Triple-Bottom Line Assessment of Green Infrastructure (GI) Implementation in New Orleans
A number of challenges and hazards caused by stormwater runoff impact today's built environment. The inundation of stormwater impacts the normal use of facilities, floods our environment, carries unwanted pollutants to nearby watersheds, and affects the purity of our water system. In New Orleans, stormwater runoff impacts are felt every time there is heavy rain. There is a vital need to implement a more sustainable drainage system for effective stormwater management. Green infrastructure (GI) mimics the dynamics of the natural ecosystem by managing stormwater runoff through a regenerative process. This research assessed the environmental, social, and economic impacts of the implementation of green infrastructure in New Orleans, looking at the strategies employed, and challenges faced by city government, non-governmental organizations and neighborhoods. The researchers conducted a qualitative study through participant observation and survey to garner a holistic view on the efforts of various organizations and interviewed practitioners and residents who have adopted the GI system for stormwater management.
The Impacts of Changing Trade Policies on Trade Volumes and Economic Growth in Louisiana
Through executive order Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 and citing national security and an effort to "level the global economic playing field," President Trump ordered a 25% tariff on steel and a 15% levy on aluminum. He also imposed consecutive regimes of tariffs on China, and other ally nations, like Mexico, Canada, and countries within the European Union. The steel and aluminum tariffs have been far reaching, causing retaliatory actions by affected nations, especially China. Louisiana is ranked the second highest importer of steel and aluminum in the country, with most of the products coming through the Port of New Orleans which imported 2.48 million tons of steel in 2017 (period before the tariff hike implementation), about 30% of the cargo tonnage and 80% of its breakbulk. Louisiana's ports are also top exporters of agricultural products to international markets, with nearly 60% market share of export grain from the U.S. Midwest. These are major products that are heavily impacted by the trade war because high volumes of steel and aluminum are imported from China. Again, the five major ports of Louisiana located on the lower Mississippi River carry some of the highest volumes of cargo in the world. The Port of South Louisiana, Port of Greater Baton Rouge, Port of New Orleans, Port of Plaquemines, and Port of St. Bernard, comprises the largest port complex in the world, carrying 25% of U.S. waterborne commerce and 60% of the nation's grain. This research seeks to analyze the impacts of President Trump's steel and aluminum tariffs on trade volumes of steel and aluminum imports, and the exports of soybeans and corn, through the five major ports of Louisiana, in relations to U.S.-China trade. The research also seeks to measure the impacts of the trade policies on Louisiana's economic productivity, being a major transportation hub in the country. To analyze the impacts of trade policies on cargo volumes and economic productivity, the research will use a t-test to compare the means of the trade volume and Gross Domestic Product before and after the policy went into effect, followed by a logistic regression controlling for lagging effects of the policy and other confounds. To forecast projected impacts of the trade policy overtime, the research will utilize a time series analysis approach, particularly the Auto Regressive Integrated Moving Average (ARIMA) and the Auto Regressive Integrated Moving Average with Explanatory Variable (ARIMAX). The next phase of the research will entail the deployment of qualitative methodological approach as a triangulation method to not only provide nuanced understanding to the numbers produced, but also as a form of robustness and validation checks. Data obtained through open-ended questions survey will be coded to provide insights that would be used to create narratives on the subject matter.
