State DOT and MPO Responses to Planning in Uncertainty
State departments of transportation (DOT), metropolitan planning
organizations (MPOs), and other planning agencies increasingly are facing the
challenge of developing meaningful long-range plans during a time of
uncertainty across the transportation industry.
These uncertainties include a confluence of trends including changes in
demographics, the economy and workforce, land use and development patterns, and
other social, cultural, and geopolitical trends; the impact of rapidly changing
technologies including automated, connected, electric, and shared vehicles; a
growing number of risks ranging from extreme weather and climate change to
cybersecurity concerns; and continued uncertainty about future funding for
The purpose of this project is to examine how state DOTs, MPOs,
and other planning agencies are adapting their planning processes to account
for potential uncertainties, disruptions, and risks. It is intended to fill a gap in prior
research by identifying specific examples of how planning processes and
products have changed, and whether these enhanced processes have supported more
effective planning decisions.
The research should address questions such as:
- Are DOT,
MPOs, and other planning agencies changing the types of information they are
providing to decision makers to reflect greater uncertainty and changing
external trends? Specifically, are the
strategic decisions listed in NCHRP Report 798 changing?
- Are DOTs,
MPOs, and other planning agencies changing their planning products and
timelines to account for uncertainty?
For example, are they changing the frequency or horizons of updates to
long-range plans? Are they developing shorter-term strategic or implementation
plans to bridge the gap between long-range plans and capital programs?
- Are DOTs,
MPOs, and other planning agencies implementing scenario planning processes,
particularly at the exploratory level?
How have these scenario planning processes been integrated into
long-range plans and impacted investment decisions?
- Are DOTs,
MPOs, and other planning agencies changing the way they engage with partners
and the public to account for uncertainty?
- Are DOTs, MPOs, and other planning agencies
changing the sources and uses of data for transportation planning to account
for uncertainty? For example, looking at
detailed information on emerging demographic characteristics, industry
clusters, or business practices rather than standard forecasts? Are agencies looking at new types of leading
indicators as signposts of potential change?
Prior NCHRP research,
including the Report 750 Foresight series, has documented many of these
long-range trends and uncertainties. Prior research, including Report 798: The Role of Planning in a 21st Century State
Department of Transportation—Supporting Strategic Decision-making, has documented
the changing management and customer expectations facing state DOT planning
staff today. Prior research also has
documented emerging tools and techniques related to topics like scenario
planning and risk management.
NCHRP Report 750 Series,
Informing Transportation’s Future, http://www.trb.org/NCHRP/NCHRPForesightSeries.aspx?srcaud=NCHRP
NCHRP Report 798, The Role
of Planning in a 21st Century State Department of Transportation—Supporting
NCHRP 08-36, Task 117, Sketch
Tools for Regional Sustainability Planning,
NCHRP 08-36, Task 145,
Scenario Planning Lite, https://apps.trb.org/cmsfeed/TRBNetProjectDisplay.asp?ProjectID=4499
Information may be
collected through literature review, surveys of DOTs and MPOs, and follow-up
interviews with selected agencies for the development of case examples.
|Sponsoring Committee:||AEP10, Transportation Policy and Processes
|Research Period:||6 - 12 months|
|RNS Developer:||John Kaliski (Cambridge Systematics), Jerri Bohard (Oregon DOT), Marc Williams (Texas DOT)|
|Source Info:||ADA10 Statewide Multimodal Transportation Planning Critical Issues Subcommittee - working group members|
|Index Terms:||Transportation planning, State departments of transportation, Metropolitan planning organizations, Disaster resilience, Long range planning, Innovation, |
Planning and Forecasting|