Volume 44, Issue 7
DVRPC Announces New Leadership
After sixteen years under the leadership of Barry Seymour, the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC) has appointed Ariella Maron to serve as its next Executive Director. The Board, at its December 7th meeting, confirmed Maron, who will become the fifth Executive Director and first woman to lead DVRPC in its 57-year history. She will begin full-time work at DVRPC on February 6.
Maron is a passionate thought leader who is well known for her work to accelerate progress towards local sustainability, environmental justice, energy, and climate goals. Over her twenty-plus year career in the private and public sectors, she has led the development and implementation of far-reaching solutions to a broad set of urban challenges across the disciplines of urban planning, local government policy, infrastructure, and economic development.
View the full press release.
Public Comment Period for Draft Fiscal Year 2024 Work Program Closing Soon
DVRPC opened a 30+ day public comment period on December 7, 2022 for the Draft Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 Unified Planning Work Program. This document outlines all of the federally funded planning projects slated for the nine-county region from July 1, 2023 to June 30, 2024. The Work Program is developed annually by the DVRPC Board with its planning partners to reflect the region’s short-range planning needs. DVRPC will accept comments from December 7, 2022 until January 9, 2023 at 5:00 PM local time. The Board will review the public comments received and consider adoption of the FY24 Work Program at their meeting on January 26.
Electronic copies of DVRPC’s Draft Work Program are available on DVRPC’s website: www.dvrpc.org/WorkProgram. Hardcopies of DVRPC’s Draft Work Program are available at DVRPC’s offices in Philadelphia, PA, in a number of regional libraries, and upon request by emailing email@example.com. The document can be translated into an alternative format or language, if requested.
Comments must be submitted in writing. Comments can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or mailed to:
Work Program Comments
c/o DVRPC Office of Communications & Engagement
ACP Building, 8th Floor 190 N. Independence Mall West
Philadelphia, PA 19106-1520
Comments for these documents must be received no later than 5:00 p.m. on January 9, 2023. Comments received via mail must be postmarked by January 9, 2023.
DVRPC’s Fiscal Year 2022 Annual Report: Leveraging Opportunities
Though the challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic are not yet behind us, Fiscal Year 2022 was marked by many positive steps forward as the nation and the region focused on recovery. Most notably, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), signed into law in November 2021, is bringing new opportunities to the region. In October 2021, the DVRPC Board adopted the region’s new Long-Range Plan, Connections 2050, and in the spring, DVRPC was designated an Economic Development District. Now available to browse, DVRPC’s FY 2022 Annual Report, Leveraging Opportunities, includes these highlights and more.
DVRPC looks forward to continuing to serve Greater Philadelphia and helping to make our communities more livable, healthier, and safer in the years to come. Read the Annual Report to learn more.
Pennsylvania’s First Autonomous Shuttle Coming to the Philadelphia Navy Yard
Last month a press event celebrated the unveiling of Pennsylvania’s first automated vehicle (AV) shuttle at the Navy Yard in Philadelphia. In December, the zero-emissions shuttle pilot started testing, training, and analyzing the shuttle's performance at the Navy Yard. Full deployment of the shuttle is expected in early 2023 where it will become part of the Navy Yard’s existing shuttle service, which currently operates two routes to NRG Station and Center City Philadelphia.
Speakers included PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian; Kate McNamara, PIDC Senior Vice President at the Navy Yard; Barry Seymour, Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, Executive Director; Nick Pilipowskyj, Perrone Robotics Vice President of Business Operations; Kelly Yemen, Director of Complete Streets (Office of Transportation, Infrastructure, & Sustainability, City of Philadelphia); and Brian Keech, Drexel University SVP for Government and Community Relations.
The AV shuttle project is made possible through public and private partnerships with PIDC, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), AECOM, Perrone Robotics, Inc., Drexel College of Robotics, the City of Philadelphia, and DVRPC. The pilot AV shuttle is funded by DVRPC’s Travel Options Program (TOP), which is an ongoing regional initiative that awards funds for innovative projects to provide better access to more travel options, while meeting the goals of climate action and air quality improvement, equity, reliability, freedom of choice, and affordability.
New Travel Options Program Project Approved
The DVRPC Board has approved $731,568 ($585,254 Federal Hwy funds, $146,314 local match) to fund a SEPTA Key Advantage project through the Travel Options Program (TOP). SEPTA Key Advantage is an employer-based, all-employee transit benefit program. Employers with 500 or more employees can enter into an agreement with SEPTA, which allows employers to load “all access” passes once per month to eligible employee SEPTA cards. The funding will support marketing and staff resources to promote the program in suburban areas with the goals of increasing participation in Key Advantage, which will encourage more regular transit use, and save employers and commuters money.
