FDOT Resilience Quick Guide: Incorporating Resilience in the MPO Long Range Transportation Plan

The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) produced this Resilience Quick Guide (guide) in January 2020 to provide concise guidance to metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) on best practices for integrating resilience into long-range transportation plans. The guide notes that Florida's regions are challenged by extreme events and changing conditions including inland flooding, sea-level rise, more frequent and severe storm events, worsening drought, fires, and more - all of which can affect transportation facilities and systems and result in other social and economic impacts. The guide includes recommendations and examples on how to incorporate resilience into goals and objectives, performance measures and targets, risk and vulnerability assessments, needs plans, and investment and project prioritization processes for transportation.

Long-range transportation plans (LRTPs) - sometimes known as Metropolitan Transportation Plans or Regional Transportation Plans for MPO regions - must be produced at the statewide level by state DOTs and at the regional level (for urbanized regions of a certain size) by MPOs in order to receive federal surface transportation funding. The LRTP, which is updated every four years, cover at least a 20-year planning horizon and provide the guiding vision for a state's or region's transportation system and planned investments over that period. As part of the 2015 Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act), state DOTs and MPOs had to begin incorporating consideration of strategies that "improve the resiliency and reliability of the transportation system and reduce or mitigate stormwater impacts of surface transportation" in long-range planning processes.

The guide is divided into sections detailing considerations and examples (both within and outside Florida) for how resilience can be integrated into the different components of an LRTP:

  1. Goals and Objectives - This section of the LRTP presents the foundation of the plan and provides an important opportunity to integrate resilience, either as a standalone goal or woven throughout multiple goals and objectives for the system. For example, the North Florida Transportation Planning Organization's 2045 PathForward LRTP includes a goal to "[c]reate resliable and resilient multimodal infrastructure," which is supported by three specific objectives - including addressing social equity in adaptation efforts.
  2. Performance Measures and Targets - The 2012 Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) and the FAST Act established new requirements for states and MPOs to establish performance targets as part of their planning processes, and report on progress towards these targets. The guide notes that MPOs can go beyond what is required by MAP-21 and the FAST Act to include performance measures that aim to quantify and set targets for more resilient systems and infrastructure, such as by setting a target for reduced lane-miles affected by flooding in a given year. For example, the Palm Beach Transportation Planning Authority's 2045 LRTP includes a performance measure related to reducing the percentage of federal-aid eligible lane miles susceptible to inundation by 1.2 feet of sea-level rise.
  3. Risks and Vulnerabilities Assessment - The guide states that risk assessment can help establish "a network-wide perspective relative to resilience," and it is important to maintain an accurate inventory of assets and their condition in order to prioritize investments needed. The guide points to the South Florida Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment and Adaptation Pilot Project, which was a four-county collaborative study, as an example of how several MPO regions work together to assess network segment vulnerabilities to sea-level rise and flooding.
  4. Needs Plan Development - The LRTP Needs Plan helps MPOs identify how certain projects could help reduce risks and vulnerabilities and accommodate future travel demand. The guide notes that MPOs can consider resilience factors when prioritizing projects in their Needs Plan and explain how the projects help meet their planning goals (e.g., if the project improves an evacuation route). For example, the Capital Area MPO in Austin, TX developed several resilience-related measures to guide their Needs Plan, including "evaluating evacuation routes as part of any identified project to increase system redundancy."
  5. Cost Feasible Plan - Investments and Project Prioritization - The Cost Feasible Plan narrows down projects from the Needs Plan to those that are financially feasible over the planning horizon. MPOs can incorporate resilience by showing a plan to invest in and prioritize projects that reflect resilience goals and objectives. For example, the Southern California Council of Governments' LRTP "Connect SoCal" includes $68 billion in investments for system preservation, operation, and resilience needs of the state highway system.

While the guide was developed primarily for Florida MPOs, it provides useful information and examples that can be applied by MPOs across the country that are working on incorporating resilience into all aspects of their LRTPs.

Publication Date: January 2020

Related Organizations:

  • Florida Department of Transportation

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  • Planning guides

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