The North Florida Transportation Planning Organization has once again received federal quadrennial certification with praise for noteworthy practices. In presenting to the TPO Board Oct.8, Teresa Parker with the Federal Highway Administration, said, “The North Florida TPO is commended for the leadership and coordination throughout the region."
Federal law requires the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) to jointly certify the transportation planning processes of Transportation Management Areas (TMAs) at least every four years. A TMA is an urbanized area, as defined by the U.S. census, with a population exceeding 200,000. A certification review generally consists of a site visit; a “desk audit” review of planning documents prior to the site visit; an FHWA/FTA certification report; and a certification review presentation to the TPO governing board.
The final report identified noteworthy practices that demonstrate innovative ideas or best practices for implementing the transportation planning and public participation requirements. Specific efforts highlighted include the following:
In several areas of public participation, the review team was impressed in how the TPO developed non-traditional partnerships through Smart North Florida with a connection to United Way that made it possible to relocate Ride United, a program for low income users now accessible 24/7 because of relocation to the Regional Transportation Management Center. Another successful outreach was several “tech and beer” events that drew hundreds of younger professionals interested in entrepreneurial tech opportunities.
The TPO’s collection and use of cutting-edge data to both inform and analyze its decisions through an electronic engagement tool that has resulted in the highest level of participation and adds value to an already robust traditional public outreach program.
The TPO demonstrates robust public participation in all planning processes including the LRTP and the TIP and effectively employs visualization techniques in all documents and especially on the web site.
Citing the Bay Street Innovation Corridor, the Review Team said that JTA and the TPO have a collaborative, cooperative and comprehensive relationship and that JTA is a full partner in the planning process.
The review team held a virtual public meeting to obtain comments on the certification. They reported that, “These public comments are an important element of the certification review, as they provide citizens direct input on the transportation planning process for the TPO’s area. The comments received were complimentary with the most common themes relaying a message of cooperation and coordination on behalf of the North Florida TPO staff.” The full report is available here.