DVRPC News: February 2018
Volume 39, Issue 8 | February 2018
Last Chance to Register for Breaking Ground
Breaking Ground 2018: Transforming a Region Together conference is less than a month away! This full-day conference focuses on municipal actions to implement the principles and goals of Connections 2045 Long-Range Plan for Greater Philadelphia. Concurrent sessions will highlight government efficiency, sustainable environmental practices, collaboration between businesses and government, the use of data and metrics, and a celebration of diverse age-friendly communities.
Tickets are still available and include breakfast, lunch, and conference materials. Copies of keynote speaker Brian Elms' book, Peak Performance will be available Online registration closes on March 21, 2018 at 12:00 p.m. To view the full agenda and register, visit the Breaking Ground webpage.
Attend the Regional Safety Task Force Meeting on Distracted Driving
Join the Regional Safety Task Force (RSTF) on March 20, 2018 for a meeting on distracted driving. Distraction is a key factor in the national trend of rising traffic deaths. Learn how we can address this growing crisis in our region. Guest speakers include Julian Hoffman, Senior Government Affairs Manager for the National Safety Council and Shannon Trice, Regional Program Manager for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
DVRPC's RSTF is a multidisciplinary group of transportation safety professionals and stakeholders that promotes transportation safety in the Delaware Valley. This quarterly forum builds and maintains effective partnerships between traditional and non-traditional planning partners with the goal of reaching zero casualties from crashes in the region.
Intro to Transportation Conformity, April 16-18
DVRPC is hosting a National Transit Institute-sponsored Introduction to Transportation Conformity course on April 16-18, 2018. It will provide a comprehensive review of the conformity process and requirements, and it's the only in-person conformity training offered nationally. The course includes several group exercises and examples of conformity practices. On April 18, a panel of conformity practitioners will join the class for a roundtable discussion on regional conformity issues.
Registration is free for public agency employees. For more information on the course and to register please click here.
New Publications: Coastal Vulnerability Assessment Reports in Burlington County
DVRPC's Office of Environmental Planning recently released a series of coastal vulnerability reports for five towns in Burlington County.
Delran Township Coastal Vulnerability Assessment Report: This report outlines projected effects of climate change in New Jersey, records Delran's historic flooding issues and the proposed actions to increase its resilience to floods, and discusses the coastal vulnerability assessment methodology, findings, and recommendations.Burlington Township Coastal Vulnerability Assessment: This report documents the coastal vulnerability assessment conducted with municipal staff and residents from Burlington Township in 2015 and 2016.
Burlington City Coastal Vulnerability Assessment: This report documents two tools -- the coastal vulnerability assessment and Getting to Resilience Questionnaire -- that DVRPC used in partnership with municipal staff and residents from Burlington City in 2015 to 2016.
Bordentown Township Coastal Vulnerability Assessment: The narrative outlines projected effects of climate change in New Jersey, records Bordentown Township's flooding issues and the proposed actions to increase its resilience to floods, and discusses the coastal vulnerability assessment findings and recommendations.
Beverly City Coastal Vulnerability Assessment Report: This report documents the coastal vulnerability assessment in Beverly City. It includes the projected effects based on the city's historic flooding issues and opportunities to increase its resilience to floods.
Pedestrian and Bicycle Count Program Needs Your Input!
Did you know that DVRPC conducts cyclical bicycle counts? DVRPC has one of the most advanced and extensive bicycle and pedestrian counting programs in the country with about 45 locations. Much like the vehicle counting program, these counts are taken over seven days and rotate throughout Greater Philadelphia.
All of these counts, as well as counts completed for other programs and projects, are available through DVRPC's Pedestrian and Bicycle Counts Viewer. Currently, the Commission is conducting a survey to understand who is using our Viewer, and why. Please share your experience with us! To find out what counts were done in your area and take the survey, visit the interactive count viewer.
DVRPC also tracks the number of pedestrians and bicycles on a number of The Circuit Trails, through a permanent counter program. To view counts on our region's trails, click here.
DVRPC Attends Future City Competition
In January, DVRPC staff participated in the 2018 Philadelphia Regional Future City Competition. Middle school students from across the region worked together to research and write solutions to an engineering problem, then build a tabletop-scale model with recycled materials. The theme this year was creating age-friendly communities. The students presented their hard work on competition day.
