Meeting SAFETEA-LU Requirements
The long-range plan must meet several federal requirements related to TEA-21 and SAFETEA-LU (Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: Legacy for Users), the federal transportation authorization bill passed in 2005. SAFETEA-LU established new requirements and reaffirmed existing rules for metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) in developing long-range transportation plans. The TPB is currently working on meeting all of the SAFETEA-LU requirements.
Follow the links below to learn how the TPB is meeting the wide range of federal regulations in its transportation planning efforts:
Each of the following sections contain links to other locations within this website, as well as links to the MWCOG/TPB website and directly to Adobe Acrobat (PDF) documents. A free PDF viewer is available from Adobe.
Federal law requires the long-range plan to be based on revenue sources that are “reasonably expected to be available.” A comprehensive financial plan was prepared for the 2006 plan. The financial plan demonstrates that the estimated revenues reasonably expected to be available of $109.8 billion equal the estimated costs of expanding, while adequately maintaining and operating, the highway and transit system in the region from 2007 through 2030. More information is available in the Financial Plan section of the plan’s website.
The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), the operator of Washington’s Metrorail system, currently has unfunded capital needs that would expand the rail system’s capacity. Due to the lack of dedicated funding for these needs, the TPB has placed a constraint within its regional transportation model that caps the available transit capacity at year 2010 levels. For more information on this transit ridership constraint, please see the financial plan.
The TPB must make sure that the projects in the plan and TIP, taken collectively, contribute to air quality improvement goals for the region. This is a requirement of the federal Clean Air Act. The primary air quality conformity assessment criterion includes comparison of mobile source emissions to emissions ceilings (called "mobile emissions budgets") to volatile organic compounds (VOC), nitrogen oxides (NOx) and carbon monoxide (CO) established in the air quality plan for the region. The analysis of the plan indicates that mobile emissions are within currently required budgets for 2010, 2020, and 2030.
In 1998, the TPB unanimously adopted its long-range transportation Vision, which is the transportation policy framework intended to guide regional transportation investments into the new century. It contains eight goals and associated objectives and strategies that will help the region reach those goals. The TPB vision incorporates nearly all of the planning factors specified in SAFETEA-LU. The other planning factors are incorporated into the TPB's planning framework through a series of on-going planning activities. For more information on how the TPB Vision maps to the federal Planning Factors, see the TPB Vision and SAFETEA-LU Planning Factors page.
Transportation safety is a major concern in the Washington metropolitan region. In 2005, 386 people were killed as the result of traffic accidents in the Washington region, and approximately 40,000 were injured. SAFETEA-LU puts a greater emphasis on safety, and added safety as a separate planning factor to be considered in the creation of the Plan and TIP. Accordingly, the TPB is looking at additional ways to integrate safety into its planning process.
Upcoming TPB safety planning activities that will enhance the consideration of safety in the overall transportation planning process include the following:
Within the regional transportation plan, the TPB established a priority area for project submissions to maintain and expand the regional transportation coordination program and related activities to benefit transportation management, safety, and security. Security has been a major focus since the 9/11 attacks. With TPB member participation, regional transportation security activities are undertaken through the homeland security committee structure of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG), involving federal, state and local public safety and homeland security stakeholders. For more information, see Emergency Preparedness and Transportation Security under the On-Going Activities menu.
All 8 Planning Factors
An analysis of how the plan relates to the TPB Vision goals and the planning factors is currently under way.
The TPB has developed a Congestion Management System (CMS), defined as a "systematic process that provides information on transportation system performance and alternative strategies to alleviate congestion and enhance the mobility of persons and goods." The CMS is intended to enhance the region's planning procedures by providing information and proposing measures to deal with congestion on major corridors in the region. The CMS component of the plan documents that serious consideration has been given to strategies that provide the most efficient and effective use of existing and future transportation facilities, including alternatives to highway capacity increases for single-occupant vehicles (SOVs).
