TRB 2016 Blue Ribbon Committee
16th National Transportation Planning Applications Conference

Interagency Coordination in Long Range Transportation Planning

Corresponding Author: Alena Cook, North Carolina Department of Transportation

Presented By: Alena Cook and Adrienne Heller, North Carolina Department of Transportation


The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) Transportation Planning Branch identified an opportunity to improve coordination between long range transportation planners and other agencies in advance of project development. NCDOT’s Transportation Planning Branch contracted with the Institute for Transportation Research and Education (ITRE) at North Carolina State University to provide assistance in the development of an Interagency Coordination Protocol (‘Protocol’). The purpose of this guidance is to document best practices for how data sharing and coordination can occur during the development of a long range transportation plan. The goals of developing a consistent approach to agency coordination include improving the quality of transportation planning decisions, enhancing the usefulness of transportation planning products (both for long range planning purposes and in project development), and potential benefits and efficiencies for all agencies from sharing data and meaningful coordination.

The Protocol is applicable to a variety of transportation planning processes, including the Comprehensive Transportation Plan (CTP), which is required by state law for all areas in North Carolina, as well as the Metropolitan Transportation Plan (MTP) developed based on federal requirements in MPO areas. There are also potential applications to corridor studies and statewide planning studies.

The Protocol was developed through a multi-year process that included extensive outreach and partnership with numerous agencies. Participants included long range planning and project development representatives from NCDOT, Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs), Rural Planning Organizations (RPOs), FHWA, and many other state and federal agencies, including environmental resource agencies, health and commerce representatives, and others.

This presentation will provide an overview of the best practices captured in the Protocol for coordination with various agencies during the long range transportation planning process. An overview of the protocol’s implementation to date will be discussed, particularly during development of the Lenoir County CTP (currently underway). The presentation will include a discussion of the benefits of meaningful coordination, as well as challenges and critical success factors in implementing a standard approach.


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