The Cuba Effect: What Normalized United States-Cuba Relations Means for Economies and Freight Flows in the Gulf of Mexico
One of the last remaining vestiges of Cold War hostility and impediments to trade is the U.S. economic embargo on Cuba, in place since 1960. Increasingly seen as a policy failure, the U.S. has taken steps in the past two years to normalize relations with Cuba. American efforts to open Cuba to two-way commerce serve both national security and economic foreign policy agendas. For Cubans, removal from the embargo represents an opportunity for normal relations with the World's largest economy and access to capital and markets that accompany it. The purpose of this study was to investigate the impact of normalized U.S.-Cuba relations on freight flows in the Gulf of Mexico. Working within a multiple streams framework, the investigators examined how Gulf economies change under politically ambiguous conditions through a series of 20 semi-structured qualitative interviews and content analysis of secondary data sources. Specifically, the study explored the behavior of interested individuals from the U.S. and Cuba, so-called policy entrepreneurs, and their influence on policymaking resulting in economic change. Research results suggest that policy entrepreneurs from the U.S. agriculture sector were instrumental in building export relationships with Cuba following the passage of the 2000 Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act. Both agriculture and tourism sectors in the U.S. and Cuba experienced immediate increases in activity as a result of normalized relations. The U.S. embargo of Cuba remains an impediment to two-way freight flows but participants identified textile manufacturing as a future growth industry in the event of its removal.
Louisiana Complete Streets Policy Impact Evaluation
This project, co-investigated with Louisiana Transportation Research Center, focuses on understanding the extend of implementation of DOTD's Complete Streets policy, including a comprehensive review of changes to key processes and guiding documents within the agency and impacts to project scoping, delivery, and outcomes to-date. This research project will deliver a suite of recommendations for ongoing data collection and evaluation pertaining to the state's Complete Streets policy.
Vulnerable User Risk Network Analysis Tool
This project, in partnership with the city, the Regional Transit Authority and Toole Design group, and supported by the USDOT Safety Data Initiative, involves using available data sources including road network data, crash data and U.S. Census datasets to create a model that identifies corridors in a given jurisdiction with the highest predicted number of serious pedestrian or bicycle crashes and analytic research tools using existing data to create what planners call a "high injury" network to prioritize safety improvements. The result is a free, open-source web tool with low technical and data barriers to use, allowing practitioners to model, visualize, and analyze local data and inform decision-making.
Louisiana Recreational Trails Program Strategic Plan
This strategic plan for the Louisiana's Recreational Trails Program (LRTP) includes a review of program outcomes to date and summarizes results of best practice research and stakeholder outreach about program successes and challenges, trail priorities, and implementation barriers and opportunities across the state. This plan includes goals, measurable objectives, and implementable strategies and actions recommended to guide Louisiana's RTP into the next decade. These actions are intended to better understand and balance local, regional, and statewide needs and support improved accessibility and connectivity of communities, maximize active transportation and public health impacts, harness economic and environmental benefits, improve data quality and availability, and expand public engagement with (and use of) Louisiana trails, ensuring continued, equitable expansion of access to high-quality recreational and transportation opportunities for trail users of all types, and of all ages and abilities, across the state.
The Impact of the Louisiana Grade Crossings: A Synthesis and System Analysis
The primary objective of this study is to investigate the effectiveness of existing incentive programs for closures of public and private grade crossings in the state of Louisiana. The research will review and summarize the current knowledge and practice as well as outline the funding sources (such as FHWA and FRA) and programs for improving grade crossing safety. A state-wide survey and interview of stakeholders will be conducted to better understand the concerns, barriers, and solutions particularly in Louisiana. Incentive programs that are already being used will be identified as well as potential new programs that offer promise in reducing the number of crossings in Louisiana. A model will then be developed that can predict the priority rating of individual crossings for closure and other decision making.
Pedestrian Bicycle Resource Initiative
PBRI is a joint project of the University of New Orleans Transportation Institute and the Regional Planning Commission that acts as a statewide bicycle and pedestrian resource for advocates, planners, engineers, and elected officials. PBRI coordinates the annual New Orleans Pedestrian and Bicycle Count Project, collecting volume and user data through the city and region.
Pedestrians and Bicyclists Count: Developing a Statewide Multimodal Count Program
The purpose of this study was to research best practices and available methods and technologies for measuring active transportation activity, in order to provide DOTD with needed information in support of the development of an efficient, cost-effective bicycle and pedestrian count program. Measuring progress toward Complete Streets policy implementation, as well as measuring the performance of individual projects in terms of safety outcomes, requires understanding patterns of and changes in active transportation demand so as to a) evaluate safety outcomes relative to rates of exposure, b) identify appropriate, context-sensitive complete streets infrastructure interventions, and c) understanding overall statewide and location-specific transportation trends which will impact long-range planning and investment.
