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Research and Technology Coordinating Committee Letter Report, September 29, 2022
Pages 1-17

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From page 1...
... will further these goals and the nationally significant research topics that were previously identified by RTCC in 2019 in Special Report 331: The Vital Federal Role in the Meeting the Highway Innovation Imperative.1 During the meeting, the committee was also provided with updates on the Cooperative Automated Driving program and on Complete Streets activities that are under way and being planned. Whereas this letter report follows the spring meeting, it was also informed by RTCC's winter meeting on December 9–10, 2021, and particularly by that meeting's initial round of discussions on FHWA's Complete Streets activities.
From page 2...
... OVERVIEW OF MEETING BRIEFINGS AND DISCUSSIONS USDOT Strategic Goals and Annual Modal Research Planning Jonathan Walker, Acting Director of the Office of Corporate Research, Technology, and Innovation Management, briefed the committee on the six overarching goals of the USDOT Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2022–20262: safety, equity, transformation, climate and sustainability, economic strength and global competitiveness, and organizational excellence. They were characterized as being long-term goals, encapsulating the broader outcomes desired from USDOT functions and operations.
From page 3...
... on cooperative driving automation (CDA) concepts that involve intelligent transportation infrastructure, levels 3 and 4 equipped vehicles, and other road users, FHWA created a program, called CARMA, that has supported CDA testing and evaluation with opensource software.
From page 4...
... The law's Section 11206, Increasing Safe and Accessible Transportation, refers to Complete Streets as being intended to "ensure the safe and adequate accommodation of all users of the transportation system, including pedestrians, bicyclists, public transportation users, children, older individuals, individuals with disabilities, motorists, and freight vehicles." The law requires states and metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) to use at least 2.5 percent of their federal aid for activities that include the development of Complete Streets standards and policies and for the planning required to create a network of multi-use, active transportation facilities.
From page 5...
... 2. Support rigorous safety assessment during project planning and design.
From page 6...
... For understanding other considerations, such as how Complete Streets features would be used and perform in providing access, mobility, and community connectivity, different FHWA offices are seeking to improve walking and bicycling volume data and details about the extent and characteristics of pedestrian, bicycle, and transit infrastructure. Support Rigorous Safety Assessment It was noted that many federal transportation funding programs do not include requirements for the conduct of specific safety analyses, such as for projects primarily intended to reduce congestion.
From page 7...
... FHWA intends to support such solutions through new discretionary grant programs, added funding to the Highway Safety Improvement Program, and Complete Streets planning funds provided by the BIL. The agency will also develop and provide training and capacity building for practitioners on implementing a Complete Streets design model and on the selection of context-appropriate designs.
From page 8...
... category along with providing guidance on the setting of appropriate speed limits. That said, the sought after safety outcomes of Complete Streets will depend on decisions and funding for facility operation as well as design, particularly the setting and enforcement of speed limits that are the purview of states and local jurisdictions.
From page 9...
... Improve Data Collection and Analysis The Report to Congress identifies major data gaps and issues impeding data collection:  lack of data on existing pedestrian and cycling infrastructure for the purpose of connectivity to networks;  lack of user count data to provide indicators of demand; and  difficulty of collecting performance measures to assess progress in VRU safety and other community goals. The Report to Congress notes that a lack of data "severely restricts the ability of State and local agencies to successfully advance active transportation projects" (p.
From page 10...
... Support Rigorous Safety Assessment During Project Planning and Design As the need for improvements to existing designs for the broader roadway network became better understood over time, it was possible to estimate the safety benefits of specific design features through the development of CMFs used in the AASHTO HSM. These CMFs, in turn, are based on data and studies aggregated from multiple sites, which is sometimes possible to accomplish with available pre- and post-intervention data on motor vehicle crashes, traffic volumes, and inventory design features.
From page 11...
... Given the aforementioned VRU data gaps, motorist time and emissions effects will be more easily quantified than the safety and mobility effects of accommodating all road users. The Report to Congress notes that reducing capacity for personal motor vehicles does not necessarily reduce mobility if high-quality public transit is available to replace automobile trips.
From page 12...
... Among many other examples provided in the Report to Congress, FHWA has developed a list of "Proven Safety Countermeasures" documenting the safety benefits of countermeasures for speed management, roadway departure, certain intersection designs, certain pedestrian and cyclist safety features, and others.10 In addition, a forthcoming report from NCHRP is developing cycling and pedestrian safety performance factors (SPFs) to add to the HSM, although these SPFs are applicable to high-level planning and analysis rather than sitespecific design.11 FHWA could also play its convening role by bringing together state and MPO staff to learn best practices from each other.
From page 13...
... Make Complete Streets FHWA's Default Approach for Funding and Designing NonAccess Controlled Highways The committee observes that because FHWA does not itself design highways except for the limited mileage on federal lands, this might be better expressed in terms of how FHWA can influence the design of non-access controlled highways, which speaks to the collaboration theme introduced above. The above default approach objective would be stated more accurately if qualified by FHWA's actual focus, which is not on all nonaccess controlled highways but rather on non-freeway arterials with speed limits below 55 mph within MPO boundaries and for rural arterials that also serve as small town main streets (McCann presentation, slide 14)
From page 14...
... FHWA acknowledges that considerable leadership, effort, changes to policies, formal guidance, updating of manuals, and much broader and more extensive technical assistance from FHWA will be needed to help states and local jurisdictions transition to a Complete Streets design model. From an R&D perspective, the committee believes that this list should be expanded to include data collection, research, and more thorough and complete evaluations of safety countermeasures needed for Complete Streets, as described in the next section.
From page 15...
... of all traffic fatalities occur on minor arterials, collectors, and local streets13 and about 25 percent of traffic deaths are speed related. FHWA's emphasis on design and guidance on speed limit setting are not enough to address this significant and growing 12 FHWA could also review the SHRP2 safety database to determine whether the driver behavior, precrash, and crash results can inform Complete Streets safety countermeasures.
From page 16...
... , and behavior change. As noted earlier, FHWA can certainly influence the adoption of the Complete Streets vision, but given the country's federalist system and the discretion that states and local jurisdictions have in allocating funds, it will require collaboration with these other levels of government, particularly with regard to setting speed limits and enforcement.
From page 17...
... leadership, the committee will continue to fulfill its long-standing role in providing independent, strategic advice. On behalf of RTCC, I again offer my thanks to Associate Administrator Regal and her staff for the excellent meeting presentations that set the stage for productive meeting discussions.


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