At its January meeting, the TPB approved new highway safety targets for the region. The board was briefed on how the partial government shutdown has affected traffic in the region and how Visualize 2045 might impact low-income and minority populations. The board also appointed new members to the Citizens Advisory Committee.
In his Director’s Report, Staff Director Kanti Srikanth provided a brief overview of some analysis of how the partial government shutdown has impact traffic in the region. While there was less congestion on the region’s roads, Srikanth noted that this is not the way the region should want its roads to move faster. He also provided the board with information from the Metropolitan Council of Governments (COG) and the COG Board’s statement on the partial government shutdown.
The Environmental Justice analysis of Visualize 2045
Every long-range plan must be analyzed for disproportionately high and adverse impact on low-income and minorities populations. TPB staff presented the analysis and found that the plan does not disproportionally harm low-income and minority populations in the region.
In addition to the federally required test, TPB staff were also able to look at some other aspects of how the constrained element of Visualize 2045 performed for areas designated as Equity Emphasis Areas. This analysis provides an opening for the region to continue to look at ways equity can play a role in the planning process.
Board members were most interested in how the Environmental Justice analysis can fit into a larger discussion about equity in the region. Vice Chair Charles Allen asked if it was possible to figure out what types of jobs people have access to since access to jobs is a broad category. That type of analysis would require more than regional data.
Board members were also interested in how the Equity Emphasis Areas might be used in other policy areas, since equity is a complex issue and crosses into other sectors. They asked if other COG committees could interact with the data and findings from the analysis. Srikanth explained that other COG committees are interested in the Equity Emphasis Areas and presentations are on the agenda for other committees.
Safety Targets for the region
The board approved new highway safety targets for the 2015-2019 period, updating previous targets for 2014-2018, to assess how the region is performing in the number and rate of fatalities and serious injuries on the roads and to non-motorists. While the TPB supports regional aspirational safety goals like Towards Zero Deaths or Vision Zero, these targets are federally required to be data-driven and not aspirational goals. The targets while supported by data are expected to reflect a reduction in the number and rate of fatalities and serious injuries. The targets are intended to help the federal government assess safety outcomes of federal safety fund. They also provide a nationwide data set.
The regional safety targets are based on state level target setting methodologies used in Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia. Unfortunately, official 2017 data shows that it was a bad year for safety in the region. Fatalities have increased though serious injuries have decreased. Indications are that 2018 was no better than 2017.
Board members were concerned that highway fatalities are going up instead of down. The board noted that as a region we should be working to reverse the recent increase in roadway fatalities and to do better than the data-driven safety targets. Board members were interested in learning what may cause fatalities to increase in the region and to focus on ways that the region can address those causes. The draft resolution included a section focused on an upcoming study of highway safety in the region. Board members also wanted the state transportation agencies to regularly report back on the actions being taken to improve roadway safety. The board reiterated its support for the aspirational regional safety goals.
Other items of interest
A briefing on Transit Asset Management: Staff presented draft targets for Transit Asset Management. This is another set of performance measures that need to be updated each year. Federal law states that MPOs like the TPB must set targets for keeping transit fleets and facilities in a state of good repair. The board will take up these targets for approval at its February meeting. Read more about Transit Asset Management
CAC report: The 2018 Citizens Advisory Committee met for the last time on January 10. At that meeting the committee reviewed what it had done during the year and provided advice to the 2019 committee. Read the CAC Report
AFA Report: At the Access for All Advisory Committee Meeting, the committee received a briefing on the Environmental Justice analysis for Visualize 2045. The committee also learned about national research on transportation for people with disabilities and older adults. Read the AFA report.