Prepared for the Federal Highway Administration and
Federal Transit Administration Transportation Planning Capacity Building Program
Prepared by the Volpe National Transportation Systems Center,
U.S. Department of Transportation
December 3, 2005
Publication number FHWA-HEP-07-009
The U.S. Department of Transportation's Volpe National Transportation Systems Center completed this analysis for the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and Federal Transit Administration's (FTA) Transportation Planning Capacity Building Program (TPCB). This report is a brief update of earlier in-depth analysis by the Volpe Center for FHWA and FTA in 2002, which reviewed all statewide long-range transportation plans (SLRPs) to identify national trends and innovative transportation planning practices, as reflected in those products of the statewide planning process. Although the focus is on the SLRPs themselves and not the broader statewide transportation planning processes, these evaluations offer some insights into the overall planning processes.
This report is the result of a short exercise to review a set of 15 of the most recently updated SLRPs. The Volpe Center reviewed the plans to identify trends and examples of planning practice in three topic areas:
The following are links to SLRPs reviewed in this report:
|Colorado||"Moving Colorado, Vision for the Future, 2030 Statewide Transportation Plan"|
|Idaho||"Idaho's Transportation Vision"|
|Indiana||"The INDOT Twenty-Five Year Plan"|
|Louisiana||"Louisiana Statewide Transportation Plan"|
|Maine||"Keeping Maine Moving, 2004-2025 Long-Range Transportation Improvement Plan"|
|Minnesota||"Minnesota Statewide Transportation Plan, Moving People and Freight from 2003 to 2023"|
|Ohio||"Access Ohio 2004-2030, Statewide Transportation Plan"|
|North Carolina||"Charting a New Direction for NCDOT, North Carolina's Long-Range Statewide Multimodal Transportation Plan"|
|Rhode Island||"Transportation 2025, State Guide Plan Element"|
|Utah||"UtahTransportation2030, State of Utah Long Range Transportation Plan"|
For additional information about the original research on statewide long-range plans or this update, contact Lorrie Lau, FHWA, email@example.com or William M. Lyons, USDOT/Volpe Center, firstname.lastname@example.org.
State DOTs take several broadly different approaches in developing long-range transportation plans (SLRPs). These approaches include:
SLRPs often combine more than one of the above approaches. The following analysis summarizes these approaches and provides examples.
Considers the existing transportation system and facilities and identifies current and future needs based on demographic and transportation trends and projections, often using quantitative measures such as level of service.
Selects policies, strategies, and investments to meet these needs.
Often includes projections of costs and available or alternative sources of revenues.
Arizona, Louisiana, Minnesota, and Ohio's plans have detailed assessments of current conditions and future needs; all use performance measures to categorize infrastructure when existing data allow.
|State||Examples performance measures|
|Arizona||- Average delay per trip
- Average bike suitability
|Louisiana||- Pavement condition distribution
- Airport facility standards
- Port capacity utilization
|Minnesota||- Average commuter automobile occupancy
- At-grade railroad crashes
|Ohio||- Lane width sufficiency
- Transit level of service
Identifies an ideal or preferred future state transportation system, looking beyond the needs of the current status quo.
Asks: "what should the future be of the state, and what transportation system is required to support this?" May consider transportation to support statewide visions with preferences for future economic development, land use, quality of life, environmental protection, etc.
May or may not include a financial dimension, comparing projected costs to revenues, with discussion of risks and likelihood of receiving revenues from new sources.
May include scenarios that reflect large picture alternatives ("business as usual," expansion of infrastructure, transit oriented, compact development, etc.). Scenarios can help identify critical choices facing the state in terms of desired future conditions and associated costs ("this is what we can afford with funds that we know will be available" contrasted to "this is what it would cost to achieve the desired conditions.").
Includes active stakeholder and public participation to identify, review, and compare alternative scenarios.
Often, develop stakeholder, public, or political consensus in support for an agreed-upon scenario or vision for the future.
Colorado's SLRP includes visions for regional and statewide corridors. Transportation districts identified unique corridor values, primary investment interests, visions, goals, objectives, and strategies for each regional corridor. The SLRP combined these visions to identify goals and strategies for statewide corridors.
