Fiscal Year 2023-2026 Transportation Improvement Program Development Update: Call for Surface Transportation Block Grant (STBG) and Surface Transportation Block Grant – Transportation Alternatives (STBG-TA) Projects Complete

Purpose

The Knoxville Regional Transportation Planning Organization (TPO) is currently developing the Fiscal Year 2023-2026 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP). The TIP is updated on a three-year cycle and covers a period of four years. A call for projects was issued in January 2022, with project applications due by February 25th. This call for projects allowed jurisdictions to apply for new projects, or roll over and update unobligated phases of projects currently programmed in the FY 2020-2023 TIP.

Funding Availability

  • TPO STBG Funds – TPO staff projects approximately $105.7M in local Surface Transportation Block Grant (L-STBG) federal funds available over the life of the 2023-2026 TIP to cover funding shortfalls in rollover projects and fund new projects. STBG funds are eligible for most project-types, but if used on a roadway project then it must be classified as Urban Minor Collector or higher on the state’s functional classification system. Most projects require a 20% local match.
  • TPO STBG-TA Funds – Approximately $8.1M in local Surface Transportation Block Grant-Transportation Alternatives (L-STBG-TA) federal funds is available over the life of the 2023-02026 TIP to cover shortfalls in rollover projects and fund new projects. Again, projects typically require a 20% local match.
  • Final revenue amounts will be determined by authorizations from the federal transportation bill. In addition, available funding may be impacted by cost increases within the current TIP program.

Evaluation Criteria

Projects will be scored and ranked using the criteria based on the goals and factors developed for the Mobility Plan 2045 process as shown on the project application form. Other criteria that TPO staff will be evaluating in making project selection recommendations will involve an assessment of project completion scheduling and assessment of project delays as determined by TIP programming policies. This assessment will be based on ease of project implementation, past performance of the sponsoring agency in the TDOT project development process and amount/status of other projects already under development by the sponsoring agency.

Project Applications Received

A total of 25 existing project rollover applications were received, requesting a total of $115.2 million in federal L-STBG funds and $4.9 million in federal L-STBG-TA funds.

A total of 18 new project applications were received, requesting $49.0 million in federal L-STBG funds and $1.4 million federal L-STBG-TA funds.

Draft TIP Development Schedule

  • Call for Projects Issued – January 14, 2022 (Complete)
  • End Call for Projects – Friday, February 25, 2022 (Complete)
  • TPO Staff Scoring and Project Prioritization/Fiscal Constraint consultation with project applicants – April, 2022
  • TDOT submits state projects for inclusion in the draft TIP – April-May, 2022
  • Draft TIP to Technical Committee/Executive Board for Review – June, 2022

Final TIP Technical Committee Recommendation/Executive Board Adoption – September, 2022

Deadline Extended to Provide Input for Advance Knox

Knox County last updated its Comprehensive Plan nearly 20 years ago. During that time, the county has experienced significant growth and change. Advance Knox is a unique opportunity to align land use and transportation goals to create a blueprint for the County’s future. It will help guide decisions about where and how future growth occurs and where investments in infrastructure and services are made in the years to come.

A series of public workshops took place from March 27 – March 30 at seven locations throughout Knox County. Though the in-person events have concluded, community members can still provide input through May 10. All activities that were provided at the workshops are now available online at advanceknox.org.

For more information about Advance Knox, please contact the project team at contact@advanceknox.org. You can also find more information and sign up to receive email updates at advanceknox.org.

Public Review and Comment Period for Air Quality Conformity Determination on Amendments to the Knoxville Regional Transportation Planning Organization FY 2020 – 2023 Transportation Improvement Program

The Knoxville Regional Transportation Planning Organization (TPO) announces a 30-day public review and comment period (March 27, 2022 through April 26, 2022) for an amendment to the FY2020 – 2023 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) involving existing project #20-2020-012 (Relocated Alcoa Hwy phase 1). The TPO is soliciting public comments on the Air Quality Conformity Determination made for this amendment. You are invited to comment by phone, email or in-person at 400 Main Street, Suite 403, Knoxville, TN. Additionally, public comments may be made at the TPO Technical Committee meeting on Tuesday, April 12, 2022 held at 9 a.m. in the Small Assembly Room of the City-County Building, 400 Main Street, Knoxville, TN. Comments can be made to Mike Conger at 865-215-3813 or at Mike.Conger@knoxtpo.org.

If you would like a printed copy or need assistance or accommodation for a disability, please contact the TPO at 865-215-2506 or Laura.Edmonds@knoxplanning.org.

April 2022 TIP Amendment Short Conformity Report

Research Released by NHTSA on 3-Foot-Passing Law Enforcement

In 2018, the City of Knoxville and nonprofit organization Bike Walk Knoxville partnered with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and TPO to conduct a study. The research focused on educating drivers and protecting the lives of bicyclists in Knoxville. The full study was released earlier this month.

