TPO Receives Commendations from Federal Partners

The Knoxville Regional TPO successfully completed the Federal certification review of the metropolitan transportation planning and programming process.

The TPO’s mission is to advise and assist our region to improve and expand transportation choices by involving citizens and decision-makers in our plans, forums, and outreach. Every four years, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and Federal Transit Administration (FTA) review and evaluate our planning processes to ensure that we’re meeting the federal requirements and regulations in place to help us realize that mission. The review included input and participation from TDOT, Knoxville Area Transit, TPO staff, and the public. After a three day visit from federal partners to review the work and processes of the TPO, the review team determined that all requirements for certification had been met.

Beyond meeting the specified requirements, the TPO earned six commendations for exceeding expectations in certain areas:

– Metropolitan Transportation Plan – Interactive Map
– Air Quality & Transportation Conformity – Interagency Consultation Engagement
– Public Outreach & Civil Rights – Active Knox Speaker Series
– Transit Multimodal Planning – Transit Coordination
– Transportation Safety Planning – Bicycle and Pedestrian Crash Analysis

Future recommendations include working with federal partners to expand the performance-based planning and programming process, using Title VI data to expand outreach efforts with disadvantaged populations, working closely with FHWA and TDOT during the next congestion management process update, and updating the Regional Intelligent Transportation Systems Architecture by summer of 2021.

This certification is good for four years, meaning the next certification process will take place in 2024.

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TPO Welcomes New AmeriCorps Member

Sharath Rereddy recently joined the TPO for a year-long position serving with AmeriCorps. Before moving to Knoxville, Sharath grew up and lived the majority of his life in Fairfax County and neighboring Arlington, VA. He spent four years a little further south while attending Virginia Tech, where he majored in economics. After graduating with his bachelor’s degree, he moved back to the DC Metro area and worked in finance as an internal analyst for Accenture. While living and working in Arlington, his interest in planning and sustainability deepened, and he decided to return to school to pursue another degree. Since then he has earned a graduate certificate in sustainable planning from George Washington University, and is excited to gain experience and insight into planning practices before returning to complete a graduate degree.

In the coming year, Sharath will manage bicycle and pedestrian counts and present information to area high school drivers education classes and other interested groups. He is also helping with an annual Title VI data collection and mapping update, and has other projects on his horizon. He hopes to collaborate with Ijams Nature Center to organize a bike safety talk and group ride that ends at a special exhibit at the park.

When he’s not at work, you can find Sharath relaxing or reading at his home in North Knoxville. He also enjoys spending time outdoors while hiking, biking, and playing soccer. Sharath is looking forward to exploring nearby destinations for his favorite outdoor activities as he continues to enjoy the Knoxville and surrounding area.

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TPO Distributes Funds, Providing Transportation Options to Seniors and Persons with Disabilities

For the past six years, the TPO has distributed 5310 program funding to regional nonprofits and government agencies to enhance mobility options for seniors and persons with disabilities.

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) provide funding for the program, and each recipient is required to provide some level of local match. The TPO administers the program by overseeing the application process, distributing funds, and managing follow-up reporting.

Projects selected must be consistent with the goals of the TPO’s Human Services Transportation Coordination Plan, which identifies gaps in services, proposes projects to help fill those gaps, and examines ways services can be coordinated. The application process for the grants is competitive, and final approval is given by the TPO Executive Board.

Though the program is not limited to nonprofits, most of the funding is distributed to local organizations, such as Emory Valley Center, Sertoma Center, Cerebral Palsy Center, and ARC Knox County – Sunshine Industries. The 5310 program allows these groups to purchase vans that are used to transport clients to essential services.

To date, the TPO has helped nonprofits purchase 35 vans or mini-buses in the Knoxville urban area, which covers portions of Knox, Anderson, Blount, Loudon, and Sevier Counties.

The TPO is currently soliciting new projects to be funded.  Applications can be found on the TPO website at www.knoxtrans.org and are due by 4:00 p.m. EST on Friday, January 25, 2019.

Question can be addressed to:

Mr. Doug Burton
Knoxville Regional Transportation Planning Organization
400 Main Street, Suite 403 – Knoxville, TN 37902
865-215-3824 or doug.burton@knoxplanning.org

Knoxville on “Best Bike Cities in America” List

Knoxville is ranked #49 on the "Best Bike Cities in America" list!

The City of Knoxville currently has about 17 total miles of bicycle lanes, which is more than triple what it was in 2012. That progress is continuing, with 2.4 additional miles scheduled for completion before the end of this year.

Moving forward with comprehensive plans outlined in the City's 2015 Bicycle Facilities Plan and the 2016 Greenways Feasibility Study will allow Knoxville to continue to provide a good experience for urban bicyclists. And hopefully the city will continue to rise on this list!

Read more and find out how other cities ranked!