The Oregon Transportation Commission (OTC) created Area Commissions on Transportation (ACTs) to help prioritize transportation infrastructure investment and to advise about development of the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP). ACTs coordinate discussion between the OTC, the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT), local officials, private and community representatives, and provide input on statewide policy issues. Twelve ACTs are located throughout Oregon.
In 2008, ODOT initiated a research study through Oregon Consensus the University of Oregon to assess the role of ACTs in addressing travel-shed, cross-jurisdictional and cross-sector issues; to identify best practices in Oregon and elsewhere for bridging jurisdictional and institutional barriers; and to identify opportunities for improving coordination of transportation decision making.
The research included interviews with state and federal transportation policy makers and ACT members. Oregon Consensus helped design interview protocols and conducted interviews. Information from the interviews informed other parts of the research project, including a statewide on-line survey, case studies and development of future options for the future.
The research study indicated that ACTs have improved the state prioritization process, but face challenges in addressing urban travelsheds and coordinating strategic investment across regions. The study identified options for improving ACT functioning within their current structure, and more significant options that would require policy and structural changes.
ODOT has used research results to improve their local consultation process, and has advanced many of the research recommendations to the Oregon Transportation Commission with ODOT support.
Community and Economic Development Program Manager
Portland State University
Susan Brody, National Policy Consensus Center, Portland State University; Dr. Richard Margerum, Associate Professor and Department Head, Planning, Public Policy and Management, University of Oregon
Oregon Consensus: Elaine Hallmark, Director, Gail McEwen, Community and Economic Development Program Manager, Rob Williams, Associate; Bob Parker, Director, and graduate students of the University of Oregon Community Planning Workshop; Dr. Connie Ozawa, Portland State University