Tennessee law and City of Knoxville ordinance require that drivers who are passing bicyclists give at least 3 feet of space. One challenge is making sure drivers are aware of the safety requirement, and another is enforcing the law to help keep people riding bicycles safe.

As part of this study, officers from the Knoxville Police Department outfitted their bicycles with technology to measure and record the distance of passing vehicles. They used these bicycles for a high-visibility enforcement campaign in which drivers who passed too closely were pulled over and given either warnings or citations.

Bike Walk Knoxville helped to recruit many of the civilian bicyclists who participated in the research. They rode in Knoxville for several months prior to the enforcement campaign with equipment on their bikes to collect data on passing distances. The information they collected helped to measure how driver behavior changed after the enforcement campaign.

The NHTSA researchers found that after the enforcement campaign, the average passing distance of drivers increased, and the share of drivers who passed within that dangerous 3-foot zone decreased.

For more information on this research, visit www.knoxvilletn.gov/min3tn. To see the report, visit the TPO’s page dedicated to bicycling and walking studies.

Advance Knox Workshops Scheduled

Knox County last updated its Comprehensive Plan nearly 20 years ago. During that time, the county has experienced significant growth and change.

Advance Knox is a unique opportunity to align land use and transportation goals to create a blueprint for the County’s future. It will help guide decisions about where and how future growth occurs and where investments in infrastructure and services are made in the years to come.

Now that the project is underway, a series of public workshops has been scheduled for later this month. The first round of community engagement, named Ideas Week, will be held March 27 – March 30. The workshops will last approximately 90 minutes and will introduce the community to the project. Participants will work in small groups to generate ideas and participate in map-based activities. The workshops will be hosted at seven locations throughout Knox County and community members are encouraged to attend the event most convenient to them.

In addition to the seven in-person workshops, there will also be opportunities for virtual participation. Anyone interested can attend a virtual workshop by registering ahead of time. There will also be activities available on the website to allow community members to provide input and share their ideas in another format following the workshops.

Ideas Week:

March 27

1:30 Gibbs Middle School

March 28
5:30 Hardin Valley Middle School
5:30 Carter High School

March 29
12:00 Virtual workshop
5:30 West High School
5:30 Northshore Elementary School

March 30
5:30 South Doyle Middle School
5:30 Powell High School

For more information about Advance Knox, please contact the project team at contact@advanceknox.org. You can also find more information and sign up to receive email updates at advanceknox.org.

Three Transit Studies Underway

Knoxville-Knox County Planning received a grant from the Tennessee Department of Transportation to hire a consultant team to conduct three transit studies for the Knoxville Regional Transportation Planning Organization (TPO).

All three studies should be accomplished sometime late Summer of 2022. The Knoxville Area Transit (KAT) Study will be managed by KAT staff. More details about each of the three studies can be found below.

KAT Comprehensive Operational Analysis (COA)

The COA is focused on determining improvements needed for the Knoxville municipal transit system – KAT. The goals of the COA will be to help formalize service standards, identifying service gaps and additional services needed, defining transit corridors and transit priority areas, and creating a road map for transit stop infrastructure improvements. The COA will position KAT for future service improvements that will encourage ridership, enhance the rider experience, and make public transportation a viable and competitive option for all residents and visitors in the City of Knoxville. The KAT COA will have a robust public involvement process starting in late March of 2022.

Transit Coordination Study

This Study will include the regional transit providers Knox County CAC Transit, East Tennessee Human Resource Agency (ETHRA), and KAT. This Study will explore options for improving coordination among providers. For over 40 years, three separate transit systems have continuously served the Knoxville region. Despite decades of accomplishments and coexistence, there has been a growing need to: (1) improve coordination between the transit providers, (2) formalize coordination agreements to bring greater certainty and clarity to these relationships, and (3) settle long-standing debates regarding service area responsibility. This Study will concentrate on what type of short-term improvements can be made to increase coordination between the demand response transit services. Any potential long-term coordination strategies can be reviewed and recommended for further study.

Regional Transit Study

This Study will identify areas that might support higher capacity transit services throughout the region. The Knoxville region continues to see a growing interest in diversifying the overall transportation system by increasing public transit options. The aim of expanding public transit in the region is two-fold. First, to provide greater accessibility to the public within a defined area that can support public transit. Second, to connect these potential service areas to the greater region by linking major destinations and employment centers to where people live. This study will evaluate possible regional transit expansion opportunities that could occur over the next 5-10 years. Due to the limited budget, this evaluation will be high-level and technical in nature, resulting in a prioritized list of potential service areas for more detailed study.  

Keep checking knoxtpo.org for more information on the Coordination and Regional Transit Studies.

For more information on the KAT COA and to learn how to participate in the process visit katbus.com.

The TPO is a Metropolitan Planning Organization, which is an independent agency engaged in the performance of meeting the required federal transportation planning regulations for urbanized areas greater than 50,000 population. The TPO serves Anderson, Blount, Knox, Loudon, and Sevier Counties. Knoxville-Knox County Planning provides the professional transportation planning staff for the TPO.