Hampton Roads Transportation Planning OrganizationHRTPO
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What is the Hampton Roads Transportation Planning Organization?

The Hampton Roads Transportation Planning Organization (HRTPO) is the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for the Hampton Roads area. As such, it is a federally mandated transportation policy board comprised of representatives from local, state, and federal governments, transit agencies, and other stakeholders and is responsible for transportation planning and programming for the Hampton Roads Metropolitan Planning Area (MPA).

The Bylaws of the HRTPO serve to guide the proper functioning of the metropolitan transportation planning and programming process by the Metropolitan Planning Organization for Hampton Roads.  These bylaws provide general procedures and policies for the HRTPO Board for fulfilling the requirements of the Metropolitan Planning Agreement for the Hampton Roads area and other applicable provisions of federal and state law.


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What is a Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO)?

A Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) is a transportation policy-making organization comprised of representatives from local, state, and federal governments; transit agencies; and other stakeholders.  In 1962, the United States Congress passed legislation that mandated urban transportation planning as a condition for receiving federal transportation funding in any Urbanized Area with a population greater than 50,000. The Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1962 required the establishment of a continuing, comprehensive, and cooperative (3-C) transportation planning process to be carried out by states and local communities.  The 1962 Act, along with federal initiatives to come in the 1970s that established MPOs, formed the basis for metropolitan transportation planning used in the present day.  Any highway or transit project or program to be constructed or conducted within the Metropolitan Planning Area (MPA) and to be paid for with federal funds, must receive approval by the MPO as being a product of the 3-C process before any federal funds can be expended.  In addition, any highway or transit project deemed to be regionally-significant, regardless of the source(s) of funding, must receive MPO approval to proceed.


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What does an MPO do?

MPOs have five core functions:

  1. Establish and manage a fair and impartial setting for effective regional decision-making with regard to metropolitan transportation planning
  2. Evaluate transportation alternatives appropriate to the region in terms of its unique needs, issues, and realistically available options
  3. Develop and maintain a fiscally-constrained, Long-Range (at least 20 years) Transportation Plan for the metropolitan planning area
  4. Develop and maintain a fiscally-constrained Transportation Improvement Program
  5. Involve the public in the four functions listed above.

The HRTPO annually establishes a Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP) which describes the transportation planning work and associated funding for the Hampton Roads metropolitan planning area (MPA). The UPWP is developed by the HRTPO in coordination with Hampton Roads Transit (HRT), Williamsburg Area Transit Authority (WATA), the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), and the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT). Each task in the UPWP includes information on who will perform the work, the schedule for completing the work, resulting end products, and proposed funding and source of funds.


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What is a Long-Range Transportation Plan?

A Long-Range Transportation Plan (LRTP) is a multimodal transportation plan that is developed, adopted, and updated by an MPO through the metropolitan transportation planning process.  The LRTP must address a planning horizon of at least 20-years, which includes strategies and actions that lead to an integrated multi-modal transportation system and a fiscally constrained financial plan.


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What is a Transportation Improvement Program?

A Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) is a multi-year program for the implementation of surface transportation projects within a Metropolitan Planning Area (MPA), developed in cooperation with the State and any affected public transportation operators.  A TIP contains all federally-funded and/or regionally significant projects that require an action by the Federal Highway Administration or the Federal Transit Administration.  Before any federally funded and/or regionally significant surface transportation project can be built in the MPA, it must be included in a current TIP that has been approved by the MPO.


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How is an MPO funded?

MPOs are primarily funded with Metropolitan Planning funds from the Federal Highway Administration (PL funds) and the Federal Transit Administration (Section 5303 funds).  These funds are matched at a ratio of 80% federal to 20% state/local.  In Hampton Roads, the 20% match is divided evenly between state and local funds.


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What is the scope of the Metropolitan Transportation Planning Process?

The metropolitan transportation planning process must be continuous, cooperative, and comprehensive, and provide for consideration and implementation of projects, strategies, and services that will address the following factors:

  1. Support the economic vitality of the metropolitan area, especially by enabling global competitiveness, productivity, and efficiency
  2. Increase the safety of the transportation system for motorized and non-motorized users
  3. Increase the security of the transportation system for motorized and non-motorized users
  4. Increase accessibility and mobility of people and freight
  5. 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
  6. Enhance the integration and connectivity of the transportation system, across and between modes, for people and freight
  7. Promote efficient system management and operation
  8. Emphasize the preservation of the existing transportation system

The Metropolitan Planning Agreement describes the mutual responsibilities of the HRTPO, transit agencies, and state agencies in carrying out the metropolitan transportation planning process.


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Who makes up the HRTPO Board?

Voting representation on the HRTPO Board includes elected officials from the Cities of Chesapeake, Franklin, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Poquoson, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Virginia Beach, and Williamsburg, and the Counties of Gloucester, Isle of Wight, James City, Southampton, and York; two members of the Virginia Senate and two members of the Virginia House of Delegates; plus representatives from the Transportation District Commission of Hampton Roads (HRT), Williamsburg Area Transit Authority, the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation, and the Virginia Port Authority.

