Monday, December 10, 2018

Project Scoring for the RTSP at the MPO

The Technical Advisory Committee for our Metropolitan Planning Organization meets on Tuesday the 11th, and they'll be revisiting the scoring for candidate projects in the 2019 Regional Transportation System Plan. (Previous notes here and here.)

Something's missing in our project scoring at the MPO
The details are not very interesting, but there might be something to note more generally about the way the scoring is being handled. Here's the introduction from the Staff Report:
At the SKATS Policy Committee (PC) meeting on November 27th, staff presented the proposed project selection process that had been discussed by the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC). As part of the discussion, the PC directed staff to provide options for weighting the projects after the initial evaluation had been completed. The PC wanted to better understand how the process works with the projects that are eligible for inclusion in the 2019-2043 RTSP and to ensure that the process does not have any unintended consequences.

Staff has come up with five initial weighting options that are based on the existing criteria...
And here are some of the resulting rankings:

It is interesting that the scoring has been adjusted so the SRC is at the top. In fact, there is a heavy autoist bias at work here, and most of these are capacity projects rather than, say, safety projects.

It looks like what the PC committee fears as "unintended consequences" are anything that doesn't place auto capacity at the head of the list. So anything for safety; to slow cars; to reduce greenhouse gases; to support walking, biking, or transit, would count as "unintended." They intend auto capacity.

The MPO right now looks like they are reasoning backwards from a desired outcome and reverse engineering a scoring process to ensure a pre-determined outcome.

This looks like anything but impartial!

Insisting on a strong Goal 7 that includes greenhouse gas emissions would help check this. Although it should be noted that the scoring methods they've been discussing mostly discount any Goal 7 as an important factor. In the current scoring, even with some multipliers, Goal 7 would count for one point only among all the others. The whole framework remains "auto capacity first." That's the primary lens for scoring and analysis; the other factors remain very secondary.

All in all this is evidence that the MPO, despite rhetoric about "balance," has a very one-sided notion of balance, and really means auto capacity.

Look for the historic sign
next to the entry
You can download the agenda and meeting packet here.

SKATS Technical Advisory Committee meets Tuesday the 11th, at 1:30pm. SKATS is at 100 High St. SE, Suite 200, above Table Five 08.

(This is the last meeting for the year and Policy Committee will meet next in 2019.)

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