TPO Welcomes AmeriCorps Member

Kate Jones recently joined our team as our newest AmeriCorps Member.

Originally from Kansas City, she moved to Knoxville from Ohio earlier this year after graduating from the University of Dayton. While at Dayton she studied human rights and sociology and was introduced to planning when writing a paper about urban sprawl. Through that project she learned about the history of planning and redlining and discovered her interest in the field.

Afterwards she looked for opportunities to focus on local issues and policy, ultimately landing in a group called the Dayton Civic Scholars. As one of 15 students working with local non-profits, she completed an internship with the Collaboratory, a thinktank that provides support for people and organizations to create community initiatives. She also completed a capstone project with Gem City Market, a food co-op that was born out of a neighborhood plan and staffed entirely by neighborhood residents. Kate worked with the market to bring the community together around it, and specifically worked with the university to encourage students to patronize it.

Kate decided to serve with AmeriCorps for a year after graduation and is currently planning to pursue graduate school in the near future. She is interested in community planning and hopes her work with the TPO will help her make that decision. During her time here, Kate will focus on the Smart Trips program and other transportation-related projects.

When Kate is out of the office, you will likely find her hiking, camping, or spending time in the water. She also loves pop culture, podcasts, television, and reading. Be sure to give her a warm welcome if you see her at a community event or in our office!

Annual Planning Conference Held in Knoxville

The annual fall conference of the Tennessee Chapter of the American Planning Association, co-hosted by the Tennessee Section of the Institute of Transportation Engineers (TSITE), was held in Knoxville at the end of October. Planning and TPO staff contributed to planning the event, managing the schedule, creating a conference website, producing printed materials, presenting, and leading tours.

The conference, Inclusive Infrastructure for Today and Tomorrow, was an opportunity to collaborate, share, and discuss topics and trends related to the importance of planning for equity in transportation infrastructure, land use, and policies. Practicing planners and engineers, residents, students, and elected and appointed officials were able to attend numerous technical sessions, network, socialize and learn from each other about the fields of planning and engineering and how they connect.

Benito Perez, Policy Director for Transportation for America, was the keynote speaker. Transportation for America is an advocacy-based organization made up of leaders at local, state, and federal levels who envision a transportation system that prioritizes maintenance, designs for safety over speed, and connects people to jobs and services. His address, Reflecting on Our Past and Present to Reimagine Our State of the Practice, was featured during the luncheon on Thursday.

Various other presentations and panel discussions were held over the course of three days, as well as afternoon tours. The tours offered a special look at Knoxville Area Transit’s electric buses and charging infrastructure, redevelopment along the South Waterfront, and local impacts of urban renewal.

For more information about the TAPA/TSITE conference and keynote address, visit tapaconference.com/

Request for Qualifications and Letters of Interest for Completion of a Regional Roadway Safety Plan

Knoxville-Knox County Planning, an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action Employer, seeks to retain the services of one or more professional entities to provide services related to the completion of a “Regional Roadway Safety Plan.” This effort will involve several aspects of a roadway safety study within the Metropolitan Planning Area (MPA) of the Knoxville Regional Transportation Planning Organization (TPO).

Required Scope of Services

  • Project Coordination – the consultant will assist TPO staff with developing a project schedule and associated project management tasks such as invoicing, and status reporting.
  • Determination of Scope – the consultant will work with TPO staff to develop a final Scope of Work for the safety plan.
  • Recommendations for Improvement – the consultant will review existing applicable transportation policies and design standards, and make recommendations for improvement.
  • Creation of Predictive Analysis Tool – the consultant will create a predictive analysis tool based on crash data, information about roadway characteristics, demographic data, and other relevant information. It’s anticipated that many of the data inputs can be provided by TPO to the consultant.
  • Project Recommendations – the consultant will produce a prioritized set of engineering projects and programmatic strategies informed by crash data and the predictive analysis tool and aimed at reducing the incidence of fatal and serious-injury crashes. These will include traditional stand-alone engineering projects as well as lower-cost projects that can be incorporated into maintenance, as well as programs. The consultant will also produce estimates of the benefits of the projects and programs based on the reduction of fatal and serious-injury crashes and related cost savings to society.
  • High-Injury Network – the consultant will assist TPO staff with an analysis of regional traffic crash data and the factors contributing to fatal and serious-injury crashes, with a goal of identifying a High-Injury Network (HIN) for the region.
  • Vision Zero Plan for Knoxville –the Knoxville-specific elements of this plan will serve as a Vision Zero Plan for the city, and the consultant will assist City of Knoxville and TPO staff in packaging these elements into a stand-alone Vision Zero Plan.
  • Presentations – the consultant shall provide presentations of the final project to the TPO Technical Committee and/or TPO Executive Board as requested.

Estimated Schedule

  • Question deadline: Prospective respondents may submit questions no later than October 14, 2022, at 12 noon Eastern Time. All questions must be e-mailed to Ellen Zavisca, Principal Transportation Planner, at ellen.zavisca@knoxplanning.org.           
  • Letters of Interest for Phase I due October 24, 2022
  • Short list of firms selected to proceed to Phase II announced by October 31, 2022 (*)
  • Phase II proposals due by November 14, 2022 (*)
  • Final selection of highest ranked firm by November 23, 2022 (*)
  • Contracts with the selected firm(s) will be finalized and initial project tasks estimated to begin by December 21, 2022 (*)

(*) These dates may change due to schedules and availability of the Evaluation Committee. The short-listed firms will be notified of new dates if delays occur.

For full details, please view the full notice.

Questions and Responses
All questions received about this request for qualifications and letters of interest by the Oct. 14 deadline are below, along with responses from TPO staff. 

