TRANSPORTATION PLANNING

Transportation Planning plays a fundamental role in the regional vision for the 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 helps shape an area’s economic health and quality of life. Not only does the transportation system provide for the mobility of people and goods, it also influences patterns of growth and economic activity by providing access to the land. The performance of the system affects public policy concerns like air quality, environmental resource consumption, social equality, land use, urban growth, economic development, safety and security. Transportation planning recognizes the critical links between transportation and other societal goals. The planning process is more than merely listing highway and transit capital projects. It requires developing strategies for operating, managing, maintaining and financing the area’s transportation system in such a way as to advance the area’s long term goals. Transportation planning is a cooperative process designed to foster involvement by all users of the system, such as the business community, community groups, environmental organizations, the traveling public and freight operators through a proactive public participation process.

Transportation Planning involves a number of steps:
  • Monitoring existing conditions;

  • Forecasting future population and employment growth/decline, including assessing projected land use in the region and identifying major growth corridors;

  • Identifying current and projected future transportation problems and needs and analyzing, through detailed planning studies, various transportation improvement strategies to address those needs;

  • Developing long range and short range programs of alternative capital improvement and operational strategies for moving people and goods; Estimating the impact of recommended future improvements to the transportation system on environmental features, including air quality;

  • Developing a financial plan for securing sufficient revenues to cover the costs of implementing strategies.

Relationship between Transportation and Land Use

The purpose of transportation is to move people and goods from one place to another. The transportation system affects community character, the natural and human environment, and economic development patterns. A transportation system can improve the economy, shape development patterns, and influence quality of life and the natural environment.

Land use and transportation are symbiotic. Development density and location influence regional travel patterns, and in turn, the degree of access provided by the transportation system can influence land use and development trends. Urban or community design can facilitate alternative travel modes. For example: a connected system of streets with higher residential densities and a mix of land uses can facilitate travel by foot, bicycle, and public transportation, in addition to the automobile. Conversely, dispersed land development patterns may facilitate vehicular travel and reduce the viability of other travel modes.

Eight Federal Planning Factors

These factors, defined by federal statue serve as de facto national transportation planning goals. Whether or not these goals apply to Richland County, and to what extent, is strictly the decision of the MPO.

  • Support the economic vitality of the metropolitan area, especially by enabling global competitiveness, productivity and efficiency.

  • Increase the safety of the transportation system for motorized and non-motorized users.

  • Increase the security of the transportation system for motorized and non‐motorized users.

  • Increase the accessibility and mobility of people and for freight.

  • Protect and enhance the environment, promote energy conservation, improve the quality of life, and promote consistency between transportation improvements and state and local planned growth and economic development patterns.

  • Enhance the integration and connectivity of the transportation system, across and between modes, for people and freight.

  • Promote efficient system management and operation.

  • Emphasize the preservation of the existing transportation system.