Board hears program updates, learns about data-collection activities 

At its monthly meeting Oct. 15 in Boise, the transportation board heard a report on the Community Choices for Idaho program, received an update on the Mobility Management Program contract and learned about data collection activities conducted by the Transportation Systems Office.

The Community Choices for Idaho Program includes various federally funded programs for local entities. Some of the funding sources are the Transportation Alternatives Program, Safe Routes to School Program and the Americans with Disabilities Act curb ramp program.  The management tool provides assistance to local communities in applying for funds. An advisory committee reviews and prioritizes projects for funding, making recommendations to the board. The committee members represent specific interests such as bicycle/pedestrian, economic development, transit, education and law enforcement.

Thirty-two projects were approved in the FY15-19 Idaho Transportation Improvement Program last month. Of those, 16 are in urban areas and 16 are in rural areas. The breakout by types of projects is 23 sidewalks or pathways, three bicycle/ pedestrian facilities, two pedestrian crosswalk signals, two Safe Routes to School Coordinator positions, one Americans with Disabilities Act curb ramp improvement, and one pedestrian bridge.

Mobility Management Contract
The Mobility Management Program was established to improve coordination among public-transportation providers with a goal of expanding the availability of public-transit service. Through a sub-recipient agreement, Community Transportation Association of Idaho (CTAI) has been conducting these planning and management activities since 2009. The current agreement with CTAI expired Sept. 30; however, a one-month extension was issued. Last month, the Public Transportation Advisory Council (PTAC) recommended an agreement with CTAI to continue the Mobility Management Program through March 31, 2015.

Efforts are underway to determine the best method for Idaho’s Mobility Management Program. Texas A&M University is completing a research project that will provide recommendations to improve Idaho’s program. Additionally, PTAC formed a task force to review results of the study and to identify and determine how to implement long-term strategies, including sustainable funding. The task force is expected to conclude its work in early 2015.

Because the board wanted to ensure sufficient time for the task force to conduct its review and the department to implement changes if desired, it authorized staff to negotiate an agreement with CTAI through April 30, 2015.

Data Collection Tour
The board was briefed on some of the Transportation Systems Office responsibilities, focusing on data collection activities required for managing the department’s assets such as roads and bridges. The information helps management make informed decisions regarding investments.

The board then viewed the falling weight deflectometer equipment, the skid truck, the profiler van, and a station demonstrating portable traffic counts, classification counts, miovision, radar sites, and weigh-in-motion sites. The skid truck and falling weight deflectometer gather data about the roadway surface and also what is beneath the road surface. The profiler van travels every mile on the state highway system annually to gather roadway data such as roughness and rutting.

(Pictured above) Idaho Transportation Board Member Lee Gagner (left) and Chairman Jerry Whitehead (center) learn about data-collection activities required for managing the department’s assets from Jeff Yunker.

Published 10-24-14