Pedestrians and Bicycle Count Phase 2: Implementing and Applying Multimodal Demand Data
The purpose of this study is to implement key recommendations and address identified gaps in data availability from Pedestrian's and Bicyclists Count: Phase 1 (LTRC 16-4SA), providing the Louisiana Department of Transportation Development (DOTD) with a practical foundation for an efficient, cost-effective pedestrian and bicyclist program. Specifically, the objectives are to: (1) install permanent counters at a set of pilot locations and collect one year of pedestrian and bicycle data representative of a variety of usage patterns and/or facility types; (2) develop roadway factor groups for Louisiana communities and preliminary expansion factors for adjusting short-duration multimodal counts; (3) identify, support, and inform opportunities for coordinated local and MPO-led data collection.
Moving New Orleans/Big Jump Project Bicycle Count Data Collection and Evaluation Support Activities
This partnership supports the City of New Orleans and Bikes for People in data collection and evaluation efforts pertaining to accelerated implementation of new infrastructure related to the Big Jump Project. UNOTI is leading the development and operation of a consistent bicycle counting program that will document overall ridership trends, change over time, and the impacts and use of specific bicycle facilities as the City develops and improves its bikeway network, through short- and long-duration data collection, synthesis, and reporting, and working with local partners to integrate monitoring activities into ongoing performance measurement and project prioritization processes.
Pedestrian Bicycle Resource Initiative
PBRI was a joint project of the University of New Orleans Transportation Institute and the Regional Planning Commission that served as a statewide bicycle and pedestrian resource for advocates, planners, engineers, and elected officials. PBRI coordinated the annual New Orleans Pedestrian and Bicycle Count Project, collecting volume and user data through the city and region, from 2010-2017, establishing methodologies for manual and automated count data collection for the region. In addition, UNO evaluated crash data and developed new tools for evaluating vulnerable road user safety, while providing outreach and resources to support local and state agencies in planning, prioritizing, and evaluating active transportation infrastructure.
Rustin Collective Impact Grant Evaluation: Improving Health Equity Through Active Transportation
This evaluation will monitor the implementation of a new active transportation network in the City of Rustin, with a focus on how the implementation of changes to the built environment impact reported physical activity levels, access to opportunities for physical activity, access to jobs, health care, and other community amenities, and attitudes around walking and bicycling. The evaluation activities continue and build upon activities conducted by the previous evaluation (namely, an in-person survey developing baseline information about travel behavior and perceptions), and will continue over three years (2020-2022) in order to monitor the remainder of the City of Ruston's Improving Health Equity for Active Transportation grant activities funded by The Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation's Collective Impact Grant program, in order too measure community impacts immediately subsequent to and 1-2 years following intervention, and to provide an accessible framework and tools for ongoing monitoring over time.
International Sustainable Transportation Engagement Program (I-STEP)
UNOTI has partnered with the International Sustainable Transportation Engagement Program (I-STEP), a collaborative program designed to help link local communities with resources to help create more livable, equitable, and vital places through improved transportation planning. The program focuses on connecting participating communities with international specialists in walking, bicycling, and transit to create a platform for improved transportation planning.
Crescent City Crossings Evaluation
UNOTI is supporting the City of New Orleans "Crescent City Crossings" Safe Routes to School program by conducting an evaluation of the program intended to ensure outcome-oriented decision-making throughout the implementation of the Crescent City Crossings program. The evaluation will measure program impacts on student and parent behaviors and perceptions, on improvements to individual school capacity, and on regional coordination processes. The evaluation will assess the efficacy of individual program elements and overall design and implementation, and will synthesize and report outcome-oriented evidence to support current and future efforts to encourage and facilitate safe walking and bicycling for New Orleans area school children.
