Transportation helps shape an area's economic health and quality of life. Not only does the transportation system provide for the mobility of people and goods, it also influences patterns of growth and economic activity by providing access to land. The performance of the system affects public policy concerns like air quality, environmental resource consumption, social equity, land use, urban growth, economic development, safety, and security.
Transportation planning is a cooperative process designed to foster involvement by all users of the system, such as the business community, community groups, environmental organizations, the traveling public, freight operators, and the general public, through a proactive public participation process conducted by State Departments of Transportation, Metropolitan Planning Organization, and transit operators. It recognizes the critical links between transportation and other societal goals and is more than merely listing highway and transit capital projects. Transportation planning requires developing strategies for operating, managing, maintaining, and financing the area's transportation system in such a way as to advance the area's long-term goals.
Transportation planning includes a number of steps: