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Polk Transportation Planning Organization


About us

The Polk Transportation Planning Organization (TPO) is the lead planning agency for Polk County. It develops transportation plans and programs for Polk County as mandated by federal and state legislation, which are designed to meet our community’s short and long term travel needs. Transportation projects, e.g., road widening projects or bus service expansions, are planned and programmed with federal and state funding by the TPO in cooperation with the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), transportation operators, and local governments. The TPO provides a forum for cooperative decision-making regarding countywide transportation issues. It is comprised of a 19-member policy board of local elected officials, staff, and advisory committees. The member governments include the Polk County Board of County Commissioners and the cities of Lakeland, Winter Haven, Auburndale, Bartow, Haines City, Lake Wales, Fort Meade, Mulberry, Frostproof, Lake Alfred, Eagle Lake, Davenport, Polk City, and the towns of Dundee and Lake Hamilton. Other public agencies such as the Central Florida Regional Planning Council, the Florida Departmentsof Community Affairs (DCA), the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), and the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) are also represented on its advisory committees.

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Table of Contents

Introduction..................................................................4 Socioeconomic Profile.................................................6 Population....................................................................7 Major Road Network....................................................8 Non-motorized Transportation...................................15 Public Transportation.................................................21

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Introduction The Trends and Conditions Report is intended to provide a reference point or benchmark relative to current travel conditions and choices within Polk County. The report is updated annually to mark progress towards the goal of a safe and efficient multi-modal transportation system. The information in this report supports TPO plans and documents, changes to the Polk County Comprehensive Plan, the Polk County Land Development Code, and other growth policies which influence planning decisions. It is important to evaluate travel conditions in the area in order to identify where certain improvements or enhancements can be made to ease congestion and promote safety on our roadways. Such improvements could include the addition of sidewalks, bike facilities, intersection treatments, or transit needs. This year’s report contains data on injury and fatality crashes involving vehicles, bicycles, and pedestrians in Polk County relative to other counties in the Central Florida region as well as counties with similar demographics as Polk, called “peer� counties. Peer Counties

Central Florida Counties

Brevard

Orange

Lake

Osceola

Pasco

Hillsborough

Volusia

Seminole

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Introduction The counties identified as Peer Counties have land (urban and rural) and population characteristics similar to Polk County, while the counties labeled as Central Florida Counties represent neighboring and adjacent counties in the Central Florida region. Three major categories are addressed in this report: 1. The Major Road Network 2. Non-motorized Transportation 3. Public Transportation Data in this report were obtained from several sources including the Florida Department of Transportation, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, the Polk County Transportation Division, the Lakeland Area Mass Transit District, Polk County Transit Division, Florida’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research, and the Polk TPO. For some indicators the data are reported by calendar year while other agencies use fiscal year dates as beginning and ending points for reporting. The most recent data available at the time of publishing were used for each category in this report. The Polk TPO would like to express its appreciation to all agencies that provided data for this report.

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Socioeconomic Profile Polk County is located in a unique geographic position in the center of the state of Florida and between the two major metropolitan centers in the Central Florida Region of Orlando and Tampa. Polk County serves as a gateway for travel between these Tampa and Orlando in the busy Central Florida region along the corridor of Interstate 4. Polk County will be home to the new Legoland Amusement Park which will open in 2011 and occupy the land that was the former home of Cypress Gardens in Winter Haven. Fantasy of Flight and the Historic Bok Sanctuary are just a couple more examples of the attractions in the Polk County that draw tourists. Due to the proximity the northeastern quadrant of the county has to the Disney World area, a large number of shortterm vacation rental homes are located there. Polk County is also home to a large contingent of retirees and seasonal residents during the winter months. A number of major educational institutions have campuses in Polk County as well. Currently, Polk State College (PSC) has three campuses in Polk County with the University of South Florida (USF) colocated at the Lakeland campus. Later this year the USF Poly Technical campus will break ground for its first building at its new campus site, which is situated near I-4 and the Polk Parkway interchange. Florida Southern College, Southeastern University, Keiser University, and Warner University also have campuses in Polk County. Page 6


Population The population growth in Polk County has slowed significantly over the last two years with a negative decline in total population occurring in 2009. This trend is attributed to the economic recession felt throughout the entire nation. Table 1.1 summarizes the total population in Polk County and annual growth rates through the years 2000—2009. The state of Florida experienced a slight and insignificant decline of less than 1/1000th of a percent in total population for the year 2009. Only two of the comparison counties experienced growth for the year; Pasco and Lake Counties. Population growth is an indicator of the travel demand on roadways. Table 1.1 - Annual Polk Population Growth Rates Year

