The Hampton Roads Transportation Planning Organization (HRTPO) has produced the Draft Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP) for fiscal year 2024, which begins on July 1, 2023. The UPWP describes transportation planning work to be performed for the Hampton Roads metropolitan planning area by the HRTPO, the local public transportation operators (Hampton Roads Transit, Williamsburg Area Transit Authority, and Suffolk Transit), and the Virginia Department of Transportation. This public notice is to request public review and comment on the draft UPWP.
In addition to detailing the work associated with HRTPO core functions – the Long-Range Transportation Plan (LRTP), the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP), the Congestion Management Process (CMP), and Public Participation – federal regulations state that the UPWP for Metropolitan Planning Organizations designated as Transportation Management Areas (TMA) shall include a discussion of the planning priorities of the metropolitan planning area. It is in the determination of these planning priorities that the HRTPO Board ensures its vision and goals are carried forward in the UPWP.
Establishing clear direction from the HRTPO Board regarding its priorities allows HRTPO staff to ensure that limited resources (staff, funding) are properly allocated in the UPWP. There are a number of emerging issues that will have a significant impact on metropolitan transportation planning, and the planning priorities for the Hampton Roads TMA will strive to address these issues. For FY 2024, the planning priorities for the HRTPO include better integrating the following issues into HRTPO planning and programming:
- Scenario planning provides a framework for stakeholders to make decisions that help achieve a shared vision for the future by analyzing various factors that can impact the way in which a region develops. Much like the region’s current 2045 Long-Range Transportation Plan (LRTP), the 2050 LRTP, currently being developed, will employ scenario planning to consider plausible alternate futures and their potential impacts on the transportation system. Each alternative scenario, developed through a collaborative regional stakeholder process, is comprised of various regional drivers and trends (transportation technology, economic, environmental, land use, etc.) that have the potential to affect growth, connectivity, mobility, resiliency, and other factors. Comparing the alternatives and their trade-offs helps decision-makers identify projects that provide the most benefit to the region regardless of which future assumption is analyzed thereby highlighting smart investments for Hampton Roads.
- Resilience refers to the capacity of a system to survive, adapt, and grow in the face of significant changes or events. Such changes may be foreseen, such as the expected impacts of sea-level rise, or unforeseen, such as a catastrophic event. It is important that regional transportation planning take resilience into account to help ensure that the transportation system has the capacity to overcome disruptions and keep people and goods moving. The Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act added “take into consideration resilience needs” to the scope of the metropolitan planning process and the recently passed Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) continues to promote sustainable and resilient transportation infrastructure.For the significant issues of climate change and sustainability, focus is on building a transportation system that mitigates the greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change, is resilient to the impacts of climate change, and advances climate and environmental justice. Multiple federal grant programs have been created supporting this goal related to programs such as electric vehicles and charging and zero emissions transit fleets.
- Active transportation refers to any self-propelled, human-powered mode of transportation, such as walking and bicycling, and is an integral part of a multimodal transportation system. Planning for improvements to the active transportation system – the network of sidewalks, crosswalks, and bicycle facilities, as well as its connectivity to other modes like public transit – help enable people to use non-motorized options to reach their destinations, resulting in a more robust multimodal transportation system.
- Transportation planners incorporate increasing safe and accessible transportation options by identifying high-incident locations and the most effective strategies for reducing crashes at these locations. These strategies typically fall into the areas of engineering, enforcement, education, and emergency medical services. Crash data helps identify which focus areas should receive funding priority for improving safety in the region. A key role of State DOTs, transit operators, and MPO planners is to coordinate any planned safety-related transportation efforts with their safety partners.
Under the IIJA, MPOs are required to use 2.5% of their PL funds to carry out activities to increase safe and accessible options for multiple travel modes for people of all ages and abilities, including the adoption of Complete Street Standards or policies, development Of Complete Streets prioritization plans, development of active transportation plans, regional planning to consider alternatives to new highway capacity including ridesharing and expanded transit and passenger rail services, or development of plans and policies to support transit-oriented development. Also in cooperation with all regional planning partners, the dissemination and promotion of complete streets alternatives analysis and prioritization during project planning is supported, including the completion of Vulnerable Road User Safety Assessments where appropriate.
- The IIJA includes a number of provisions that provide incentives for emerging technologies with the potential to transform the future of transportation. Planning for Emerging Transportation Technologies is supported in the IIJA through the expansion of existing grant programs and the creation of new grant programs such as the Strengthening Mobility and Revolutionizing Transportation (SMART) Grant Program. The SMART Grant program has been designed to build upon the success of the Smart City Challenge "to conduct demonstration projects focused on advanced smart city or community technologies and systems in a variety of communities to improve transportation efficiency and safety." Eligible efforts under the SMART Program include coordinated automation, connected vehicles, intelligent, sensor-based infrastructure, systems integration, commerce delivery and logistics, leveraging the use of innovative aviation technology, smart grid, and smart technology traffic signals.
- Transportation equity refers to the way in which the needs of all transportation system users are reflected in the transportation planning and decision-making process. In particular, transportation equity focuses on the needs of disadvantaged communities and those traditionally underserved by existing transportation systems, such as low-income and minority households, older adults, and individuals with disabilities. The application of transportation equity in the planning process will help ensure transportation decisions deliver equitable benefits to a variety of users and that any associated burdens are avoided, minimized, or mitigated so as not to disproportionately impact disadvantaged populations.
You may access the Draft FY 2024 UPWP by clicking on the following link:
HRTPO Draft FY2024 Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP)
You may also obtain a copy of the draft UPWP by contacting John Mihaly, Principal Transportation Planner, at the email address below or by phone at (757) 423-8300. All interested parties are encouraged to review the Draft FY 2024 UPWP and send comments to Mr. Mihaly at firstname.lastname@example.org or by mail to 723 Woodlake Drive, Chesapeake, Virginia 23320. The deadline for comments on this draft is April 26, 2023.