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T2 Transportation Tomorrow

Project Abstract

Travel and congestion in the South Central Corridor have dramatically increased due to population and employment growth within the Louisville Metropolitan Area (LMA). An important indicator of congestion has been growth in trips on I-65 that neither begin nor end in the LMA, but are “through trips” on the interstate system. The combined travel on I-65 for local, regional and through trips has resulted in slower and less predictable travel times and reduced mobility for many interlocking travel markets in the South Central Corridor. Accessibility to jobs, business establishments, and cultural, entertainment, institutional and public service destinations is deteriorating and is considered a primary limiting factor to social and economic development. Neighborhoods are affected by the diversion of some longer trips to the local street system. Existing bus transit operates in mixed traffic and experiences the same congestion as a private automobile. In most circumstances, the rising congestion penalizes the transit traveler more so than the automobile traveler when both in-vehicle and out-of-vehicle travel times are taken into consideration. Existing transit, therefore, does not, and cannot, effectively compete with the single occupant vehicle (SOV).



CSS Qualities

Project Team (make up)
The project team was led by the TARC Executive Director and had representation from project development and public information departments. Members also included a technical program manager, a communications coordinator, and a planner.

Stakeholders (make up, utilization, interaction) 
Smoketown and Shelby Park residents; Louisville residents from other neighborhoods; TARC officials; Urban Design Studio representatives; Kentucky Transportation Center Representatives.

Public involvement (types, documentation) 
T2 carried out an extensive public involvement process with neighborhoods, businesses, city planners, and transportation planners to negotiate the best possible alignment for the overall light rail system. Over a period of seven years, T2 held over 900 meetings involving thousands of participants. T2 worked closely with individual residents to find ROW that minimized the impact on existing housing and maximized the benefits of a light rail system. T2 also collaborated with academic researchers at KTC and the Urban Design Studio, a cooperative effort between UK and the U. of Louisville. This phase concentrated on the design of one of the Transit-Oriented Developments that were anticipated to be part of the system.

Two sets of meetings were held. Stage I was to introduce the Kentucky Transportation Center team to the community focus group, to explain the methodology, to dry run the electronic voting system so that further meetings could be held as efficiently as possible and to focus the assessment questions. Stage 2 involved the building and evaluation of the virtual reality models. On January 23, 2002 the first focus group meeting was held from 5:30-7:30 pm at Mt. Olive Baptist Church.

Design solution (process, modes and alternatives examined)
It became clear that the community group had some preferences regarding suitability for the neighborhood, and that these did not always align with their purely aesthetic preferences. The next step of the public involvement process consisted of two focus group meetings aiming to test the team’s ability to replicate the preference scoring process. The replication was successful, gaining input from another part of the neighborhood and thus providing a broader preference base. As per design, data from the two meetings was aggregated into one database. A third meeting was held where three virtual-reality visualizations were displayed. The response to these visual models was striking. The team had been concerned about the overall qualitative ‘feel’ of the models and whether participants would be distracted by the differences between ‘real’ photographs and simulated landscapes that appear in the virtual reality simulations. Instead, respondents ignored such differences and immediately went to the design issues they were interested in. The final three scenarios were viewed, reviewed, and scored by the public, and the relative rank was consistent with the original public input. 

CSS concepts by project phase
In the pre-design phase the following principles were utilized: Use of interdisciplinary; teams; Involve stakeholders; Seek broad-based public involvement; Use full range of communication methods; Address community & social issues; Address aesthetic treatments & enhancements; Document project decisions; Create a lasting value for the community; and Use all resources effectively (time & budget). 

Lessons learned
Opportunities for public involvement are not always recognized by general public because of low expectations generated by past public involvement processes. Repeated and consistent interaction with the relevant public on a particular project and/or by a particular agency builds a positive reputation and improves levels and thus quality of public participation. Public meetings must be carefully designed to gather the maximum input from the greatest number of participants in the minimum necessary time. Thus, methods that rely on individual speeches by participants are doomed to failure because of the inefficient use of time. Information input must be rapid, anonymous, transparent, and democratic. Planning and design teams must decide ahead of time exactly what information they need and exactly how it will be incorporated into the planning and design process and how the public will be able to verify that their input was part of the process.

CSS Principles

CSS Principle

Project Team

Use of interdisciplinary teams

3.8

Involve stakeholders

3.8

Seek broad-based public involvement

3.8

Use full range of communication methods

3.8

Achieve consensus on purpose and need

3.5

Utilize full range of design choices 

3.3

Address alternatives and all modes 

3.7

Maintain environmental harmony

3.8

Address community & social issues

3.7

Address aesthetic treatments & enhancements

3.5

Consider a safe facility for users & community

3.8

Document project decisions

3.5

Track and meet all commitments  

3.5

Create a lasting value for the community

3.2

Use all resources effectively (time & budget)

3.4

Note: The project team and stakeholder scores are based on the survey results of a 4.0 scale (4: strongly agree; 3: agree; 2: disagree; and 1: strongly disagree).


