Long Range Transportation Plans (LRTP) Overview
Kristen Z, Transportation Planner
[<5 Minute Read]
What is an LRTP?
State Departments of Transportations (DOTs) have been producing Long Range Transportation Plans (LRTPs) for decades. They are a long-standing requirement of federal transportation legislation. The legislation requires that these plans address several planning factors – economic vitality, safety, security, accessibility, mobility, environment, system preservation, system integration and connectivity, system resiliency and reliability, and travel and tourism. Most LRTPs are policy-based plans, as there is no federal requirement for DOTs to list individual projects in LRTPs.
The LRTP planning process is intended for each DOT to step back from its day to day duties and evaluate the users and the needs of the multimodal transportation system in its state. The needs include the state’s highways, transit services, rail operations, local systems and bicycle / pedestrian systems. First, data is gathered and analyzed and then needs are defined. Next, public input is solicited and priorities are determined. The resulting plan is intended to guide investments by the DOT.
Why is an LRTP Developed?
LRTPs are developed for several reasons. First of all, they are required. For several decades now, federal transportation legislation has required State DOTs to develop LRTPs. They are also used to guide overall investment in the state highway system and the various state and federal transportation funding programs the State DOT administers. They provide an opportunity for States to define their priorities and goals, which can include system safety, system preservation, economic development or financial stewardship.
Who Participates in the LRTP Process?
When an LRTP is developed, the State DOT engages many stakeholders including local governments, the general public and other regulatory agencies, including the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). DOTs engage many different types of stakeholders including system users, affected public agencies, representatives of public transit employees, public ports, freight shippers, private providers of transportation, representatives of users of public transit, people with disabilities and users of the bicycle / pedestrian system.
Who Benefits from the LRTP?
LRTPs have several beneficiaries. The LRTP documents the policies, goals and vision for the statewide multimodal transportation system. The documentation is provided to taxpayers, regulators, the press, partners, stakeholders and other interested parties. The LRTPs also benefit DOTs by providing justification for how the DOT makes its investment choices and other resource allocation decisions.
Example of an LRTP
The recently adopted Long Range Transportation Plan for California is an example of an LRTP. The California Transportation Plan (CTP) provides a common framework for guiding transportation decisions and investments by all levels of the government and the private sector. It defines the vision for transportation across the state of California: “California’s safe, resilient and universally accessible transportation system supports vibrant communities, advances racial and economic justice, and improves public and environmental health.” California’s CTP defines objectives and a path forward for how to accomplish the vision – including specific action items.
Check out California’s CTP for yourself at, https://dot.ca.gov/-/media/dot-media/programs/transportation-planning/documents/ctp-2050-v3-a11y.pdf