The North Dakota Department of Transportation (NDDOT) released a request for proposals for the creation of the North Dakota Statewide Active and Public Transportation Plan on February 17, 2017. Notice the word “Active” in the title. There have been informal conversations over the last few years with NDDOT and other state officials about the possibility of an update to the North Dakota Bicycle Plan (first and only edition, 1994). The primary hurdle was that there was no dedicated funding for an update to the ND Bicycle Plan. Recently, there have been internal “rumblings” of interest in the NDDOT and the North Dakota Department of Health to update the Plan.
Historically, active transportation has not been at the forefront of the NDDOT’s “mind.” Things have gradually changed since the mid-2000’s when bicycling in general began to really take a hold in the upper mid-west (e.g. Minneapolis, MN; Madison, WI). Changes in the focus of Federal Transportation Bills since the 1990’s have led to a stronger focus on the development of multi-modal transportation systems rather than a sole focus on increasing efficiencies for motor vehicle travel. This is where the first edition of the ND State Bicycle Plan comes in to play.
As you may well know; a study that becomes a plan with a set of recommendations does not necessarily mean changes on the ground. Thus the lack of a catalyst caused the ND State Bicycle Plan to sit almost completely silently on shelves in Bismarck and at the three municipal planning organizations in North Dakota. The Plan needed a statewide catalyst to allow its recommendations to come to life. There was no such catalyst. The North Dakota Active Transportation Alliance intends to be the catalyst that continues to keep the recommendations of the upcoming plan on a burner at least on “low” if not “hotter.”
So what would the NDDOT like consultants to work on based on the requirements of the request for proposals of the ND Statewide Active and Public Transportation Plan? Below is the scope of work portion of the RFP.
This will be the heart of the plan update. If you feel there is something missing there may an opportunity to tweak the scope of work; certainly no guarantees. Either way, there should be some sort of public input component. I hope you will take the time to read and comment on the scope of work. I look forward to hearing from you.
Executive Director, NDATA
SCOPE OF WORK
Role of Active and Public Transportation
- Establish a collaborative statewide vision, goals, and objectives for active and public transport in North Dakota
- Define active and public transportation’s role in the context of the state’s transportation system
Public Involvement Plan
- Develop and incorporate a public involvement plan to obtain meaningful input in a time efficient manner.
Existing and Projected Conditions and Trends
- Identify active and public transportation expectations and potential opportunities within North Dakota.
- Review and validate recommendations from existing ND State Bicycle Plan (NDDOT and ND Parks and Recreation),the Personal Mobility in North Dakota: Trends, Gaps and Recommended Enhancements Plan (NDDOT), the Identifying and Satisfying Mobility Needs in North Dakota’s Transit System (NDDOT), and 2016 Transit Legislative Study (NDDOT) .
- Analyze socio-economic, transportation technology, and land use pattern trends which may influence the demands on active and public transportation systems from present to the identified horizon year of the plan.
- Analyze non-motorized collision data to determine collision patterns and recommend policies, programs, or educational material to minimize occurrences.
- Recommend appropriate safety countermeasures or guidance documents that could be used to consider various non-motorized crash types.
Active and Public Transportation Systems
- Based on established criteria (for example surface type, width, etc.) identify and map existing statewide bicycle/pedestrian facilities regardless of ownership.
o The NDDOT maintains a GIS .shp file with multi-use trails within North Dakota’s incorporated communities adjacent to State highways.
o At a minimum bicycle/pedestrian facilities outside of North Dakota’s incorporated communities would need to be identified in GIS .shp file format
- Establish a statewide bicycle route system.
o This system should consider integration with local non-motorized systems (where applicable), as well as, the United States Bicycle Route System and other recognized intra and interstate bicycle route systems.
- Identify existing North Dakota public transportation provider profiles which could include available public transportation services, service days, service hours per day and, service areas, revenue hours, and annual operating costs and provide recommendations for updating information on regular intervals.
o This effort should also identify public transportation systems which allow bicycles on their public transportation vehicles
- Identify existing and projected demand, over the next 20 years, for transit services in North Dakota and evaluate if current service levels will address identified demand.
o The plan should identify the amount of resources necessary to meet identified existing and projected demands
o A study has been conducted by the Small Urban Rural Transit Center of the Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute (Identifying and Satisfying Mobility Needs Recommended Enhancements Plan) to identify projected public transportation needs to the year 2020. A similar methodology could be conducted to build upon the subject study or an entirely new methodology may be proposed.
