Innovations in Safety and Security in Transportation Planning

The safety of the nation’s transportation system is a priority for the planning profession. Injuries and fatalities for all transportation mode choices have been declining nationwide but the rates are still unacceptably high.  The events of September 11, 2001 and the devastating effect of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita placed a renewed focus on how MPOs have added safety and security responsibilities to their work programs. Public agencies are tasked with preventing threats, mitigating negative effects if events occur, and quickly undertaking response and recovery efforts following an event.

AMPO, in partnership with the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), began a project in 2004 to provide incentive grants to MPOs that are undertaking meaningful, innovative initiatives to incorporate safety and security considerations in the long-range transportation planning process. AMPO developed a competitive award process to identify and provide funding for MPOs that are addressing safety and security in a meaningful way in their planning process.

AMPO and FTA assisted MPOs with the development of innovative ideas, documenting lessons learned, and sharing the knowledge gained with the transportation planning community. As of 2010, the efforts from the MPOs in the project were near completion. The following four MPOs received incentive grants.

Community Planning Association of Southwest Idaho (COMPASS)

COMPASS is the MPO for the Boise metro area and serves a population of 237,000.  The award allowed COMPASS to undertake the Treasure Valley Access Management Strategy to focus on the problem of intersection accidents by addressing access management.  Intersection accidents are 52% of all vehicle accidents in the region.  COMPASS assess local plans and ordinances that promote access management, prepared a model access management ordinance for adoption by local governments, prepared a technical guidebook, and developed a protocol to coordinate state DOT access permitting with local government review of development proposals.

Greater Buffalo-Niagara Regional Transportation Council (GBNRTC)

GBNRTC, in Buffalo, New York, undertook an Accident Surveillance System Enhancement and Integration with Transit project with this award.  The project created new tools to improve the use of a current accident surveillance system to identify safety problems, causal factors, and solutions.  It also integrated bus and rail transit data regarding incidents, locations, causes, and factors into the system to comprehensively assess transit safety issues in the metropolitan area of just under 1 million residents.  The multi-modal aspect was especially interesting to the expert panel.

North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG)

NCTCOG is the MPO for the Dallas-Ft. Worth, TX area, home to 4.1 million residents.  The MPO undertook creation of an Emergency Responders Uniform Communication System.  The study looked at incorporating two existing regional communication systems to create the uniform system for traffic incident emergency responders.  NCTCOG focused on a system that will use existing networks and wireless technology to transmit voice, video and data across a variety of platforms and will transmit video images from transit tunnels and stations.

Gulf regional Planning Commission

GRPC in Biloxi, MS is the MPO for the urbanized area of the Mississippi Gulf Coast, including the counties of Hancock, Harrison and Jackson. GRPC developed a post-event emergency plan for the operation of public transportation. The plan will guide and direct the coordination of transportation services necessary to the recovery of the impacted area. A formal mechanism to maintain the coordination and to continue developing emergency plans for disaster-related events was an outcome of the planning process. This plan and model are used to interact with local, regional, state and federal agencies to consider for long-term emergency recovery project planning and funding. This award was granted after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita left widespread devastation along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. GRPC expressed an urgent need to develop this emergency recovery plan.

Upon completion of this project AMPO will post links to the products and presentations produced by the MPOs.


Connecting Communities: Emergency Preparedness and Security Regional Forum - FTA Safety and Security Home Page