The US Gulf in a Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) World
The continued growth of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) production and long-distance trade has traditionally been taken as a given by global energy analysts, who have premised their positive estimates on gas being both relatively scarce and the demand for it virtually unquenchable. Unfortunately, current conditions in the global energy market suggest that what many have predicted as a near perpetual increase in the volume of traded LNG is in fact a bubble that is now in the process of bursting. This project examines both the short and long-term factors behind this new thinking about LNG, and explores that it implies for the several multi-billion dollar export projects now being built. The results of this project suggest that development policy aimed at assisting LNG export projects are likely misplaced, and that a primary focus on value-added petrochemical manufacturing, with a secondary value as potential for marine fuel, is a more robust path for the region's policymakers to take.
E-Nav: Promise or Peril?
The objective of this research was to determine an implementation strategy for more effectively moving E-Navigation (E-Nav) technology platforms forward. We recounted the history of the development of the E-Nav concept, including attempts to implement these strategies globally and the various roadblocks they have encountered. Then we addressed the maritime community's main conceptual barriers to the fullest implementation of this technology as it relates to safety, security, and environmental concerns. A content analysis of survey responses was conducted to uncover the dominant themes. Our findings indicated that the primary concerns are: the technology may be oversold to a younger generation of mariners, leading to the unintended consequence of an increase in maritime accidents related to the mariners' failure to sufficiently blend the technology with traditional seafaring and that E-Nav technologies are being cultivated with the purpose of implementing drone or pilotless shipping, which mariners are resistant to because of safety and labor concerns. We concluded this project with an implementation strategy and a general outlook for E-Navigation in the short and long term.
Port of New Orleans, Port of New Orleans Partnership Project.
UNOTI and the Port of New Orleans are conducting maritime and intermodal research as well as coordinating workforce development, educational, and outreach programs. For example, UNOTI investigated access to the facilities at the Port of New Orleans and planned "Last Mile" development projects.
Assessing the Potential for Gulf Coast NAFTA Maritime Trade Corridors.
The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was enacted in 1994 with the expressed intent of reducing barriers to trade. Since that time, however, transborder congestion and delays between the United States (US) and Mexico threaten achievement of this goal. As a partial mitigation strategy, maritime shipping offers a modal alternative for NAFTA trade with the potential for not only strengthening the resiliency of the North American transportation system, but also alleviating congestion for traditional overland modes. This study assessed the potential for maritime shipping corridors in the Gulf of Mexico between the US, Mexico, and Cuba. We document current trade patterns and infrastructure, and analyzed potential opportunities for trade expansion, and the policy barriers that need to be addressed to strengthen these maritime trade corridors. The prospect of reduced transborder congestion, increased system resilience, and expanded economic cooperation with CUBA has opened a policy window for more deliberative coordination between national and state governments to make the necessary infrastructure investments and policy changes to bolster maritime shipping capacity.
Incorporating Freight and Trade in the Comprehensive Plan: A Megaregion Case Study.
As a unit of analysis for freight transportation and global trade, the megaregion has eclipsed the nation state. In the context of the United States, the trade and transportation barriers traditionally used as components of the boundaries of the 50 states impede our nation's economic progress. The result of these barriers is the blunting of our effectiveness in the global economy. The understanding of the Gulf Coast of the United States as an example of a megaregion is gaining acceptance among people involved in freight transportation studies. As a preliminary investigation of the Gulf Coast megaregion, we performed a one-way independent sample ANOVA investigation of the relationship between the metropolitan planning elements of land-use, transportation, economic development, and quality of life and the geographic locations of eleven parishes in southeastern Louisiana. We applied this analysis to summaries prepared by professional planners of these regions' metropolitan plans. The intent of this study was to discover the potential for our target parishes to effectively integrate their freight-related planning elements into the megaregion.
