Testimony of Marty Manning
President Elect, American Public Works Association
Public Works Director, Clark County, Nevada
Transportation, Infrastructure and Nuclear Safety Subcommittee
U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee
September 10, 2001
Thank you Mr. Chairman and members of the Subcommittee for the opportunity to appear before you today.† My name is Marty Manning and I am the President-elect of the American Public Works Association.† I am also the Public Works Director for Clark County, Nevada.† My comments will be brief and will cover the views of the American Public Works Association on this topic as well as the efforts of the local area partnership in Clark County, Nevada that is presently working to implement intelligent transportation system facilities.
The American Public Works Association serves more than 26,000 members concerned with the operation, maintenance, renewal and improvement of the nation's infrastructure by promoting professional excellence and public awareness through education, advocacy and the exchange of knowledge.†
APWA has a vital interest in the reauthorization of the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21).† In fact, APWA has a reauthorization task force currently in place that is working diligently to develop and promote APWAís priorities for reauthorization.† Additionally, APWA has teamed up with other local organizations to comprise the Local Officials Transportation Working Group, which is made up of organizations representing elected county and city officials as well as development organizations, technology and city/county managers.† APWA also serves as a member of the steering committee for the Federal Highway Administrationís National Dialogue on Operations.†
We hope that you will look to APWA as a valuable resource for you and your staff members as reauthorization proceeds.† With so many unmet transportation-funding needs, APWA believes that it is imperative to maintain the basic goals of TEA-21 by protecting the funding firewalls and allowing for as much local funding flexibility as possible.† Further, as our members deal most directly on a daily basis with the system users, we have a strong understanding of how to best address transportation issues within our communities.
Recent studies show that traffic congestion costs the country $78 billion in wasted time and wasted fuel annually.† In addition, urban area trips take about one-third longer during rush hours and 27 percent of the nation's urban freeways are now congested.† This takes a toll on the nationís economy.
The deployment of ITS tools in conjunction with the construction of needed improvements would assure that existing transportation infrastructure may operate at a higher capacity and that new improvements would also operate more efficiently and be more economical to build.†
As you know, Clark County is one of the most rapidly growing areas in the nation.† We have come to expect new residents at a rate of 3000 to 5000 a month.† We also expect to welcome the arrival of 35 million visitors this year to the Las Vegas destination resort area.† This continuing growth puts a lot of pressure on the area network of highways, roads and streets.†
In Clark County, Nevada, we are becoming advocates of the management tool products that ITS offers and the capacity and safety benefits that they represent.† Existing intelligent transportation systems are being improved and integrated with new system tools that are now being installed.† The installation of ITS products in the urbanized Las Vegas Valley has only been possible by the creation of partnerships among federal, state and local governments as well as our private sector partners.
As an example, the Las Vegas Area Computer Traffic System provides computerized control for the traffic signals in all of the jurisdictions in the Las Vegas Valley.† The system, operating under an agreement among the Nevada Department of Transportation, the Southern Nevada Regional Transportation Commission, three incorporated cities and the county, provides substantial travel time improvements throughout a growing urbanized area with a population of 1.4 million people.† It has also provided real benefits in air quality.† While the system was originally installed with a federal grant and NDOT assistance, the incorporated cities and the county pay its annual operations and maintenance costs.
The Las Vegas Area Computer Traffic System was an initial step into ITS technology.† Recently, further steps have been taken.† Additional improvements to the system have added new computer hardware and software, high-speed telecommunications facilities from the traffic signals to the computer, television observation at critical intersections, and high tech local traffic signal controllers. In addition, the Nevada Department of Transportation is proceeding on additional ITS projects to create a highway management system that will provide the functions of traffic control, incident management, en-route and pre-trip traveler information and a user service for archived data. The highway management system called FAST will be integrated with the arterial management system under the Las Vegas Area Computer Traffic System at a common location shared with the Nevada Highway Patrol Dispatching Center. Each system will operate with a common staff and an operating agreement among the Nevada Department of Transportation, the Southern Nevada Regional Transportation Commission, the three incorporated cities and the county.
Construction of the initial phase of the FAST highway management system will begin before year-end and will be completed in two years.† This construction will encompass the installation of ramp meters at select locations; high-occupancy vehicle bypass ramps at metered locations; arrangements with the Nevada Highway Patrol for ramp and bypass traffic enforcement; dynamic message signage at selected locations to provide road condition and incident information to motorists and the construction of an arterial and highway management operations center. Upon completion of this project, the Las Vegas urban area will be well on the way to the creation of an integrated arterial and highway management system.
As a County public works director, I can appreciate the value of the ITS management tools and technologies we have already installed and the potential values that the additions in new system improvements will provide in our urbanized area.
New technologies and tools that can be deployed to improve transportation system management already do and can continue to have positive results at the local government level, but primarily in communities prepared to enter into cooperative arrangements and partnerships with state and other local jurisdictions for the express purpose of improving transportation system management. ITS should †have a continuing role in perfecting transportation system management technologies.
In conclusion, we would recommend the continued support of the ITS Program and recognition of its value in identifying and developing transportation system management technologies needed to improve the capacity and efficiency of the nationís highways, roads and streets. In addition we would recommend that the overall goals of promoting safety, efficiency and economy; enhancing mobility; providing accessibility to transportation; improving the productivity of travel; safeguarding the environment and reducing energy consumption be considered a solid basis for the development of the ITS Program of the future.