Transportation board commissions freight study

The Idaho Transportation Board considered a draft and recommended revisions to the Strategic Plan when it met for a workshop last week (Nov. 15, 16) in Boise. Board members also heard an update on the design-build construction method, reviewed a revised highway program obligation graph and considered the professional services procurement process.

District 3 personnel also summarized the planned improvements to Idaho 55-Eagle Road, in Eagle and Meridian. The proposal to install a raised median has been discussed widely in the community. The high-volume highway has a high crash rate, in part because of access issues.

The proposed design allows some openings in the median where U-turns would be permitted. Some new traffic signals are also planned along the corridor.

Other board discussion

Freight Study and Statewide Freight/Passenger Rail Plan Update
The board approved $350,000 to complete a Freight Study and update the Freight/Passenger Rail Plan when it met Thursday (Nov. 16) for its monthly business meeting at Headquarters.

The freight study will integrate movement of freight across all travel modes, strengthen partnerships between private and public entities, implement long-range goals and establish a framework for future investments. It will identify key trends, barriers and implications, and identify public and private investment opportunities.

The intent is to present the plan to the board for approval late next year.

The Rail Plan will develop and preserve essential freight and passenger rail services, prioritize public and private actions, investments, and policy changes; and allow Idaho to compete for national rail-related funding opportunities. Deliverables for the rail plan include performance measures and short- and long-term action plans.

The updated plan is expected to be ready for board approval in the first quarter of 2013.

Key stakeholders will participate in the process. Steering committee members will represent natural resources, public agencies, and the transportation, shipping and agricultural industries.

Customer Satisfaction Survey
A follow-up to the 2009 Customer Survey recently was completed. The objective was to assess the public’s overall level of satisfaction with ITD services and identify areas for improvement.

More than 1,600 people from throughout the state participated in the survey .

Following are some of the findings:

  • 81 percent were very or somewhat satisfied with ITD’s winter maintenance efforts
  • 93 percent reported the staff at county sheriff’s offices that issue driver’s licenses were courteous, and 95 percent thought staff was knowledgeable
  • 88 percent were very or somewhat satisfied with wait times for vehicle registration and titling matters at county DMV offices
  • 51 percent used some form of alternative transportation
  • 15 percent are very satisfied with alternative transportation options
  • 39 percent agree or strongly agree with the statement that “ITD does a good job of getting public input on state highway projects.”

Assessment of Customer Service Performance
The customer satisfaction survey results were examined and compared to similar survey results from other states. Generally, the Idaho survey results compare favorably, if not better than, the peer states examined. Key areas of public service such as courteousness of DMV staff were higher in Idaho than in peer states. Idaho also scored significantly higher when residents were asked if ITD provided “good value.”

There is room for improvement, however.

Recommendations for the department included development of a customer-service policy and a customer relationship management system. ITD is pursuing other initiatives to improve customer service without an overarching policy to rationally connect them.

If resources are available, ITD should consider a customer service management system to compile customer complaints, analyze trends, and track the resolution of the complaints. It was also recommended that ITD promote DMV online services.

Published 11-23-2011