As the MPO for the Baltimore region, the BRTB coordinates planning activities and investment decisions related to surface transportation assets (roads, bridges, transit assets, pedestrian facilities, bicycle facilities). The Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (the FAST Act) is the authorizing legislation governing the regional transportation planning process.
3-C Process / Federal Planning Factors
The FAST Act and its regulations stipulate that the regional transportation planning process “shall be continuous, cooperative, and comprehensive” [referred to as the 3-C process]. The BRTB has developed an agreement as to how they undertake the 3-C process in the Baltimore region. The planning approach also provides for consideration and implementation of projects, strategies, and services that address a series of planning factors.
Per federal regulations, the regional transportation planning process “shall provide for the establishment and use of a performance-based approach to transportation decision making.” Further, “each metropolitan planning organization shall establish performance targets that address . . . performance measures . . . to use in tracking progress toward attainment of critical outcomes.” Chapter 5 of the current long-range transportation plan provides an overview of the performance-based approach and a regional system performance report with adopted performance measures and targets.
Regional Transportation Planning Documents
The BRTB produces several documents to support the regional transportation planning process:
Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP) – The UPWP describes the BRTB’s and BMC staff’s planning-related tasks and provides schedules and budgets for these tasks for the coming fiscal year.
Public Participation Plan / Consultation with Interested Parties – The FAST Act requires MPOs to consult with state and local officials, transit operators, and the public when conducting transportation planning, with attention paid to stakeholders who have not traditionally been involved in transportation decisions. The Public Participation Plan defines the process for providing interested parties with opportunities to be involved in transportation planning.
Long-Range Transportation Plan (LRTP) – The LRTP provides information on the region’s transportation goals and policies as well as socioeconomic, environmental, and other factors that will affect the operation of the transportation system over the next 20-25 years. The LRTP includes a list of planned major federally funded capital projects, their estimated costs, and the revenues reasonably expected to be available to fund the projects. The LRTP is updated every four years.
Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) – The TIP is a 4-year listing of federally funded transportation projects, generally updated every year. The TIP is the programming element of the LRTP, listing projects with committed funds and schedules.