To develop a vision plan, Idaho DOT held workshops with over 750 citizens to imagine how the statewide transportation system will look in 2034. Participants were encouraged to think beyond continuation of the status quo and traditional transportation solutions, defining guiding principles, how the system should perform, and priorities. The SLRP describes focus areas, strategies, and actions supporting these principles.
Describes overarching strategies to accomplish focus future results (e.g., improved mobility, safety, economic development, etc.).
Includes official public policies for solving problems or meeting projected demands, typically based on legislation and implemented through governmental programs.
Identifies the means to accomplish these policies, through investments, strategies, or programs.
Almost all the SLRPs reviewed have a policy component, though with different levels of specificity. Some identify previously defined goals or policies, while others develop new ones as part of the planning process. Some SLRPs include performance measures that can be used to measure results.
Many SLRPs articulate policies without necessarily identifying specific projects (e.g., Rhode Island, Idaho, West Virginia, Minnesota, Colorado), while others provide examples of projects to illustrate policy implementation (e.g., Maryland and Connecticut).
Rhode Island and Minnesota's plans link policies to concrete actions indicated below. In Minnesota, regions are responsible for identifying projects that meet goals while in Rhode Island the state is responsible.
Rhode Island's SLRP is developed by the state planning department, rather than the DOT, which might contribute to its policy focus.
|Performance Measures||Performance Measures & Targets|
In Arizona and Ohio's plans, policies help identify and prioritize projects.
To prioritize projects, Arizona's SLRP weights performance factors based on each policy's importance.
Selects or identifies specific projects to meet the identified needs or stated policies. May include expected costs of each project.
Can include projects for different modes and funded from different sources to provide a complete picture of statewide system.
Louisiana, Indiana, and Ohio's plans include detailed lists of projects, primarily for highway projects but for some non-highway projects as well.
Louisiana's plan not only prioritizes its highway "mega-projects" based on various funding scenarios, but also identifies highway policy and non-highway program recommendations.
Indiana's SLRP not only focuses on identifying and prioritizing specific highway expansion projects, but also recognizes other modes, and includes operations and maintenance activities. The final chapter lists projects by DOT district or Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO).
Ohio's plan includes specific projects that support ODOT's goals and measurable objectives.
Focuses on specific transportation corridors, ideally considering all transportation modes, and both passenger and freight needs.
Ideally, includes a synthesis of each major corridor, considering condition, projected use, and financing, while highlighting unique uses and regional preferences.
May rely on regional or DOT district planning activities.
Colorado's SLRP is a clear example of a corridor plan. Multi-modal in nature, Colorado's plan provides basic policy guidance and projected statewide transportation trends, and then allows the region to identify the key investment interests and strategies for each corridor.
Other states incorporate corridor planning into the larger SLRP. In addition to modal analyses, Ohio's plan includes a multi-modal summary of technical information, analysis and projects for each major corridor.
A chapter of Utah's SLRP describes the long-term vision for the state's major corridors to allow for corridor preservation, right-of-way acquisition, and coordinated phasing of alternative transportation modes.
Maine's SLRP identifies the major issues and key initiatives for each region.
Colorado, Utah, and Maine use a bottom-up planning process, allowing the state to incorporate locally defined needs into the statewide plan.
Considers projected capital and operating costs and reasonably available revenue sources in setting the transportation system's long-term direction.
Often the SLRP discusses risks and probabilities of projected costs and revenues, and attempts to balance both.
Most states identify current funding levels and many project expected funding. State plans, including North Carolina and Louisiana's, that describe future funding sources clearly state the assumptions made in estimating federal funding levels and rates of inflation. This transparency allows stakeholders and the public to understand key aspects of statewide planning.
Arizona, Louisiana and Colorado's SLRPs include multiple funding scenarios. Arizona's plan identifies constrained and reasonably anticipated revenue scenarios.
Louisiana's plan identifies four potential funding scenarios and describes potential sources of new revenue in great detail.
Colorado's SLRP identifies current funding levels, funding needed to maintain current levels of service and funding needed to enact the vision plan. While the latter two funding scenarios in Colorado's SLRP may not be based on confirmed revenues, they provide a helpful place to begin discussing funding choices, the need for additional funding, and alternative approaches to securing revenues.
SAFETEA-LU and its predecessor, TEA-21, identify the following factors that need to be considered in the statewide transportation planning process:
Although safety and security were originally combined in a single factor in TEA-21, SAFETEA-LU now separates them, adding a stronger emphasis to each.
