Project Status Report - March 2013
Progress on the South Carolina Multimodal Transportation Plan is summarized in this, the second, Project Status Report. While work on the Plan started at the end of July 31, 2012 this report focuses on what the study team has been doing in the last three or four months.
Current Plans, Conditions and Factors
Safety and Security - The study team has continued to coordinate with SCDOT safety staff regarding new highway safety emphasis areas for the proposed update to the South Carolina Strategic Highway Safety Plan. The Strategic Highway Safety Plan is being developed internally by SCDOT staff. However completion is likely to be delayed until FHWA provide further guidance on new requirements resulting from the July 2012 federal legislation Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21).
Public and Partner Participation
The study team launched the South Carolina Multimodal Transportation Plan website in October and it is available at www.scdot.org/multimodal. The website is updated monthly and it provides information on status, planned activities and downloadable reports, as well as an opportunity to provide input. Please visit the website to read more about the progress on the plan as well as plan documents.
The study team continues to meet regularly with representatives and leadership of the South Carolina Department of Commerce and the S.C. State Ports Authority to continue the collaborative planning effort. SCDOT is grateful for the full participation across partner agencies, from Councils of Government and Metropolitan Planning Organizations, to Counties, state agencies, and the Federal Highway Administration in the development of the Statewide Multimodal Transportation Plan.
There is a series of stakeholder webinars planned for April 10 and 11, 2013. These webinars will be an interactive session that will provide stakeholder's opportunities to provide comments on the vision, goals, objectives, and performance measures, updated strategic corridor system, interstate congestion, as well as tasks associated with the Transit, Rail, Interstate, Strategic Corridor, and Freight plans. By using the webinar format, SCDOT hopes to reach as many stakeholders and interested parties by reducing travel time and expense and bringing the meeting to you at your office, home or other place of business. EventBrite invitations will be emailed to the full stakeholder list, and information can be forwarded to other interested parties. The webinars are free for participants, online, accessible by toll free phone, and are open to the public. More information about specific instructions to participate will be forthcoming, but please save the dates for following areas of interest:
April 10 - 1:30 to 3:30 - Freight and Rail
April 11 - 10:00 to 12:00 - Interstate/Strategic Corridors
April 11 - 1:30 to 3:30 - Transit/Bike and Pedestrian
Vision, Goals, Objectives and Performance Measures
The study team has been working with SCDOT's executive leadership team to develop the South Carolina Multimodal Transportation Plan vision and goals. The vision and goals are aligned to the Department's Strategic Plan, as well as the 2030 Statewide Multimodal Transportation Plan and MAP-21 national goals.
Safe, reliable surface transportation and infrastructure that effectively supports a healthy economy for South Carolina.
Mobility and System Reliability - Provide surface transportation infrastructure and services that will advance the efficient and reliable movement of people and goods throughout the state.
Safety - Improve the safety and security of the transportation system by implementing transportation improvements that reduce fatalities and serious injuries as well as enabling effective emergency management operations.
Infrastructure Condition - Maintain surface transportation infrastructure assets in a state of good repair.
Economic and Community Vitality - Provide an efficient and effective interconnected transportation system that is coordinated with state and local planning efforts to support thriving communities and South Carolina's economic competitiveness in global markets.
Environment - Partner to sustain South Carolina's natural and cultural resources by minimizing and mitigating the impacts of state transportation improvements.
Equity - Manage a transportation system that recognizes the diversity of the state and strives to accommodate the mobility needs of all of South Carolina's citizens.
The team is currently developing objectives related to each of these goals, as well as practical performance measures that can be used to track progress in meeting the Plan's goals and objectives. The team will provide stakeholders an overview of the performance measures during the April 10th and 11th webinars.
Existing Multimodal Conditions
As we look to the future it is important to have a thorough understanding of where we are now. Data have been gathered on all modes of transportation to assess the status of existing conditions. These efforts have been documented in a report that will be available on the website shortly. The report addresses socioeconomic conditions, highways/bridges, aviation, rail, ports, and public transportation, as well as bicycle and pedestrian modes.
Bicycle and Pedestrian Considerations
Stakeholder interviews were conducted with over 20 MPO, municipal, and council of government staff from around the state to obtain information about issues and opportunities regarding bicycle and pedestrian transportation at the local and statewide levels. The executive director of the Palmetto Cycling Coalition, a statewide bicycle advocacy group, and staff person from the SC Park, Recreation and Trails program were also interviewed.
The study team met with the SCDOT Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator and interviewed staff from SCDOT Safety and Maintenance divisions to identify additional statewide bicycle and pedestrian expansion, modernization, and preservation needs. The input from these interviews, as well as existing SCDOT design guidance documents and MPO planning documents, were reviewed to determine current needs and updates.
The Study team has collected GIS data on existing and proposed bikeways, trails and pedestrian connections of regional significance throughout the state. These are being organized into a single database for use by SCDOT in planning and tracking future investments. Using the information above, the study team has developed draft technical memos detailing existing conditions and needs for pedestrian and cyclists throughout the state and recommended best practices for improving bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure, safety, programming, and evaluation.
To anchor the Interstate Plan on a solid foundation of reliable, up-to-date information, research has been conducted in coordination with SCDOT staff on available data sources, including: INRIX - a commercial provider of historic and real-time speed information, SCDOT's Interstate Interchange Management System (IIMS), and SCDOT's automatic traffic recorder volume data covering the entire interstate system. Utilizing the data, the study team is determining the existing annual average traffic density and corresponding level of service for every segment of the interstate system, which will be ultimately used to determine the most congested interstate corridors in the state.