- Document a baseline of existing transit systems rolling stock and age of rolling stock in comparison to industry useful life standards.
o Identify the current and near term replacement needs based on useful life standards
- Recommend appropriate non-motorized and public transportation service indicators/performance measures and associated data collection methodologies.
o This should include methods to coordinate data collection and sharing amongst varying levels of government.
o This should take into consideration the resources necessary to monitor the associated service indicators.
- To the extent possible identify characteristics of locations adjacent to the State transportation system which experience or have the potential to experience significant cyclist, pedestrian and public transportation activity.
State Policies, Programs, Laws, Education, and Design Guidance
- Evaluation and recommendations for motorist training and education material and practices for interaction with bicyclists and pedestrians.
o In addition to the various drivers manuals this plan should also suggest marketing and promotional considerations for non-motorized transportation such as the “Code for the Road” campaign.
o Include recommendations for the most effective methods and formats (such as the NDDOT website and/or social media outlets) which should be used to educate the public.
o Education should be considered from the perspective of both the motorists and non-motorized users to enhance safe interaction amongst all users.
- Evaluation and recommendations associated with current traffic laws and/or state statutes associated with forms of active and public transportation.
- Identify methods for how to guide active transportation users safely through construction zones, including specific implementation strategies.
- Provide general guidance or recommendations within the document for local jurisdictions to conduct active and public transportation planning activities.
- Evaluation and recommendations associated with current practices and policies for developing and maintain the state transportation system.
o This effort should include identifying if current funding practices and polices support or detract from active and public forms of transportation.
- Identify barriers to active and public transportation systems and provide recommendations to mitigate barriers.
o Recommendations might be in the form of policies, programs, and/or design guidance.
- Recommend methods to integrate active and public transportation facilities with other transportation modes.
o Recommendations might be in the form of policies, programs, and/or design guidance.
- Review existing NDDOT design standards/guidance related to active and public transportation facilities and recommend further action(s) to address appropriate design guidelines associated with roadways on a potential bicycle route system, as well as, how State roadways are designed with respect to bicycle, pedestrian, and public transportation in communities and/or locations with significant bicycle/pedestrian demand.
- There are numerous active and public transportation facility options (such as sidewalks, bicycle lanes, buffered bicycle lanes, bus shelters, multi-use paths, sharrows, bus pullouts, etc.) to consider for implementation and numerous sources for design recommendations for these facilities. This document should recommend design guidance sources which should be used while providing direction and guidance to local agencies on best practices in planning and maintaining active and public transportation facilities. Additionally, this document should recommend under what conditions it may be appropriate to implement such facilities.
- Identify general concepts of how:
o Land use characteristics support or detract from active and public forms of transportation
o Transportation facility design supports or detracts from active and public forms of transportation
o Transportation facility design impacts adjacent land development characteristics
- Identify known available funding opportunities and eligibilities for active and public transportation facilities.
o Understand the role of state and federal funding sources in comparison to local investment in active and public transportation facilities and services.
- As demand for existing state and federal funding sources appears to outpace the availability of funds this plan should also include recommendations for various funding mechanisms Local Public Agencies could consider for addressing active and public transportation facility and service demands at the local level.
- Develop estimated unit costs, as well as, useful life timeframes for various active and public transportation facilities and vehicles including but not limited to paved multi-use trails and public transportation vehicles. This should include estimates of preventative maintenance activities and associated costs and timeframes.
- The plan should serve as a communications tool, describing the prioritization framework for investments in the active and public transportation modes on the State transportation system.
- Establish an understanding of customer preferences for funding allocation
o Should funds be focused on Communities or rural areas
o Should funds be focused on transportation or recreational needs
o Conduct an active and public transportation statewide system level analysis considering customer expectations of implementing facilities in comparison to associated costs.
- This analysis might include multiple scenarios.
- Define the state and local partners, which will be necessary to pursue implementation of the recommendations.
- Suggest timeframes and responsible parties for implementation of identified recommendations.
- Recommend processes, as appropriate, to incorporate active and public transportation planning into project implementation.
o Identify federal and state policies related to integration of active transportation facilities into project implementation.
- Evaluate the pros and cons of establishing a non-motorized state advisory committee and the associated potential roles.