Transportation designed to move people and goods around efficiently and in a reliable manner is essential for thriving communities. When considering transportation investments, it is important to not only take care of short-term demands, but also identify long-term needs. To accomplish this, the Hampton Roads Transportation Planning Organization (HRTPO) develops a long-range regional blueprint, or Long-Range Transportation Plan (LRTP) to help guide multimodal transportation investments that promote system efficiency while maximizing the use of scarce transportation funds.
LRTPs have a planning horizon of at least twenty years and are updated regularly in order to reflect changing conditions and priorities. Changes in growth can impact travel demand on the regional transportation system just as changes in the environment and technology can impact how people will travel in the future; therefore future plans must consider alternatives to effectively address these conditions. Once alternatives are determined and prioritized, funds are identified to pay for the projects. This entire process takes approximately five years to complete and requires regional cooperation and public participation.
For the past few years, HRTPO staff has been coordinating with regional stakeholders to develop the 2045 LRTP. To date, future population and employment estimates for each Hampton Roads locality for the year 2045 have been developed.
In addition to this 2045 baseline scenario, the HRTPO Board approved a scenario planning framework that will also analyze three additional future scenarios. By employing scenario planning in this exploratory manner, regional stakeholders are able to investigate plausible alternate futures and their potential impacts on the transportation system.
Candidate transportation projects for the 2045 LRTP have also been identified. Candidate transportation projects will be evaluated through each of the alternative scenarios in an effort to identify those projects that provide the most benefit to the region regardless of which future assumption is analyzed.
More recently, the HRTPO Board approved the Vision, Goals, and Objectives for the 2045 LRTP. As part of a visioning process, HRTPO staff engaged the public and other stakeholders in identifying transportation priorities and concerns. Outreach was conducted in conjunction with another regional effort, the Regional Connectors Study, in the form of stakeholder interviews, a statistically-valid regional public survey, a workshop, and several working group meetings to solicit refined input on goals, objectives, and performance measures. In addition to these efforts, a web-based public survey was conducted soliciting input on other regional priorities. Feedback received through these efforts was compiled and refined to ensure consistency with Federal and State guidelines.
Finally, as part of the development of the 2045 LRTP, HRTPO staff has been working with regional stakeholders over the past couple of years to update the HRTPO Project Prioritization Tool. The HRTPO Project Prioritization Tool was developed to assist regional decision-makers in prioritizing transportation projects based on technical merits and regional benefits, evaluating projects based on Project Utility, Economic Vitality, and Project Viability. The Tool, which has been used in the past two LRTP updates and in the identification of the Regional Priority Projects, was designed to be updated periodically to reflect current conditions and regional priorities. Through a collaborative effort to identify and refine potential enhancements to the Tool, draft recommendations have been developed, reviewed, and approved by HRTPO advisory and technical committees. These draft recommended enhancements are currently available for public review and comment on the HRTPO website. All interested parties are encouraged to review the draft recommendations and provide comments to Dale Stith (firstname.lastname@example.org) by March 6, 2020.
Over the next year, HRTPO staff will produce Project Prioritization scores for each candidate transportation project as well as a funding plan outlining how the region can pay for the most robust projects. There will be future opportunities for the public to review and comment on projects prior to the completion of the 2045 LRTP, so stay tuned.