Every four years, the HRTPO is required to develop a regional long-range transportation plan (LRTP) to reflect changing conditions such as new planning priorities, population projections, economic change, and anticipated travel demand.
Recently, HRTPO staff began development of the next LRTP, titled Navigating the Future to 2040. To update the LRTP, HRTPO staff examines how the region may develop over the next twenty years based upon projected population and employment growth. Changes in growth can impact demand on the regional transportation system, therefore future plans must consider alternatives to effectively address these needs. Once alternatives are determined, funds are identified to pay for the projects, which can include new or widened roadways as well as new or expanded transit services. This entire process takes approximately four years to complete and requires regional cooperation and public participation.
To date, future population and employment estimates for each Hampton Roads locality for the year 2040 have been developed. Currently, local city and county staff are refining these projections in order to identify where this anticipated growth will occur and how this growth may impact the transportation system.
Additionally, the HRTPO conducted a survey between October and December 2012. This effort was conducted to gather public input regarding regional priorities and concerns in order to help define the vision and goals for the 2040 LRTP. Also, survey respondents were asked to identify potential transportation projects needed around the region.
The web-based survey was distributed via email to over 5,000 recipients. Information and 20,000 bookmarks advertising the survey were posted in all regional libraries which offered internet access to residents who wished to participate in the survey. A link to the survey was also posted on city and county websites as well as other planning agency websites. Additionally, a wide spectrum of local civic and community organizations participated in the survey, including senior and youth groups, emergency management organizations, transit agencies, bicycle and pedestrian advocacy groups, etc. A total of 2,000,000 Facebook and the 400,000 Virginian-Pilot ads were also utilized to encourage Hampton Roads residents to take the survey. Staff also attended several community events to provide additional opportunities for residents to participate in the survey. Over the three months the survey was active, approximately 1,800 responses were collected from across the region.
Although transportation planning was the primary motivation for the survey, questions relating to quality-of-life issues in Hampton Roads were also posed. Survey respondents chose “Reducing Highway Congestion” as the most important issue facing the region, followed by “Building and Maintaining a Competitive Regional Economy.” Top transportation problems survey respondents are concerned with include “Traffic Congestion,” “Poor Pavement Condition,” and “Lack of Public Transportation.” As far as effective ways to reduce transportation congestion in the region, survey respondents chose “Expanding the Transit System” followed by “Providing Additional Passenger Rail Service between Metro Areas.” Preliminary survey results can be accessed on the HRTPO website. HRTPO staff anticipates the final survey analysis to be concluded in the next few months.
The next step in the development of the 2040 LRTP will be to use survey responses, along with additional stakeholder input, to help define the regional vision and goals for the next LRTP. Along with the potential transportation projects submitted by survey respondents, additional candidate projects will continue to be collected from various regional stakeholders as part of the planning process. Stay tuned as we develop the region’s next long-range transportation plan.
The Long-Range Transportation Plan (LRTP) serves as the blueprint for the region’s multimodal transportation system, identifying all regionally significant transportation projects for the Hampton Roads metropolitan area over the next twenty years.
The development of the LRTP is based on a collaborative process involving many regional stakeholders, including: elected officials, regional engineers and planners, representatives from the military, the Port of Virginia, the business community, advocacy groups, and the public. These key stakeholders actively work together to identify, prioritize, and seek transportation funding for needed regional transportation investments.