The Gulf Coast Megaregion: in Search of a New Scale to Understand Freight Transportation and Economic Development
Increased global connectivity and expanding domestic markets around major city hubs have led to a spatial reorganization of regional economies towards a higher level of scale referred to as a megaregion. These trade networks rely on a complex mix of freight and telecommunication infrastructure, low trade barriers, as well as international business and social networks. Policymakers have a responsibility to recognize the vital relationship between economies and freight, and it is imperative that national policies reflect the domestic and global environments in which megaregions must now compete. The United States lacks a national freight strategy and most metropolitan areas fail to implement comprehensive trade strategies, indicating a disconnect between policy and practice. Our project sought to determine the status of freight planning strategies at the megaregion scale of an economically integrated section of the US Gulf Coast. How can improvements to freight transportation planning improve sustainability and raise the standard of living within a megaregion in addition to increasing economic growth?''
Achieving Regional Fare Integration in New Orleans: Innovative Cost Sharing Arrangements and Technologies
Many regions across the country have more than one transit agency providing vital public transportation services. While a transit agency may see their role limited by a jurisdictional boundary, transit riders' commutes know no such political boundaries. For those riders whose commutes are reliant on one or more transit agencies, a fractured fare system among the various transit agencies they ride means higher user costs. This study examined the history of regional fare integration in the New Orleans metropolitan region, and the challenges and successes of varying approaches taken by transit agencies in various metropolitan regions, to reveal options for achieving regional fare integration in New Orleans today.
Smart Growth IV-Education and Outreach: Building Capacity for Transportation and Land Use Planning
This project was a partnership between the Regional Planning Commission (RPC) and the University of New Orleans Transportation Institute (UNOTI). The goal was to seek to build local and regional capacity for transportation and land use planning through developing alternative future smart growth scenarios for the New Orleans metropolitan region.
This study built on previous federal investments within the New Orleans metropolitan region in land use and transportation planning related to smart growth. Another goal was to educate local planning staff about the value of regional planning for smart growth and to empower local and regional planners with the necessary tools to better understand how on-going development proposals and transportation investments impact long-range outcomes.
Development of Minimum State Requirements for Local Growth Management Policies
This research entailed the development of minimum requirements for local growth management policies for use in Louisiana. The purpose of developing minimum statewide standards was to try to alleviate some of the stress placed on state and local governments by uncontrolled development, while improving state and local governments' ability to meet current and future demand for transportation infrastructure and effectively implement existing state transportation policies and programs.
The Tensions and Opportunities of Historic Preservation and Transit Oriented Development: Developing a Policy and Tools for Preservation in TODs
In recent years, there has been much research on Transit Oriented Development (TOD) in the United States and abroad. There has been decades of study of historic preservation, both in the United and internationally. Yet the intersection of TOD and historic preservation has received scant attention. This project cross-referenced data on TOD and historic preservation, examined case studies of where TOD and historic preservation intersected and recommended policy and tools for preservation in TODs.
Rails to Resilience: Evaluating New Orleans and Baton Rouge Rail Terminals and Transit
This study evaluated the multimodal linkages to and opportunities for proposed terminal sites for a potential future passenger rail connection between Baton Rouge and New Orleans, Louisiana, supporting an improved understanding of the dynamics of likely ridership through the following key activities: (1) a comprehensive evaluation of existing transportation networks connecting proposed rail terminal sites, (2) distribution of a survey aimed at understanding the potential for passenger rail ridership and the needs of likely users, (3) identification of transit priorities and opportunities to maximize connectivity to intercity rail to employment destinations, (4) synthesis of recommendations for stakeholders involved in transportation planning within the Baton Rouge-Louisiana super region as pertains to the proposed passenger rail corridor.
