Regional Planning and Coordination
Purpose of Regional Planning and Coordination
Regional planning and coordination for planned special events involves activities unrelated to a specific event. Stakeholders use regional planning initiatives to complete event operations planning, implementation activities, day-of-event activities, and post-event activities for individual, future planned special events more efficiently and effectively. In turn, post-event activities (e.g., participant evaluation, stakeholder debriefing meeting, evaluation report) performed for specific special events provide valuable input for on-going regional planning and coordination activities. The following points characterize the purpose of regional planning and coordination:
- Mechanism for agencies to coordinate activities and work together;
- Focus on continuously improving travel management for all planned special events in region;
- Formal multi-agency program or initiative;
- Champion and provide resources to pursue activities to improve on current practices; and
- Multi-year program plan prioritizing initiatives to improve current practices program plan prioritizing initiatives to improve current practices.
Regional planning and coordination activities strive to improve travel management for all planned special events in a region. Involved stakeholders typically include mid-to-upper level representatives of transportation agencies and law enforcement, and additional stakeholders include elected officials, community civic and business leaders, regional organizations, and other government agencies.
Two successful examples of enhanced regional planning and coordination efforts include:
- The Anaheim TOC (Transportation Operations Center) was established to manage and coordinate all the planned special events in the region in a more systematic way.
- As a result of stakeholders working successfully together on the Goodwill games in Seattle, Washington, 1990, the camaraderie that resulted led to the development of long-term regional relationships for future planned special events as well as for day-to-day operations. Decision Maker's Role in Regional Planning and Coordination
Table 4-1 presents the major efforts that should be considered in the decision maker’s role in meeting the challenges pertinent to regional planning and coordination.
The decision maker's responsibility to the community relative to the planned special events purpose of regional planning and coordination is listed in Table 4-2.
Regional Initiatives and Activities
Target Focus Areas of Regional Initiatives and Activities
Regional planning and coordination for all planned special events involves a dynamic set of actions initiated in response to specific stakeholder needs that represent a common thread among all future planned special events in the region. The need may not necessarily denote a specific transportation operations deficiency (e.g., known traffic bottleneck location, traffic/pedestrian safety issue). Instead, these actions create new procedures, strategies, resource applications, and infrastructure improvements that stakeholders can take advantage of time and time again in planning and operations activities for specific planned special events. The benefit of managing travel for all planned special events in a region is not measured by the program's impact on one planned special event but by the cumulative benefit of improving travel management for all future events. Continual improvement through new actions and refinement of existing initiatives occurs as new evaluation results and stakeholder feedback is obtained.
Table 4-3 presents the collective focus areas of regional initiatives and activities.
Elements of Regional Manual on Planned Special Events
A regional manual on planned special events travel management integrates regional stakeholder roles and resources in addition to the needs of service providers and the general public into a document, unique to the region, for planned special event planning, operations, and evaluation. It helps facilitate consistent planning and operation for all planned special events in the region. Resulting benefits to stakeholders include: time savings, cost savings, assurance of review and input from all affected stakeholders, and increased efficiency of transportation system operations.
The regional manual on planned special events is similar to, and may reference, a documented planned special event permit process and guidelines for a particular jurisdiction. It may contain planning and operations checklists specific to each participating stakeholder in addition to action plan templates that vary by event category, event severity, and/or venue. It may address any or all of the following topics:
- Categories and impact classification of planned special events in the region;
- Stakeholder duties and responsibilities in planning for and managing travel for planned special events in the region;
- Application of interagency agreements and other policies (e.g., standard street use event routes, emergency access routes, traffic flow routes) to planning and operations;
- Guidelines and regulations on traffic and transportation operations;
- Resource inventory and function;
- Planning schedule and process for developing a traffic management plan and related products;
- Stakeholder contact list and description of potentially available personnel and equipment resources;
- Guidelines for data collection and analysis;
- Guidelines for public outreach initiatives, both for planning and operations purposes;
- Management logistics and protocol for interagency communication; and
- Traffic control plan and implementation plan templates.
Function of a Regional Committee or Technical Team on Planned Special Events
Stakeholder coordination and collaboration represents the basis for facilitating each step necessary to manage travel for planned special events. However, after the planned special event concludes, there exists a need to sustain and nurture the established stakeholder relationships. A transportation committee on planned special events can carry out the iterative process of applying successes and lessons learned from a specific special event to future events in a region in addition to ensuring consistency and completeness in planning for and operating each successive planned special event. Participants may also work independent of the group or within smaller technical teams to evaluate potential new resource and technology applications (e.g., portable devices) that may improve an agency's performance and capabilities while meeting group objectives.
A planned special events transportation committee may evolve from: (1) a task force or traffic management team that handled a specific major planned special event or all planned special events at a particular venue, (2) a regional transportation committee, such as a traffic incident management committee, or (3) a regional organization or public agency acting as a champion for managing travel for planned special events. A champion will act through the committee to resolve institutional or operations issues affecting planned special event travel management. These individuals typically have the authority and position to mitigate circumstances hampering advance planning activities and/or day-of-event operations. They also promote stakeholder buy-in, thus facilitating committee growth.
Potential duties and responsibilities of a planned special events transportation committee may help to:
- Develop agreements or memorandums of understanding for sharing agency resources or defining agency roles in planning for and/or managing travel on the day-of-event.
