Transportation planning is a collaborative process that involves users, including businesses, community groups, motorists, environmental organizations and freight operators, of the transportation system. Whether planning for the short or long term, transportation forecasting is integral to transportation planning. The better the transportation planning process, the more accurate the information on developing alternative strategies to improve transportation system performance.
Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs), the state Departments of Transportation transit providers and local agencies conduct transportation planning for urban areas. Transportation planning processes in rural areas are carried out by the state, along with local officials in nonmetropolitan areas with input from transit providers.
Irrespective of the type of planning processes, demographics and travel patterns, transportation planning involves various stages, each posing specific challenges.
Federal transportation planning across urban and rural areas is governed by the Three C's. They are:
Transportation planners undertake a comprehensive analysis and evaluation of transportation strategies and programs while addressing the community's goals and concerns. The historical and future traffic trends are examined while considering the demand for the movement of people, goods and information at local, rural, statewide, national and international levels.
The following five aspects of transportation planning should define the various stages of the planning process for upgrading your community's transportation system.
A streamlined, performance-based process of transportation planning, implementation and evaluation is further governed by federal requirements that focus on:
When developing plans to strengthen your community's transportation system, you must also be aware of the challenges of transportation planning and how to address them.
Developing transportation plans is challenging. It is difficult to project future traffic trends based on the economy, population growth, fuel prices and more. Analytical limitations such as the accuracy of traffic forecasts and evaluation of performance measures further complicate the transportation planning process. Some key challenges you might face during transportation planning for your community include:
With multiple stages of transportation planning, along with different challenges, partnering with a team of experts can help you develop accurate and effective traffic plans for your community.