The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority is the lead agency conducting the Silicon Valley Rapid Transit Corridor Major Investment Study (MIS), the Environmental Impact Statement/Report (EIS/EIR), and the 10% Conceptual Engineering Plans.
The study evaluated a wide range of major transit investments that could significantly improve the quality of transit services between southern and eastern Alameda County and the employment opportunities in the Silicon Valley. The alternatives studied included improved light rail services, enhanced commuter rail service, exclusive busways, and extending the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system into Silicon Valley. The Major Investment Study (MIS) included the planning work required to evaluate various mode and alignment alternatives, and to develop a ‘locally-preferred’ improvement strategy. VTA officially endorsed a locally preferred alternative consisting of a BART Extension from Warm Springs to Milpitas, San Jose and Santa Clara. The study team prepared the environmental documents that are a prerequisite for Federal funding opportunities.
Hexagon Transportation Consultants provided transportation planning, travel demand forecasting, and traffic engineering support for this major planning study. Transportation planning services have included providing assistance in defining transit operating plans for each study alternative, evaluating and equilibrating the quality of transit service, and estimation of fare box revenues. Hexagon prepared the travel demand forecasts for all the study alternatives. The MTC Regional Travel Demand Model was used in an enhanced form that includes a nested logit mode choice structure for transit access submodes. Traffic engineering services included assessing projected traffic impacts and necessary mitigations in the vicinity of proposed stations.
Hexagon conducted a comprehensive traffic and transportation analysis to evaluate the impacts of the new North San Jose Area Development Policy. The purpose of the analysis was to define and analyze the Preferred Project for the new development policy and EIR. The project ultimately selected would allow for the intensification of employment, and provide additional housing to achieve a balance of land uses in the North San Jose area. The project consists of the following:
· 26.7 million square feet of industrial space,
· 1.7 million square feet commercial space, and
· 50,000 residential units
The residential component includes residential development within and outside North San Jose, though the majority (approximately 32,000 units) would be located within North San Jose.
Two major objectives were considered in the development of the project description. First, the land use plan should contain a reasonable balance between jobs and housing to encourage internalization of traffic and reduction of trip lengths, thereby reducing the demand that will be placed on regional transportation facilities. Secondly, the project would be “transit friendly”, located in a major transit corridor with high density multi-story buildings near transit stations. Most of the project would be located within ¼ mile walking distance of North First Street with access to VTA light rail. Transportation improvements would include build-out of the current General Plan Roadway network, plus the addition of several grid streets to facilitate local access and circulation within North San Jose.
Specific tasks undertaken by Hexagon included developing a focused travel demand forecast model with a very detailed zone system within the North San Jose project area. The model was initially used to test alternative land use schemes and to compare the generated traffic with the existing and planned capacity of the transportation system. The model was also applied to forecast future travel demand associated with the project, including the potential for internalization of project traffic, use of carpools, and transit ridership demand of project trips. According to model estimates, the demand for transit would greatly increase from about 8,200 without the project to 44,000 riders a day under project conditions.
The traffic impact study conducted by Hexagon included the analysis of 220 signalized intersections located throughout Santa Clara County. Results of the intersection level of service analysis showed that 48 of the 220 study intersections would be impacted by the project. Improvements for 23 of the 48 impacted intersections were identified to fully mitigate project impacts. Improvements were identified for another 12 of the 48 impacted intersections, but the identified improvements would not be sufficient to improve the intersection operating conditions to acceptable levels.
Hexagon prepared a Deficiency Plan to address the transportation deficiencies projected to occur with the proposed intensification of future development within the North San Jose area. The objective of the North San Jose Deficiency Plan (NSJDP) was to identify and implement a set of measures that will improve transportation conditions and air quality in North San Jose. Further, it is the objective of the NSJDP to set forth a comprehensive solution to LOS deficiencies at CMP intersections in North San Jose to avoid the need for strict adherence to LOS standards at CMP intersections for which no localized mitigation is feasible.
Hexagon was part of the team hired by the City of Palo Alto to update the General Plan and Circulation Element. The update included adding additional policies to encourage smart growth and alternative transportation modes. The contract included preparation of an EIR for the plan. The job included preparing and applying a travel demand forecasting model for the City of Palo Alto. The big issues for Palo Alto were developing strategies for reducing single-occupant auto usage. Hexagon tested parking charges, transit pass subsidies, bicycle network enhancements, and bus rapid transit. Hexagon used the Palo Alto model to test the VMT implications of various land use development scenarios.
Hexagon updated the Sunnyvale traffic impact fee study. Transportation deficiencies were identified based on 2030 traffic forecasts from the Sunnyvale model. Improvements to offset the deficiencies were identified by Hexagon in conjunction with City staff. City staff provided cost estimates for the necessary transportation improvements. Fees were calculated per trip and per land use type.
Hexagon updated the San Mateo travel demand forecasting model, produced 2040 forecasts, and updated the city's traffic impact fee. Levels of service were calculated for 60 intersections. Improvements and cost estimates were identified.
Hexagon updated the Morgan Hill Downtown Parking Study from 2008. This project involved a new inventory of existing spaces, a new survey of parking occupancy, and calculation of parking demand under future conditions, accounting for development growth under near-term and medium-term buildout conditions.
Hexagon was hired to analyze traffic operations for three alternatives. The first alternative was a currently-approved project and consisted of adding a southbound US 101 to westbound University Avenue diagonal off-ramp. This improvement added a new intersection on University Avenue approximately 300 feet north of the current US 101 southbound ramps intersection and required signalization. The second alternative, proposed by East Palo Alto, consisted of widening the existing southbound off-ramp to accommodate dual left-turn lanes and dual right-turn lanes. The alternative also included squaring the northbound loop off-ramp intersection with University Avenue and running it through another signal in order to improve bicycle and pedestrian safety. A third alternative was the same as the second alternative except that the northbound loop off-ramp would be eliminated.
Caltrans requested that a traffic simulation be prepared for the project alternatives. The traffic forecasts and operations analyses was prepared for the opening year and for 20 years beyond the opening year.
Hexagon was part of the Mintier Harnish team that created the new Gilroy General Plan. Hexagon analyzed various land use and road system alternatives. Hexagon attended community workshops and public hearings. Hexagon updated the city's travel demand forecasting model and used it to test the impact of various alternatives. Hexagon prepared the circulation section of the General Plan EIR. The outcome of the process was an adopted General Plan that included complete streets principles. A particular focus of the plan is to complete the city's sidewalk and bike lane system. Hexagon also completed the transportation analysis for the Climate Action Plan, which the City was preparing in-house.