- Establishing a vision and goals that shape the entire decision making process.
- Identifying what success means by establishing evaluation criteria and performance measures and using coordinated metrics to inform corridor planning and project development.
- Ensuring projects selected for programming in the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) are drawn from the fiscally constrained long range plan.
- Including resource agencies and other interested and appropriate partners early on in a substantive role.
- Ongoing and inclusive stakeholder engagement.
- Effectively use limited staff and resources, while staying on schedule?
- Address tough decisions that must be made due to limited funding availability?
- Anticipate and deal with volatility in public sentiment and political will?
- See how others have used collaboration in long range planning?
Effective use of limited staff resources
The Decision Guide provides a standardized framework for conducting long-range planning, which can be customized to meet the needs of particular users. This framework consists of key decisions where collaboration can be enhanced. The first three-scope, vision and goals, and evaluation criteria/methodology/performance measures-are best-suited to addressing scheduling and resource issues. Transportation for Communities also outlines the specific roles and interests of MPOs, State DOTs, FHWA, and Resource Agencies (such as EPA, Corps of Engineers, USFWS, and state agencies) with regard to the long-range planning process. This can help planners focus resources more effectively.
Several special topics have been developed into applications to support more efficiency in decision making. Applications that are specifically relevant to long range planning include Integrated Planning and Linking MPO Planning and NEPA.
Tough decisions due to limited funding availability
The Decision Guide integrates the requirement for a fiscally constrained long range plan with the programming process to identify funding for specific projects. This approach ensures that the fiscal constraint requirement for the long range plan is not compromised during programming. In addition, it provides a greater opportunity and likelihood that programming decisions will support the implementation of the adopted plan. The key decisions from this phase are closely related to long-range planning, including: the approval of revenue sources, the development of cost methodology and revenue allocation criteria, and the approval of a project list for funding.
Anticipating volatility in public sentiment and political will
Transportation for Communities provides case studies of planning processes that have successfully incorporated collaboration and other innovative practices. Some of the case studies that address public sentiment and political will include:
- Maricopa Regional Transportation Plan - the MPO, the business community, and the legislature worked together to create a plan and pass a referendum to fund the plan recommendations
- Idaho Vision Plan - a State DOT used public involvement as a way to develop a statewide vision document to guide transportation planning and programming decisions
- Interstate 710 Corridor Study and Kelly Parkway Corridor Study - officials were able to address opposition to road improvements by structuring the public involvement process to better address community concerns
- US 131 S-Curve Replacement - the city and MPO were able to partner to leverage a "fast track" transportation improvement to advance community development and enhancement goals
Stakeholder Collaboration is an essential part of Transportation for Communities. The Stakeholder Collaboration application and the Collaboration Assessment for Stakeholders provide support for planners interested in strong collaborative engagement with stakeholders.
Examples of Collaboration in Long Range Planning
Transportation for Communities provides case studies of planning processes that have successfully incorporated collaboration and other innovative practices. Several case studies are particularly relevant for long-range planning in general, including the Maricopa Regional Transportation Plan and the Binghamton Metropolitan Transportation Study.