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Planning Emphasis Areas for Federal Fiscal Year 2016

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DOT triscalion

U.S. Department
of Transportation


1200 New Jersey Ave., SE,
Washingtonm, DC 20590

Federal Highway
March 18, 2015  
Federal Transit
    In Reply Refer To:
Attention: Executive Directors of Metropolitan Planning Organizations  

In 2014, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and Federal Transit Administration (FTA) sent a letter to the Executive Directors of the Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPO) and the heads of the State Departments of Transportation (State DOT) encouraging you to give priority to the following emphasis areas in your updated unified planning work programs (UPWP) and statewide planning and research programs: MAP-21 Implementation, Regional Models of Cooperation, and Ladders of Opportunity. These three priorities are included in Secretary Foxx's strategic objectives for the Surface Transportation Program. We are requesting State DOTs and MPOs reiterate and emphasize these planning emphasis areas in their respective planning work programs for Fiscal Year 2016. We are also directing our FHWA and FTA field offices to continue to work with you and your organizations to identify tasks that advance these U.S. Department of Transportation priorities.

MAP-21 Implementation

Transition to Performance-based Planning and Programming - We encourage State DOTs and MPOs to further develop their performance management approach to transportation planning and programming. Performance-based planning and programming includes using transportation performance measures, setting targets, reporting performance, and programming transportation investments directed toward the achievement of transportation system performance outcomes. Appropriate UPWP work tasks could include working with local planning partners to identify how to implement performance-based planning provisions such as collecting performance data, selecting and reporting performance targets for the metropolitan area, and reporting actual system performance related to those targets. The MPOs might also explore the option to use scenario planning to develop their metropolitan transportation plan. We encourage you to use the following resources to help develop your approach: Performance Based Planning and Programming Guidebook; Model Long Range Transportation Plans Guidebook and Small Metropolitan Areas: Performance Based Planning.

Regional Models of Cooperation

Ensure a Regional Approach to Transportation Planning by Promoting Cooperation and Coordination across Transit Agency, MPO and State Boundaries - To improve the effectiveness of transportation decisionmaking, we encourage State DOTs, MPOs, and providers of public transportation to think beyond traditional borders and adopt a coordinated approach to transportation planning. A coordinated approach supports common goals and capitalizes on opportunities related to project delivery, congestion management, safety, freight, livability, and

commerce across boundaries. Improved multi-jurisdictional coordination by State DOTs, MPOs, providers of public transportation, and rural planning organizations (RPO) can reduce project delivery times and enhance the efficient use of resources, particularly in urbanized areas that are served by multiple MPOs. The MPOs can revisit their metropolitan area planning agreements to ensure that there are effective processes for cross-jurisdictional communication among State DOTs, MPOs, and providers of public transportation to improve collaboration, policy implementation, technology use, and performance management. State DOTs and MPOs can explore the opportunity to partner with RPOs to conduct transportation planning in nonmetropolitan areas. We encourage you to visit FHWA's Regional Models of Cooperation and Every Day Counts Initiative Webpages for more information.

Ladders of Opportunity

Access to Essential Services - We encourage State DOTs, MPOs, and providers of public transportation, as part of the transportation planning process, to identify transportation connectivity gaps in accessing essential services. Essential services include employment, health care, schools/education, and recreation. Suggested UPWP work tasks include developing and implementing analytical methods to identify gaps in the connectivity of the transportation system and developing infrastructure and operational solutions that provide the public, especially the traditionally underserved populations, with adequate access to essential services. Other effective work tasks could include: evaluating the effectiveness of public participation plans for engaging transportation disadvantaged communities in the transportation decisionmaking process; updating the Section 5310 Coordinated Human Service Public Transportation Plans; assessing the safety and condition of pedestrian and bicycle facilities; and evaluating compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act, particularly around schools, concentrations of disadvantaged populations, social services, medical, and transit facilities.

Sincerely yours,

Signature: Gregory G. Nadeau

Gregory G. Nadeau
Deputy Administrator
Federal Highway Administration

Signature: Therese W. McMillan
Therese W. McMillan
Deputy Administrator
Federal Transit Administration

Updated: 3/19/2015
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