Urban Freight Case Studies - Orlando
Quick Fix Projects
METROPLAN surveyed truck drivers to determine the operational and safety issues they encountered while driving in the Orlando metropolitan region. To encourage participation, METROPLAN offered truck drivers a disposal camera to document their concerns about the existing transportation system. The disposable cameras proved to be an easy and unique way to gather information. Based on the survey results, METROPLAN developed a list of 20 potential improvements projects, many of which have been implemented, including drainage improvement on SR 500 and guardrail repairs.5 This list provided information on the type of project needed, the estimated cost, and the agency or jurisdiction responsible for implementation.
The survey indicated the signal system is at the center of many freight-related concerns. In several cases, improvements and/or additions to the existing system, such as advanced warning signs, are needed to mitigate negative effects on goods movement. In other cases, more complex solutions, such as the implementation of Advanced Traffic Signal Management Systems, was suggested. The survey report also lists one intersection that would benefit from the installation of a new signal.
Geometric Intersection Improvements
The geometric design of several intersections was identified as a concern for vehicle safety and the efficient movement of goods. Crushed curbs and rutting near the edges of some roads attest to the insufficient turning radii provided at intersections in the region. Improvements such as widening lanes, restriping stop bars, and reconfiguring intersections to increase turning radii would allow large trucks to make the necessary turns without encroaching upon other vehicles or traveling off the road. However, improvements to several of the identified intersections were constrained by existing infrastructure, making them impossible to reconfigure. As a solution to insufficient turning radii at several intersections, commercial vehicles were rerouted in order to better serve truck operations.
The signal and geometric design improvements were relatively low-cost, easy solutions. By recommending these quick fix projects, METROPLAN provided local jurisdictions with a short-term solution to solve freight-related transportation concerns. The implementation of these projects show progress and have gained the support of the trucking industry and the general public.
Quick fix projects provide communities, regardless of size, with a way to improve their transportation system and gain stakeholder support in the short term. Almost every jurisdiction has room for improvement when it comes to the infrastructure that trucks must use in their region. By taking on these inexpensive improvement projects, government agencies can show that progress is being made to enhance goods movement. This demonstration of achievement will bolster support for future efforts and make more capital-intensive projects easier to undertake.
Follow-Up Quick Fix Activities
Following the successful implementation of many proposed projects, METROPLAN has identified another round of quick fix projects in the Orlando area. Its Downtown Transportation Plan identified several improvements, such as the implementation of a truck route system and changes to loading zone ordinances. Moreover, continued efforts in the area of land-use planning will help to ensure that future development promotes the efficient movement of goods.
5 Metropolitan Orlando Regional Transportation Partnership, Transportation Improvement Program (Orlando, FL: 2005).
United States Department of Transportation - Federal Highway Administration