Request for Proposals for Auditing Services

Purpose: This Request for Proposal (RFP) is to contract for a financial audit for the year ending June 30, 2022. The proposal includes options for four additional years.

Persons/Entities Who May Respond: Only licensed Certified Public Accountants may respond to this RFP.

Submission Closing Date.  Proposals must be submitted no later than 3:00 p.m. on Friday, January 21, 2022.

Inquiries. Inquiries concerning this RFP should be mailed to:

Sherry Dean
Director of Finance
Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission
P.O. Box 2569
Roanoke, VA  24010
Or e‐mailed to: sdean@rvarc.org

Click here for the full RFP.

Request for Proposals for Legal Services to the Regional Commission’s Housing Development Program

The Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission is soliciting proposals in order to contract for legal services during the administration of a grant from Virginia Housing for the RVARC Housing Development Program.

Proposals must be submitted no later than 5:00 p.m. (Eastern) on Friday, December 10, 2021.

The complete RFP can be found here.

Inquiries concerning this RFP should be directed to:

Bryan W. Hill, AICP, CZA, Regional Planner III
Grant Administrator
Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission
P.O. Box 2569
Roanoke, VA  24010
Or e-mailed to: bhill@rvarc.org

Tuesday Shuttle FAQ

The Tuesday Shuttle will collect data about transportation barriers for northern Botetourt residents. This data will be shared with Botetourt County. The Tuesday Shuttle will provide transportation for northern Botetourt residents on Tuesdays from November 16 through December 14, 2021. Residents can schedule a ride by calling 1-800-964-5707.

The Tuesday Shuttle is a partnership between the Eagle Rock Ruritans and the Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission and is operated by RADAR. It is funded by the National Center for Mobility Management through the Community Mobility Design Challenge which supports communities in seeking innovative ways to address the personal well-being of community members that face transportation barriers to recreation and physical activities, healthy food, personal safety, economic opportunity, or community and peer support opportunities. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Tuesday Shuttle?
The Tuesday Shuttle will collect data about transportation barriers for northern Botetourt residents. This data will be shared with Botetourt County. The Tuesday Shuttle will provide transportation for northern Botetourt residents on Tuesdays from November 16 through December 14, 2021. Residents can schedule a ride by calling 1-800-964-5707.

Who is eligible to ride the Tuesday Shuttle?
To ride the Tuesday Shuttle, you must be a resident of Botetourt County AND live in one of these zip codes:
Eagle Rock: 24085
Buchanan: 24066
Clifton Forge: 24422 (Botetourt County residents only)
Natural Bridge: 24579 (Botetourt County residents only)

While the purpose of the Tuesday Shuttle is to collect data about transportation barriers for senior citizens and people with disabilities, you do not have to be a senior citizen or have a disability to use the Tuesday Shuttle.

How much does the Tuesday Shuttle cost?
The Tuesday Shuttle is free.

Where will the Tuesday Shuttle pick me up?
The Tuesday Shuttle can pick you up at your home in northern Botetourt. 

Where will the Tuesday Shuttle take me?
The Tuesday Shuttle can take you to destinations in Botetourt County, Alleghany County including Clifton Forge, Covington, Craig County, Roanoke County, the City of Roanoke, and Salem.

Is it a round trip or one-way?
Most rides will be round trip, but if you don’t need a ride home, tell the scheduler when you schedule your ride.

How do I schedule a ride?
Call 1-800-964-5707 between 6 am and 9 pm Monday through Saturday. This is the number for RADAR Transit which operates the Tuesday Shuttle.

How far in advance do I need to schedule my ride?
Please call at least the day before your ride. To ensure that you will have a ride, call earlier. 

What days and hours can I get a ride?
The only restriction is whether RADAR has drivers and vehicles available. Call 1-800-964-5707 to determine if your trip can be accommodated.

What about COVID? Is it safe to ride the Tuesday Shuttle?
RADAR drivers wear masks and passengers are required to wear masks.

How many people will be on the Tuesday Shuttle with me?
Because of scheduling logistics, you may be the only passenger on your trip. Maximum shuttle capacity is typically 4 passengers (including caretakers).