New Orleans Student Transportation Solutions Project
The New Orleans Student Transportation Solution project, a 1-year initiative led by UNO, Dillard University, Delgado Community College, and the New Orleans RTA, aimed at developing a new partnership among higher education institutions and regional transit agencies, assessing transportation-related barriers to degree completion, and identifying potential solutions to address these barriers, both at individual campuses and regionwide. Due in part to an ongoing housing affordability crisis, a growing share of low-income residents of color now live in suburban areas of the region where transit access is limited or non-existent, exacerbating the costs associated with college degree completion. This study sought to unpack how transportation impacts students' lives and success, as well as to begin to understand how COVID-19 has affected student behaviors, preferences and needs.
Louisiana Recreational Trails Strategic Plan
This strategic plan for the Louisiana's Recreational Trails Program (LTRP) includes a review of program outcomes to date and summarizes results of best practice research and stakeholder outreach about program successes and challenges, trail priorities, and implementation barriers and opportunities across the state. This plan includes goals, measurable objectives, and implementable strategies and actions recommended to guide Louisiana's RTP into the next decade. These actions are intended to better understand and balance local, regional, and statewide needs and support improved accessibility and connectivity of communities, maximize active transportation and public health impacts, harness economic and environmental benefits, improve data quality and availability, and expand public engagement with (and use of) Louisiana trails, ensuring continued, equitable expansion of access to high-quality recreational and transportation opportunities for trail users of all types, and of all ages and abilities, across the state.
Active Transportation Knowledge-Sharing Network/International Sustainable Transportation Engagement Program
UNOTI has partnered with the International Sustainable Transportation Engagement Program (I-STEP), a collaborative program designed to help link local communities with resources to help create more livable, equitable, and vital places through improved transportation planning. The program focuses on connecting participating communities with international specialists in walking, bicycling, and transit to create a platform for improved transportation planning, in addition, UNOTI supported the development of a model for knowledge-sharing in the form of a national network of multi-disciplinary academic researchers, transportation planning professionals, and active transportation advocates, the Active Transportation Knowledge-Sharing Network (AT-NET). These partnerships provide UNO Transportation Institute faculty, staff, and students, as well as community partners in the New Orleans region, opportunities with which to promote safer, healthier, more sustainable, and more accessible communities via new research, learning, and a framework for continued collaboration and research transfer.
Crescent City Crossings Program Evaluation
This project led and implemented a framework for evaluating the processes and outcomes of the City of New Orleans Health Department's Crescent City Crossings program, and documented findings of the activities therein. This included a summary of the program's mission, goals, needs addressed, anticipated and executed activities and outcomes, a logical model synthesizing intended program functionality and impact, and a draft list of performance indicators tracked and evaluated to identify program successes, challenges and opportunities for future related work in service to City of New Orleans goals for safe, healthy students and communities.
Complete Streets Implementation and Transportation Funding at MPOS: A National Survey
In recent years, communities around the country have begun to implement comprehensive reforms designed to ensure that roadway users of all ages and abilities can safely utilize the transportation system. The complete streets policy framework has emerged as an important tool for communities to improve opportunities for active living with over 500 policies adopted nationwide. Complete streets policy diffusion has been rapid, but uneven, and the extent to which policy adoption is making a difference in the implementation of projects at the local and regional level is unclear. This research project sought to address this need through a national survey of the 385 metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) around the country, evaluating the extent to which complete streets policies are being adopted and implemented at the MPO level, what opportunities and barriers to complete streets exist, and implications for future policy diffusion and innovation efforts.
Smart Growth IV: Education and Research
This project was a partnership with the Regional Planning Commission (RPC), and sought to build local and regional capacity for transportation and last use planning through developing alternative future smart growth scenarios for the New Orleans metropolitan region. This study builds on previous federal investments within the New Orleans metropolitan region in land use and transportation planning related to smart growth. Another goal was to educate local planning staff about the regional planning for smart growth and to empower local and regional planners with the necessary tools to better understanding how on-going development proposals and transportation investments impact long-range outcomes.