Background on Metropolitan Planning Organizations
Federal law requires the formation of an “MPO” for any urbanized area with a population of more than 50,000. The Roanoke Valley Transportation Planning Organization (RVTPO), formerly referred to as the RVAMPO, was created in 1979 to plan and budget the use of federal transportation dollars in the Roanoke region. There are currently 14 MPOs in Virginia. The U.S. Department of Transportation recognizes the Roanoke Valley Area MPO as the entity responsible for transportation-related planning within the Roanoke urbanized area boundary. Click here for a list of board members, bylaws and committees.
It has been observed that the term Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) does not directly communicate the transportation planning focus and role of the MPO to the public at large. Therefore, the RVAMPO Policy Board decided that henceforth the RVTPO should be commonly referred to as the Roanoke Valley Transportation Planning Organization (RVTPO). The use of RVTPO more clearly communicates the purpose and role of the body. The official name for contracts, agreements and memorandums of understanding (MOUs) will remain the RVAMPO. For day-to-day planning activities, plans and routine matters facing the public, we will henceforth refer to ourselves as the RVTPO.
The population of the Roanoke Valley TPO Study Area is approximately 230,000, and covers the Cities of Roanoke and Salem, the Town of Vinton, and the urbanized portions of the Counties of Bedford, Botetourt, Roanoke and Montgomery. The TPO study area is required to include the Census Urbanized Area (currently based on the 2010 Census) and the area that is expected to be urbanized in the next 20 years. Click here for a map. A Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) with an urbanized area boundary population of 200,000 and above is also designated as a Transportation Management Area (TMA) by the Secretary of Transportation. After the 2010 Census, Roanoke became a TMA. Financial support comes primarily from federal transportation funding, with matching funds provided by the seven member localities and the Virginia Department of Transportation. Planning and administrative staff is provided by the Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission, which also serves as the fiscal agent.
Key Functions of the Roanoke Valley TPO/TMA
The Roanoke Valley Area Transportation Planning Organization (RVTPO) develops four key documents that are the backbone of transportation planning and programming in the region — the Long- Range Transportation Plan, the Transportation Improvement Program, the Congestion Management Plan, and the Unified Planning Work Program.
The Long-Range Transportation Plan (LRTP) guides the region in creating a more efficient, responsive and environmentally-sensitive transportation system over the next 20+ years. The plan examines transportation trends/issues and offers a list of specific projects for addressing the region’s mobility needs.
The Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) is a four-year schedule of all federally-funded and regionally-significant transportation projects to be implemented in the TPO region. It functions like a budget and projects can only be funded if they are consistent with the goals of the Long-Range Transportation Plan. The TIP is updated each year.
Since the Roanoke Valley TPO was recently designated as a Transportation Management Area (TMA)-see below-the transportation planning process must include a Congestion Management Process CMP Plan. (Regional Congestion Management Process CMP Plan)
The Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP) is a one-year schedule of all transportation planning activities that will be performed using state and federal planning funds. Project suggestions can originate from any of the participating members of the Roanoke Valley TPO, as well as the public. The TPO Policy Board, with advice from the Transportation Technical Committee, makes the final decision on which projects are included in the UPWP. The Unified Planning Work Program includes: Bicycle and Pedestrian Planning, Elderly/Disabled Mobility, Corridor Studies, coordination with RIDE Solutions, Transit Planning, Public Involvement, and Local Technical Assistance.
Additionally, the Roanoke Valley TPO/TMA is required by federal and state law to have these additional responsibilities:
Transportation plans/programs within a TMA must be based on a continuing, comprehensive and cooperative transportation planning process carried out by the TPO in cooperation with the State and transit operators.
The FHWA and FTA must certify the transportation planning process no less than once every four years.
Performance measures reporting. The RVTPO, as a TMA MPO, is required by the state to track regional performance measures. The RVTPO will be eligible for funding through sources only available to TMA MPOs and receipt of those funds is contingent upon the TPO’s development, and the Commonwealth Transportation Board’s approval, of the regional performance measures. Follow the above link for current and previous Performance Measures Reports.
The TPO Policy Board typically meets on the fourth Thursday of the month at 1:00 P.M. in the third floor conference room of the Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission offices which are located at 313 Luck Avenue, SW, Roanoke, VA 24016.
TPO activities are directed by a 15-member Policy Board that establishes regional transportation policy, approves the Long-Range Transportation Plan and the Transportation Improvement Program, defines committee duties, and adopts an annual planning work program.
The voting members of the Policy Board include representatives from the six member localities, as well as the Greater Roanoke Transit Company, the Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport, , and the Virginia Department of Transportation. In addition, ex-officio (non-voting) members include the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation, the Federal Highway Administration, the Federal Transit Administration, and the Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission. Two standing committees assist the Roanoke Valley TPO Policy Board:
The Transportation Technical Committee (TTC) is responsible for making recommendations to the TPO Policy Board on all transportation plans and programs in the region. The TTC also develops and reviews documents, amendments, and reports. The TTC typically meets monthly on the second Thursday at 1:30 p.m. in the third floor conference room at the Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission offices located at 313 Luck Avenue, SW, Roanoke, VA 24016.
The Citizen Advisory Committee (CAC) provides a citizen’s perspective on the impact of transportation plans in the region and advises the TPO Policy Board.