Chattanooga 2050 Regional Transportation Plan
CLIENT: Chattanooga-Hamilton County Regional Planning Agency
Purpose of Project
The 2050 Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) is the metropolitan transportation plan for the Chattanooga-Hamilton County/North Georgia Transportation Planning Organization (CHCNGA TPO) staffed by the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Regional Planning Agency (RPA). The TPO includes of all of Hamilton County, Tennessee; Catoosa County, Georgia; and the northern portions of Dade and Walker Counties in Georgia. The 2050 RTP identifies transportation needs, opportunities, and investment priorities for the Chattanooga MPO region.
Our Role on the Project
As the lead consultant (prime), Modern Mobility Partners (MMP) is leading or overseeing all elements of the 2050 RTP, including stakeholder and public engagement; data collection; existing conditions and trends analysis; vision, goals, and objectives; project-level and plan-level evaluation and prioritization framework and performance monitoring; alternate future scenarios; summary of current and future gaps and opportunities; identification of projects for evaluation; ranking and tiering of projects; revenue projections and project cost estimates; fiscally constraining the project list; and a funding strategy. Below are some highlights of how we are providing additional value above and beyond the typical RTP:
Equity and Environmental Justice – A unique aspect of the 2050 RTP is its Equity Emphasis Areas (EEAs) identified by the TPO. These areas include areas with high percentages low-income, zero-vehicle, low-English proficiency, disabilities, racial and ethnic minority, no high school diploma, elderly, and youth. The plan will assess assessing whether projects improve multimodal access in these EEAs, and projects that do will be awarded points that go towards their overall ranking in the plan.
Engagement – The RTP will use multiple digital and on digital engagement strategies. It will also target in-person outreach in the EEAs and in areas identify to have lower rates of internet access as identified through a digital inclusion analysis. In-person outreach strategies include street teams (meeting people in-person on the street to talk about the plan and gather input), interviews, hard-copy surveys, and computer labs where people can access online materials at a free, public location. Virtual open house events and online surveys and mapping tools will also be used to convey information and gather input.
Smart Mobility – The 2050 RTP is identifying existing traffic signal technologies and communications and using that information along with other data sources to develop a smart corridor network and summarize Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) and smart mobility needs and associated project recommendations. Potential connected vehicle applications to be evaluated include transit and/or freight signal priority and emergency vehicle signal pre-emption at a minimum.
Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure – Existing electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure will be inventoried, including identification of EV charging infrastructure opportunity areas based on the inventory, land uses, accessibility justice, etc. These opportunity areas may be used for identification of EV charging infrastructure projects, project evaluation and prioritization, and policies. EV parking policies will also be considered.
Freight Planning – Freight will be interwoven throughout the entire plan, which will be organized to focus on movement of people and goods to, from, within, and through the region. A freight profile will account for all freight modes (water, rail, air, trucks, and pipelines), including demand, challenges, and opportunities. It will also review and update critical truck routes and discuss the impacts of COVID-19 on freight and growing e-commerce, as well as explore truck parking opportunities. Freight clusters will also be identified to assist with identification of potential projects, project evaluation and prioritization, and policies.
Bicycle and Pedestrian Planning – The plan is evaluating existing bicycle and pedestrian facilities utilizing a level of traffic stress analysis conducted by the TPO, as well as bicycle and pedestrian crashes to identify high-risk facilities for improvement.
Transit Planning – The plan will incorporate finding from the ongoing study being conducted by the Chattanooga Area Regional Transportation Authority (CARTA) and will assess bus stops by ridership levels and identify where bus shelters and/or benches may be needed.
Performance-Based Planning – The RTP will include a performance-based framework with project-level, systems-level (plan-level), and performance monitoring, based on stakeholder and public input, including but not limited to equity and alternate future scenarios. Project and plan performance will be presented in easy-to-understand infographic dashboards.
Economic Impacts – By mapping travel and tourism-related locations and potential economic impacts of different modes (airport, port, transit, etc.), the RTP captures multiple aspects of economic impacts. It will also look at federal Opportunity Zones and Chattanooga’s Innovation District to identify leveraging opportunities and will assess economic benefits of the entire RTP.
Scenario Planning – To understand a range of potential future trajectories, the plan will evaluate multiple alternate future scenarios. These scenarios include connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs), electric vehicles, increased teleworking, rapidly increasing e-commerce, climate change and resilience, economic downturns, etc. It will describe approaches to evaluate each scenario, and identify projects, policies, and/or future considerations to address alternate scenarios as well as timing.
Funding – To accurately capture the future funding situation, the plan will look at future funding based on historical funding level and evaluate possible factors like the impact of COVID-19 and increased teleworking on future revenue. A detailed funding strategy will identify how projects will be paid for including a matrix of eligible funding sources at the federal, state, region, and local level as well as private partnering opportunities.
The 2050 RTP will be adopted by the RPA Board in January 2024.
Unique challenges of this plan included delivering a complex, multi-year plan by a hard deadline with multiple plan elements and inputs depending on data and information from various entities. Our solutions of creating a detailed project schedule with multiple contingency plans in case data is not available by the expected date effectively addressed these challenges by ensuring that all parties understand and agree to the schedule from the beginning.
What Our Clients Say About Us
“Modern Mobility Partners has been providing timely and exceptional professional planning services in all areas of our Regional Transportation Plan process. Their staff is well organized, creative, and has up-to-date knowledge on the ever-changing dynamics of transportation needs now and into the future. We are so pleased with their work and their flexibility to try new tools or shift direction based on our organization's preferences. They have truly become an extension of our staff.”
- Melissa Taylor, Director of Strategic Long Range Planning for the Chattanooga-Hamilton County/North Georgia Transportation Planning Organization