States interested in modeling transportation and land use can now learn from Oregon’s experience building its Statewide Integrated Model (SWIM), thanks to a new study published in the Journal of Transport and Land Use. The model, now used in ODOT’s regular operations, grew out of its decades-long Transportation and Land Use Model Integration Program (TLUMIP), launched in the late 1990s. Several keys to its success were committed staff, a sharp focus on meeting agency needs, and the ability to adapt as those needs changed.
The first program to charge a per-mile fee to drivers will launch July 1 in Oregon. Although beginning with only 5,000 volunteers, the program will continue to expand as an alternative to reliance on the gas tax. Three payment and processing options have been authorized for participants.
The Oregon DOT recently announced a new partnership with Waze—a navigational app that collects crowdsourced traffic information from its users and employs the data in real time. Florida was among the first states to sign an agreement with Waze in May 2014, granting them access to the company’s data in exchange for information about road closures and other incidents in the state. Approximately 30 agencies around the world have partnered with the company, including cities, regional agencies and a handful of states.
Transportation planners and traffic analysts who typically measure road performance in terms of delay are beginning to incorporate measures of travel time reliability, which describe the hourly and daily variation in travel times due to congestion and transit delay. Two new reports prepared for the Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP 2) provide a better understanding of the value of travel time reliability, and also insight into what might be the most appropriate uses for such measures.
Transit fans, amateur transportation planners, and advocates for multimodal transportation loved the original TransitMix, the easy online tool that allowed anyone to create a new transit route, alter an existing one, or change schedules in their city, at least on their computer. Now TransitMix has gone pro, and Oregon DOT is one of the first agencies to use it.
Transportation agencies are broadening their mission statements and long-range plans to focus on issues such as livability, sustainability, equity, and economic vitality in addition to their historical focuses on mobility. Oregon DOT recently developed Mosaic, a least-cost planning tool that accounts for each of those goals.
Many states are facing the same challenges as the federal government, with decreasing buying power from gas tax collections and little political support for raising the tax. Oregon has decided to take steps to circumvent the transportation funding cliff by implementing a pay-per-mile program that will launch in July 2015. A new report by ODOT describes Oregon’s evolving pay-per-mile fee.
Oregon is set to save an estimated $6.2 million by scaling back part of a Eugene area interchange expansion project on Interstate 5. The first three phases of the I-5/Randy Papé Beltline Interchange project have proceeded as planned but the final phase is being scaled back based on the recommendations of two government advisory boards and a 2011 traffic study that forecast 20 percent lower traffic on the facility than was estimated in its environmental study.