RS&H has assisted the North Florida Transportation Planning Organization (TPO) with sustainability and resiliency services since 2013 through multiple general contracts. The North Florida TPO is the reginal transportation planning agency for North Florida counties.
RS&H completed a multi-phase Resiliency and Vulnerability Study for the region. The objective was to integrate mitigation of stormwater impacts on surface transportation into long-range transportation planning. The RS&H team identified resiliency goals and objectives and identified vulnerable elements of the North Florida Strategic Intermodal System (SIS). The University of Florida GeoPlan Center Sea Level Scenario Sketch Planning Tool was used to classify risks to facilities based on data from USACE, Florida DOT, FEMA DFIRM, and the Florida Department of Emergency Management. RS&H evaluated stormwater infrastructure systems serving coastal communities and low-lying areas around the St. John’s River to identify strategies to combat sea level rise and storm surge. This study analyzed Florida Roadway Characteristics Inventory data to create a Stormwater Flood Risk index for screening potential stormwater infrastructure improvements.
Based on the risk and vulnerability assessment, RS&H performed scenario planning to understand system level impacts and develop cohesive design and engineering strategies that build resilience. To foster equitable benefits for the region, RS&H engaged stakeholders engagement and gathered community input to identify key assets and assess support for mitigation and adaptation strategies, including changing design standards to protect local infrastructure, enhancing redundancy through alternate routes/detours, and managing retreats for future resiliency.
A key transportation resiliency and sustainability strategy is alternative fuels. RS&H developed the region’s Alternative Fuels, Vehicles, and Infrastructure Master Plan. The plan included a baseline and forecast of clean fuel trends both nationally and in the North Florida region. As part of the planning process, RS&H worked with the North Florida TPO to launch the North Florida Clean Fuels Coalition, interviewing experts and forming fuel-specific working groups composed of key stakeholders. With stakeholder input, RS&H identified barriers and strategies. Since the plan was introduced, the North Florida TPO has funded over $6,000,000 clean fleet projects.
RS&H supplemented the plan with Clean Fuels Feasibility Studies for Clay and Nassau counties. RS&H evaluated the technical and financial feasibility of transitioning utility, transit, police, school bus, and employee fleets to clean fuels. Based on data collection and stakeholder engagement, the analysis included 20-year cost benefit analysis of projects and geospatial assessment of suitable clean fueling infrastructure sites.
To measure the performance of planning efforts, RS&H conducts an annual inventory of alternative fuels, vehicles, and infrastructure in the region, surveying fleets to quantify gasoline and diesel displacement and associated greenhouse-gas and air quality improvements. In 2018, 19 tons of GHG emissions were abated through clean fuels activities. The data gathered from these surveys have supported additional initiatives, including FHWA designation of the only Alternative Fuels Corridors in Florida (I-95 and I-295) and a capital improvement plan to install additional alternative fuel infrastructure and associated wayfinding signage along these routes.
North Florida is now a world leader in use of alternative fuels, in particular liquefied natural gas, which powers significant portions of the region’s maritime, rail, and on-road freight industry. These results have garnered several awards from the US Department of Energy’s Clean Cities program.