BEBR Population Estimate

Annual Growth Rate

2000

483,924

1.94%

2001

496,112

2.52%

2002

502,385

1.26%

2003

511,929

1.90%

2004

528,389

3.22%

2005

541,840

2.55%

2006

565,049

4.28%

2007

581,058

2.83%

2008

585,733

0.80%

2009

584,343

-0.24%

Source: Florida’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research (BEBR)

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Major Road Network The Polk TPO monitors travel conditions on the major road network. This network includes the State Highway System of arterial roads and the majority of county and city collector roads. Annual traffic counts measure the annual average daily traffic volume on road segments. Traffic counts assist planners to identify road capacity constraints and potential improvements to roadway facilities. The data also help make decisions on development, future land use, congestion management strategies, safety needs, and intersection modifications. The TPO also maintains a Congestion Management Plan (CMP) which is updated every five years. This plan is a formalized process which provides a summary of transportation system performance and alternative strategies meant to reduce congestion and enhance the mobility of all users and modes of travel. The CMP includes a formal methodology to monitor and evaluate transportation system performance, select and implement alternative strategies, and evaluate the effectiveness of all implemented efforts. This Trends and Conditions report complements the larger Congestion Management Plan by summarizing and comparing data collected annually with previous Polk data, other counties, and the state of Florida. There are approximately 3,289 lane miles of roadway in Polk’s major road network as monitored by the TPO. Page 8


Major Road Network Level of Service (LOS) standards are used to evaluate the travel demand on specific roadway segments and intersections. These standards serve as a measure of effectiveness as to how well a road segment or intersection is functioning and help determine whether or not improvements are needed. Figure 2.1 shows how the Major Road Network is operating in relation to LOS standards. Of the total number of lane miles 17% are operating at the minimum acceptable LOS standard. Most roadways in Polk County, 82% of total lane miles, are operating at satisfactory or better than the minimum LOS standards. Approximately 1% of the total lanes miles in Polk County are operating below acceptable LOS standards. Figure 2.1 – Level of Service Travel Conditions

1% 17%

LOS Travel Conditions Acceptable Satisfactory Unsatisfactory

82%

Source: Polk TPO

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Major Road Network The number of vehicle miles traveled (VMT) is also an indicator that measures growth in the travel demand on the major road network. Both the number of vehicles and the distances driven within Polk County are measured. FDOT provides annual estimations for VMT in each county by multiplying the length of state and local roads by the average number of daily trips. In 2009, more than 5.3 billion vehicle miles were traveled in Polk County. This number is down slightly from 2008, yet nearly the same as in 2007. Figure 2.2 shows the trend in VMT numbers since the year 2000. Over this 10-year time period the VMT in Polk County have increased by about 26%. Figure 2.2 – Vehicle Miles Traveled Vehicle Miles Traveled

Miles (in billions)

6,000 5,000 4,000

4,304 4,237

4,601

5,383

4,993

4,727 4,807

5,289

5,348 5,592

3,000 2,000 1,000 0 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 Year

Source: Polk TPO

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Major Road Network By analyzing the number of crashes, crash causes, and other data reported by law enforcement agencies, planners can identify locations and road segments where safety improvements are needed. Congestion management techniques can also be applied to help with high crash corridors and improve safety. Figure 2.3 shows a steady decline in the total number of vehicle crashes in Polk County since 2005, when the number reached an all time high of nearly 8,000 crashes. In 2009 the number of vehicle crashes in Polk was 5,980 and represents a reduction in the total number of crashes by 33% since 2005, and is the lowest number of crashes reported in over 10 years.

Figure 2.3 – Total Vehicle Crashes

Number of Crashes

Number of Vehicle Crashes 9,000 8,000 7,000 6,000 5,000 4,000 3,000 2,000 1,000 0

7,948 6,635

6,553 6,525

6,606

7,522

7,623

6,957 6,446

5,980

2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 Year

Source: Polk County Transportation Division

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Major Road Network

Crash Rate (per 100,000 people)

Figure 2.4 – Crash Rate Comparison — Peer Counties Polk Brevard Lake Volusia Pasco

1,600 1,400 1,200 1,000 800 600 400 200 0

Year

Source: Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles

Figure 2.5 – Crash Rate Comparison — Regional Crash Rate Com parison Regional

Crash Rate (per 100,000 people)

2,500

Polk Hillsborough Orange Osceola Seminole Florida

2,000 1,500 1,000 500 0 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 Year

