How can SC measure road performance?

The Coalition recently worked with partners from around the state to develop new ways SC can measure its road performance.  The new federal transportation legislation – MAP-21 – charged the states with designing their own way of grading road performance.  We just submitted the criteria we developed to SCDOT, on behalf of PCC membership and as our stakeholder input, to the Multi Modal Transportation Plan. 

What is road performance?  This is a way of giving your roads a grade for how well they perform.  Here are a few examples:  1) are they safe?, 2) did the costs outweigh the benefits to users?, 3) do they get people to where they want to go?, 4) do they promote economic development by connecting between and within cities?, and 5) does road design encourage driving speed that match posted limits? 

The Coalition recently submitted a host of performance standard recommendations to SCDOT as part of their Multi Modal Transportation Plan.  We loved that we had the opportunity to do so, and it’s not over ’til it’s over.  As a stakeholder, we have until the end of this summer to work with SCDOT in providing this input.

Here is what we recently submitted regarding recommended SCDOT performance standards:
PCC recommendations
for the
SCDOT Intermodal Transportation Plan

Performance Measures
·         Safety.  Primary: Increased ridership, with data collected by pneumatic tubes sensitive to bikes and cars.  Secondary:  Decreased injuries and fatalities, only as relative to ridership.  
o   Note:  Fatalities/injuries spike just after facilities are added, but only because ridership greatly increases.  Without measuring ridership, the actual safety ratio measure (fatality/injury per rider) cannot be measured, and higher fatalities/injuries will inaccurately lead the reviewer to think facilities create unsafe conditions.  Only by measuring both ridership and fatalities/injuries can a safety measure be valid. 
·         Safety funding (Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) funding):  Spend X amount on bike/ped infrastructure each year that matches the X% of bike/ped fatalities the previous year. 
·         Safety per person, not vehicle:  Evaluate crash rates per capita, not per vehicle mile.  Not doing this will place bias on those owning automobiles, and will trend safety performance on the vehicle, not the person driving it. 
·         Improvements to health indicators (hospital visits with asthma, heart attack, or Type II diabetes as primary diagnosis)
·         Mode shift towards more equal use of all modes (bike/ped/auto).  High performance = High # miles of established, safe alternatives. 
·         Cost Effectiveness Ratio, ie. Transportation $ spent per mile / customer served
·         Ratio of average motorist speed vs. posted speed limit (road design having positive influence on driving behavior).  High performance = 1. 
·         Number of exemptions from this policy approved.  High performance = 0.
·         Level of Service
o   BLOS:  Listed in order of importance. 
§  High # linear miles of rail/trail and bike lanes per square mile. 
§  # bike parking spaces per square mile, only including those located at high density non-residential areas
§  High Connectivity of Existing Bicycle Network (not linear miles, but instead a GIS function)
§  existence of bike holsters on transit busses
§  Cost effectiveness ratio = # residents and office workers / linear miles of bike lanes or rail-trails
o   PLOS:  Listed in order of importance.  
§  High # linear miles of sidewalks per square mile. 
§  Sidewalks in close proximity to Public Facilities/School
§  Sidewalks have High Transit Accessibility (average proximity to each stop)
§  Sidewalks in areas of high Traffic Speed
§  High Connectivity of Existing Sidewalk Network (not linear miles, but instead a GIS function)
§  Sidewalks in areas with existing Pedestrian Crossing Assistance Facilities
§  High # of new sidewalks built in areas with evidence of Existing Pedestrian Usage
§  Cost effectiveness ratio = # residents and office workers / linear miles of sidewalks added
Other Comprehensive performance measures
·         Accessibility (ability to reach desired goods, services and activities), including the travel time and costs required by various users to reach activities and destinations such as work, education, public services and recreation (CTS 2010)
·         Land Use Density and MixNumber of job opportunities and commercial services within 30-minute travel distance of residents.
·         Children’s accessibility – Portion of children who can walk or bicycle to Schools, shops and parks from their homes.
·         Commute speed – Average commute travel time and Congestion delay.
·         Transport diversity – Variety and quality of transport Options available in a community.
·         Mode split – Portion of travel made by walking, cycling, rideshare, public transit and telework.
·         Consumer Transport Costs and AffordabilityPortion of household expenditures devoted to transport, including vehicle expenses, fares, residential parking costs, and taxes devoted to transport; particularly by people who are economically, socially and physically disadvantaged.
·         Facility costs – Per capita expenditures on roads, traffic services and parking facilities (Transport Costs).
·         Planning Practices – Degree to which transport institutions reflect Least-cost planning and investment practices. Higher is better.
·         User Evaluation – Overall user satisfaction with their transportation system.
·         Planning processRange of impacts and options considered in the planning process, and quality of public involvement. 
·         Health and fitnessPortion of population that regularly uses active transport modes (walking and cycling).
·         Community LivabilityDegree to which transport activities increase community livability (local environmental quality).
·         Basic Mobility and Access – Quality of transport to access socially valuable activities such as medical services, education, employment and essential shopping, particularly for disadvantaged populations.
·         EquityDegree to which transport policies reflect equity objectives.
·         Multi-Modal Level-of-Service Indicatorsevaluate the quality of various transport modes from a users perspective. This helps create a more neutral planning decisions compared with current practices which apply roadway LOS ratings but no comparable indictors for other modes.
·         Energy Consumption and Pollution Emissions– the amount of transportation energy used and pollutants emitted.
Sidewalk/path supply
Pedestrian LOS
Crosswalk conditions
Pedestrian mode split
Avg. annual walk distance
Pedestrian crash rates
Cost per sidewalk-mile
Cost per walk-mile
Cost per capita
Bike path and lane supply
Cycling LOS
Path conditions
Bicycle mode split
Avg. annual cycle distance
Cyclist crash rates
Cost per path-mile
Cost per cycle-mile
Cost per capita

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Amy Johnson Ely

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