Here’s what’s next for the TPB’s Long-Range Plan Task Force

The TPB’s Long-Range Plan Task Force discussed the process it will use to choose which initiatives it will recommend to the TPB for endorsement in December. The process will include a straw poll similar to the way the task force narrowed down it’s list of initiatives to be studied. (TPB)

At its October 18 meeting, the Long-Range Plan Task Force discussed the process it will use to select initiatives from the ten being studied to recommend for the TPB’s endorsement.

As a reminder, the task force created a long list of projects, programs, and policies, then narrowed it down to 10 to recommend to the TPB for analysis. In July, the TPB approved the 10 initiatives to be analyzed—at a sketch planning level—to assess how well each initiative can help the region progress towards its goals. Now that the analysis is underway, the task force has a new challenge—to review the analyzed initiatives and decide which ones, if any, it should recommend to the TPB to endorse in December, for future concerted action by the TPB.

What is a sketch planning level analysis?

The current analysis is not a detailed engineering analysis of each project, program, or policy. This type of analysis at the sketch planning level is intended to provide an initial assessment of which of the projects, programs, or policy ideas have the potential to begin to address the transportation challenges that the task force identified.

RELATED: What will it take to meet the region’s long-term transportation goals?

Sketch planning is a kind of general analysis that may use spreadsheets or Geographic Information System (GIS) tools and does not rely on detailed inputs as traditional, in-depth travel demand modeling does. This type of analysis will allow the task force to understand how different kinds of land-use or transportation changes could perform relative to the current Constrained Long-Range Transportation Plan (CLRP). It’s useful for the task force so it can compare how much impact each initiative could make on the region’s transportation system.

The analysis will use a combination of qualitative and quantitative measures to evaluate each initiative. Quantitative measures are those that can be measured using numbers like travel time, hours of delay, or transit options for households or jobs.

Qualitative measures are those that for this particular study are evaluated using the technical team’s professional judgment. Those measurements include crowding on rail, development on open space, or roadway repair needs.

The sketch planning analysis will use a combination of qualitative and quantitative measures of effectiveness to evaluate each initiative. (TPB)

The task force will look at the various performance measures from this high-level analysis and base its decisions on how well each project, program, or policy moves the region closer to its goals.

What would a TPB endorsement look like?

At the October meeting the task force also discussed what a TPB endorsement would represent and what future concerted actions by the TPB would mean. An endorsement of an initiative simply means that the TPB believes the concepts represented by that initiative have the potential to improve the performance of the region’s transportation system beyond what is anticipated by its current long-range transportation plan. And that it should be advanced through more detailed exploration.

What it does not mean is endorsing every individual component of that initiative.  It would not require TPB member jurisdictions to change their own plans, programs, or policies or to design, fund, and implement these initiatives without further study.

Similarly, the task force believes that “future concerted action” at a minimum it would involve a commitment by all TPB member jurisdictions and agencies to collaborate and further examine the concepts represented by the endorsed initiatives. And to identify short- and long-term actions to move an initiative towards implementation. The goal would be to ultimately include them in future updates to the region’s long-range transportation plan.

How will the task force make its final recommendations?

Since the task force’s work is on a tight schedule, the group agreed that the process would have to be simple, fair, and consistent with the purpose for which the task force was established. Each task force member and the task force body as a whole will consider many factors as they compare and evaluate the initiatives. Members will use the analysis to compare how each initiative performs relative to the others. In addition, the task force will also consider other factors that were not captured in the study.

A straw poll will allow each member to vote on the initiatives they would like to recommend to the TPB for its endorsement. In order to reflect a strong consensus among the task force for its recommendations, task force members agreed that an initiative would have to receive the support of at least two thirds of the members to be considered for recommendation.

Additionally, the process requires task force members to rank the initiatives they wish to recommend. This will allow staff to develop an overall list of the initiatives with the level of support it has among the task force members and provide a score to show how task force members prioritized the initiative.

Then the task force will discuss the pros and cons of each initiative. This will to allow members to exchange their ideas and rationale for their support and priorities for the initiatives. These discussions could change the list of the initiatives recommended to the TPB. Finally, the task force may also decide to conduct additional rounds of voting to support the final set of recommendations.

MORE: Read more about the process to help the task force make its recommendations

Upcoming schedule for the Long-Range Plan Task Force

The results of the analysis will be presented at the November 15 TPB meeting. Then the task force will meet after the TPB meeting to examine the results of each of the 10 initiatives in greater detail to better understand the findings and the takeaways of the analysis. A thorough understanding of the potential of each initiative to address the region’s transportation challenges is central to the task force’s decision-making.

In addition to its meeting on November 15, the task force decided to save November 29 as a potential date should it decide to meet again to continue examining the results of the analysis. Finally, on December 6 the task force will meet to identify the initiatives that it could recommend to the TPB following the process it developed earlier in October.


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