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A Citizen's Guide to Transportation Decision Making

Different Transportation Plans and Programs

Before transportation planners start, the citizens and officials of a region or a state must have a long-term vision for transportation in that area. A vision plan provides broad goals for what the region or state will look like and reflects what is important for the future.

To develop a vision, you need to consider several characteristics of your region, state, or metropolitan areaand how you expect these characteristics to change over the next several years. Here are some characteristics to consider:

Once you have reviewed and established the goals for your vision, you have a foundation for plans to improve the transportation system for your area. These long-range plans provide transportation solutions that cover 20 or more years. The solutions can range from a new traffic signal system to a pedestrian pathway or a new bus line to a completely new road project.

photo of a street going thru a neighborhood

Some transportation plans focus strictly on transportation, while others are more general, with transportation just one part of a larger plan for green space, parks, and other uses. Transportation planning processes often are complicated because of the need to cover entire state and metropolitan transportation systems. A state plan will also include regional, metropolitan, and other local transportation plans.

Updated: 3/28/2012
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