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Working with Partners: Ohio Mid-Eastern Governments Association

Date:
March 09, 2015
Topics:
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This article is a section in the 2014 NADO Research Foundation report Moving toward Performance-based Transportation Planning in Rural and Small Metropolitan Regions.

The state DOT and other agencies can be an important partner for providing performance data and analysis to regions to benefit their planning studies. The Ohio DOT contracted with five existing regional organizations to establish pilot RTPOs in 2013, and to develop a regional long-range plan and enhancing the dialogue between the state DOT and local partners. Safety emerged as a priority topic for the Ohio Mid-Eastern Governments Association (OMEGA), which serves a ten-county region in eastern Ohio (two of the counties are served by area MPOs, and the other eight are members of the RTPO). OMEGA analyzed crash locations and crash types to identify priority locations and corridors. The results of the analysis are shaping the regional planning and project identification completed by the RTPO, and the highest priorities are shared with ODOT for consideration for future funding.

In the process of analyzing safety performance data, OMEGA’s staff were assisted by the neighboring Eastgate Council of Governments, a regional organization that staffs an MPO and the assigned MPO mentor agency for OMEGA in ODOT’s RTPO pilot program. OMEGA also utilized data and analysis tools provided by the Ohio DOT, such as its GIS Crash Analysis Tool, Economic Crash Analysis Tool, and the Ohio Local Technical Assistance Program (LTAP).

Since the RTPO is a new one, the region is just completing its first regional plan, and it does not have a formal role in programming projects. However, part of its work conducting technical assistance for local governments can include applying for funds through the safety program and other state funding programs. With a strategic focus on safety hot spots, at-risk areas, and critical corridors such as one used for energy development, paired with the data collection and analysis efforts OMEGA has completed, the region is ready to implement a performance-based planning and programming process for safety.

Takeaway:

Tap into the existing data, expertise, and tools developed by the state DOT and other regional agencies in the state. Seeking peer expertise from another regional planning agency, either within the state or through the national network of rural and small metropolitan transportation planners, provides a starting point of information and technical guidance.

Takeaway:

Planning staff and RTPO leadership can examine how the planning process compares to a framework for performance measurement. Like OMEGA’s work on safety, other regions may have a “performance-ready” framework in place, with data on-hand to guide the development of performance objectives and projects to implement improvements.

For more information, visit www.omegadistrict.us.

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