The region’s transportation, water, and other infrastructure extends across multiple jurisdictions, requiring collaboration to ensure a well-functioning system and maximize public investments. Collaborating on infrastructure allows the region’s communities to deliver vital services, resulting in capital cost savings and lower operational costs through economies of scale. It can also benefit municipalities that lack the capacity to independently host an infrastructure project. And capital projects that combine transportation elements with water or wastewater improvements can better leverage limited capital funds. Municipalities in the region often already share infrastructure or collaborate on joint or aggregated projects. One current example is the Cal-Sag Trail, where a group of municipalities along the Cal-Sag Channel collaborated with other public and private partners to construct a 26-mile trail using more than $35 million in federal, state, municipal, and private funds. This approach can work on a smaller scale as well.
[GRAPHIC TO COME: A rendering showing a project that combines transportation, water, and other infrastructure improvements.]
Another challenge in delivering capital projects and improving highway system performance is disruption resulting from construction. Coordination of projects across transportation agencies, water and wastewater infrastructure providers, and utility companies could reduce the frequency and duration of construction on rights of way and potentially decrease costs, reduce driver delays, and improve safety. In addition, schedule delays during road construction projects caused by the presence of utilities can impose significant cost increases. Often utility infrastructure -- including publicly or privately owned communications, electricity, gas, water, or other lines or equipment -- is located in the transportation facility right of way and must be relocated or removed during construction. Coordination with utility companies is important to avoid construction delays.
For day-to-day highway operations, effective coordination can reduce the need for costly roadway expansion by making the most efficient use of the existing system. The highway system is most effectively managed when coordination goes beyond an individual operating agency. Establishing real-time communication and operational agreements between highway agencies, emergency management services, transit operators, and traveler information services can improve transportation system safety and reliability, and reduce congestion. The following chart provides an overview of the region’s highway operations system, which could benefit from increased coordination.
[GRAPHIC TO COME: Illustration highlighting opportunities for highway operations to be coordinated across entities]
The following describes strategies and associated actions to implement this recommendation.