Non-voting board members include chief administrative officers from the Cities of Chesapeake, Franklin, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Poquoson, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Virginia Beach, and Williamsburg, and the Counties of Gloucester, Isle of Wight, James City, Southampton and York; representatives from the Federal Highway Administration, Federal Transit Administration, Virginia Department of Aviation, Peninsula Airport Commission, Norfolk Airport Authority, the HRTPO Citizen Transportation Advisory Committee, the HRTPO Freight Transportation Advisory Committee, and liaisons from the region's military installations.  The HRTPO Board continually assesses its membership to account for emerging trends or shifts in the area of regional transportation and may add other stakeholders as deemed appropriate.


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Who are the current members of the HRTPO Board?

Click HERE to be linked to HRTPO Board Members page on our website.


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What are the advisory committees of the HRTPO Board?

The Transportation Technical Advisory Committee (TTAC) acts as an advisory body to the Policy Committee for transportation issues that are primarily technical in nature. The TTAC interacts with the MPO’s professional staff on technical matters related to planning, programming, and transportation-related air quality planning. Through this work, the TTAC develops recommendations on projects and programs for HRTPO Board consideration.  The TTAC meets the first Wednesday of every month at 9:30 AM at the Regional Board Room in Chesapeake, Virginia.

The Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC) acts as a standing advisory committee of the HRTPO Board and meets from time to time as circumstances require to act upon matters referred to it by the HRTPO Board.

The Community Advisory Committee (CAC) will serve as an advisory committee to the HRTPO Board and will provide public input to the HRTPO Board on transportation issues.

The Freight Transportation Advisory Committee (FTAC) will advise the HRTPO Board on regional freight transportation requirements.


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What is the current planning area boundary of the HRTPO?

At a minimum, a Metropolitan Planning Area (MPA) must cover the urbanized area and contiguous geographic areas likely to become urbanized within the next 20 years.   Currently, the cities of Chesapeake, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Poquoson, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Virginia Beach, and Williamsburg; the counties of Isle of Wight, James City, and York; and a portion of Gloucester County, Franklin (city), and Southampton County are included in the MPA.



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What is the total estimated population of the 15 HRTPO localities?

According to the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission and Weldon Cooper Center data, the estimated population within the 15 HRTPO localities is 1,743,096 as of 2021.


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Why should the HRTPO be important to me?

Transportation has a direct and personal impact on the population of a region and is of critical importance to economic vitality and quality of life.  Across the country, the costs of needed improvements to the transportation system far exceeds the funding available to address those needs and difficult decisions must be made regarding the use of scarce transportation dollars.  This is our community and the funds to be used are primarily our tax dollars, so it is important that we all be involved in the transportation planning process.  Taking advantage of public involvement opportunities provided by the HRTPO is just one way to get involved in the process.


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Can I attend the HRTPO Board and/or committee meetings?

Yes, the public is invited to attend all meetings of the HRTPO Board and its advisory committees.  Information on upcoming meetings is provided on the home page of the HRTPO website and at the administrative offices of the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission.  In addition, a period for public comments is included during each HRTPO Board meeting and during the meetings of advisory committees.


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Can I be included in an e-mail notification list?

Yes, submit your information below to subscribe to our enewsletter. 


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You will receive notices regarding upcoming meetings, public notices, and special events being held by the HRTPO.


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Would the HRTPO provide someone to speak at my community event/meetings?

Yes, HRTPO staff is available to speak at your event or meeting.  The HRTPO can help communities, non-profits and advocacy groups explore ways to improve our regional transportation system and how you can get involved in regional transportation planning. We can provide information about planning or project activities, listen to your concerns, answer questions, and inform you about upcoming activities and events. We can provide information about the transportation planning process, outreach activities, or specific HRTPO studies.  Contact Matt Klepeisz, HRPTPO Communications Administrator to schedule a speaker call (757) 420-8300 to learn more.


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Does the HRTPO offer other opportunities for public involvement?

Yes.  In addition to regular meetings of the HRTPO Board and its advisory committees, the HRTPO utilizes a number of strategies to inform and engage the public.  Public Notices are issued to solicit public review and comment during the development of the Long-Range Transportation Plan (LRTP) and the Transportation Improvement Plan (TIP) and whenever revisions to the LRTP and/or TIP are being considered by the HRTPO Board.  In addition, the HRTPO publishes a newsletter that includes information on transportation developments occurring throughout the Metropolitan Planning Area.

One of the best tools for public involvement is the HRTPO website.  Our website provides easy access to meeting notifications, agendas, and minutes; public notices; the current LRTP and TIP; all of the latest reports published by the HRTPO; occasional topic-specific surveys; links to other sources of transportation information; the newsletter; and a general invitation for comments and questions from the public.

Please visit our Get Involved! webpage to view our latest public participation activities utilized by the HRTPO and/or contact usat (757) 420-8300.  Para información en español, llame al (757) 366‐4375.


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Where is the HRTPO located and how can I get there?


Staff offices of the HRTPO are in The Regional Building at 723 Woodlake Drive, Chesapeake, VA  23320.  Click HERE for directions.


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Updated November 2022