This section describes the approach specific states take to incorporating the planning factors within their SLRPs. Most of the SLRPs reviewed explicitly recognize the factors. For example, West Virginia and Indiana's plans respond directly to each.
The following identifies SAFETEA-LU language for each factor, discusses how states are incorporate individual factors into SLRPs, and provides examples of SLRPs that clearly incorporate individual factors.
SAFETEA-LU factor: "Support the economic vitality of the United States, the States, nonmetropolitan areas, and metropolitan areas, especially by enabling global competitiveness, productivity, and efficiency."
SLRPs can promote national, state, regional, and local economic development through transportation goals, policies, programs, or projects that explicitly address the interrelationship between transportation systems and the state economy. Plans often describe coordination between the state DOT and economic development agencies or business interests.
SAFETEA-LU factor: "Increase the safety of the transportation system for motorized and nonmotorized users."
SLRPs can incorporate safety by including related statistics, describing a primary safety concern for the overall plan, or by identifying specific goals, policies, or programs designed to promote safety. Often these SLRPs include evidence of planning and program coordination with law enforcement, emergency response, or other non-transportation safety agencies.
Most SLRPs identify safety as a priority or goal and identify broad approaches to improve safety. Some states provide basic safety statistics such as the number of at-grade railroad crashes or road crashes per VMT.
Minnesota's plan includes such statistics as performance measures.
Arizona's SLRP uses safety statistics in prioritizing projects.
Louisiana's plan includes detailed analyses of crashes, including types (e.g., left-turn, rear end) and impacts (e.g., property damage, or fatality). The SLRP recognizes the importance of safety and identifies funding sources. The state considers specific safety factors, including "reduction of collision potential," "emergency evacuation capabilities," and "reduction of hazardous materials spill potential," when prioritizing projects.
Rhode Island's SLRP discusses a variety of safety improvements, including:
Seat-belt and cycle helmet use;
Bicycle, pedestrian and transit rider safety;
Work zone safety; safety issues specific to children and the elderly; and
Improvements to roadway infrastructure.
Virginia's plan's comprehensive safety analysis includes freight and aviation safety issues and emergency situations. The SLRP includes detailed analyses of the causes of crashes, types of vehicles involved, key crash scenarios, and effects of alcohol and age.
Both Virginia and Rhode Island's plans recognize the importance of involving federal and state law enforcement and other agencies in supporting safety education and enforcement.
SAFETEA-LU factor: "Increase the security of the transportation system for motorized and nonmotorized users."
Some of the SLRPs reviewed identify potential areas of concern and specific policies or programs designed to improve security. SLRPs can also demonstrate an important aspect of an integrated approach to security by reflecting coordination with non-transportation agencies with operational or planning responsibility for security.
Perhaps in part because security and safety were not separate factors until 2005, few of the SLRPs reviewed provide a distinct focus on security. It is reasonable to expect that the emphasis on security will increase in the future.
Virginia's plan describes extensive security preparedness measures, including coordinating with the Office of Commonwealth Preparedness and Virginia Department of Emergency management, which help coordinate various levels of government to plan and prepare for emergencies. The plan describes VDOT's Emergency Operations Plan and Transportation Emergency Operations Center and improved security measures for General Aviation and the Port of Virginia.
Ohio's SLRP identifies four security strategies: predict, harden targets, educate and, respond and recover. As a part of its security activities, ODOT has plans, manuals, procedures and policies to manage security incidents, and coordinates with non-transportation security agencies.
While Arizona's SLRP does not identify security as one of its key policies, an appended report entitled, "Security Considerations in Long-Range Transportation Planning: A White Paper for The Arizona Department of Transportation," analyzes potential transportation security concerns for the transportation network as a whole and discusses how security can be integrated into long-range transportation planning.
SAFETEA-LU factor: "Increase the accessibility and mobility of people and freight."
SLRPs that consider accessibility and mobility recognize the importance of efficient coordination for both freight and passenger services and of access to transportation services. Plans identify policies, projects or strategies that support accessibility and mobility.
The focus on accessibility and mobility covers a range of issues. For urban areas, SLRPs focus on general traffic congestion, travel time reliability (mitigation of incidents), and access to jobs. Many plans discuss the loss of rail corridors or the needs of non-driving populations.