Discussion on CSS principles

Project team’s perspective
Based on the survey responses as well as comments received through the survey the project team notes that an appropriate CSD&S approach was taken throughout the completed phases. This included the identification of appropriate stakeholders and public groups on the local level to build support for the project, as well as utilizing the full range of alternatives and design choices for its execution. The lowest rated principle was “Create a lasting value for the community” which received a rating of 3.2. This may be more of a reaction to the fact that the project has not been funded and moved toward completion more than a commentary on the plan proposed by the study. Most other principles received high marks 3.5 with 6 of the 15 receiving a score of 3.8 out of 4, demonstrating that the project felt the project was executed well. A review of comments by the project team note that the proper support from the community and stakeholders was achieved, however, adequate support for the project on a state and federal level was not achieved to provide appropriate funding. As one respondent stated “We had grass roots support (but) never got the grass tops support” This may add an additional issue that must be addressed when examining stakeholder involvement and communication needs.

CSS Benefits

CSS Benefit

Measured

Stakeh.

Team

Improved stakeholder/public feedback

NA

3.5

Increased stakeholder/public participation compared to other projects

NA

3.5

Increased stakeholder/public participation

2.8

3.7

Increased stakeholder/public ownership

2.7

3.8

Increased stakeholder/public trust

2.4

3.5

Decreased costs for overall project delivery  

NA

2.0

Decreased time for overall project delivery  

NA

2.5

Improved predictability of project delivery  

2.3

2.0

Improved project scoping

NA

3.0

Improved project budgeting

NA

3.3

Increased opportunities for partnering or shared funding or in-kind resources  

2.6

3.4

Improved opportunities for joint use and development 

2.6

3.4

Improved sustainable decisions and investments  

NA

3.3

Improved environmental stewardship

NA

3.2

Minimized overall impact to human environment  

2.2

3.4

Minimized overall impact to natural environment  

2.3

3.6

Improved mobility for all users  

2.5

3.0

Improved walkability

2.5

2.6

Improved bikeability

2.7

2.4

Improved safety (vehicles, pedestrians, and bikes)

2.4

2.6

Improved multi-modal options

2.3

2.8

Improved community satisfaction

2.3

2.8

Improved quality of life for community

2.4

2.8

Fit with local government land use plan 

2.8

3.6

Improved speed management

2.5

2.0

Design features appropriate to context

2.5

3.4

Optimized maintenance and operations

NA

2.0

Minimized disruption

2.5

3.0

Increased risk management and liability protection

NA

2.5

Discussion on Benefit Values

Semi-Quantitative Benefits 
Comparing the responses of the project team and the stakeholders, there appears to be a definite gap between the perceived benefits of the project. Question related to stakeholder/public participation, ownership and trust were rated almost a full point lower by the stakeholders (2.4-2.8) than the project team (3.5-3.8). This may be indicative of the fact that the project was not completed and reflect some frustration on the part of stakeholders for the lack of implementation. In fact that only areas, where agreement between the two appeared were areas where both the project team and stakeholders both disagreed about benefit being achieved by the project. This included improved walkability (2.5-2.6) and bikeability (2.7-2.4), as well as safety multi-modal options and community satisfaction.

Quantitative Benefits
There was no additional information provided to the research team to be utilized in the development of quantifiable benefits.

Arnstein Comparison 

Arnstein Questions Part 1

Stakeh.

Team

I am satisfied with the relationship we had with project team

2.7

NA

I am satisfied with the relationship I had with the stakeholders 

NA

3.7

I am satisfied with the relationship I had with the interested public  

NA

3.8

I am satisfied with the procedures and methods that allowed input to project decisions

2.6

3.5

Note: The project team and stakeholder scores are based on the survey results of a 4.0 scale (4: strongly agree; 3: agree; 2: disagree; and 1: strongly disagree).

Arnstein Questions Part 2

Stakeh.

Team

My relationship with the project team was best described as

1.9

NA

My relationship with the stakeholders was best described as  

NA

2.5

My relationship with the interested public was best described as  

NA

2.8

Note: The project team and stakeholder rankings are based on the survey results of a 4.0 scale (4: They allowed us to provide direction; 3: We established a partnership; 2: We established a consultation relationship; and 1: We established an informational relationship). |

Examining the Arnstein questions above, similar disagreement can be seen between the project team and the project stakeholders. While the project team rated their satisfaction with the stakeholders and public as relatively high (3.7 and 3.8, respectively), stakeholders had an average rating of 2.7. Likewise, stakeholders viewed their relationship somewhere between an informational and consultation based relationship, while the project team viewed it as between a consultation and partnership.

Overall level of success 
The project team was led by the TARC Executive Director and had representation from project development and public information departments. Members also included a technical program manager, a communications coordinator, and a planner. T2 carried out an extensive public involvement process with neighborhoods, businesses, city planners, and transportation planners to negotiate the best possible alignment for the overall light rail system. Over a period of seven years, T2 held over 900 meetings involving thousands of participants. T2 worked closely with individual residents to find ROW that minimized the impact on existing housing and maximized the benefits of a light rail system. T2 also collaborated with academic researchers at KTC and the Urban Design Studio, a cooperative effort between UK and the U. of Louisville. This phase concentrated on the design of one of the Transit-Oriented Developments that were anticipated to be part of the system. Based on the survey responses as well as comments received through the survey the project team notes that an appropriate CSD&S approach was taken throughout the completed phases.





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