Transportation systems that promote safe walking, biking, and public transit are the strong core of healthy economies and sustainable, equitable communities. For state DOTs, which for decades have primarily focused on highway expansion, a multimodal focus often requires new standards and decision-making frameworks. SSTI works to create tools and share innovative practices that support new ways of thinking to improve multimodal transportation.
Accessibility analysis measures a transportation system’s success in creating links between destinations for travelers. New computing power and data make it possible to apply it to transportation decision making. We highlight this in our guide for practitioners, Measuring Accessibility.
SSTI’s thought-leading work applies accessibility anlaysis at various scales, from small, individual projects to regional plans and programs. SSTI has also produced ways to use accessibility scores to forecast outcomes such as VMT and modal usage.
Improving Policy and Practice
A balanced, multimodal approach starts with funding priorities but also involves data collection, design standards, and performance criteria that all shape our transportation systems. SSTI works with state DOTs and other local stakeholders on many of those fronts, including leveraging Big Data to understand multimodal travel patterns, improving multimodal project prioritization, adopting new standards of system performance, and rethinking the ways that roads can meet all users’ needs, regardless of mode.
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Smart Scale in Virginia
In 2014 the Virginia Legislature directed state agencies to reform the way they invested in transportation capacity projects. The result was a program called Smart Scale. SSTI worked on a consulting team to improve the methods used for calculating accessibility benefits for walking, biking, transit, and driving.
The success and failure of transit often depends on the first- and last-mile connections to transit stops. For our work with the Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG) and other local partners, SSTI paired accessibility analysis with multimodal trip data from StreetLight Data and Teralytics to improve missing connections.
Complete Streets at Caltrans
Caltrans contacted our partners at Smart Growth America in 2018 for assistance developing a new program to improve their walking, biking, and transit accommodations in policy, planning, and implementation of state projects. Through this work, SSTI assisted Caltrans headquarters in structuring its Complete Streets Center of Excellence (CSCOE) and identifying barriers and opportunities in complete streets implementation.