Transportation Conformity, Enhanced Communications and Technical Assistance

This task area will include a number of efforts to enhance communications on conformity issues and monitor conformity issues in the field. In particular, the contractor will serve as a technical resource in support of a transportation conformity "Community of Practice" website which will be designed to promote the exchange of information on conformity developments. The website is envisioned to provide stakeholders involved in conformity issues an opportunity to exchange information, keep abreast of new developments, and ask questions of the FHWA. The contractor will assist FHWA as needed in responding to questions and developing communications to support this website. In addition, the contractor will develop an evaluation process after the website is in place for several months to assess whether the site is serving its intended purpose and to suggest improvements that may be needed. Another activity included in this task area will include monitoring conformity issues in the field and keeping up to date on issues and developments related to transportation conformity in California and other areas as needed. This effort is initially focused on California due to the large number of nonattainment areas (15 air basins and 58 counties) and the complexities of the process in California (e.g., different modeling process, county-based transportation plans in rural areas, overlapping boundaries in some air basins and counties). As part of monitoring conformity issues, the contractor will assist FHWA in the analysis of conformity issues, and keep the Transportation Conformity Reference Guide up to date on an ongoing basis. Further, as conformity rule revisions occur, the contractor will support FHWA's communication and outreach efforts. The contractor will also work to assess the current practices being used in nonattainment and maintenance areas to address issues such as: multi-state nonattainment areas, multiple nonattainment areas within one metropolitan planning organization (MPO), multiple MPOs within one nonattainment area, and resource agencies and tribal lands practices with respect to compliance with transportation conformity requirements. This effort will assist the FHWA in working through the many unresolved issues relating to the 8-hour ozone standard and will enable the FHWA to advise MPOs and States on ways to address the conformity requirements for 8-hour ozone nonattainment areas.