This year, 38 teams with about 300 students attended. Some DVRPC staff members attended as judges; and Executive Director Barry Seymour served as a finals judge, and DVRPC awarded the Regional Vision Award to Penn Wood Middle School from Darby, PA. The Philadelphia Regional winning team is Queen of Angels Regional Catholic School; the team went on to compete in the National Competition in Washington DC in February. Congratulations to all the students for their creative ideas and hard work!
Focus 352: Planning Assistance Center: Talkin' about TOD
Does your community have a rail station or transit center? Are you interested in encouraging compact, mixed use development within an easy walk of transit to reduce congestion and increase your tax base? DVRPC has lots of resources to help communities with Transit-Oriented Development (TOD). The Building on Our Strengths webmap illustrates a rating system DVRPC developed to evaluate the physical, demographic, and economic characteristics near transit stations in the region. DVRPC keeps track of completed and proposed TOD projects in our Smart Growth Project Database. View a map of which municipalities have TOD ordinances [0.7 MB pdf].
Upcoming LTAP Courses in our Region
The Local Technical Assistance Program (LTAP) provides technical information and expertise to help municipal governments use transportation funds more effectively, improve road maintenance, and increase roadway safety.
Upcoming PennDOT classes in Pennsylvania include:
Asphalt Roads Common Maintenance Problems
March 21, 2018 (8:00 AM – 12:00 PM)
Posting and Bonding of Local Roads
March 28, 2018 (8:00 AM – 12:00 PM)
Staff Profile for Kevin Murphy, Manager of Safety Programs
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
I loved music and played guitar and dabbled with drums. So I could see myself as a rock star, as many young people might do, but knew it wasn't a career path.
What did you study in school?
I majored in geography and minored in speech communications.
What was your first job?
A transportation planner at the Economic Development Council of Northeastern PA, which is a regional agency like DVRPC, but due to its small size, is an RPO instead of an MPO.
How did you end up at DVRPC?
My wife Lynn and I were ready for a change so we decided to move to the Philly area, and committed to making the move as soon as one of us got a job there. After Lynn landed a position, we took a road trip across country visiting National Parks and friends. Then I started looking more earnestly and was hired as a planner in the corridor planning unit working for John Ward.
Tell me about your career path to Manager of Safety Programs.
Safety was always a component of DVRPC's transportation studies, but three things changed that triggered it becoming its own unit and focus area. First, PennDOT, followed by NJDOT, started embracing Road Safety Audits, and we've now conducted over 25. Second, regional crash data became available at our desktops instead of having to get the data directly from local police departments on a per study basis. With digital crash data we're able to do regional analyses on a spectrum of factors including concentrations by collision type, chronology, crash rate, etc. Third, a new flavor of federal transportation funding, the Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) was created as part of SAFETEA-LU, facilitating implementation of data-driven safety improvements at crash priority locations.
What is your favorite project?
The HSIP work – I like working with our county and state partners to meet the federal requirements for HSIP funding and advocating for important safety projects to get built. It's a long process – we need to identify crash trends locations, prove the need with data, get people to care, and then sell the improvement projects to the funders. But ultimately it's rewarding to see safety improvements implemented.
What three words best describe you?
Open, adventurous, and caring.
Where is your favorite place in the region?
The Dell at Haddon Lake Park – it's a small, natural amphitheater with a backdrop of trees behind the stage where free concerts and other fun events are held all summer long. It's also 6 blocks from my house, and it's great to be able to just walk or bike over.
If you could be King of the Delaware Valley for a day, what would you declare?
Everyone must slow down, especially drivers! That would be huge for making our roadways safer.
What is something your colleagues don't know about you?
I'm fairly forthcoming, but some may not know that I play guitar in a band, and the bands I've played in primarily play original music, not covers, though there are always a few on every set list. My band during my first job was called "Freight Train," and I've been in several bands since then. My most recent band is "The Commiserators."
Where would we find you after hours?
Spending time with my wife, two high school age sons, and dog.
What career advice do you give your sons?
There is always work for good communicators, and be persistent with your dreams.