What dates will the Tuesday Shuttle run?
November 16, November 23, November 30, December 7, and December 14, 2021.

Will the Tuesday Shuttle continue after 2021?
No. It will run only November 16 through December 14, 2021.

What is the purpose of the Tuesday Shuttle?
The Tuesday Shuttle is a partnership between the Eagle Rock Ruritans and the Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission and is operated by RADAR. It is funded by the National Center for Mobility Management through the Community Mobility Design Challenge which supports communities in seeking innovative ways to address the personal well-being of community members that face transportation barriers to recreation and physical activities, healthy food, personal safety, economic opportunity, or community and peer support opportunities. Data about transportation patterns and needs collected from the Tuesday Shuttle will be shared with Botetourt County.

Is this the same thing as the Botetourt Van Service?
No. The Botetourt Van Service is operated by Botetourt County. The Tuesday Shuttle is a temporary service developed by the Eagle Rock Ruritans and the Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission and operated by RADAR that will gather information about transportation barriers for people in northern Botetourt.

Newly Released US Census Bureau Data Shows Continued Growth in Roanoke Metropolitan Statistical Area

An initial analysis of data released today by the U.S. Census bureau showed continued population growth in the Roanoke Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), which includes the counties of Botetourt, Craig, Franklin, and Roanoke, and the cities of Roanoke and Salem. According to the 2020 census, population in the MSA grew 2.1% over the previous decade. Statewide, population increased by 7.9%, which represents a lower growth rate than the previous 2000-2010 Census.

“We’re pleased to see that the region continues to grow,” says Matt Miller, Director of Information Services for the Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission, who performed the analysis. “And while the growth rate was lower than in previous years, this tracks with trends we are seeing nationally.”

The City of Roanoke, with a 3.1% growth rate, saw its population increase to over 100,000 for the first time since the 1980 Census. At 4.9%, Roanoke County saw the largest population growth of the jurisdictions covered by the Commission. Overall, the Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission area – which stretches from Franklin County to Alleghany County – saw a growth of 1.6%.

“Overall, this data affirms trends we’ve seen the last few decades,” added Miller. “Small but consistent growth in our urban areas, and loss of population in our rural counties, cities, and towns.”

While more data is expected to be released by the Census, these population estimates will be used in the near term to help governments redraw local, congressional, and state legislative districts.
Table Caption: Population change data in Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission jurisdictions

Faster, Dangerous Traffic: What is Roanoke doing about it?

This article appeared in the Roanoke Times on June 28, 2021

Pedestrian crashes in the Roanoke Valley from 2015 to 2020

The pandemic brought less driving – but more, and worse, crashes

During 2020, the year of the COVID-19 pandemic, driving dropped and traffic fatalities climbed – particularly pedestrian traffic fatalities. In Virginia, driving decreased 16.6% yet traffic fatalities increased 2.4% to 847 people killed in traffic, similar to national trends.

This is unexpected. In the past, the crash-rate rises when people drive more. When driving plummeted in the 2008 recession, traffic fatalities dropped too. As the economy rebounded, Americans drove more  and traffic fatalities climbed. In 2017, traffic fatalities in the U.S. hit a high at 37,473 and pedestrian fatalities reached 5,977. In the ten years before the pandemic, Virginia’s roadway deaths have grown from less than 700 in some years to over 850 in others.

The difference this year is that driving decreased but traffic fatalities didn’t. They increased.

Pedestrians are disproportionately represented in traffic fatalities and injuries

Traffic safety professionals say that pedestrians are “overrepresented” in traffic fatalities and injuries. meaning people walking are far more likely to get hurt or killed in a crash than we would expect, considering how many trips are made by walking. Two percent of travelers in Roanoke are pedestrians, but almost half of the people killed (7 of 16) and one-quarter of the people injured (70 of 297) in 2020 were walking and the outlook for pedestrians has gotten worse in recent years.

In 2020, the number of pedestrian fatalities in Virginia were about the same (123) as in 2019 (126), but when you consider that less driving happened, the rate of pedestrian traffic deaths actually increased 17%. The pandemic year was deadly for pedestrians in the Roanoke Valley. More pedestrians were injured (70) and killed (7) in 2020 than in any year since 2013.

