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Management Plan Workshop

The South Carolina Department of Transportation hosted an interactive workshop on August 2, 2016 to gather feedback on Travel Demand Management (TDM) Strategies, modal considerations traffic operations improvements, and infrastructure capacity improvements. The workshop included a series of hands on activities structured to document priorities/preferences for the Columbia region. A summary of the event is provided on the following pages.

  • Fast Facts on the Interactive Stakeholder Workshop help August 2, 2016
  • Location: McGuire Room - Colonial Life Center
  • Time: 10:30 am - 3:30 pm
  • Format: Interactive Stakeholder Workshop
  • Participants: 34 from the following entities:
    • Federal Government: Fort Jackson, Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)
    • State Government: SCDOT, SC Department of Public Service, University of South Carolina, Midlands Technical College
    • Local Government: Lexington County, Richland County, Town of Pine Ridge, Columbia Metropolitan Airport, City of Columbia, Town of Blythewood, City of West Columbia, Columbia Area Transportation Study Committee, The Comet, City of Forest Acres, Town of Chapin.
    • Organizations: South Carolina Trucking Association
    • Businesses: Southeastern Freightlines

Michael Dennis, SCDOT Project Manager, and Dipak Patel, SCDOT Program Manager, provided the welcome, introduction, and background of the project and direction for the workshop attendees. The workshop began with an overview of the study area which includes 83 miles of interstate and freeway facilities along the following sections:

  • I-20 from Longs Pond Road (Exit 51) to Clemson Road (Exit 80);
  • I-26 from Peak Exit (Exit 97) to US 21/321 (Exit 119);
  • I-77 from I-26 to Killian Road (Exit 22);
  • I-126 for the entire length;
  • SC 277 from I-77 to Bull Street (US 76).

Several of these corridors are the most congested in the state and traffic volumes are projected to double by 2040. The infrastructure improvement cost alone for these corridors exceed the anticipated funding for the entire interstate program for more than 10 years. There are three (3) interstate to interstate and two (2) interstate to freeway interchanges along with 44 interstate to surface street interchanges. The interchange of I-20/I-26 and I-126 is being evaluated as a standalone project know as Carolina Crossroads.

This project overview of the study area existing conditions provided the foundation and background for meeting attendees and framed the discussions around mobility for the region.

The first of three interactive activities facilitated by the project team with the Priority Decision Tree. The project team asked participants to rank in order of importance the six obstacles to improving traffic operations in the region. The six themes included Cost, Culture, Employers, Geography, Infrastructure, and Politics. Then as groups they were asked to write responses to two questions: 1) Why the theme was a priority, and 2) Other themes that they considered to be related.

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The priority Decision Tree activity showed that Cost and Politics are the two biggest barriers to improving mobility in the Columbia region.

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During lunch the participants had the opportunity to hear from three speakers on topics related to mobility in the region. The speakers included Brian Klauk, SCDOT Project Manager, on the current status and project timeline of the Carolina Crossroads Project (I-20/I-26/I-126 interchange); Michael Hipp, Fort Jackson, provided an overview of the Fort Jackson operations and traffic impacts from the daily operations as well the large influx of visitors for graduation ceremonies; and Dr. Bob Schneider, The Comet, provided a detailed overview of the current transit operations and future opportunities, goal and objectives.

The second activity with the stakeholders involved keypad polling where participants are asked to provide their preference regarding a series of questions. The questions were focused around a central theme of improving mobility through travel demand strategies. Participants see their response in real time. Prior to the polling, three cases studies on travel demand management were presented to the participants for perspective and background.

To close out the workshop, the final exercise for the participants was a mapping exercise where all participates provided input on potential traffic operational and infrastructure components (including any TDM infrastructure) that should be reviewed as part of the management plan. The location of existing issues were denoted on the map along with written comments on potential solutions or detailed descriptions.

The workshop wrap-up was a brief discussion of the on-going public survey (link to public survey) being conducted and a request for all participates to spread the word about the survey as the more participation received will yield a better management plan.