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Transportation Advisory Board, July 12

Wraps up project scoring and ranking process
Results in line with those of Consultant
Warwick Jones

The Transportation Advisory Board (TAB) completed yesterday the task set before it by County Council. When presenting the Comprehensive Transportation Plan (CTP) to Council some weeks ago, the TAB recommended that a system to score and rank transportation projects be adopted. The system should be based on eight criteria defined by the TAB. Council consequently asked the TAB to review the recommended projects in the CTP using the eight criteria. The results of this review will be presented to Council at the Finance Committee meeting this evening. There should be no surprises.

Process very subjective
As members of the TAB pointed out, the scoring and ranking process was very subjective. Each member had attempted over the last 2 weeks to score and rank the projects referred to in the CTP. As the table shows below, there was a wide range in scores for each project reflecting differences of views amongst members. Clearly, the process is very subjective.

Board Member Frampton felt that the application of some criteria was not possible and that consequently, some projects were being penalized. Her view was much discussed but the issue was not resolved. The consultant and Board member Freeman also noted that the criteria were not applicable to some projects, particularly intersections, and that this added to the difficulty of scoring and ranking.

Exercise should be undertaken by the consultant
Not all members were happy that the TAB should undertake the scoring and ranking exercise. In the opinion of board member Pena, it was better left to the consultant, and for the TAB to review the results. This is a view we share. Chairman Knott remarked that the final result was not so important. More important was to define the process for ranking the the projects. He and others recognized that the process could be improved, but the TAB had now set the direction.

TAB weights each criterion
Earlier this year, the LPA Group, the transportation consultant, scored and ranked the "recommended high priority local projects" that were in the CTP. The same projects, and those projects mentioned in the 2004 referendum were ranked yesterday by the TAB. Both exercises were based on the 8 criteria defined by the TAB. However, LPA, in its exercise weighted equally all of the criteria. The TAB used different weightings. Notwithstanding, the rankings of the "local projects" were broadly similar. The TAB also noted that some of the projects that were bonded and approved by voters in the 2004 referendum were lowly ranked in the exercise. The inference was clear that there were other projects more worthy of consideration. However, the results of a referendum cannot be undone and the County was committed to these low ranked projects.

The TAB adopted the recommendations of its subcommittee to use different weightings for each of the criteria. The final weightings reflected the views of the TAB and the public expressed at hearings last year. The weightings were:

• Project maintains and/or completes existing infrastructure - 15%
• Project is multimodal/multipurpose - 10%
• Project provides into connectivity to communities - 10%
• Project has potential to leverage funding -15%
• Project provides regional benefits - 10%
• Project provides greater significance to most people - 20%
• Environmental impacts - 10%
• Land use compatibility - 10%

The scoring results
The weighted final scores for the various projects, averaged for all members, are as follows. The figures in brackets show the range of individual scores. The maximum score for any project was 5.

Initial bonded projects
• Palmetto Commerce Parkway/Ashley Phosphate Road - 3.28 (2.1 - 3.75)
• Johnny Dodds Blvd. - 4.43 (sic) (4.3 - 3.55)
• Glenn McConnell/Bees Ferry Intersection Improvements - 2.23 (1.3 - 3.1)
• Loop Ramp from James Island Connector to Folly Road - 3.12 (1.9 - 4.2)
• Folly Road/ Maybank Highway Intersection improvements - 2.72 (1.4 - 3.9)
• Harborview Road Improvements - 2.59 (1.4 - 3.15)
• US 17/ Hwy 61 Connector near Wesley Drive - 1.81 (0.3 - 4.2)

CTP recommended high priority local projects
• Glenn McConnell/I-526 Loop - 3.32 (1.85 - 4.1)
• Bees Ferry Rd. widening from Hwy 17 to Ashley River Road - 3.22 (1.95 - 4.3)
• Folly/Camp Road Intersection - 2.56 (0.9 - 3.6)
• Future Drive Loop to Ladson Road and Northside Drive extension - 2.49 (0.0 - 4.0)
• Maybank Highway widening (Johns Island I-526 to Main) - 3.16 (1.35 - 4.1)
• Medical University Roadway infrastructure (Phase 1) - 3.43 (2.4 - 4.5)