Board hears progress on ICAPS development

The Idaho Transportation Board focused on an evolving Investment Corridor Analysis Planning System during a Tuesday (Nov. 13) workshop at the District 3 office in Boise.

ICAPS is a framework for performance-based planning and investment analysis. It is corridor-based, user-focused, data-driven, and is tied to the strategic plan. The tool will foster better communication about ITD’s performance and accomplishments. It also identifies the long-term vision, models fiscal realities and will assist with prioritizing projects.

Some of the ICAPS outcomes include a unified message for investment requirements, a single transportation investment analysis framework and investments that create a positive economic environment in Idaho. It will enhance accountability, transparency, and system performance; be outcome-based; and provide data for cost-effective decision-making.

The next steps for this initiative are to identify performance objectives, measures, targets and timeframes.

Other board discussion

Research program
The annual report on the research program was presented to the board at its business meeting on Wednesday (Nov. 14).

The budget for FY13 is $1.4 million. Federal statutes require that 2 percent of funding for roads and bridges be used for planning and research. Some state match is required. This fiscal year, 12 percent of the research budget is coming from state funds.

About 40 percent of the funds are devoted to research projects requested by ITD staff. Researchers at Idaho universities do most of these projects. Approximately 19 percent of the budget is devoted to “pooled” projects that ITD staff has requested, 22 percent is used to pay the National Cooperative Highway Research Program for research it conducts on a wide range of topics of interest to states, and the remaining funds will be used to support several American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) special programs to cover costs for involvement in the Transportation Research Board, and for program administration.

Some of the research projects from this past year included developing media messages to reduce impaired driving, evaluating safety impacts of the differential speed limit, evaluating methods to determine when to impose load limits during spring break-up and developing a system to detect or predict avalanches.

Some of the funds pooled with other organizations are being used to develop Intelligent Transportation System applications for state DOTs, to develop tools to assist state DOTs with implementing the new Highway Safety Manual and to research winter maintenance issues.

The research library continues to expand and provide additional services. More than 6,000 documents have been cataloged in the library. The catalog is available online from the Resource Center and Research web pages. ITD staff and the general public can search the catalog to find needed information.

Idaho Freight Study
Almost one year ago, a freight summit was held to kick off the Idaho Freight Study. The study was initiated to analyze the movement of goods via truck, rail, air, and water in, out, and through Idaho; to develop and test investment strategies; and identify needed policy and programmatic changes. The intent is to strengthen partnerships between private and public entities, implement long-range goals and establish a framework for future investments.

The board approved recommendations developed during the freight study. The recommendations are to create an institutional framework for communication, collaboration, and partnership; align transportation policy and projects with economic development strategies; facilitate the efficient movement of freight; strategically invest in a freight corridor network and in new and/or expanded multi-modal facilities and connections; expand sources for freight infrastructure funding and collect and analyze freight-related data.

Some of the specific actions from these recommendations are to establish a Freight Advisory Committee to guide decisions regarding freight investments; conduct statewide freight forums every two years to communicate needs, issues, and opportunities; collaborate with cities, counties, and chambers of commerce on freight projects; promote consistent weight allowances on public highways for intra- and interstate multimodal freight movement and reduce border crossing delays.

Published 11-23-2012