The Roanoke Valley Transportation Planning Organization (RVTPO), whose official name is the Roanoke Valley Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), was created in 1974 to plan and budget the use of federal transportation dollars in the Roanoke region. Federal law requires the formation of an “MPO” for any urbanized area with a population of more than 50,000. The U.S. Department of Transportation recognizes the RVTPO as the entity responsible for transportation-related planning within the Roanoke urbanized area boundary.
The population of the RVTPO 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 RVTPO study area, also known as the metropolitan planning 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 PDF map, or click here for an interactive 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 and the Virginia Department of Rail and Public 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 Transportation Planning Organization
The Roanoke Valley Area Transportation Planning Organization (RVTPO) is responsible for developing key documents and administering key programs that are the backbone of the region’s performance-based transportation planning and programming.
- The Roanoke Valley Transportation Plan (RVTP) guides the region in creating a safer, more efficient, accessible and environmentally-sensitive transportation system over the next 20+ years. The plan examines transportation trends/issues and identifies a list of specific priority investments to address the region’s mobility needs. The RVTP is updated every five years with amendments or adjustments as need in the years between.
- The Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) is a component of the RVTP which identifies federal obligations for funded transportation projects approved by the RVTPO over a four-year period. It functions like a budget and projects can only receive federal obligations if they are approved in the Roanoke Valley Transportation Plan. The TIP is updated every three years with amendments or adjustments as needed in the years between.
- A Traffic Congestion Management Process was developed after the RVTPO was designated a Transportation Management Area (TMA) following the 2010 Census which required the transportation planning process to consider congestion management. The RVTPO last updated the Traffic Congestion Management Process in 2020 and monitors congestion annually.
- The Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP) is a one-year schedule of all transportation planning activities that will be performed using federal, state and local planning funds.
- The Surface Transportation Block Grant (STBG) Program: Roanoke Valley Urbanized Area Suballocation Funding and the Transportation Alternatives Program (TA) are federal formula programs from which the RVTPO receives funding and is directly responsible for the selection of projects and allocation of funds.
- The SMART SCALE system is a statewide project prioritization process developed in 2014 by the General Assembly and administered through the Transportation Secretariat. Innovations of SMART SCALE include competitive prioritization and scoring systems, more transparency in the project selection and scoring processes, and a full-funding policy for projects within a six-year period.
Additionally, the RVTPO is required by federal 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 every four years.
- The RVTPO, as a TMA MPO, is required by the federal government to track regional performance measures.
The RVTPO 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.
The RVTPO Policy Board currently has one committee called the Transportation Technical Committee (TTC). The role of the TTC is to advise the RVTPO Policy Board and to provide technical advice to the RVARC staff on transportation-related activities, as needed. 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.
Meetings are open to the public and provide a time at the end of each meeting for public comment. For more information, click here for a list of board members, bylaws, and committees. or click here for meeting schedules, agendas, and minutes.