TOP funds innovative projects that will provide better access to more travel options across the Greater Philadelphia region, such as walking, biking, and taking transit. The goal is to reduce the number of single occupancy vehicles on the region’s roadways–a practice otherwise known as Transportation Demand Management (TDM). Learn more on the TOP webpage.
Mobility Choices: Transportation Conversations in Three Black and Latino Communities in the Greater Philadelphia Region
Historically marginalized and disadvantaged population groups often have fewer transportation options due to low incomes, inaccessible or unsafe infrastructure, lack of transit service, or poor transit frequency. Bolstering mobility options for these communities has the potential to positively impact their social mobility and quality of life. The Mobility Choices: Transportation Conversations in Three Black and Latino Communities in the Greater Philadelphia Region study was conducted to better understand how racial minority populations travel in the region, and what physical, social, or structural forces shape those mobility choices.
The study focused on three communities: Mantua and East Parkside in West Philadelphia, the Municipality of Norristown, and North Trenton. Information was collected through surveys and focus groups. The study found that reliability and cost are the biggest factors in decision making for mobility, and personal and traffic safety ranked high among concerns in all three communities, making it unsurprising that many participants expressed a desire to drive or use rideshare more often. Buses are the most desired form of transit, with 26% of participants wishing they could use them more. Participants also said their communities lack infrastructure and amenities to make biking, walking, and transit viable options for a lot of trips although people were interested in these modes. Read the full report.
New Travel Trends Report Shows Increased Travel Halted by COVID-19 Pandemic
The most recent Travel Trends in the Delaware Valley Region analyzes data for the 2015 to early 2020 (pre-COVID) time period. Most of the economic and travel trends during this period, compared to previous years, were pointing upward in a positive direction. This is as the region continued to recover from the Great Recession, which lasted from December 2007 to June 2009. Traffic crossing the bridges between Pennsylvania and New Jersey increased by 6.6%. Vehicle Miles of Travel (VMT) increased by 3.1% on the roads in Pennsylvania, by 5.2% on the roads in New Jersey, and by 3.9% for the region as a whole.
Between 2015 and early 2020, daily traffic increased by 30.4% on I-95 between exits 35 and 39 in Bensalem, by 32.7% on the bridge over the Delaware River, by 45.1% on the New Jersey Turnpike Extension from the Delaware River through Florence, and by 17.8% on the mainline NJ Turnpike from Trenton north.
During this same time period, transit ridership was either flat or lower throughout most of the region when compared to previous trends. Bicycle and pedestrian trips in downtown Philadelphia increased in some neighborhoods, but decreased in others. Read the full data bulletin.
FY2024 NJ TCDI to Open on February 16 for Eligible NJ Applicants
DVRPC will release the Program Guidelines for the next Transportation and Community Development Initiative (TCDI) funding round on February 1, and the application portal will open on February 16 for eligible applicants located in DVRPC’s four New Jersey counties. TCDI is a competitive grant opportunity for local governments, transportation management associations (TMAs), and transit agencies to support smart growth initiatives that implement the Connections 2050: Plan for Greater Philadelphia. Up to $600,000 may be available. A major change to this program from years past is that the local match is no longer required.
Interested applicants are encouraged to attend an information webinar on February 15th. If you have any questions, contact Spencer K. Gober, Associate Manager, Office of Community and Economic Development, at email@example.com.
Recent Publications and Products
Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Final Performance Plan (2018-2021) and Baseline Report (2022-2025) - Metropolitan Planning Organizations are required to adopt CMAQ Emissions targets and develop a baseline performance plan as part of the federally mandated Transportation Performance Management process. This technical memo serves as the final performance report to FHWA for the first performance period (2018-2021) for the congestion performance measures for the Philadelphia Urbanized Area and New York-Newark Urbanized Area and on-road mobile emissions performance measures in the DVRPC Planning Area. This report also serves as the baseline report for the second performance period (2022-2025) for these measures and includes additional reporting for the Allentown Urbanized Area and the Trenton Urbanized Area as required by federal regulations.
Connecting to Trails in Delaware County: Storymap - Delaware County asked DVRPC to propose recommendations to increase access to the county’s trails network through on-road bicycle facilities. This story map further depicts the proposed designs and phasing. A complementary memo explores the project team’s on-road bicycle network methodology in connecting adjacent low-stress, typically residential islands to selected trailheads.