In accordance with federal regulations, the HRTPO produces a financially constrained Regional Long-Range Transportation Plan every four years that addresses a planning horizon of 20 years. The purpose of these plans is to guide transportation investments to projects designed to meet the transportation goals of the HRTPO--economic vitality, safety, mobility, and environmental protection. There are portions of the Code of Federal Regulations relating to the content of metropolitan Plans.
The HRTPO's long-range transportation plans cover several modes of transportation, including personal vehicle, public transportation (see "A Transit Vision Plan for Hampton Roads"), bicycling, and walking.
The HRTPO, as the designated policy committee, has the primary responsibility for development of the Regional Long-Range Transportation Plan. In addition, other state and federal transportation authorities are kept informed of the HRTPO's activities and are available as advisors.
Development of the plan also requires participation of the Transportation Technical Advisory Committee (TTAC) and the public. Local jurisdictions submit transportation proposals to the TTAC. The Committee performs a rigorous multidisciplinary analysis to determine whether a proposal is to be included in the plan. The Committee produces a recommended plan for the HRTPO's approval, based on the best available data and technical processes.
Federal regulations have established management systems for pavement, bridge, safety, congestion, and intermodal management that are also used in the planning process. These management systems have program objectives that support the efficiency and safety of the region's transportation infrastructure. In the planning process, these management systems provide information on the state of the transportation system, the effect of various levels of improvement investment, and specific projects for funding. The HRTPO is responsible for the Intermodal and Congestion Management Processes for the region. The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is responsible for Pavement, Bridge, and Safety, Management Systems.
Throughout the planning process, there are many opportunities for citizen participation. The HRTPO's public participation process includes public meetings and notices with requests for public comment on various transportation-related plans, transportation improvement programs, and conformity analyses. Public transportation authorities routinely hold public hearings on route and service changes, major capital improvement projects, and policy changes. The State also holds public meetings on specific transportation improvements as projects proceed through major investment studies, environmental evaluations, and recommended alternatives. VDOT also provides the public an opportunity to address transportation needs annually at the Hampton Roads District Pre-allocation Hearing.