The Florida Pavement Preservation Council, an affiliate of the National Center for Pavement Preservation, supports education and outreach assistance to local agencies throughout Florida for pavement preservation and asset management. Details are available at: https://www.pavementpreservation.org/councils/florida-ppc/.
TRAFFIC SIGNALS AND ROADWAY LIGHTING
FACERS and FDOT have a long history of working together to install and maintain traffic signals and roadway lighting on state highways in Florida. Prior to 2000, it was the policy of FDOT to pay for installation of traffic signals and roadway lights on the state highways if local governments agreed to maintain (at their expense) these facilities.
In most cases, the traffic signals are at intersections between local roads and state highways and serve road users on both systems. Similarly, roadway lighting on the state highway system was viewed as a benefit to both road users and the surrounding community. For Interstate and other limited access facilities, roadway lighting mainly benefit the road user, and FDOT funded the cost and maintained lights on these facilities directly.
Over time, this arrangement began to place a serious burden on local governments. FACERS records show that as early as 1978, the State Association of County Engineers and Road Superintendents (now FACERS) asked the State Legislature to require FDOT to reimburse counties incurred for traffic signals on state highways (see attached Resolution 80-1). Similar resolutions were passed in subsequent years.
In the mid 1990s, FACERS contacted FDOT Secretary of Transportation to again request changes in FDOT policies and rules to allow FDOT to compensate local agencies for maintaining signals and lights on state highways. The Secretary responded positively and established a working group under the direction of the State Transportation Engineer to work with FACERS to develop a plan and agreements to compensate local agencies. By 2000, new agreements had been reached and FDOT budgeted funds for this compensation.
Key features of these agreements were:
• Local agencies continued to maintain and operate signals and lighting on state highways (except Interstate and other limited access facilities) but were compensated by FDOT.
• Compensation was based on a standard statewide rate.
• For signals at intersections between state and local roads, the reimbursement was proportional to the number of approaches on the state highway system. (e.g. for a four-leg intersection between a state highway and a county road, the reimbursement was half the standard rate.)
• The compensation was adjusted annually to reflect normal cost escalation and changes to the number of signals or lights maintained.
Current Agreement – Signal Maintenance
In 2014, FDOT Traffic Operations Office initiated an update of the traffic signal agreement and again worked with the FACERS Traffic Signal Committee and others representing local agencies. Through these discussions the standard agreement was updated to include several important provisions:
- FDOT accepted responsibility for cost of full maintenance of all intersections on the state system. (The reimbursement was no longer reduced for intersections with county or city roads).
- The compensation agreement continued to use a standard statewide reimbursement rate.
- FDOT will reimburse local agencies to repair damages caused by 3rd
- To address the cost of managing coordinated traffic control systems, the reimbursement rate for signals that are part of a coordinated system was increased by approximately 50%.
- Other signals such as flashing beacons and signals at fire stations were added.
- FDOT accepted responsibility for reimbursement for damages to signals caused by third parties or other disasters.
- A provision was also added that allows local agencies to “opt out “of the agreement to maintain signals with appropriate notification to FDOT.
The current agreement can be found at:
https://pdl.fdot.gov form 750-010-22
While this appears to be satisfactory to most agencies there are still concerns by some that the reimbursement does not fully cover their cost of maintenance. This is especially true where the system includes a significant ITS component. FDOT has recommended that agencies with systems that are “non-standard” in this respect work with their local district to address these issues. Meanwhile, FACERS has a standing committee prepared to work with FDOT on this issue if there is a general statewide need to be addressed.
Current Agreement – Roadway lighting
In 2015, the FDOT Maintenance Office initiated work with FACERS to update the lighting maintenance agreement. This agreement was finalized and published in 2019 and is now available for execution. Key issues addressed in this agreement are:
- A standard statewide rate for each type of light is used, but the reimbursement has been increased from 90% to 100% of this rate.
- The term of the agreement is seven (7) years, with a provision that an agency may “opt out” with a notice of two (2) years.
- The maintaining agency is still responsible for cost of repairing damages caused by 3rd
This agreement can be found at:
https://pdl.fdot.gov form 375-020-52
- As of December 2020, some districts have not asked local agencies to sign this new agreement, leaving it up to local agencies to initiate this change.
- There are differences among agencies about whether the compensation is sufficient to cover the cost of the maintenance. Some find it economical to continue the maintenance, while others report that the costs exceed the compensation.
