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Rapidly Urbanizing/Findings

The purpose of this report is to identify examples of notable transportation planning practices by states and metropolitan planning organizations to include rural communities near rapidly growing urbanized areas or small towns that are expected to become urbanized by the next Census. This research into the notable practices of five MPOs created since Census 2000 and one established MPO with nearby rural areas that are rapidly urbanizing resulted in the identification of methods in six areas to strengthen the involvement and contribution of rural stakeholders in the metropolitan planning process.

Each of the six areas to strengthen involvement of rural stakeholders in the metropolitan planning process is identified and then examples from the case studies or literature review are provided as support or explanation.

  1. Anticipate growth and urbanization
  2. Build on existing planning processes and documents
  3. Create agencies, boards and partnerships thoughtfully
  4. Determine a direction before starting out
  5. Involve stakeholders early
  6. Prepare for changes in funding

A. Anticipate growth and urbanization

Case Study Research Examples

Rapidly Urbanizing/Kootenai
While metropolitan transportation planning is the responsibility of the MPO, rural area planning remains largely in the hands of state department of transportation. All states are required to develop statewide transportation plans and these plans are intended to address the needs of rural residents. For this reason, state DOTs are in a position to anticipate that a rural area will be urbanized by the next Census and to make the rural stakeholders aware of the need to plan for transition to urban status. For example, planners from highway districts, the Idaho Transportation Department, and local agencies anticipated the growth for Kootenai County and began the regional planning process before 2000. Agencies that were to become part of KMPO started to prepare plans in 1997, well before the county was declared urbanized.

Rapidly Urbanizing/ Lake
In many states, the primary opportunity for rural citizens to influence transportation investment priorities is through their county elected officials. In Florida, state law provides that the board of county commissioners shall serve the functions of an MPO in those counties which are not federally recognized MPOs. The county board assists in the development of FDOT's work program so transportation planning begins in the county before the MPO is formed.

Rapidly Urbanizing/ Capital
In the Austin, Texas area, prior to 2003, the CAMPO planning area was defined as Travis County and those portions of Hays and Williamson counties that were specifically included in the Austin urbanized area. In 2003, the CAMPO policy board expanded the planning area to include all of Williamson and Hays Counties because the rural areas in both counties are rapidly urbanizing. The CAMPO staff will also include Bastrop and Caldwell counties in the long range projections for population and employment. Both counties are rural but rapidly urbanizing and will be included in the region's transportation model for the next long range transportation plan update. This is an appropriate first step leading to the addition of the counties in the MPO planning area in the future.

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B. Build on existing planning practices and documents

Case Study Research Examples

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C. Structure agencies, boards and partnerships thoughtfully

Case Study Research Examples

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D. Develop a direction before starting out

Case Study Research Examples

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E. Involve stakeholders early

Case Study Research Examples

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F. Prepare for changes in funding

Case Study Research Examples

Updated: 03/26/2013
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