The burden is not shared equally. Black and brown pedestrians are at greater risk of being injured or killed in a traffic crash than other people. In Roanoke, most pedestrian crashes occur in neighborhoods where more than ten percent of the population are minority race or ethnicity.

What’s going on?

There are many contributing factors, but one key suspect stands out: an increase in speeding during the pandemic.

Speeding is deadly. In a collision with a car traveling 20 mph, 95% of pedestrians survive, but in a collision with a car traveling 40 mph, 85% of pedestrians do not survive. And although traffic congestion feels dangerous, congestion actually slows down traffic speeds. Even if there are more crashes overall because of traffic congestion, they are fender benders with no injuries. Last year, with fewer people driving, there was less traffic congestion and therefore, faster (and deadlier) traffic speeds.

The Roanoke Valley saw a 178% increase in speeding-related fatalities. The City of Roanoke and Roanoke County both had double or more the number of speeding related-fatalities in 2020 compared to 2019.

What are we doing about it?

The City of Roanoke launched a pedestrian safety campaign in 2020, “Every Corner is a Crosswalk”, and this year is focusing on traffic speed awareness with the “No Need to Speed” campaign. Brandon Avenue, which was due for repaving, is getting a safety make-over which involved trying out temporary lane closures and a survey with hundreds of responses before the final design. In 2020 alone, the City invested over 1 million dollar in pedestrian safety improvements focused on intersection upgrades such as pedestrian push buttons, audible signals and more street lighting in the City Downtown and other pedestrian corridors like Williamson Road and 9th Street SE.

The Roanoke Valley Transportation Planning Organization developed a Pedestrian Vision Plan in 2015 with an interactive map. The Virginia Department of Transportation worked with the Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission on the Roanoke Valley Regional Transportation Safety Study to understand regional issues.

The Virginia Department of Transportation has two initiatives that should make a difference. Its Strategic Highway Safety Plan, Arrive Alive, is similar to a Vision Zero goal of zero traffic fatalities as the guiding principle of its transportation planning. Its Pedestrian Safety Action Plan, created just a couple years ago and has already been updated, comes with funding to guide cities and counties to invest more in pedestrian safety. In the state legislature, a handsfree ban and removing a barrier for localities to lower speed limits may help.

Having local, regional, and state plans and initiatives in place is important to take advantage of federal funding that will have a strong impact in reversing the trend of rising traffic fatalities.

Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission Names Jeremy Holmes as Next Executive Director

The Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission announced today that Jeremy Holmes has been named the new Executive Director. Holmes follows Wayne Strickland, who retires June 30th after 42 years with the Regional Commission.

Holmes has served as director of the Commission’s RIDE Solutions Commuter Assistance Program for the past fifteen years and in January of 2020 became the Commission’s Associate Executive Director. In addition to his leadership of the RIDE Solutions program, Holmes has been involved in a number of regional community advocacy efforts, including the Roanoke Valley Cool Cities Coalition, the Greater Roanoke Valley Asthma and Air Quality Coalition, Roanoke Valley Reads, and Healthy Roanoke Valley. Holmes holds a Bachelor’s degree in English from Roanoke College and a Master of Arts in Liberal Studies from Hollins University.

“I am thrilled and honored with the trust the Commission’s Board has placed in me,” Holmes said. “As the region emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic, this period before us presents not just the promise of recovery from the worst of its impacts, but a once-in-a-generation opportunity to tap into resources for growth in areas like expanding broadband access, enhancing our regional transportation system, and promoting regional economic growth. I am excited at the chance to serve the region’s local governments in achieving these goals.”

Vinton Mayor Bradley Grose, Chairman of the Regional Commission and the Search Committee to hire a new Executive Director, said, “The committee members were impressed by Jeremy’s understanding of regional issues and priorities and his passion for the work.” The search committee conducted interviews after the announcement of Strickland’s retirement in March. The committee made their recommendation to the Executive Committee at their May 13thmeeting, who then made their recommendation to the full Board today. The Board voted unanimously to name Holmes to the position.

Holmes plans to focus his first several months on the job in assisting localities and other regional organizations to take advantage of the many funding opportunities being made as a result of the American Recovery Act and related COVID-recovery programs at the federal and state level.

