Modern demands on transportation policy and practice require new thinking, skills, and processes, including better collaborative decision-making outside of transportation silos. SSTI helps transportation agencies to identify desired project outcomes, as well as to outline potential challenges and opportunities. We use an outcome-based decision-making model to assist with the project selection process, alongside tools such as accessibility analysis.
Improving Policy and Practice
Transportation agencies must address complex issues, such as achieving Vision Zero, providing mobility without reducing access to destinations due to sprawl, serving populations equitably, and reducing transportation-related climate pollution.
The success–or failure–in addressing these and other issues often depends on the decision-making rules used in implementation. Many of the decision-making rules in the field have not kept up with current policy needs. A prominent example of this is the decision-making rule to add highway capacity in hopes of improving “level of service.” With new data and more powerful analytic tools, SSTI works to update and replace legacy decision-making rules with new metrics and standards that address policies around multimodalism, equity, climate impacts, and more.
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Smart Scale in Virginia
Virginia is a national leader in multi-modal, data-driven project prioritization. SSTI has supported the continuing development of its Smart Scale program and, specifically, the metrics and analyses used to evaluate the accessibility and land use benefits of transportation investments. Our team has also worked with stakeholders throughout Virginia, leveraging big data to advance more cost-effective solutions. Learn more about the program at smartscale.org.
SmartTRAC in Hawaii
Building on the success of Virginia’s Smart Scale program, SSTI and Smart Growth America helped the Hawaii DOT pilot the Smart Transportation Rank Choice (SmartTRAC) program to better align transportation investments with priorities around safety, preservation, accessibility, traffic management, and environmental protection. This involved assessing the mode shift potential of bike and pedestrian projects using accessibility analysis.
Accessibility Analysis at WSDOT
The Washington State DOT launched a multimodal accessibility program in 2019 with technical support and research assistance from SSTI and Smart Growth America. Their program sets a new framework for thinking about transportation system performance, identifying transportation gaps, and evaluating outcomes like environmental justice, health, and travel options.