Maximize2040: A Performance-Based Transportation Plan is the Baltimore Regional Transportation Board’s newest long range transportation plan (LRTP). The BRTB is required by federal law to identify the demand for transportation services over the next 20 years and determine the potential regional affects to land use, economic development, jobs, and housing. The LRTP looks at both highway and transit projects. Cost, existing infrastructure, system efficiency, and regional impacts are all considered in the plan. The goals of the plan are to promote transportation safety, improve accessibility and mobility, encourage investments in existing communities, and maintain or improve air and water quality.

 

As staff to the BRTB, the Baltimore Metropolitan Council has been using online maps to augment and publicize planning projects for 10 years. In the last few years, BMC has been transitioning to ESRI online products, including ArcGIS Server and ArcGIS Online for Organizations. Maximize2040 is the first major project at BMC to take full advantage of this new technology. Online maps were used in all phases of the project for outreach, analysis, and publication. These maps serve to expand the utility and accessibility of the planning process.

Maximize2040 Public Project Ideas (http://gis.baltometro.org/Application/Maximize2040/index.html)

The Public Comment map was used as part of early outreach efforts to solicit input from the public on what sort of transportation projects people wanted to see in their area. This map was publicized through newsletters and social media. Users were able to add a point to the map where they wanted to see a project and add information about the idea and its benefits. The project ideas were visible to anyone who looked at the map. Users could also include contact information which was suppressed in the public map but could be accessed by BMC staff for further outreach. On the back end, the data from this map fed directly into BMC’s enterprise geodatabase, allowing for easy data cleaning and analysis.

 

Environmental Data for Maximize2040 (http://arcg.is/1SpioL3)

The Environmental Data map was created to allow planning staff in BMC’s member jurisdictions to analyze the impacts of the proposed projects on environmental and land use assets. Project sponsors were asked to view the interactive mapping and assess the proximity of resources as they proposed their projects for the LRTP. This map was presented to state and federal agencies as well as shown at jurisdictional outreach meetings. These efforts are part of the environmental coordination required by federal transportation regulations for the Long Range Planning process. This map heavily utilized web services available on the MD iMap Open Data website.

Equity Data for Maximize2040 (http://arcg.is/1FadzEP)

In accordance with Title VI regulations and Executive Order 12898, an LRTP must ensure that new highway and transit projects do not have a disproportionately adverse affect on minority or economically disadvantaged populations. In addition, the process must ensure that these groups have a chance to take part in the planning process. This map was used as a tool at jurisdictional planning meetings to demonstrate how different projects related to demographic and equity factors. The demographic data came from the American Community Survey 2006-2010 Estimates.

Maximize2040 Story Map (http://arcg.is/1O3nVZZ)

Along with the print and PDF versions of Maximize2040: A Performance-Based Transportation Plan, BMC created an online Story Map that brought together report documents, graphics, interactive maps, and a survey to create a single multimedia presentation that allows users to explore different aspects of the planning process. This map was promoted through BMC’s website, newsletters, and on social media.

Maximize2040 is the first major project at BMC to take full advantage ESRI online technology and it is likely that other projects will follow. Many of the technical lessons learned during the process will allow for more sophisticated maps to be created in the future. Interactive maps will most likely be integrated into product planning instead of being used to illustrate work towards the end of a project phase. One unexpected result of Maximize2040 was to illustrate the versatility of these maps. While originally envisioned as links to be distributed to individuals through web and e-mail, the maps were also used as presentation media at outreach events and as collaborative tools during planning meetings. Elements of the LRTP not usually associated with GIS were brought together to create an integrated planning product that helped expand the utility and accessibility of the planning process.

For more information on Maximize2040: A Performance-Based Transportation Plan, go to http://www.baltometro.org/our-work/transportation-plans/long-range-planning/maximize2040.