- There is still a question about the long-term plan for compensation for lights that are converted to LED and how this affects local decisions to incur the front-end cost of the conversion. Although we have received verbal confirmation that FDOT will continue to provide for reimbursement at the HPSV rate after conversion, the table in Exhibit B of the agreement which is the basis for the calculation does not provide for this. Further clarification is needed.
- FACERS lighting ommittee is continuing to work with FDOT to provide clarification and to facilitate the execution of the agreements.
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has identified Florida as a “Focus State” for which a concerted effort is being made to address severe highway crashes. Additional resources in the form of training and technical assistance are available from FHWA for state and local agencies. https://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/fas/
Florida’s 2016 Strategic Highway Safety Plan) reported that 46% of the state’s fatalities occurred on local roads (http://www.fdot.gov/safety/SHSP2016/FDOT_2016SHSP_Final.pdf). Federal Highway Safety Improvement funds are available to address highway safety problems on all public roads, including local roads that are not on the federal highway system. Initiatives at both the federal and state level are aimed at increasing assistance to local agencies to address the highway safety problem.
The Federal Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) requires a data driven approach to project selection. At the state level, the FDOT District Safety Engineer is the primary contact for details about how to apply for federal safety funds. FDOT District 7 provides a regular webinar series aimed at local traffic safety. http://www.tampabaytrafficsafety.com/LATSA/SitePages/Home.aspx.
Technical assistance is also available from the T2 Center at the University of Florida. https://www.techtransfer.ce.ufl.edu/t2ctt/default.asp.
Crash data and other resources are available at FDOT’s Safety Portal. http://www.fdot.gov/Safety/11A-SafetyEngineering/SafetyEngineering1.shtm
The Signal Four Analytics Crash Data tool is available to local governments through the GeoPlan Center at University of Florida. https://s4.geoplan.ufl.edu/.
LAP COMMUNITY OF PRACTICE
The Local Agency Program (LAP) is the mechanism for administering federally funded highway projects that are implemented by local governments. The LAP Community of Practice has been established to provide a forum for FDOT, FHWA, and Local Agency representatives to address issues related to this program. A major objective of the LAP Community of Practice has been to streamline the process and bring consistency to the administration of projects throughout the state.
The Community of Practice (COP) is managed by FDOT’s State Local Program Administrator. Contact information for FDOT and details about the activities of the COP are available at: http://www.fdot.gov/programmanagement/LAP/LAPCOP/default.shtm. FACERS representatives on the LAP Community of Practice are:
Ramon Gavarrete (Alachua County) email@example.com
Elton Holland (Marion County) firstname.lastname@example.org
Donald West (St. Lucie County) WestD@StLucieco.org
John Goodknight (FACERS) email@example.com
A complete list of committee members is available at: http://www.fdot.gov/programmanagement/LAP/LAPCOP/LAPCoPmembers.shtm
The LAP Community of Practice generally meets quarterly. Two of these meetings are usually face to face at a central location. Other meetings are usually via teleconference. Meeting minutes and status reports are posted on the LAPCOP web site.
FACERS members who have recommendations or requests for input to the committee should contact one of the FACERS committee members or FDOT’s State Local Program Administrator.
Related links are:
LAP Certification: http://www.fdot.gov/programmanagement/LAP/BecomingCertified.shtm
FDOT Contact Management: http://www.fdot.gov/designsupport/ContactDatabase.shtm
Registration in the FDOT’s Contact Management system will allow users to receive direct communications from FDOT in areas of interest such as Local Agency Program.
The Manual of Uniform Minimum Standards for Design, Construction and Maintenance (Florida Greenbook) provides the standards governing design, construction, and maintenance of city and county roads in Florida. Mandated by Chapters 20.23(3)(a), 334.044(10)(a), and 336.045, Florida Statutes, and Rule 14-15.002, Florida Administrative Code. The Greenbook is developed and updated by an advisory committee. This advisory committee includes representatives of cities, counties, FDOT, consultants, and various other entities throughout the state. Several FACERS members serve as representatives of their agencies. In addition, FACERS is represented by immediate past president Ben Bartlett (firstname.lastname@example.org).
FDOT’s Design Office is responsible for maintaining the Greenbook and coordinating the work of the committee. The Greenbook document and information about the committee are available at: http://www.fdot.gov/roadway/FloridaGreenbook/FGB.shtm.
In addition, FDOT’s Contact Management/E-Update and Contact Mailer system (http://www.fdot.gov/designsupport/ContactDatabase.shtm) is an area where interested persons can register to be notified of various activities, updates or other information, including the Greenbook.