SAFETEA-LU now requires a Congestion Management Process (CMP) and the TPB is currently working on how to address this requirement. It is anticipated that a Congestion Management Process will begin in 2007.
Management, Operations and Technology
Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) are the application of current and evolving technology (particularly computer and communications technology) to transportation systems. The opportunities and benefits seen from ITS have uncovered another key proponent of transportation systems—management and operations (M&O). As an emerging directive for transportation agencies, the focus on management and operations is emphasized by the SAFETEA-LU metropolitan planning factor that requires state and regional plans to "promote efficient system management and operations."
For the latest information on the TPB's freight planning efforts, see the related links below:
The TPB addresses these requirements in several ways. First, to ensure on-going participation from low-income and minority communities and persons with disabilities in 2001 the TPB created the Access for All (AFA) Advisory Committee to advise the Board on transportation issues, programs, policies, and services that are important to these communities and individuals. The mission of this committee is to identify concerns of low-income and minority populations and persons with disabilities, and to determine whether and how these issues might be addressed within the TPB process. Second, an analysis of how the long-range plan impacts low-income, minority and disabled populations was conducted and documented in a report presented to the TPB on July 20, 2005. This analysis included a review of the census data and mode use by population group and proximity to transit stations. The accessibility changes resulting from the 2004 CLRP were analyzed for disproportionate adverse impacts on transportation disadvantaged groups. The analysis showed that based on accessibility to jobs, the 2004 CLRP does not appear to have disproportionate adverse impacts on these groups. An analysis of the 2006 plan will also be conducted.
In regards to ADA requirements, many of the specific ADA guidelines are addressed at the project planning level. However, the TPB Access for All Advisory (AFA) Committee has developed recommendations to improve transportation services for people with disabilities and older adults. These recommendations were transmitted to the WMATA Board from the TPB on January 21, 2004. In addition, the TPB and the AFA hosted a "Disability Awareness Day" on October 20, 2004 to highlight a typical commute for a person with a disability where members of the TPB, a person with a disability, and a member of the press traveled together to a press conference to COG. Also on October 20, 2004, the TPB adopted a resolution recognizing "the importance of accessible and dependable transit service, sidewalks, and safe pedestrian crossings for people with disabilities." and encouraging TPB members to implement the AFA recommendations to improve transit services for people with disabilities.
The TPB Access for All Advisory Committee called for a study of ways to improve the quality of MetroAccess, the service for people with disabilities who are unable to use the bus and rail system in 2004. The study was conducted between April and December of 2005 under the guidance of a study steering committee comprised of a wide variety of stakeholders. The study steering committee identified gaps and shortcomings in existing paratransit services from the perspective of customers, human service agencies, and transportation providers. A total of sixteen recommendations that addressed these gaps were developed based on innovative paratransit practices from around the country. The study was featured in the Washington Post, WAMU, and the Examiner. WMATA established an Ad-Hoc MetroAccess committee to review the 15 recommendations in the study and endorsed several of the priority recommendations. The Ad-Hoc MetroAccess recommendations were accepted by the WMATA Board on June 15, 2006.
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As required by federal regulations, the TPB has developed a formal policy on public involvement. All changes to the plan have followed this public involvement policy, including 30-day public notice and comment periods for all changes, public comment opportunities at all TPB meetings, and public involvement opportunities at technical subcommittees of the TPB. The TPB has established two citizen advisory committees to ensure adequate public participation in the planning process. The Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) is the main standing body for providing citizen input into the deliberations of the Transportation Planning Board. The Access for All (AFA) Advisory Committee specifically provides advice to the TPB on how to involve the concerns of low-income and minority communities and disabled persons in the regional transportation planning process. The AFA reviewed and commented on the plan.
