Travel estimates, Long Range Plan Development/Maintenance, the Congestion Management System, Accident Analysis, and Air Quality Planning. The counts are available online at this link.
ACOG's annual accident data is furnished by ODOT for the OCARTS area. Accidents are used by ACOG and member entities as a performance measure for prioritizing Surface Transportation Program urbanized area (STP-UZA) projects and for evaluating the OCARTS Congestion Management System.
Intellegent Transportation Systems (ITS)
Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) is the application of information technology (i.e. computers, electronics, communications, sensors, safety systems, etc.) to transportation, not only to improve traffic operations, but to enhance the quality of life, promote a strong economy, and enhance and protect environmental quality.
Since the mid 1990s, ACOG staff has undertaken and completed multiple ITS tasks in coordination with member entities as well as the Oklahoma Department of Transportation. Accomplishments include the definition of the region's ITS Implementation Strategy and Regional ITS Architecture, which laid the basis for all future ITS improvements in the region. ACOG also assisted in the passing of legislation designed to improve quick clearance following a non-injury accident on the highway system, and helped develop a regional Traffic Incident Management Guide. Staff has furthermore provided guidance to local member entities in their effort to obtain funding and to comply with the federal rules regulating the implementation of ITS projects (see PDF of map at this link).
Staying abreast of new federal rules, as well as the maintenance of the ITS infrastructure and project inventories in the Regional ITS Architecture are ongoing activities.