Stakeholders as Solution Identifiers: An Effective and Successful Methodology for Transportation Planning in Smaller-Sized Communities

The south central portion of Centre County Pennsylvania is a beautiful rural valley with significant positive environmental attributes for residents and the local agricultural and educational communities. The nearby main campus of Pennsylvania State University in State College is a primary catalyst for residential and related growth in the study area, and developers of farmland have achieved significant returns on their investments. The resultant growth is causing additional transportation problems for U.S. and state designated routes which already carry a rather significant volume of truck traffic from the Ports of Philadelphia and Wilmington to I-80 and on to the mid-west. The major roadway through the study corridor, US 322, has been upgraded to limited access expressway standards to the south and north of the study area. The obvious solution was to connect these existing facilities with a new but similar design. Involving local stakeholders in a traditional transportation planning process whereby alternatives are formulated by the state department of transportation and stakeholders are asked to contribute to their evaluation while moving toward an adopted solution was not considered to be the best approach in this location. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Department of Transportation (PENNDOT), in cooperation with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), formulated a non-traditional process that has been implemented by its consultant, McCormick, Taylor & Associates, Inc., with the achievement of significant positive results. For this program, a comprehensive community-based committee was established to oversee the planning study and charged with the responsibility of contributing to the identification of alternative solutions for remediation of the existing transportation problems and to satisfy the expected transportation needs. McCormick, Taylor & Associates’ professionals were made available to the committee, as PENNDOT and FHWA consultants, to serve as staff in organizing and implementing the planning process, and in the evaluation of the alternatives identified by the committee members. PENNDOT’s role was to complete the process according to all federal, state and local requirements while acting as an interested and cooperative partner with local stakeholders. The result has been significant creativity in the identification of alternatives. In addition, stakeholders have developed an appreciation of the difficulties associated with the complex problems generated and addressed by rural and small urban area transportation planning. This paper documents the process, provides interesting perceptions from the various affected stakeholders, and suggests procedural methods that are expected to have similar successful applications in other rural and small urban locations.

Language

  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: CD-ROM
  • Pagination: 17p
  • Monograph Title: Eighth National Conference on Transportation Planning for Small and Medium-Sized Communities, September 18-20, 2002, Cincinnati, Ohio

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01045195
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS, TRB
  • Created Date: Mar 9 2007 3:38PM