Source: Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles

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Major Road Network Calculating the crash rate per 100,000 people is a way to more accurately compare the number of crashes in Polk to other counties and the state of Florida. Figures 2.4 and 2.5 show a decrease in the crash rate for Polk and depict a lower crash rate than the overall rate for the state of Florida. Along with the decline in the number of crashes over the last five years there has been a decrease in the number of injuries and fatalities in Polk County as they relate to traffic crashes. Figure 2.6 illustrates this data from the year 2000 through 2009. Figures 2.7 and 2.8 compare the number of traffic crash injuries and fatalities in Polk to the state of Florida. Over the last three years both the injury and fatality rates have declined to become lower than the state rate. Figure 2.6 – Polk Injuries and Fatalities

Number of Injuries/Fatalities

Polk Injuries and Fatalities Fatalities

9,000 8,000 7,000 6,000 5,000 4,000 3,000 2,000 1,000 0

Injuries

2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 Year

Source: Polk County Transportation Division

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Major Road Network Figure 2.7—Traffic Injury Rate Comparison

Injury Rate (per 100,000 people)

Traffic Injury Rate Com parison Polk

1800 1600 1400 1200 1000 800 600 400 200 0

Florida

2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 Year

Source: Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles

Figure 2.8—Traffic Fatality Rate Comparison

Fatality Rate (per 100,000 people)

Traffic Fatality Rate Com parison 35.0

Polk

30.0

Florida

25.0 20.0 15.0 10.0 5.0 0.0 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 Year

Source: Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles

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Non-motorized Transportation Providing multi-modal travel options in Polk County is a continuous focus of the TPO. Improving non-motorized facilities such as sidewalks, multi-use trails, and bicycle facilities (bike lanes and/or paved shoulder) is a priority. Presently there are approximately 245 miles of sidewalks, 379 miles of bicycle facilities, and 62 miles of multi-use trails in Polk County. In order to make a safer network for nonmotorized transportation, the TPO analyzes crashes involving pedestrians and bicyclists to determine causes, locations, and contributing factors to the crashes and to help make decisions about where safety improvements are needed. These data also assist with deciding which types of investments should be made to correct problems and increase safety. Figure 3.1 — Pedestrian Injury Rate Comparison Pedestrian Injury Rate

Peer Counties

70.0 Injury Rate (per 100,000 people)

Polk Central FL Counties

60.0

Florida

50.0 40.0 30.0 20.0 10.0 0.0

2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 Year

Source: Polk County Transportation Division

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Non-motorized Transportation Figure 3.2 — Pedestrian Fatality Rate Comparison

Fatality Rate (per 100,000 people)

Pedestrian Fatality Rate

Polk Peer Counties

5 4.5 4 3.5 3 2.5 2 1.5 1 0.5 0

Central FL Counties Florida

2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 Year Source: Polk County Transportation Division

The pedestrian injury rate in Polk County decreased in 2009 to 23.1 from 28.3 in 2008. The injury rate in Polk County remains well below that of its regional and peer counties, as well as the state of Florida. The injury rate for the state and Central Florida counties has stayed relatively the same over the last six years. The pedestrian fatality rate also decreased significantly for Polk County in 2009, however was higher than that of the comparison counties and the state. Calculation of this rate is quite volatile as one incident can affect the rate significantly. After a spike in 2005, the rate in Polk County has consistently remained lower. The overall fatality rate in Florida has been virtually the same each year with the exception of 2003 when there was an uptick. Page 16


Non-motorized Transportation Figure 3.3 — Pedestrian Injuries and Fatalities by Age

300 250

Fatalities

200

Injuries

150 100 50 85+

75-84

65-74

55-64

45-54

35-44

25-34

20-24

15-19

10-14

5-9

0 0-4

Number of Injuries and Fatalities

Pedestrian Injuries and Fatalities by Age Group in Polk County

Age Group

Source: Polk County Transportation Division

The age group of 35-44 had the most injuries as pedestrians in Polk County in 2009. Likewise, the age groups of 35-44 and 45-54 resulted in nearly the same number for pedestrian fatalities in 2009. Figures 3.4 and 3.5 show the actions or causes of each pedestrian related crash which caused injuries or fatalities. The most common pedestrian action that causes crashes is not crossing at an intersection. Likewise, crossing at an intersection was cited as the next highest action causing pedestrian crashes. It is important for pedestrians to use sidewalks and marked crosswalks, and for both drivers and pedestrians alike to obey pedestrian traffic signals. Safety education is an important factor in reducing pedestrian injuries and fatalities in Polk County. Page 17


Non-motorized Transportation Figure 3.4 — Pedestrian Injuries by Action Pedestrian Injuries by Action

Not Crossing at in tersection Crossing at Mid-b lock Crosswalk Crossing at interse ction Walking along road with traffic Walking along road against traffic Working on vehicl e in road Other Working in r oad Standing or playing in road Standing on pede strian island All other Unknown

