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Rural Transportation

RVARC Rural Transportation Planning

The Regional Commission’s Rural Transportation Planning Program provides transportation planning assistance and expertise to the rural, non-urbanized portions of the region.  The Program’s activities are guided by a Rural Transportation Technical Committee (RTC) and Regional Commission staff.  Funding is provided by the Transportation and Mobility Planning Division of the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT). Typical activities of the Rural Program include:

  • Regional Long Range Transportation Plan
  • Bicycle and Pedestrian Plans
  • Corridor Studies
  • Parking Studies
  • Enhancement Grant Assistance
  • Geographic Information Systems
  • Rural Transit Plans
  • Transportation Element of Comprehensive Plans

Work Program Scope of Work

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) allocates part of the State Planning and Research (SPR) funding to provide annual transportation planning assistance for non-urbanized areas within the Commonwealth. The Rural Transportation Planning Assistance Program (RTPAP) was created to aid the State in fulfilling the requirements of the State Planning Process to address the transportation needs of non-metropolitan areas. Funds appropriated under 23 U.S.C. 307(c) (SPR funds) are used in cooperation with the Department of Transportation, Commonwealth of Virginia for transportation planning as required by Section 135, Title 23, U.S. Code. These Federal funds provide 80 percent funding and require a 20 percent local match.

The Scope of Work may also include activities or studies addressing other transportation planning related issues that may be of specific interest to the region. The criteria for the determination of eligibility of studies for inclusion as part of this work program are based upon 23 U.S.C. 307 (c), State Planning and Research


The System for Managing and Allocating Resources for Transportation: Safety, Congestion, Accessibility, Land Use, Environment, and Economic Development, or SMART SCALE, 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.

Long Range Transportation Plan

The Regional Commission partnered with its rural localities and the Virginia Department of Transportation in 2011 to develop a 2035 Rural Long Range Transportation Plan for non-urbanized portions of the region. The Regional Plan evaluates the transportation system in the rural areas and to recommend a range of transportation improvements over a 20 year planning horizon, based upon the projected impact of population and employment changes. Development of the Plan was guided by the Rural Transportation Technical Committee. VDOT will use these regional plans as a foundation for identifying Interstate and Primary system priorities for the Six-Year Improvement Program.

The plans will also be useful to counties and their respective Residency Administrator when developing the Secondary Six-Year Program. The list of recommendations from the regional long range plans will also be used in the statewide transportation planning process to better quantify the statewide magnitude of needs.

The analysis and plan recommendations are limited to those transportation facilities within the PDC’s boundaries that are outside of established metropolitan study areas. The transportation system to be evaluated will be limited to federal functional classified routes of minor collector and above.