Project News

Project Status Report - November 2013

Project Status Report - November 2013

Progress on the South Carolina Multimodal Transportation Plan (MTP) is summarized in this, the fourth, Project Status Report. While work on the Plan started at the end of July, 2012 this report focuses on what the study team has been doing in the last three months from July through September.

Current Plans, Conditions and Factors
Safety and Security - Safety on the State Highway System is one of the top goals for SCDOT. A report on Safety and Security has been prepared and made available on the MTP website. The report discusses recent changes in Federal legislation and SCDOT's progress in updating the South Carolina Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP). The update of the SHSP is moving ahead using Strategic Highway Safety Plan MAP-21 Interim Guidance issued by the FHWA Office of Safety on April 5, 2013.

As part of long range planning for all eventualities the MTP team has identified those areas of the transportation network that may be impacted by changes in sea level or under storm surge conditions. A report on this topic is under preparation.

Public and Partner Participation
The study team launched the South Carolina Multimodal Transportation Plan website in October, 2012 and it is available at www.scdot.org/multimodal.

The website is updated monthly and 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. 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.

Work is underway to prepare for a second series of stakeholder webinars in January. The first series were held in April. There is a link to the April webinars on the MTP website home page and can be viewed directly at:

http://www.scdot.org/Multimodal/stakeholder_webinars.aspx

By using the webinar format, SCDOT reaches as many stakeholders and interested parties as possible 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 once the January dates are set. The webinars are free for participants, online, accessible by toll free phone, and are open to the public. Three webinars are held in each series to focus on specific areas of interest, namely Freight and Rail, Interstate/ Strategic Corridors, and Transit/Bike and Pedestrian.

More information on the second series of webinars with specific instructions on how to participate will be forthcoming for the following areas of interest:

  • Statewide Freight and Rail Plans
  • Interstate and Strategic Corridor Plans
  • Statewide Public Transportation Plan and bicycle/Pedestrian Considerations

Vision, Goals, Objectives and Performance Measures
The study team has been working with the Plan's executive leadership team from SCDOT, SC Department of Commerce, and the SC Ports Authority to finalize 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.

Vision:

Safe, reliable surface transportation and infrastructure that effectively supports a healthy economy for South Carolina.

Goals:

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.

A report has been prepared to describe the process used to develop the vision and goals that will guide and direct development of the 2040 South Carolina Multimodal Transportation Plan, as well as the Freight, Rail, Interstate, Strategic Corridor, and Transit Plans. The report, which has been posted on the MTP website, also identifies objectives and performance measures associated with the Plan's goals. Objectives define the outcomes that SCDOT intends to achieve related to each goal while Performance measures "operationalize" that objective and define how that outcome will be measured, monitored, and reported.

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 and have been summarized in a Technical Memorandum, which is available on the website.

Multimodal Transportation Needs
Information on the costs to maintain and implement required improvements to the state's multimodal transportation system through the Plan's horizon year of 2040, for highways/bridges, aviation, rail, ports, and public transportation, as well as bicycle and pedestrian modes has been compiled and is being summarized in a report. Information on multimodal transportation needs will be provided during the December webinars. This information, combined with revenue forecasts, is being used in possible investment scenarios.

Revenue Forecasts
The study team worked closely with SCDOT to develop a forecast of baseline revenues to the Plan's horizon year of 2040. The forecast includes Federal and state road, bridge and transit revenues. It also includes additional revenue sources, which while out of SCDOT control will likely contribute to improvements on the state highway system, such as revenues from the State Infrastructure Bank, C Fund, and Special Purpose Local Option Sales Taxes. The baseline revenue forecast is the starting point for investment scenario planning. The team is also working on developing two additional revenue alternatives for informational purposes as well as identifying revenue enhancement options that may be worthy of consideration over the life of the Plan. The revenue baseline forecast and revenue alternatives will be documented in a technical memorandum, which is currently in progress.

Bicycle and Pedestrian Considerations
The study team has revised the bicycle needs technical memo estimating the costs for outstanding bicycle and pedestrian needs in the state. These needs were identified by utilizing the proposed bicycle and pedestrian plans collected from municipalities and MPOs for the SCDOT bicycle GIS database. The team has completed revisions to the DRAFT bicycle and pedestrian recommendations memo based on comments from SCDOT's Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator.

Interstate Plan
The study team has utilized INRIX - a commercial provider of historic and real-time speed information and SCDOT's automatic traffic recorder volume data covering the entire interstate system to develop level of service estimates for every segment of the interstate system. The most congested corridors in the state have been identified from this information. Additionally SCDOT's Interstate Interchange Management System (IIMS) is being used to determine a list of the most congested interchanges in the state. The Interstate Plan, which is under development, will document these findings.

