In 2014, legislation was approved which affects the way projects are prioritized in the VDOT Six-Year Improvement Program (SYIP). Under the Code of Virginia §33.1-23.5:5. Statewide prioritization process for project selection, this legislation created a system for project prioritization to guide decision making by the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB). Public hearings were held throughout the Commonwealth in September and October 2014 to receive citizen and stakeholder input as well as to inform the public of the new prioritization legislation known as SMART SCALE (System Management and Allocation of Resources for Transportation: Safety, Congestion, Accessibility, Land Use, Economic Development, and Environment). The six prioritization factors included in SMART SCALE are: Safety, Congestion Mitigation, Accessibility, Land Use Coordination, Economic Development, and Environmental Quality.

Staff coordinates and develops applications on behalf of member localities desiring the RVARC to apply for SMART SCALE projects on their behalf, and has since 2016.

In March 2019, following scoring of the third round of SMART SCALE projects, the RVTPO Policy Board requested staff to develop a historical and comparative analysis of its performance. The full analysis can be found here. Additionally, staff developed a similar analysis which includes the RVTPO Urbanized Area and the Rural area covered by the RVARC Rural Transportation Program. That analysis can be found here.

Also in 2019, the RVARC developed a new process whereby localities request SMART SCALE projects. A Candidate Project Request Form for RVARC SMART SCALE Applications is required by all applicants seeking the RVARC to apply for SMART SCALE on their behalf. In December 2019, the RVARC Board is presented all requests; and in February 2020, will determine which projects to pursue.

More information on the SMART SCALE process is available at the official website.