Criteria Utilized to Rank Secondary Roads



Consider revising the criteria utilized to rank secondary roads.



Tucker, Foley, Davis, Kamptner, Graham, Cilimberg, Benish, Wade





September 1, 2004


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During the 2004/05 discussion of the Six Year Secondary Road Priority List, the Board of Supervisors directed staff to review the criteria utilized to rank secondary road projects. The issue of how road projects are prioritized came into question during the 2004/05 review because several projects had been on the Priority List for many years and had generated a tremendous public turnout. The Board of Supervisors and the public questioned the process and expressed concern over the County’s process. Staff has attempted to address these concerns with some modifications to the ranking system.   



3.1 Make the County a Safe and Healthy Community in which citizens feel secure to live, work and play.



The County has used a locally derived criteria-based successive sub-setting method rating system to prioritize road improvement projects in the County (Attachment A). This system, with some modifications and refinements, has been used since 1988.  Once the proposed improvement has been prioritized in its particular category, all of the projects are combined for each category to make one Priority List. It does not establish a specific score, but rather establishes a relative order of projects based on sequentially evaluating important characteristics of the road segment. It is used to help guide the decision making process. These categories include spot improvements, major reconstruction, unpaved road (traditional and rural rustic road), railroad crossing, and bridge improvements. 


The Board of Supervisors had three specific concerns with the current system as noted by staff. Staff has provided below comments for each of these concerns.


Board of Supervisors comment/concern: The rating system should reflect the number of residents on the road.

Staff Response: The current rating system has a criterion for the average daily traffic volume. This is a high criterion in the current and proposed rating system for every improvement category. Traffic count often is a good measurement for the number of residents on a road, though the count may be extraordinarily high if a significant amount of outside traffic uses the road.  To address possible inaccurate results from a traffic count, staff has added a category for the number of homes in the unpaved road (traditional and rural rustic roads) category.  


Board of Supervisors comment/concern: The cost of the project should factor into the ranking.

Staff Response: Staff only has cost estimates for those projects that are listed in VDOT’s Six Year Secondary Construction Program. Currently, based on projects in the program, cost estimates exist for only 32 of the 116 projects on the County’s Priority List for Secondary Road Improvements. Determining cost estimates prior to entering the Six Year Construction Program will produce unreliable numbers. Projects with higher cost tend to be major reconstruction projects, which are most likely in the designated development areas. Development area designation is a criterion currently utilized by staff to rank projects.


Board of Supervisors comment/concern: The length of time a project is on the Priority List.

Staff Response: In most cases, all projects are on the Priority List for many years due to the lack of funding. Generally, projects advance on the list, albeit slowly, the longer they are on the list.  The Board of Supervisors also has the ability to request that staff move a project up on the Priority List to address specific concerns.  Furthermore, the County participates in the Revenue Sharing program, which can infuse additional funding into road construction projects. The County also allocates funds for transportation improvements in the CIP.  These efforts can help to expedite the completion of projects from the Priority List.


Attachment B sets forth staff’s proposed revisions to the rating system, and Attachment C sets forth the Draft Criteria incorporating those proposed revisions. 


If approved by the Board of Supervisors, staff will utilize the new criteria as set forth in Attachment C during this year’s (FY 2005/06) update of the Priority List.




Staff recommends the Board of Supervisors adopt Attachment C as the new criteria for prioritizing secondary roads in Albemarle County.


View Attachment A
View Attachment B
View Attachment C

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