Question: Will cost be a factor in phase 2 selection?
Response: Yes, we will be requesting that firms selected to submit for Phase II provide a cost estimate. 

Question: Can the Knoxville TPO provide a list of available data for systemic and predictive safety analyses? Specifically, can you please comment on roadway data coverage across the region – e.g., locally owned roads, across cities/counties, etc. for various roadway attributes? Can data samples be provided at the proposal stage?
Response: The TPO will be able to provide crash data and roadway attribute data to the selected firm. The crash data are from TITAN and have been reviewed, corrected and refined by TPO staff. Roadway attribute data are from E-TRIMS and include roadway cross-sections.  

Question: Are there schedule or timeline factors proposers should be aware of? For example, is the City of Knoxville aiming to have some portions of the plan completed in anticipation of the next SS4A funding cycle? Are there other local, regional, or national timeline constraints?
Response: The timeline calls for the plan to be substantially completed by the end of June 2023 so that it can be adopted by the TPO in July or August of 2023 and local governments will be able to seek project implementation funds through the Safe Streets and Roads for All program in 2023. 

Question: Is the consultant expected to do outreach as part of the Vision Zero effort, or will that be part of the city’s role?
Response: Public outreach for Knoxville’s Vision Zero effort will be the responsibility of Knoxville staff, not the consultant.

Question: Does the DBE need to be certified in Tennessee?
Response: No

Public Review and Comment Period: Draft FY 2023-2026 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) and Draft Mobility Plan 2045 amendment and associated Air Quality Conformity Report available for public comment from September 22, 2022 through October 21, 2022

The Knoxville Regional Transportation Planning Organization (TPO) Executive Board, responsible for comprehensive transportation planning in the Knoxville Urban Area including Knox County and parts of Anderson, Blount, Loudon, Roane, and Sevier Counties, is updating its TIP from the federal fiscal year period of 2020 – 2023 to the federal fiscal years 2023 – 2026.

The TIP identifies projects that will be funded and implemented over the next four years. The TIP is the short-range element of the TPO transportation planning process that advances projects identified in the regional long-range transportation plan known as the Mobility Plan 2045. The Mobility Plan is being amended to align with the latest project information identified through the TIP development process.

An Air Quality Conformity Determination report was prepared to demonstrate that the implementation of projects within the FY 2023-2026 TIP and amended Mobility Plan will conform with the requirements of the Clean Air Act.

In addition to the TPO’s TIP and amended Mobility Plan, the air quality conformity determination also covers projects within the entire Knoxville Region that are subject to transportation conformity, which includes areas outside of the TPO Planning Area. These areas include portions of Anderson, Blount, Cocke, Jefferson, Loudon, Roane and Sevier counties and cover projects from the updated FY 2023 – 2026 State TIP (STIP) prepared by the Tennessee Department of Transportation as well as the FY 2023 – 2026 TIP prepared by the Lakeway Metropolitan Transportation Planning Organization.

The the draft TIP, Mobility Plan amendment and air quality conformity determination may be viewed at the following links:

Comments can be submitted to Craig Luebke via email at craig.luebke@knoxtpo.org or by phone at 865-215-3825. Copies of the draft TIP are also available for review at the TPO office (400 Main St., Suite 403 Knoxville, TN).

The draft TIP will be discussed at the September 28, 2022 TPO Executive Board meeting and the October 18, 2022 TPO Technical Committee meeting. The TIP is scheduled for final adoption at the October 26, 2022 Executive Board meeting. Each of the meetings will be held at 9:00 am in the Small Assembly Room of the City County Building (400 Main Street, Knoxville, TN). The public is welcome at all meetings.

If you need assistance or accommodation for a disability, please contact the TPO at 865-215-2694 and we will be glad to work with you in obliging any reasonable request.

Pedestrian Activity and Safety – In the U.S. and the Knoxville Region

Smart Growth America recently released a new Dangerous by Design report that looks at pedestrians killed in traffic crashes in the U.S. between 2016 and 2020 and how the pandemic impacted these trends. The report compares state and metropolitan areas based on the number of pedestrian deaths per 100,000 people. It also estimates the change in walking activity between 2019 and 2020 based on data from cellphones and other mobile devices. 

A major theme in the report is the continual increase in people being struck and killed while walking. Although there was a decline in driving in 2020 due to the pandemic, there was also a 4.7 percent increase in people killed while walking. This trend of increasing pedestrian traffic deaths can be tracked back to 2009 and has continued into 2021. Specific to Tennessee, the state as a whole had the 17th worst pedestrian fatality rate, and saw an estimated 68 percent increase in walking activity in 2020 compared to 2019. Out of the 100 metropolitan areas ranked, Knoxville came in at number 63 for pedestrian deaths. Memphis was number three, Nashville was 41, and Chattanooga was 65. The report also estimates that the Knoxville area saw a 78 percent increase in walking activity in 2020 compared with 2019. That’s the third highest increase among all 100 metros. Birmingham, AL was ranked number one with an 82 percent increase, and Greenville, SC was ranked second with a 79 percent increase.

A newly released infographic from the TPO provides an analysis of similar information – pedestrian- and bicycle-related traffic crashes specific to Knoxville and the Region. That data shows that while major arterials make up only six percent of surface street mileage in Knoxville, they account for 43 percent of all pedestrian and bicycle fatalities and 35 percent of all serious injuries to pedestrians and bicyclists. According to the Dangerous by Design report, solutions to these issues should focus on lowering traffic speeds and changing the design of major arterials. The city has proven its commitment to traffic safety through recent measures such as the city-wide speed limit reduction on all unmarked neighborhood streets and a study conducted earlier this year to identify solutions to speeding on arterials and collectors.