On Monday, December 9, 2013 at 11 a.m., Speaker William J. Howell addressed the Hampton Roads Transportation Planning Organization, outlining legislative ideas for transportation reform in the Commonwealth. Speaker Howell was joined by several members of the Hampton Roads General Assembly delegation. Below, are highlights from the speech made by Speaker Howell:
Harness technology, innovation and new ideas:
Build smarter transportation systems to improve performance for drivers. For example, synchronizing traffic signals at intersections can reduce stops by as much as 40 percent, cut gas consumption by 10 percent, cut emissions by 22 percent, and reduce travel time by 25 percent.
Build systems with real-time data mechanisms will allow us to analyze how traffic moves and better predict what solutions will be needed both in the short- and long-term.
Alert drivers of congestion before it happens and respond to accidents in seconds, not minutes.
With the filing of legislation creating the “Innovation and Technology in Transportation Fund” to be endowed from existing resources and dedicated to finding new ways to use technology in Virginia’s transportation system, the General Assembly will be called upon to take the following actions:
General Assembly should ask the Virginia Department of Transportation to update, revise and rewrite their regional “Smart Travel Program” plans. These programs were developed in 2006, which to many of us may not seem like long ago. But at a time when technology changes by the minute, this has been an eternity.
General Assembly should pass legislation directing the Secretary of Transportation and VDOT to develop statewide goals for the use of technology solutions and to develop an achievable plan of action to reach those goals within the next five years.
Create a consumer-based model that focuses on congestion relief, safety and economic development:
Virginia should explore further use congestion-relief, performance pricing models similar to those deployed on the I-495 Express lanes
Virginia should work to streamline, improve and innovate its traffic operations management systems, using technology and data to monitor traffic and congestion
Virginia should seek to create new, regional ‘accident clearing teams’ in order to prevent large-scale disruptions during peak hours
General Assembly should form a Transportation Solutions Working Group within the Commonwealth Transportation Board charged solely with the task of brainstorming new and innovative ideas to address congestion relief and turning those ideas into actionable plans that Virginia can implement.
General Assembly should ask the Virginia Department of Transportation to create a series of congestion-relief pilot zones in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads, similar to the Smart Road in Southwest Virginia in order to test and refine these solutions.
Commonwealth Transportation Board should develop a comprehensive metrics table
VDOT should prioritize projects to include these metrics across the state of Virginia
To read Speaker Howell's speech in its entirety, click here.
Photo courtesy williamjhowell.org