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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Transportation Planning

What’s New

  • Integrating Asset Management into the Transportation Planning and Programming Process is a joint FHWA and FTA research effort that highlights the roles of State DOTs, MPOs, and transit agencies to better integrate asset management into planning and programming.  This study includes case studies on notable practices, two virtual peer exchanges and a webinar that presented how State DOTs, MPOs, and transit agencies are using data analysis, agency coordination, and other methods to link planning and programming activities to asset management. The February 7, 2024 webinar included presentations from representatives from a State DOT, MPO, and transit agency who shared successful practices.
  • Model Long Range Transportation Plans – A Guide for Incorporating Performance Based Planning – is a guidebook that discusses the seven key elements of a performance-based long-range transportation plan and example practices from around the country. The intended audience includes transportation planning staff at State Departments of Transportation (DOTs), Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs), transit agencies, local governments, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), and other stakeholder groups involved in the transportation planning process.
  • Increased Federal Share under the MPP and SPRP. FTA is increasing federal support of planning activities that help communities with lower population densities or lower average incomes, compared to surrounding areas, expand access to public transportation.  This Dear Colleague letter describes the eligibility criteria for the increased Federal share – up to 100 percent – under the Metropolitan Planning Program and the State Planning and Research Program for planning activities amended under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law 49 U.S.C. 5305(f).
  • Local Match Waiver for Complete Streets. This Dear Colleague letter informs states and metropolitan planning organizations that FTA has approved a waiver of the non-federal match for the Metropolitan Planning Program and the State Planning and Research Program for Complete Streets planning activities. For more information on the waiver and how grant recipients can utilize this waiver, please refer to the FAQ page.

Overview

Transportation planning plays a fundamental role in a state, region, or community’s vision for its future. It includes a comprehensive consideration of possible strategies; an evaluation process that encompasses diverse viewpoints; the collaborative participation of relevant transportation-related agencies and organizations; and open, timely, and meaningful public involvement.

Transportation planning is a cooperative process designed to foster involvement by all users of the system, such as businesses, community groups, environmental organizations, the traveling public, freight operators, and the general public, through a proactive public participation process.

In urbanized areas, the transportation planning process is conducted by a Metropolitan Planning Organization, in cooperation with the State Department of Transportation and transit providers. In rural areas, transportation planning processes are carried out by the state, in cooperation with local officials in non-metropolitan areas and transit providers.

FTA and FHWA jointly administer the federally required transportation planning processes in metropolitan areas, as set forth in 49 U.S.C. 5303 and 23 U.S.C. 134. In rural areas and on a statewide basis, the statutory provisions for transportation planning are set forth in 49 U.S.C. 5304 and 23 U.S.C. 135.

In December 2021, FTA and FHWA issued updated Planning Emphasis Areas (PEAs) for use by metropolitan planning organizations, state departments of transportation, transit agencies, and federal land management agencies in their Unified Planning Work Programs and State Planning and Research Work Programs.

FTA and FHWA are updating the Final Rule on Statewide and Nonmetropolitan Transportation Planning and Metropolitan Transportation Planning to reflect new requirements in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law