Strategic Corridor Plan
As a part of the 2040 South Carolina Multimodal Transportation Plan, the existing Statewide Strategic Corridor Plan was updated. An objective, quantitative, and a tiered system approach for developing the Statewide Strategic Corridors was developed. Stakeholder input was solicited on the draft Statewide Strategic Corridors and the comments received from the representatives of Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) and Council of Governments (COGs) was addressed and a final version of the Statewide Strategic Corridor was developed.

In coordination with SCDOT, the study team conducted an environmental impact assessment of Statewide Strategic Corridor network to determine the potential impacts to cultural, natural, and social resources. Multi-modal needs for Statewide Strategic Corridor network was determined by analyzing input from MPOs and COGs. Local MPOs and COGs provided transportation needs and associated costs along the Statewide Strategic Corridor network within their jurisdictions. The transportation needs identified include intersection improvements, roadway widening, alternative transportation improvements, and other forms of enhancement projects.

Public Transit and Coordination Plan
The study team has been busy developing the regional transit plans for each of the ten transit regions in the state. These plans have been developed from the collection of existing data and future needs identified by the transit agencies and the local stakeholders within each community. The approximately 2,400 responses to the March public opinion survey were also incorporated into the regional transit plans and into the Statewide Public Transportation Plan. The draft regional transit plans and the Statewide Public Transportation Plan will be available for public comment in the New Year.

Further transit-related information can be found at the end of this report under the heading of Human Services Infrastructure Review.

Freight Plan
The study team continues through the development of the statewide freight plan. Working closely with our planning partners at the University of South Carolina and Clemson University, a range of analyses are incorporating the feedback from stakeholders received during the 6 months of stakeholder meetings and survey data collection. The freight team has developed a draft Strategic Freight System, consisting of active elements of the existing supply chain in South Carolina, which is currently under review. This planning effort is coordinated with the Strategic Corridor Plan to provide consistency in the implementation of the plan recommendations and streamline data collection efforts. The freight team continues to evaluate modal shift modeling, evaluating potential options for maximizing the use of freight infrastructure of all modes in the state. The freight team has also developed a set of Goals and Objective specific to the freight plan and the freight system in the state. This is designed to guide the continuing analysis of policy and infrastructure supporting goods movement.

In addition to these elements of the freight plan, a series of freight based performance measures and policies to be presented to SCDOT for consideration in future freight planning in South Carolina.

All of these topics are expected to be included in the December 3 stakeholder webinar.

Rail Plan
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), as well as guidelines for state rail plans issued by FRA. Preliminary guidelines were issued in August 2012, which were finalized in September 2013.

Statewide Travel Demand Model and Economic Analysis
Through the development of the MTP, SCDOT and the study team have been in the process of evaluating the current and potential prioritization of transportation projects. Through both technical analysis and feedback from our project stakeholders around the state, the role of economic development and economic sustainability in transportation policy making has become an essential piece of the eventual MTP.

SCDOT has decided to incorporate a detailed economic analysis tool into the evaluation of project prioritization and performance. To do this, the study team will be developing a statewide travel demand model as well as a customized economic modeling tool to facilitate a quantitative method for project evaluation. The statewide travel demand model will be developed with the help of SCDOT planning staff and will include a freight mode of transport model to support the statewide Freight Plan. This model will be applicable in economic modeling as well as many other transportation planning applications for SCDOT. To date, data inputs to the travel demand model have been compiled and are being processed for inclusion in this planning tool. The model design has been developed and is under review for finalization.

Upon completion in the spring, this model will produce valid forecast estimates of traffic volumes for the Strategic Corridor and Interstate Plans. This model will also be instrumental in estimating future levels of service and assist planners in the identification of transportation needs in the forecast years. With this in mind, the deliverables for those two plans will be delayed, pending results from the statewide model. Progress will continue to be made on those plans in the meantime, and interim plan documents will be made available on the project website.

Human Services Infrastructure Review
During the update of the transit agency and human services coordination (HSC) plans, SCDOT recognized the need for a review of current practices and evaluation of potential models for future coordination, with specific attention to the state's Non-Emergency Medical Transportation (NEMT) infrastructure. The MTP study team will expand its current work on the transit and HSC plans to include this review of the existing statewide structure for coordinated transportation services and develop alternatives for future coordination.

What's Next?
Online and telephone based webinars will be scheduled for January, as noted previously - 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 will be coming via email as well as posted to the project website.



Project Status Report - June 2013

June 2013 Status Report - PDF



Project Status Report - March 2013

March 2013 Status Report - PDF



Project Status Report - December 2012

December 2012 Status Report - PDF



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.


Kick-Off Meeting - July 31, 2012

Project News:

Project Status Reports

Stakeholder Webinars


Quotes from our stakeholders

"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