SPC Journal of Transportation Safety (JOTS)

July 2013 Issue:

















Regional TIM Steering Committee








Airport Corridor Local TIM Team





















Traffic Signal








This issue of JOTS has articles on work that SPC is doing with freight planning, traffic incident management, traffic signals, and CMAQ funding. Enjoy!

SPC Hosts Annual Freight Conference

TrainFreight movement impacts many aspects of our lives. The efficiency of freight movement for goods such as food, clothing, manufactured materials and raw materials is of vital economic importance locally and globally.

For each of the past two years, SPC has hosted a multi-state freight conference. The goal of these events is to bring together planners, industry representatives, local decision-makers and others to discuss the freight needs and opportunities of the tri-state region (and beyond).

The focus of the 2012 event was on education. More than a dozen speakers participated in panel discussions on water freight, the value of the regional locks and dams network, railroad growth and development, how freight influences industrial development decision, and other topics. Planners from the Brooke-Hancock-Jefferson Regional Planning Commission in Weirton, WV-Steubenville, OH, presented a summary of their regional Freight Plan.

Planners from the Mid Ohio Regional Planning Commission in Columbus, OH demonstrated some of their freight planning programs, highlighting their localized "freight scans" and involvement in the I-70 Study that evaluated the potential for the development of "truck only" lanes on Interstate 70 between Ohio and Missouri to address freight bottleneck issues.

Freight SpeakerAt the request of event participants, the 2013 event was designed to be interactive, with plenty of time allotted for questions, discussions, and input. Meeting participation included speakers from the Metropolitan Planning Organization in Buffalo, NY, the Greater Buffalo Niagara Regional Transportation Council, who presented the findings of their recent Urban Goods Movement Plan, and from the Appalachian Regional Commission, who spoke to their multistate efforts to facilitate economic growth and vitality through the provision of transportation infrastructure.

The afternoon of the 2013 session was devoted to a working session designed to provide input to the Pennsylvania Long Range Plan/Comprehensive Goods Movement Plan. Over the next 15 months, the CDM Smith consulting team will formulate a draft Comprehensive Long Range Plan for Pennsylvania to update and enhance the older "Pennsylvania Mobility Plan." This new Long Range Plan will include a Comprehensive Goods Movement Plan.

Working in conjunction with that effort, SPC will begin development of a Regional Freight Plan in July of 2013. The Regional Freight Plan will review and assess the multiple modal transportation networks in the expanded SPC region, identify issues and opportunities in each modal network, establish reasonable goals and objectives for freight movement in the region, and develop strategies for enhanced freight movement in the region. The Regional Freight Plan will identify performance metrics for freight transportation in the region, as well as create processes for the evaluation and prioritization of improvements to the multimodal freight transportation network. For more information regarding the Annual Freight Conference or the Regional Freight Plan, please contact Sara Walfoort at swalfoort@spcregion.org.

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Traffic Incident Management (TIM) in Southwestern PA

Accident SceneTraffic incidents are a leading cause of unexpected congestion. Every minute a lane is blocked, creates 4 extra minutes of delay. They are also very costly. Americans burn more than 2.8 billion gallons of gasoline each year as a result of being stuck in incidents related traffic congestion. For every minute that a primary crash continues to be a hazard, the risk of secondary crashes increases by almost 3%.

In addition, traffic incidents are the leading cause of death for emergency responders. It is for these reasons that it is important for us to manage and clear traffic incidents as safely and as efficiently as possible.

TIM is a multi-disciplinary effort to improve the way we respond to incidents that impact traffic flow on regional roadways. The primary goals of TIM are encompassed in the National Unified Goal (NUG) for Traffic Incident Management and include ensuring the safety of first responders, clearing the road-ways quickly in order to reduce traffic congestion and minimize the potential for secondary crashes, and having reliable interoperable communications between responding agencies. The idea is to get first responders to communicate, collaborate, train together and build relationships outside of an actual incident, so that way they can work more effectively together when they get on an actual incident scene.

Accident SceneTIM efforts in Southwestern Pennsylvania began in May 2011 with a 2-day Advanced TIM Workshop conducted by the Federal Highway Administration. As an action item from that workshop, SPC initiated a Regional TIM Steering Committee in August 2011. Since that time, the Regional TIM Steering Committee has been working on a number of issues including the start-up of two Local TIM Teams. The first, which is called the I-79 / I-76 Local TIM Team, is focused on southwestern Butler County and northwestern Allegheny County in the Cranberry-Warrendale-Wexford area. This team focuses on improved incident response on key roadways such as I-79, the PA Turnpike, Route 228, and U.S. 19. The second team, the Airport Corridor Local TIM Team, is focused on the area of I-376 west of Interstate 79 including key roadways like U.S. 22, Route 60, and Business 376 around Pittsburgh International Airport.

One recent example of these TIM efforts was the joint training exercise held by the I-79 / I-76 Local TIM Team at the Cranberry Township public safety training center on April 17th. This evening session involved first responders rolling up on a mock crash and quickly positioning their vehicles and setting up traffic control around the scene. The group then retired to the training center for a presentation and discussion facilitated by PennDOT District 10-0 and Gannett Fleming. Participants were encouraged to identify good and bad things about the scene set-up and to discuss issues that they typically encounter when responding to crashes. Following the training, first responders went back out and responded to the mock crash again-- this time putting to use the techniques and procedures learned in the classroom session. The training was attended by 35-40 people from a range of disciplines including local police, fire, EMS, PennDOT, towing companies, Pennsylvania State Police, local media and 6 different municipalities in the area. Feedback from this (and other Local TIM) training sessions has been very positive and SPC hopes to continue building on this effort and spreading it to other parts of the region. SPC's TIM program will be highlighted in an upcoming article in Traffic Technology International magazine. For a preview, click here.

