Michael Baker provided preliminary engineering, traffic analysis, modal analysis and public and stakeholder outreach for the I-35 Future Transportation Corridor (FTC) Planning and Environmental Linkages (PEL) Study undertaken by the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) Austin District (AUS) and Transportation Planning and Programming Division (TP & P). The PEL Study provided TxDOT an opportunity to define the purpose of and need for the FTC and to determine a mode choice.
The outcome of the PEL allowed the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (CAMPO) to include the FTC in the 2040 Long Range Transportation Plan, a necessary step in terms of advancing I-35 improvements through the project development process. The I-35 PEL Study also helped to streamline the NEPA process for subsequent FTC projects within the I-35 corridor in Travis County by establishing a purpose and need and an initial screening and evaluation of modal alternatives.
Our work included extensive public and stakeholder outreach, accomplished through a series of nine public meetings held using the traditional open house, in-person format as well as making the meetings available virtually through a web portal. Our team also met with Homeowners Associations (HOAs) and other important stakeholders like resource agencies.
We used a Technical Steering Committee (TSC) comprised of Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Texas Division, CAMPO, City of Austin (COA), CapMetro and TxDOT AUS staff. The TSC provided valuable technical input at critical decision points during the PEL Study process which ensured that all important technical matters were fully evaluated and considered as the study advanced.
Our team completed detailed traffic analyses evaluating several modal alternatives over a variety of measures of effectiveness (MOEs), including travel time, speed, level of service (LOS) and delay. The public and project stakeholders provided input on the MOEs and the alternatives analysis and evaluations as part of the fully transparent PEL Study process.
Our team also completed preliminary conceptual design schematics for three different modal alternatives so that cost estimates for each alternative could be compared and used in early planning decisions. The preliminary schematics also helped to identify design constraints and areas where design exceptions would be required specific to each alternative.
“By analyzing travelers’ current and future travel needs, we were able to deliver a PEL study that establishes the foundation for future transportation improvements along I-35 to improve overall mobility.”
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