US 97 Corridor Concept Plan: Balancing Community Needs and Highway Mobility
TRIP97 (an acronym standing for Transportation Reinvestment Innovation and Planning for US 97 in Central Oregon) is a collaborative Partnership between the communities who use and are responsible for the US 97 transportation corridor in Central Oregon. These agencies are linked by their respective proximity and reliance on the US 97 corridor as an economic lifeline.
Central Oregon has experienced significant growth over the last 30 years, with the population of Deschutes County more than tripling since 1980. This growth has had significant impacts to the regional and local transportation systems and current transportation policies have made it challenging to maintain current standards in an affordable manner. Furthermore, the Partnership identified the need to evaluate transportation system performance from a more holistic perspective than is allowed by current policy, which primarily focuses on roadway/intersection capacity. Goals shared by all members of the Partnership include Economic Development & Job Creation, Safety, Mobility, Accessibility, Travel Options for all Users, Network Redundancy, and the Environment. TRIP97 was created to establish a new way to evaluate and fund transportation to capture these goals.
What is TRIP97?
TRIP97 is a comprehensive approach to transportation system planning and management that includes a comprehensive set of performance measures used within a flexible evaluation approach, a detailed funding strategy tied to specific projects, and options for a governance structure that promotes collaboration and regional decision making. To be effective, all three of the components need to work together with a shared purpose and goal. The following graphic illustrates the relationship of these three areas and how all of these major components, and their individual subcomponents, must work together under a common vision for TRIP97 to be successful.
what has TRIP97 Accomplished?
Ultimately, the overarching goal of the TRIP97 Partnership is to utilize the US 97 corridor as an asset to support the economic development and prosperity of the region. Key aspects of realizing this goal have been the outcomes of the Phase 1 effort of TRIP97. Phase 1 of TRIP97 was initiated in February 2012 and accomplished a series of important milestones for changing the paradigm of transportation planning for corridors of regional significance. The Phase I effort:
- Introduced multiple performance measures for transportation system evaluation (in comparison to the current single performance measure of volume/capacity) to address a broader range of local, regional, and statewide goals, expand the types of solution options that can be considered, and document impacts and benefits to all roadway users (including pedestrians, bicyclists, transit riders, and freight)
- Introduced a corridor-wide evaluation approach that considers the regional context and corridor nature of US 97 and evaluates travel from the user’s perspective for a trip (as opposed to what users experience at a single point) which is more consistent with how users perceive system performance
- Moved from a peak 15-minute analysis to a whole-year analysis so system evaluation can also be sensitive to rare events (weather, crashes, work zones), estimate travel time reliability, and provide a more holistic assessment of system performance
- Added use cases as a as an additional evaluative tool to translate analyses into real-world effects and experiences and inform stakeholders on inherent tradeoffs associated with investments and improvements
- Developed a comprehensive list of funding options (both ones used today as well as new options) that will provide funding resources for the continued maintenance, monitoring, and improvement of the corridor
- Identified a preferred funding option to pursue that focuses on “small bites” from multiple sources tied to growth
- Documented governance strategies for the TRIP97 Partnership to consider using as it moves forward. These strategies provide options for how the TRIP97 Partnership can work together to manage the corridor, evaluate and prioritize improvements, and obtain and distribute funding
- Identified a preferred approach to governance that will begin with intergovernmental agreements amongst the Partnership while providing a framework that can evolve over time to enable a broad range of funding options
- The new performance measures and evaluation methodology are tied directly to funding sources such that a balance is maintained between the identified needs and the financial ability of the Partnership to address those needs.
With this overall framework in place, the TRIP97 Partnership proceeded to establish the details and specifics of each individual component as well as how they would work together. The results of the Phase I effort on Performance Measures, Governance Options, and Funding Options are summarized at a high level here and in more detail throughout the body of the report
What is next for TRIP97?
The TRIP97 Phase I effort has completed a large first step in evolving the way the regional transportation system in Central Oregon is evaluated and how transportation investments are determined. The framework established here allows the agencies within the Partnership to collaborate and gain greater benefit than any individual agency could achieve independently. It provides a mechanism to view system performance from the perspective of a broad range of users and through metrics that capture the travelers (or customers) true experience. Finally, the funding options provide Central Oregon with specific tools that create a sustainable way for practical enhancements to be implemented within the corridor to serve travel needs and provide flexibility for future economic growth.
The next steps for TRIP97 will include development of the technical data to support the TRIP97 process, affirmation of technical and political decisions regarding funding options and governance structures, and further implementation of the TRIP97 framework to assess and prioritize the system needs.