For more information on SPC's TIM initiative, please contact Doug Smith at dsmith@spcregion.org or visit our TIM webpage at http://www.spcregion.org/trans_ops_tim.shtml

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SPC's 2nd Cycle of Regional Traffic Signal Program Underway

Traffic Signals in Armstrong CountySPC's second round of Regional Traffic Signal Projects is well underway. Preliminary Engineering and Final Design phases are being completed on 21 projects that involve 245 traffic signals within 40 municipalities.

Approximately $5 million of Federal CMAQ and Local funding will be utilized at these locations to improve traffic signal operations.

SPC's first round of projects which were completed in 2012, yielded a benefit to cost ratio of 90:1 in terms of reduced delay to the public, reduced vehicular stops, reduced fuel consumption, and reduced emissions.

A map of the project locations in the second round can be found here: http://www.spcregion.org/trans_ops_traff3.shtml

If you have any questions regarding the Regional Traffic Signal Program, please contact Dom D'Andrea at ddandrea@spcregion.org.

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Man Working On Traffic SignalSPC's Issues Call for Projects for 3rd Cycle of Signal Program

SPC is pleased to announce that the application period for the 3rd Cycle of the Regional Traffic Signal Program is now open. Local governments can apply to the program for assistance with traffic signal coordination and associated equipment upgrades. The application period will close at 2:00 PM, August 30, 2013.

For more information, please visit our website at:


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CMAQ Spotlight: Marine Diesel Retrofits by Port of Pittsburgh Commission

The federal Congestion Mitigation Air Quality (CMAQ) Program provides funds for transportation projects or programs that will contribute to the attainment and Maintenance of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for ozone, carbon monoxide (CO), and particulate matter (PM).

The CMAQ Program supports two important goals of the federal Department of Transportation (USDOT): improving air quality and relieving congestion. In the current 2013-2016 Transportation Improvement Program, SPC and its planning partners have evaluated and programmed over $91 million in CMAQ funds for eligible projects across the region. One such project is the Port of Pittsburgh's Marine Diesel Retrofits.

According to Port of Pittsburgh Commission, the region's waterway transportation system handles 30 million to 40 million tons of cargo a year which supports 45,000 direct jobs and 218,000 total jobs in the region enhancing the regional economy. This waterway system enhances the existing and multi modal transportation systems, concentrating business in industrial clusters which are largely in brownfield areas, keeping traffic off roadways, preserving the safety of traffic that is on the roadways, and increasing freight mobility in general.

Coal Barge

Port of Pittsburgh Marine Diesel Retrofits project attempts to address the efficiency of older towboat engines. As towboats decline in age, they begin to burn more fuel and emit more pollutants than when the engines were new. A company that runs its boats 24 hours, as many do, should rebuild their engines about every four years. Many, but not all of the companies keep this routine schedule. Bringing fuel economy and emissions reductions back to original specifications is costly. In order to induce companies to make clean air improvements, the Port of Pittsburgh Marine Diesel Retrofit Project proposes to provide grants up to 20% of the rebuilding, or 80% of the work directly related to the improvements that will lead to cleaner air.

For more information on the Port of Pittsburgh Commission and their programs, please visit their website at:
http://www.port.pittsburgh.pa.us/home/index.asp?page=1 or contact JD Fogarty at jd@port.pittsburgh.pa.us.

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US Department of TransportationFrom Our Planning Partners . . .

Federal Highway Administration

Pennsylvania Department of TransportationPennsylvania Department of Transportation

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SPC MeetingUpcoming 2013 SPC Meetings of Interest

July 13, 8:00 AM: Regional TIM Steering Committee and combined Airport Corridor and I-79/I-76 Local TIM training at PennDOT District 11-0

July 17, 10:00 AM: Transit Operators Committee

July 18, 10:00 AM: Transportation Technical Committee

August 14, 10:00 AM: Pedestrian/Bicycle Technical Committee

August 20-22: Carson Street (Phase II) Road Safety Audit

September 24th/25th: SHRP II TIM Train-the Trainer

October 1, 10:00 AM: Freight Forum

October 9, 10:00 AM: Pedestrian-Bicycle Committee

October 17, 8:00 AM: FHWA Dynamic Traffic Assignment Workshop

November 19, 10:00 AM: Regional Transportation and Operations Safety Committee-ROP Kickoff Meeting

Meeting dates and time are subject to change. Please check SPC's website at spcregion.org or call 412-391-5590 for meeting confirmation. All meetings are held on 4th floor at SPC offices unless otherwise noted.

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We hope that you have enjoyed this edition of JOTS. We welcome your comments on this issue and ideas for future issues at JOTS@spcregion.org.

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Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission
Two Chatham Center, Suite 500
112 Washington Place
Pittsburgh, PA 15219-3451
Phone: 412-391-5590
Fax: 412-391-9160

The Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission (SPC) is the cooperative forum for regional collaboration, planning, and public decision-making. The Commission serves as the official Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for a 10-county region including the City of Pittsburgh and the counties of Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Greene, Indiana, Lawrence, Washington, and Westmoreland. The Commission develops plans and programs for public investments; fulfills Federal and State requirements for transportation, economic development, and local government assistance programs; and operates with public involvement and trust.