Source: Polk County Transportation Division

Figure 3.5 — Pedestrian Fatalities by Action

Pedestrian Fatalities by Action

Not Crossing at intersection Crossing at Mid-block Crosswalk Crossing at intersection Walking along road with traffic Walking along road against traffic Working on vehicle in road Other Working in road Standing or playing in road Standing on pedestrian island All other Unknown

Source: Polk County Transportation Division

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Non-motorized Transportation The bicycle injury rate in Polk County for 2009 declined somewhat, yet this rate has remained fairly static over the last 10 years. The bicycle fatality rate also declined significantly in 2009, however it is important to note again that this rate is sensitive to the number of fatalities that could occur over the year’s time period and that one additional or one less crash can have a dramatic impact on the calculated rate. Over the 10 years reported, Figure 3.7 shows the fluctuation in bicycle fatalities in Polk County and the comparison counties. Even the rate for the whole state hits peaks and valleys from year to year. Analysis of the data continues so that improvements to bicycle facilities can be identified.

Figure 3.6 — Bicycle Injury Rate

Injury Rate (per 100,000 people)

Bicycle Injury Rate 45 40 35 30 25 20 15 10 5 0

Polk Peer Counties Central FL Counties Florida

2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 Year Source: Polk County Transportation Division

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Non-motorized Transportation Figure 3.7— Bicycle Fatality Rate Bicycle Fatality Rate Polk Peer Counties Central Florida Counties Florida

Fatality Rate (per 100,000 people)

1.2 1 0.8 0.6 0.4 0.2 0

2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 Year

Source: Polk County Transportation Division

Figure 3.8 — Bicycle Injuries and Fatalities by Age

200 180 160 140 120 100 80 60 40 20 0

Fatalities

85+

75-84

65-74

55-64

45-54

35-44

25-34

20-24

15-19

10-14

5-9

Injuries

0-4

Number of Injuries and Fatalities

Bicycle Injuries and Fatalities by Age Group in Polk County

Age Group

Source: Polk County Transportation Division

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Public Transportation As roadways across the state become more and more congested infrastructure investments are shifting from road construction to other modes of travel such as public transportation. At the present time Polk County has three separate transit agencies; the Citrus Connection (Lakeland Area Mass Transit—LAMTD) serving the Lakeland area, Winter Haven Area Transit (WHAT) serving the greater Winter Haven area, and Polk County Transit Services (PCTS) which acts as the project manager and operator for WHAT as well as operating two rural routes in unincorporated Polk County. PCST is also the Community Transportation Coordinator (CTC) for Polk County and provides non-emergency medical/ paratransit services for the transportation disadvantaged. Figure 4.1 — Fixed Route Ridership Fixed Route Ridership

Passenger Trips

2,500,000

WHAT & PCTS LAMTD

2,000,000 1,500,000 1,000,000 500,000 0 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 Year

Source: PCTS and LAMTD

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Public Transportation Figure 4.2 — Paratransit Trips Paratransit Passenger Trips 160,000

LAMTD

140,000

Passenger Trips

WHAT & PCTS

120,000 100,000 80,000 60,000 40,000 20,000 0

2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 Year Source: PCTS and LAMTD

All three transit systems experienced lower levels of ridership during 2009 after gaining more than a 25% increase in 2008. The uptick can be related to increased fuel prices during 2008 and the decline in 2009 is mostly attributed to the high unemployment rate and downturn in the economy which has caused fewer people to make daily trips on public transit. However, the number of paratransit (non-emergency medical) trips increased slightly over the year. Figures 4.3 and 4.4 show the ridership levels by route for the systems. Another noteworthy point about public transportation in Polk County is the announcement by FDOT for a high speed rail line that will run between Tampa and Orlando. There will be one station stop in Polk County although the location has not yet been determined.

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Public Transportation Figure 4.3 — LAMTD Ridership by Route 2009 LAMTD Ridership by Route 250,000 200,000

Ridership

150,000 100,000 50,000

57

56

53

52

51

50

42

41

40

37

33

32

31

30

24

22x

21

20

11

10

0

Routes

Source: LAMTD

Figure 4.4 — WHAT and PCTS Ridership by Route 2009 WHAT Ridership by Route

140,000 120,000

Ridership

100,000 80,000 60,000 40,000 20,000 0 12

15

22X

30 40/44 Routes

50

25

35

Source: PCTS

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Polk Transportation Planning Organization PO Box 9005 Mail Drawer TS05 Bartow FL 33831-9005 www.PolkTPO.com


2010 polk tpo trends and conditions report