Every one of us likes to drive safely and without undue delays. To keep our roads safe and efficient, operators must effectively manage the existing system while simultaneously planning for evolving transportation and land development needs.
Corridor management (CM) involves land development, roadway design, access control and traffic operations along existing transportation corridors. In short, it’s to keep roads operating safely and efficiently. Corridor preservation (CP) addresses the preservation and protection of right-of-way, as well as acquisition of right-of-way for future corridors. Coordination at the local level via metropolitan planning organizations is vital to seamlessly meshing these two initiatives.
To promote better communication across agency lines, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) and Texas Transportation Institute (TTI), with sponsorship by the Federal Highway Administration, conducted workshops on corridor management and preservation at 23 TxDOT districts. These workshops resulted from a three-year TxDOT project completed by TTI in 2007.
“The workshops were successful in showing participants how to coordinate transportation and land development planning and decision making, and encouraging TxDOT and local officials to work together,” says Ed Hard, TTI research scientist and project supervisor. Held between 2008 and 2010, the workshops provided training, promoted TxDOT local partnerships, and presented guidelines on developing and adopting CM/CP plans.
Bob Appleton, director of planning and development for the TxDOT Bryan District, agrees: “These workshops build relationships among government entities by encouraging cooperation and facilitating operational efficiencies across agency lines. That’s sure to improve the project development process, and everyone who uses our transportation system will benefit.”
Considering the current national economic situation, this coordination is crucial because “we can no longer afford not to get things done right the first time, only to have to go back and correct it in five to ten years,” Hard explains. Appleton adds that state and local officials work with TTI to merge cutting-edge research and best practices into a product that TxDOT can implement around the state.
“The most important public benefit from this project is that better coordination across agencies improves the overall quality of the transportation system, which means a safer experience for all users,” says Appleton. “Beyond that, improved efficiencies are passed on to the taxpayer through lower project development costs and longer-lasting facilities.”
“One of the purposes of the workshops was to demonstrate specific benefits of corridor management and preservation,” says TTI Senior Research Engineer Brian Bochner, one of the workshop instructors. “The participants were able to see how CM and CP could be effective in maintaining operational efficiency and facilitating future improvements.”