People Focused - Project Driven

WRA’s Expertise Shared at the MASITE and ITSPA Conference.

September 12th, 2016

WRA recently delivered four presentations at the 2016 Annual Conference for the Mid-Atlantic Section, Institute of Transportation Engineers (MASITE) and the Intelligent Transportation Society of Pennsylvania (ITSPA) in State College, Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, Municipal representatives, and other consulting firms attended the joint conference that focused on traffic engineering and transportation technology.

Jeff Moore, PE, Associate (Pittsburgh) presented “Evaluating Measure of Effectiveness in Congested Urban Areas,” which explained the two major mobility challenges to advancing transportation projects in complex urban areas:  evaluating the impact of projects in an urban grid – where people have multiple modes to choose from and where city grids provide multiple route choices – and the fiscal constraints and project impacts that make substantially improving congested arterials and freeways very difficult. The presentation focused on the approaches and techniques that WRA has used to evaluate and advance projects in urban area throughout the country.

Jeff Riegner, PE, AICP, PTOE (Wilmington) presented “Integrated Planning for Effective Project Delivery,” which detailed how integrated planning processes enable agencies to deliver projects more efficiently and effectively. By meshing a thorough understanding of the existing conditions and past plans with stakeholder communication and technical analysis, integrated planning reduces the number of surprises in the project development process, controlling project schedules and budgets. The three case study projects were Great Valley/Route 29 Multimodal Study, Borough of Kittanning Transportation Study, and the Manayunk Bridge Trail.

Scott Thompson-Graves(Pittsburgh) presented “Success Stories of Integrating Planning, NEPA, and Project Development,” which discussed how project delivery can be streamlined by successfully linking planning to NEPA and Project Design. Properly accounting for stakeholder and community needs at the beginning of the design process can reduce schedules and construction costs by avoiding changes later, and properly accounting for environmental constraints in the planning stage can help expedite project delivery by streamlining the permitting process and accounting for community input.  The three case studies were the Northeast Smart Transportation Study, the US 19 Corridor Study, and the SR 829 Road Safety Audit, which all resulted in projects which were implemented by both municipalities and PennDOT. 

Finally, Eamonn Clements, PE (Pittsburgh) presented “Cranberry Township Green Light GO,” that detailed Cranberry Township’s first Green Light GO project which established traffic signal timing plans for incidents on I-79 and I-76 that frequently detour traffic onto some of the already congested and busiest signalized corridor in Western Pennsylvania. It also established signal timing plans for the changes in traffic that occur during inclement weather and the busy holiday season that follows Thanksgiving. The presentation highlighted the approach used to develop the timing plans, the approach to determine the most frequently needed plans, and how the plans were integrated into the Township’s Central Traffic Signal System. The project is an excellent example of how local and state officials can cooperate to provide data, insight, and analysis in order to serve the traveling public by actively managing traffic.