Transportation Planning Process
Every five years the MPO adopts a Metropolitan Transportation Plan, or MTP, for the next 25 years. The plan sets forth a vision for transportation in the community, along with broad goals and objectives; presents a list of deficiencies to be addressed and identifies strategies for addressing them in accordance with the vision, goals and objectives.
Planning and engineering studies are often needed to identify workable solutions to address the deficiencies, typically in the form of scopes for construction projects. Drawing ideas for such studies from deficiencies identified in the MTP, the MPO scopes, funds and manages the work as specified in the MPO’s annual Unified Planning Work Program.
Some studies are performed by the Virginia Department of Transportation through its Strategically Targeted, Affordable Roadway Solutions (STARS) Program.
These studies develop detailed solutions with cost estimates for engineering and construction, which the MPO may include in the MTP’s list of high-priority projects called the Constrained Long-Range Plan, or CLRP (the total cost of which is constrained to projected available funding); and the locality can use in making application for funding through the state’s competitive transportation funding programs.
Projects are annually selected for funding by the Commonwealth Transportation Board in accordance with laws and policies governing the various funding programs. A project which has been selected for funding is said to be programmed, or included in the state’s Six-Year Improvement Program. The MPO’s programmed projects are added to the MPO’s Transportation Improvement Program, or TIP.