Plans, such as Maine and Minnesota's, identify access to airports and intercity bus service as major accessibility and mobility issues for rural areas.
Virginia's SLRP identifies performance objectives that support accessibility and mobility:
Meet basic transportation needs for special needs populations
Expand modal choices
Improve access to major activity centers
Improve accessibility of the workforce to employment opportunities
Improve accessibility of goods to markets
Improve accessibility of people to goods and services
Minnesota's plan has policies and associated performance measures and targets that support providing transportation options, and increasing mobility between and within regional trade centers. Some associated target measures include:
Access to scheduled air service
Travel time reliability
Percent of transit needs met
Connecticut's SLRP focuses on accessibility and mobility through alternative transportation, particularly for special populations and commuters.
SAFETEA-LU factor: "Protect and enhance the environment, promote energy conservation, improve the quality of life, and promote consistency between transportation improvements and State and local planned growth and economic development patterns."
Plans that incorporate environmental stewardship recognize a variety of specific environmental impacts of transportation systems and describe goals, policies, programs, or projects that explicitly minimize transportation system impacts on the environment.
Environmental issues are integrated throughout Rhode Island's SLRP addressing land use, fuel types and greenhouse gas emissions, overall energy consumption, and minimizing environmental impacts of construction.
Virginia's plan discusses air quality, water quality, habitat preservation, energy use, cultural and historic resource preservation, quality of life, the state's environmental review process, and coordination with state resource agencies.
Virginia's plan also identifies strategies and tools for coordinating transportation and land use.
Maine's SLRP recognizes that by law, transportation planning in Maine must support the state's comprehensive planning statute.
SAFETEA-LU factor: "Enhance the integration and connectivity of the transportation system, across and between modes throughout the State, for people and freight."
Plans that consider integration and connectivity of the transportation system recognize the importance of integrating multiple transportation modes to create an efficient network for both freight and passenger service. These plans typically identify policies, projects or strategies that support integration of modes for both freight and passenger services.
Many SLRPs reviewed recognize the importance of integrated and coordinating transportation services.
Maine's SLRP describes how the state strives for a "'seamless' interconnection between all modes, both for passengers and fright," and identifies intermodal transfer facilities as key system improvements. Maine DOT encouraged intermodal planning by reorganizing from modal agencies to an Office of Freight Transportation and an Office of Passenger Transportation with the Bureaus of Planning and Maintenance and Operations serving all modes.
Louisiana's plan places a strong emphasis on intermodal integration, particularly for freight.
Indiana's plan describes its use of an intermodal management system to analyze and support intermodal connectivity and identifies intermodal facilities of statewide significance.
SAFETEA-LU factor: "Promote efficient system management and operation."
As an alternative for infrastructure expansion, some SLRPs provide policies, programs, and strategies to manage and operate the transportation system more efficiently, or recognize that management and operational techniques can substitute for some expansion.
Plans with a strong emphasis on management and operations include:
|Intelligent Transportation Systems||Utah
Maryland (Operations Centers)
Connecticut (Operations Centers)
|Travel Demand Management||Colorado
|Agency Operations||North Carolina (Planning Process)
Maryland (Management Systems)
Connecticut (Management Systems)
Virginia (Life-cycle Modeling)
Rhode Island (Process, Capacities and Tools)
|Project Management||Maryland (Environmental Streamlining, Design-Build)
Minnesota (Project Timeliness and Cost Deviation)
Virginia (Coordinating Projects)
SAFETEA-LU factor: "Emphasize the preservation of the existing transportation system."
SLRPs that emphasize preservation discuss the condition of existing transportation infrastructure and identify preservation as a primary goal. This can be explicit, through programs or investments, or implicit, through distribution of funds.
Utah, Minnesota, Connecticut, Maine, West Virginia, Virginia, and Colorado all identify preservation as a top goal.
While Louisiana and Ohio do not explicitly identify preservation as a goal, both prioritize funding toward maintenance before considering expansion projects.
Rhode Island and Maryland also recognize the importance of system preservation.
State SLRPs including those of Maryland, Ohio, Connecticut, and Virginia, reflect use of asset management systems to identify and prioritize preservation spending.