Strategic Corridor Plan
To supplement the Interstate Plan, the Strategic Corridor Plan focuses on non-interstate corridors important to the state's economy. The study team has reviewed the existing strategic corridors and selection criteria to update the strategic corridor network to reflect the latest information as well as MAP-21 rural freight corridor requirements. The statewide strategic corridor network will be presented to the stakeholder at the April 10th and 11th webinars.
Public Transit and Coordination Plan
Over the past few months, the study team contacted the 29 transit agencies across the state to collect existing data and future needs for their region. The agencies submitted data that will be used in the assessment of transit capital and operating needs through 2040.
In addition to outreach with the transit agencies, in January 2013 the study team presented to the 10 Executive Directors of the Council of Governments across the state. The purpose of the meeting was to give an update on the Multimodal Transportation Plan and to discuss participation of the COGs in the development of the Regional Transit Plans and the human services transportation coordination plan updates. In February 2013, the study team held a workshop with the COG transit planners to discuss existing coordination within each of the 10 regions and to discuss public outreach regarding public transportation. A public transit opinion survey was developed and distributed by each of the COGs to the network of community liaisons across the state. The survey is open for comment until March 12, 2013 and is available on the Multimodal Transportation Plan website. To date, approximately 2,200 surveys have been completed. The survey data will be incorporated into the 10 Regional Transit Plans and the Statewide Public Transportation Plan.
The study team has been coordinating with SCDOT staff and the New Carolina's Transportation, Distribution, and Logistics (TDL) Council on outreach activities to engage freight stakeholders. The study team developed a web-based freight stakeholder survey, which was provided to the TDL Council, SC Trucking Association, SC Maritime Association, State Chamber of Commerce, SC Economic Developers Association, SC Manufacturers Alliance, and Palmetto Agribusiness Council to distribute to their members. The online surveys are now complete, and SCDOT received nearly 100 survey responses. Thank you for your participation!
The study team conducted regional freight listening sessions in Columbia, Greer, Florence, and Charleston in January 2013 to engage the public and private sector. The purpose of these listening sessions was to understand statewide freight needs that can reduce freight bottlenecks and improve freight efficiency on the Interstate and the strategic freight corridors. More than 100 people attended these meetings, and the study team received a wide range of invaluable insight into the freight system, how it is used by our state's industry, what works and what does not work from a freight transportation perspective, and what the future holds for our industries and what transportation needs will be required for success. Again, thank you for your participation!
One on One interviews were also held as part of this engagement with the freight transportation community. By having this broad spectrum of information gathering, the study team is now moving forward with various levels of analysis to best quantify current needs and future needs of the freight transportation system to support current economic activities and economic development goals.
The study team continued work on the preparation of a State Rail Plan consistent with the requirements of the 2008 Passenger and Rail Investment and Improvement Act (PRIIA). In addition to documenting the components of the existing rail system, efforts so far have focused on identifying infrastructure improvement needs of the state's Class I and Class III rail carriers.
Online and telephone based webinars on April 10 and 11 - please be on the lookout to find out more about how to participate from your home, office or other place of business. Detailed information on how to participate is located here.
Project Status Report - December 2012
November 20, 2012
South Carolina Trucking Association - Board of Directors Meeting
SCDOT was invited to discuss the Statewide Multimodal Transportation Plan to the South Carolina Trucking Association (SCTA) Board of Directors at their annual retreat. On October 3, 2012 Doug Frate of SCDOT and members of the statewide planning team gave an overview of the plan and engaged the board in a freight planning discussion.
This discussion was documented and will provide the planning team with invaluable input into the condition of the transportation system and the role it plays in their industry today as well as issues facing the transportation business in future years. This first of many such discussions with stakeholders around the state will continue to guide this multimodal planning effort.
Upcoming Freight Listening Sessions
As part of our continued effort to engage and hear from transportation stakeholders, a series of freight listening sessions will be held early next year.
With support from the Transportation, Distribution and Logistics Council of New Carolina, the freight listening sessions are designed to engage transportation and freight oriented business representatives by facilitating a dialogue of transportation needs and concerns. These discussions are designed to gather information to further guide the SCDOT Statewide Freight Plan and support improvements that will improve freight efficiency.
Detailed information about the freight listening sessions will be included in emailed invitations and on this website. Specific times and locations will be announced soon.
Quotes from our stakeholders
"This cooperative effort with the Department of Commerce and the State Ports Authority will lead to an increase in economic development and job creation because transportation is a key to economic activity. In addition, this study will set the basis upon which we measure our progress in transportation in South Carolina."
Secretary Bob St. Onge - South Carolina Department of Transportation
"This will be a new and integrated plan for transportation in South Carolina with an emphasis on commerce and safety. The plan will help us manage the transportation system we have and help us decide how to spend scarce resources to improve the system."
Secretary Bobby Hitt - South Carolina Department of Commerce
"Ship sizes are increasing, and increasing exports are helping to create a balance with imports at the port. While these trends are good for South Carolina, they put pressure on the transportation infrastructure, and this study will help us address that pressure."
Jack Ellenberg - Vice President, South Carolina State Ports Authority
"This is the first time I have seen this level of cooperation at the state agency level. FHWA looks forward to working with you in this partnership to document the performance of the transportation system, to focus on freight efficiency, and to take advantage of the funding flexibility contained in recent federal programs."
Bob Lee - South Carolina Division Administrator, Federal Highway Administration