- Implement and oversee regional planned special events programs and/or permit programs.
- Create funding mechanisms and influencing transportation improvement programs.
- Develop and coordinate public information campaigns.
- Address technical, operational, and institutional issues.
- Facilitate joint training and simulation exercises.
- Assess existing planning and operations performance and recommending future needs.
- Establish and monitor measures to reduce traffic and parking impacts to neighborhoods.
Purpose and Key Considerations of Planned Special Event Permitting
The purpose of the special event permit is to ensure that any changes, restrictions, or adaptations, resulting from such an event are managed in a safe, prudent, and legal manner in order to protect the health, safety, welfare, and convenience of the traveling public and citizens of the area.
The development of a formal planned special event permit program marks a key regional planning and coordination initiative to facilitate stakeholder coordination, compliance with community needs and requirements, and efficient event operations planning. Backed by guidelines and regulations specified in municipal ordinances, the program outlines a defined planning framework and schedule for event organizers and participating review agencies to follow. It represents an agreement between participating public agencies (e.g., transportation, law enforcement, public safety, etc.) to ensure, through planning activities or review, that all planned special events meet a set of mutually agreed upon requirements for day-of-event travel management. A municipal permit represents approval, or agreement between a jurisdiction and event organizer, to operate a planned special event, and it includes provisions outside of travel management.
The permitting process can identify many of the basic elements of the special event such as its timing, location and expected number of event patrons. Through a carefully constructed permitting process, transportation and public safety agencies can achieve a better sense of what resources these stakeholders need to handle the event.
The special event permit process serves to scope, schedule, and direct event operations planning activities for proposed events. This reduces unnecessary delay in facilitating stakeholder coordination, developing planning deliverables (e.g., traffic management plan, etc.), reviewing mitigation strategies, and mobilizing personnel and equipment resources required to stage a particular planned special event. Practitioners may expand and contract the process in order to best fit: (1) the area type and involved stakeholders, (2) the special guidelines and regulations unique to a particular jurisdiction, (3) the operations characteristics of a particular event, and (4) the purpose of a particular event, such as community events versus commercial, for-profit events involving event organizers from the private sector.
Some important considerations and applications of planned special event permitting include:
- Permitting proves particularly effective for less frequent continuous events, street use events, and rural events occurring at a temporary venue not having a known spectator capacity. These events place an emphasis on advance planning and public outreach to mitigate traffic operations deficiencies and community impacts.
- Jurisdictions may not require a permit for special events held at permanent venues, such as stadiums, arenas, and amphitheaters.
- Permitting allows jurisdictions the opportunity to engage the event organizer at the beginning of the event operations phase.
- Public stakeholders can size-up the event operations characteristics of a proposed event in order to schedule adequate personnel and equipment resources to accommodate the event. Resources may include traffic control, security, and maintenance.
- From the event organizer's perspective, a special event permit application and associated regulations outlines a general approach toward successfully managing travel for the event, facilitates coordination with appropriate stakeholders, and gauges resource requirements on the day-of-event.
Decision Maker's Role in Regional Initiatives and Activities
Table 4-4 presents the major efforts that should be considered in the decision maker's role in effecting regional initiatives and activities.
The decision maker's responsibility to the community relative to the regional initiatives and activities are presented in Table 4-5.
Importance of Funding
Funding is an important consideration since it is needed to pay for the time of staff assigned to planning and coordination efforts. Without an identified source of funding, the participation of agencies is subject to the availability of financing from the home agencies of those asked to take a role. At times of budgetary restrictions, agencies may not choose to make staff members available for planning and coordination, or they may limit the time or number of staff members who are needed to formulate a plan. This could be especially true for agencies that are outside of the jurisdiction where the event is being held.
In his presentation at the 2nd National Conference on Managing Travel for Planned Special Events, David Kuehn of the FHWA revealed a cost program for Planned Special Events that has three components, each one building on or necessary for the next: personnel, cost management, and cost recovery. He recommended that a decision maker include the actions listed in Table 4-6 to manage costs for planned special events.
|Financial Management of Costs|
|Financial Management of Revenues via Cost Recovery|
Public agencies recover costs incurred in providing services during the event operations planning phase and resources on the day-of-event through event organizer fees and other funding mechanisms. The City of Los Angeles recognizes that the numerous planned special events held in their City have a positive impact on their economy. Los Angeles includes a line item in their annual budget for planned special events relative to equipment costs and staffing costs.
Successful Approaches for Cost Recovery
Table 4-7 describes five different approaches used by jurisdictions to obtain cost recovery for staff and equipment rental.
Reasons to Waive Cost Recovery Requirements
The social and economic benefits yielded by planned special events, in addition to the purpose of select events, result in jurisdictions as part of a political decision, periodically waiving cost recovery requirements even for privately sponsored special events. These decisions may be based on providing a public service or considered as a cost of economic development. For instance, Table 4-8 lists criteria that planned special events in Louisville, KY must meet for City provision of free services for event operation and management.
Source: Festivals & Events: Policies & Procedures, City of Louisville, Kentucky
Decision Maker's Role in Funding
Table 4-9 presents the major efforts that should be considered in the decision maker's role in funding.
Table 4-10 presents the decision maker's responsibility to the community concerning funding mechanisms for the purposes of managing travel for planned special events.