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Integrating Context Sensitive Solutions in Transportation Planning

PLAN Go

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Graphic. Logo of the Tennessee Department of Transportation. Tennessee Department of Transportation

"PLAN Go" is Tennessee's first statewide transportation plan that addresses the needs for all modes. The plan, developed by the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) and adopted in 2005, seeks to address the State's projected transportation needs over a 25-year planning horizon.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Tennessee ranks among the 15 fastest growing states. The population of Tennessee is expected to grow nearly 40 percent by the year 2030, to nearly 8 million persons, rising at a rate of one to two percent per year. Fully 20 percent of the population is projected to be persons aged 65 and older. Much of the State's development has been suburban, and statewide there is a trend away from the typical suburb-to-city commuting pattern, with increasing trips between suburbs and even city-to-suburb commuting patterns.

Tennessee's economic success has been built on its central location and excellent highway and Interstate system. Despite having nearly 200 river ports, truck traffic dominates the freight system. For 85 percent of the State's communities, trucks provide the only means of delivery. The plan observes that there are opportunities to expand river freight traffic, including international freight movements.
Tourism brings additional strains to the transportation system. The plan reports that in 2002, there were 38.9 million person trips for tourism purposes in the state; 87 percent of tourism travel was by private auto. The vast majority of other types of trips are also by auto, with only 1.6 percent of work trips taken by non-motorized modes and an even smaller share by transit. The existing travel patterns have had important implications for air quality. The new EPA air quality standards will mean that 18 of the state's 95 counties will be non-attainment areas.

CSS Highlights

Process Included Identification and Consideration of Adopted Plans Relevant to Transportation Planning: In order to develop a truly multimodal plan, TDOT updated recent statewide plans for aviation, transit, and rail, extending their time horizons so that they were coordinated with "PLAN Go." A new statewide bicycle/pedestrian plan was also developed as a supporting document.

TDOT moved past the artificial demarcation of State boundaries with respect to the movement of goods and people. The eight States bordering Tennessee were surveyed to identify major transportation programs and projects near the Tennessee border, or any new programs that could be of interest or importance to Tennessee's planning process. The anticipated impacts of any expansion of major highways coming into Tennessee from other States were considered. Multimodal solutions, new technologies, and other programs that were being implemented in neighboring States were also investigated, as large-scale projects such as rail systems, major bridges, and new highways often require cross-border cooperation. The process behind "PLAN Go" offers an excellent example of planning coordination across boundaries to enhance coordination and help ensure that large transportation investments are made in the most effective way possible.

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Updated: 07/01/2014
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