Some of the SLRPs reviewed reflect a statewide systems approach to multi-modal planning, including:
Although all state DOTs have responsibility for construction and maintenance of highway systems, their responsibility for other modes varies. This responsibility can range from financing to sometimes owning and operating other modes, such as public transit. More typically, city and county or modal public authorities are responsible for constructing facilities, owning, and operating other modes including bicycle and pedestrian facilities, rail, maritime, or air, as well as transit. This limited responsibility and the fact that most travel occurs on the highways, may be major factors that contribute to the frequent focus on highway travel in SLRPs.
All state plans reviewed consider transit, bicycle and pedestrian, air, and rail transportation to some extent. Some SLRPs also consider additional modes; for example, SLRPs for states with port access consider water transportation. Although many plans consider ground access to ports or airports, some actually reflect some planning for those facilities, again depending on state responsibilities.
Arizona and Maine's SLRP mention pipelines.
Maine and Louisiana's plans cover intercity bus service.
Many states summarize or otherwise incorporate components of statewide mode-specific studies or plans.
Colorado's SLRP is supported by technical reports on aviation, transit and other topics.
North Carolina's plan refers to existing rail, transit and aviation plans, while Connecticut and Rhode Island's SLRPs refer to statewide pedestrian and aviation plans, respectively.
The following table summarizes the SLRPs reviewed that include relatively detailed modal discussions:
|Bike and Pedestrian||Rhode Island
Some of the SLRPs reviewed focus on specific purposes and needs for each mode individually.
Ohio's plan profiles each mode independently, with a chapter discussing the existing system, administration and oversight, funding and goals and recommendations for each mode.
West Virginia's SLRP describes efforts to better integrate modal planning, but explains that constraints on the use of funds limit the ability to prioritize projects for multiple modes by overall statewide needs instead of allocating funds modally.
North Carolina's plan identifies similar mode-specific funding constraints but promotes institutional and funding strategies that support integrated modal planning.
Maine DOT's reorganization should encourage integrated modal planning by moving from modal departments to Offices of Freight and Passenger Transportation, and assigning responsibility for all modes to the Bureau of Maintenance and Operations and Planning.
Plans that focus on policy more than projects tend to have an easier time integrating modal planning.
Minnesota's plan includes inherently intermodal policies such as "to provide cost effective transportation options for people and freight," which is supported by performance measures appropriate for air, transit, and bicycle service and intermodal facilities.
Maryland's SLRP provides examples from different modal administrations to achieve each of its statewide goals.
Rhode Island and Virginia's plans focus on both modal and overarching topics. Impacts and applications of all modes are included in economic development, land use, and safety discussions.
Rhode Island's SLRP identifies specific objectives, policies, strategies and performance measures to support the goal of "convenient intermodal facilities and services that offer seamless connections for passengers and freight."
In addition to including multimodal performance measures, Virginia's plan proposes "multimodal investment networks" to integrate multi-modal thinking into project development.
Colorado's SLRP corridor visioning process allowed the state's many transportation providers to cooperatively address a corridor's comprehensive transportation needs, incorporating all modes.
As part of integrated modal planning, some states include a focus in SLRPs on intermodal facilities.
Many of the plans reviewed, including those of Louisiana and Ohio, consider the importance of connectivity between ports and landside transportation (rail or highways).
Indiana's SLRP lists intermodal facilities of national significance and describes the state Intermodal Management System.
The Connecticut, Virginia, Rhode Island, and Maine SLRPs identify intermodal facilities as an important component of the transportation system.
Some SLRPs focus on both passenger and freight needs. While there is overlap in the transportation networks, it is important to note that there are important differences in planning for passenger and freight modes. Economic vitality, urban congestion and highway maintenance are issues that affect both passenger and freight transportation. Freight considerations, however, are more applicable to port and rail infrastructure, while pedestrian, bicycle and transit are solely passenger modes. Many SLRPs identify specific goods movement issues.
Some SLRPs reviewed, such as Utah and Maine's, discuss the needs of passenger transportation separately from freight, separating consideration of human demographics from freight demand, freight from passenger rail service, and differentiating intermodal needs.
Minnesota's plan discusses freight and passenger systems separately but then combines trends and transportation implications and applies policies to both.
Indiana's SLRP integrates freight and passenger needs into unified modal discussions and combines passenger and freight intermodal facilities.
Maryland and Connecticut's plans apply policies to freight and passenger needs seamlessly