Community Mobility Design Challenge

In 2020, Botetourt County was selected as one of four communities by the National Center for Mobility Management (NCMM), for the Community Mobility Design Challenge to develop and test ways to address the particular mobility challenges experienced by low-income community members for whom a lack of transportation is an obstacle to the pursuit of economic, health, and social well-being. NCMM is a technical assistance center operated by the Community Transportation Association of America (CTAA) and funded through the Federal Transit Administration (FTA).

The Botetourt County team, led by the Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission, focused on transportation access to healthcare for elderly and/or disabled people in rural Botetourt County. Before applying for the grant, the team researched the extent of the identified transportation challenge through interviews and other types of primary and secondary research. NCMM staff led the team in developing insights from a “deep dive” into the specific transportation needs of rural Botetourt County seniors and people with disabilities. The team has developed four options and is testing key assumptions about these concepts with potential users and other stakeholders. The team will modify the solutions to ensure they closely respond to the identified challenge and plan how to operationalize the solution, paying close attention to the financial viability and sustainability of the solution.

The project has brought together partners from the Eagle Rock Ruritan Club, Botetourt County, the Botetourt Resource Center, transportation, and other community agencies. The team will also create performance measures to show the projected impact of the project, among other key indicators.

Through research, conversations with stakeholders, and workshops, the team generated four options. The team identified assumptions underlying the four options and is in the process of testing these assumptions. For example, a ride-match app assumes that Botetourt seniors who need rides have access to the internet and are able to use the technology. Since that is probably not true for many residents, the team must consider strategies to overcome these limitations.

Option #1: Weekly Transport – Eagle Rock to Roanoke
A weekly shuttle for rural seniors and people with disabilities will pick up riders from their home or a central pick-up point and transport them to their appointments in the Roanoke Valley.

Option #2: Replacing Trips with Tech
Replace van trips with prescription delivery by drone and telehealth hubs at
community centers.

Option #3: Creating Community Connections
A customer map will help us better understand the needs and current gaps in service. An inventory of providers in Botetourt, Alleghany, and Rock Bridge Counties will allow riders to be seen closer to home and reduce travel time. A new scheduling technology will allow for scheduling more than one rider at a time. A strategic marketing and rider-engagement plan will reach seniors through social media, phone, e-mail, and engage with riders continuously to create community and connection.

Option #4: Connect to Healthcare
A web-based volunteer driver management app will match riders with volunteer drivers. Community organizations will assist riders and drivers with using the app, providing internet access and technical assistance. Volunteer drivers will receive incentives or subsidies to offset their costs.
For more information, please contact Rachel Ruhlen at rruhlen@rvarc.org.

Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Housing Market Study Analysis Adopted

At their Thursday, December 10th meeting, the Regional Commission Board adopted the Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Housing Market Study Analysis.

This comprehensive study is composed of five individual studies: Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Housing Study; Franklin County Countywide Housing Study; City of Roanoke Citywide Housing Study; Roanoke County Countywide Housing Study; and City of Salem Citywide Housing Study. To view the entire study, click on the image to the right.

The goals and purpose of the Study are to:

  1. Identify housing needs and provide both a region-wide and locality-specific housing market analysis.
  2. Identify housing supply and demand issues and opportunities within the region and within each of the four sub-geographies.
  3. Advance economic development opportunities by addressing housing concerns.
  4. Develop regional and locality-specific recommendations to address housing needs.
  5. Engage stakeholders to help understand housing needs/challenges and create a shared understanding of that need.

Traffic Congestion Management Process

The Roanoke Valley doesn’t have much severe traffic congestion – and we want to keep it that way! After the population of the urbanized region exceeded 200,000, the RVTPO adopted its first federally required congestion management process in 2014. The 2020 Traffic Congestion Management Process, approved on October 22, is the first update, incorporating changes in technology and regulations, data analyses, and stakeholder input.

The update identifies five priority corridors for congestion management identified through analysis of real-time data collected from GPS-equipped vehicles and mobile devices as well as corridors of concern identified through public input. View the interactive map of corridors for congestion management here.

Learn more about the update of the Traffic Congestion Management Process here.