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A Guide to Transportation Decision Making

Different Transportation Plans and Programs

photo of a street going thru a neighborhood

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

To develop a vision, consider the characteristics of your region and State, and how you expect these characteristics to change over the next several years. Here are some characteristics to consider:

Once a region or State has reviewed and established goals for its vision, it has also developed a foundation for improvements to that area's transportation system. Long-range plans outline transportation solutions that cover 20 or more years. Solutions might include a new traffic signal system, a pedestrian pathway, a new bus line, or a completely new road project.

Some transportation plans focus strictly on transportation, while others are broader, with transportation included as just one part of a larger plan for green space, parks, and other land uses. Transportation-planning processes often are complex because they cover entire State and metropolitan transportation systems. A State plan will also include regional, metropolitan, and other local transportation plans.
Updated: 3/22/2012
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