The TPB is currently expanding its public involvement efforts. In 2005, two consultant organizations were contracted to provide assistance with public involvement activities, including the Community Leadership Institute and website improvements. An evaluation of the TPB pubic involvement process will be conducted this year to identify strengths and weaknesses, and suggest potential improvements for the future. In particular, the consultant report will include recommendations regarding the development of a public participation plan and other public involvement requirements of SAFETEA-LU. A public participation plan is expected to be drafted with input from the public by spring 2007.
SAFETEA-LU requires the TPB as a metropolitan planning organization (MPO) to be more involved with human service transportation coordination efforts to improve transportation for low-income populations, persons with disabilities and older adults. The TPB has established a Human Service Transportation Coordination Task Force to develop a Coordinated Plan for the region. As required under SAFETEA-LU, this plan will address three Federal Transit Administration (FTA) programs: 1) Formula Program for Elderly Persons and Persons with Disabilities; 2) Job Access and Reverse Commute (JARC) Program; and 3) New Freedom Program. The TPB was designated the recipient of JARC and New Freedom funds for the Washington DC-MD-VA Urbanized Area by the D.C. Mayor, the MD Governor, and the VA Governor in August 2006.
TPB staff is currently gathering steam on the new consultation requirements of SAFETEA-LU. Currently, a database is being assembled containing the contact information of federal, state and local officials throughout the region. These officials will be requested to provide inventories of historic or natural resources, so that they may be compared with the plan. Additionally, they will be requested to provide comments on the plan.
TBP staff reviewed current minimization and mitigation strategies being employed throughout the region to prevent or remediate environmental damage caused by transportation projects. This analysis has been used to create a draft environmental mitigation discussion which is currently under review. Using the contact database developed for the consultation requirements, a regional inventory of potential wetland and forest remediation sites will be developed.
Cycle and Updates
The plan is updated on an annual basis. For more information, see the links below.
As required by federal regulations, the Federal Highway (FHWA) and Transit (FTA) Administrations conducted a Certification Review of the TPB transportation planning process on September 19-20, 2005. FHWA and FTA determined that the transportation planning process of the TPB meets the federal requirements and jointly certified the planning process. The final report was presented to the TPB on April 19, 2006 and included 9 commendations and sixteen recommendations. Some of the recommendations had timelines associated with them, varying from 6 months to two years.
The roles and responsibilities involving the TPB, state and local government transportation agencies, the transit authority, and other metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) for cooperatively carrying out transportation planning and programming have been established over several decades. General Memoranda of Agreement, defining the roles of the various local agencies and the state transportation agencies in the transportation planning process, which were executed prior to July 1, 1965, were reviewed and continue to be in effect. On October 30, 2003, the state transportation agencies executed an agreement with the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) that specifies the transportation planning responsibilities and provides the administrative support of the transportation planning process. The responsibilities for the primary planning and programming activities are indicated in the UPWP. In addition, an agreement involving the TPB and Charles and Calvert counties in Maryland regarding consistency and conformity of their plans, programs and projects is included in the UPWP. Also included is an agreement between the TPB and the Fredericksburg Area MPO (FAMPO) in Virginia which identifies the roles and responsibilities for cooperatively conducting the planning and programming process in the FAMPO portion of the Metropolitan Washington Urbanized Area.Back to top
Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP)
The TPB is required to have a Unified Planning Work Program that describes fiscal year activities (program elements) and corresponding budgets. The FY 2007 Unified Planning Work Program for Transportation Planning (UPWP) was adopted by the TPB on March 15, 2006 and amended on July 7, 2006. The UPWP was approved by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) on May 4, 2006. The National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board (TPB) developed the work program to comply with the final regulations regarding metropolitan planning and to address the new requirements in SAFETEA-LU as currently identified.
Annual Listing of Projects
Both TEA-21 and SAFETEA-LU require that the TPB must publish or otherwise make available an annual listing of projects, consistent with the categories in the TIP, for which federal funds have been obligated in the preceding year. With the assistance of and in cooperation with the transportation implementing agencies in the region, the TPB has prepared a listing of projects for which federal funds have been obligated each year since 2001.
©2007 Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments