Potential Roles of M&O in Supporting Livability and Sustainability
How M&O Can Support Livability and Sustainability
M&O strategies can support livability and sustainability in multiple contexts, including:
Transportation systems M&O has wide-ranging impacts on communities and the environment — from how easy it is for a pedestrian to cross the street to how much fuel, productivity, and quality of life is wasted in traffic.
Efforts to create more livable, sustainable communities should account for all aspects of transportation: planning, development, management, and operations.
- Neighborhood and corridor strategies (applied at a local or regional level), such as parking management, traffic signal coordination, TSP, arterial management, bicycle sharing, and traffic calming.
- Regional systems, such as traveler information systems; congestion pricing and electronic payment/ tolls; managed lanes; management of freight, freeways, work zones, traffic incidents, and special events; and emergency response and homeland security.
- Modal connections, such as smart cards for transit and parking, real-time transit information, and bicycle/pedestrian operations such as crosswalk signals or bicycle racks on public transit buses.
- Policy and communications at the state and regional levels, such as implementation of an intelligent transportation systems (ITS) architecture to ensure that technologies work together effectively and regional transportation plans and long-range state transportation plans that define a vision, goals, and objectives for how a transportation system should operate.
The connections between M&O strategies and livability and sustainability can be broadly grouped into three areas: economic, environmental, and community- related (i.e., related to travel choices and equity). Table 2 highlights these connections and some measures of the benefits.
|The role of M&O in supporting economic sustainability and/or livability issues||
|The role of M&O in supporting environmental sustainability and/or livability issues||
|The role of M&O in supporting travel choices and social/equity issues||
Many M&O strategies implicitly support livability and sustainability by promoting more efficient use of existing facilities while reducing the need for potentially costly and disruptive capital investments that may be out of character with communities they serve.
M&O strategies can be an important component of regional sustainability efforts. For example, the Sustainable East End Development Strategies planning effort to improve the sustainability and quality of life of Eastern Long Island identified M&O strategies as "low-impact, low-cost, and easily implemented system improvements" that could help the community achieve many of its goals.17
M&O Supporting Multimodal Options in Seattle
After repaving Stone Way North in the Wallingford area of Seattle, Washington, the Seattle DOT had the option to maintain the roadway's previous cross-section as four general-purpose travel lanes or to adopt a new cross-section and operational strategies for the corridor. Based on a balanced approach to M&O, the city decided to restripe the roadway as a three-lane section with bicycle facilities (a bicycle lane on the uphill side of the street and sharrows on the downhill side), on-street parking, and updated crosswalks.
The restriping allowed the city to complete a project identified in its 2007 Bicycle Master Plan and increase transportation options in the area. A before-and-after study of the corridor showed that peak hour vehicle capacity was maintained despite the reduction in the number of general travel lanes. The study also found a 35 percent increase in bicycle traffic, a 33 percent reduction in collisions with injuries (all modes), and an 80 percent reduction in vehicle-pedestrian collisions.
Source: City of Seattle DOT, Stone Way N Rechannelization: Before and After Study, May 2010.
A Balanced Approach to M&O
Maximizing the livability and sustainability benefits of M&O strategies requires a balanced approach to M&O. Not all M&O strategies support livability and sustainability outcomes equally. For example, traffic signals that prioritize vehicle traffic flow but do not consider the mobility and access needs of pedestrians, bicycles, and transit can actually work against livability and sustainability principles. In contrast, signal timing plans and roundabouts that support livability and sustainability objectives will provide improved mobility in a way that balances vehicular and bus traffic, pedestrians, and bicycle access, in order to support community vitality, safety, and the environment.
A balanced approach to M&O provides a framework that
helps practitioners consider tradeoffs, better understand
potential impacts on livability and sustainability, and
avoid unintended results. Most importantly, this framework
encourages practitioners to evaluate transportation system
operations from a variety of perspectives and consider how
the system can be optimized in multiple ways to achieve
different performance measures and goals.
4 Texas Transportation Institute, Urban Mobility Report 2009, July 2009. [ Return to note 4 ]
5 U.S. DOT, FHWA, Identifying How Management and Operations Supports Livability and Sustainability Goals, White Paper, April 2010. [ Return to note 5 ]
6 American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), The Road to Livability, April 2010. [ Return to note 6 ]
7 U.S. DOT, Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) Joint Program Office, Investment Opportunities for Managing Transportation Performance through Technology, January 2009. [ Return to note 7 ]
8 Antonucci, Nicholas D., et al. Guidance for Implementation of the AASHTO Strategic Highway Safety Plan, National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) Report 500, Volume 12, 2004. [ Return to note 8 ]
9 DeCorla-Souza, Patrick T., "Impacts from Implementing Dynamic Shoulder Travel Lanes with Congestion Pricing," Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting, 2010. [ Return to note 9 ]
10 U.S. DOT, FHWA, Multi-Pollutant Emissions Benefits of Transportation Strategies, November 2006. [ Return to note 10 ]
11 Neudorff, Louis G., Moving Cooler – An Operations and ITS Perspective, ITS America Technical Forum on Sustainability, 2009. [ Return to note 11 ]
12 Rue, Harrison, Real Towns: Making your Neighborhood Work (Sacramento, California: Local Government Commission, 2000). [ Return to note 12 ]
13 U.S. DOT, Federal Transit Administration (FTA), Bus Rapid Transit and Development: Policies and Practices that Affect Development Around Transit, December 2009. [ Return to note 13 ]
14 U.S. DOT, FHWA and FTA, Livability In Transportation Guidebook: Planning Approaches that Promote Livability, 2010. [ Return to note 14 ]
15 Governors' Institute on Community Design, Policies that Work: A Governor's Guide to Growth and Development, 2009. [ Return to note 15 ]
16 U.S. DOT, ITS Joint Program Office. Investment Opportunities for Managing Transportation Performance through Technology, January 2009. [ Return to note 16 ]
17 East End Transportation Council, New York Metropolitan Transportation Council, and ARKF, Inc. "Sustainable East End Development Strategies." June 2005. [ Return to note 17 ]