By: Seth Karten
Developing a sustainable long-term transportation plan with public engagement and inclusion of all modes of travel is no small challenge, especially in a growing state historically focused on cars. At the January 25 seminar, hosted by the Institute of Transportation Studies at UC Davis (ITS-Davis), one of Nevada’s primary transportation planners explained how her state recently met this challenge.
Sondra Rosenberg, Assistant Director of Planning at the Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT) was the featured speaker at the seminar, sponsored through ITS-Davis’ partnership with the Pacific Southwest Region University Transportation Center.
Entitled, “One Nevada Transportation Plan: Long Range Statewide Transportation Planning in a Rapidly Changing Environment,” the seminar focuses on how the NDOT created the performance-based One Nevada Transportation Plan (onenvplan.com). Ms. Rosenberg covered some of the obstacles that the NDOT faced in this process: a long history of being a “highway department” with an automobile focus, state population growth that far exceeds the national average, a recent influx of major fulfillment centers (Amazon, Walmart, etc.), and over 50 million out-of-state visitors per year.
The new transportation plan includes multiple travel and freight modes: automobile, bicycle, car, truck, rail, and airplane. It is designed to adapt to future changes in population, transportation technologies, and land-use and development. At the same time, it is more than a transportation plan—it is a concept and tool for continuous improvement, designed to measure performance against goals and adjust priorities accordingly.
In formulating One Nevada, the NDOT obtained input from multiple stakeholders: the public, municipal planning organizations, transit providers, local governments, businesses, and professionals in economic development and technology. Of particular interest were the on-line survey responses from nearly 1,800 citizens in which they were asked how they would spend the NDOT budget. They placed an especially high priority on preservation of existing infrastructure over expansion.
Ms. Rosenberg discussed the challenge of how to fund infrastructure with a shift to electric vehicles and how to plan for safe charging stations on long, remote stretches of road. She also emphasized that supporting the economy is a core responsibility of a transportation department, noting that in her state 1 in 3 jobs rely upon transportation, which plays an essential function in the operation of the employers’ businesses.
Sondra Rosenberg is an expert in transportation planning, overseeing the NDOT’s Multimodal Program Development, Performance Analysis, Traffic Safety Engineering, Transportation Data and Research, and the new NV2X Innovation Office. Prior to becoming the Assistant Director of Planning, she managed multistate studies and coalitions such as the I-15 Mobility Alliance and the I-11 & Intermountain West Corridor Study, effectively building coalitions of neighboring state DOTs, Metropolitan Planning Organizations, Economic Development partners and various other stakeholders. She earned a master’s of science (M.S.) degree from the Transportation Technology and Policy Program hosted by ITS-Davis and a Bachelor of Science in physics from the University of Rochester, and she is a certified Professional Transportation Planner.
You can view a full recording of Sondra Rosenberg’s talk, part of ITS-Davis’ weekly seminar series, by clicking on Watch Video at the URL:
About the Author:
Seth Karten is the Science Writer at the Institute of Transportation Studies at UC Davis (ITS-Davis).