The needs of customers of the transportation system are changing at an ever-faster pace due to changes in the business environment, changes in technology, changes in life styles and improved economic conditions and standards of living. In the business world, time frames for bringing products to market and the entire life cycle of products are becoming shorter and shorter. The time frame from when a product starts its development cycle to the time that it is in full production has been substantially reduced, sometimes to as short as several months, yet once in production, substantial impacts to the transportation system can result both in passenger and goods movements. Major trip generators such as retail supercenters or manufacturing plants often are proposed, built and open in less time than state or metropolitan long-range plans are updated. Major new access is often required in a year or two in order for economic development opportunities to be captured, yet the time frames for delivering major projects to provide the access can often be as long as six to ten years or longer. All this is occurring in the context of a transportation planning and project development process that continues to have increased requirements that take longer to meet. There is a need to identify ways the transportation planning process can be made more responsive to the faster paced requirements of the customers of the transportation system.
The research objective is to identify strategic needs of customers of the transportation planning process for faster decision making and to identify ways the transportation planning process can be modified to be more responsive to these faster paced requirements. The products of the research will include recommendations for states and MPOs to meet these needs and recommendations for consideration in future statutory and regulatory changes at the federal level to make the transportation planning process more responsive to the fast pace of changes in needs of the transportation system.
The contractor's final report is available here.