2010 California Regional Transportation Plan Guidelines
Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) and Regional Transportation Planning Agencies (RTPAs) are required to adopt and submit an updated Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) to the California Transportation Commission (Commission) and the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) every four or five years depending on air quality attainment within the region. Regional transportation improvement projects proposed to be funded, in whole or in part, in the State Transportation Improvement Program must be included in an adopted RTP.
The Commission is authorized under statute to prescribe study areas for analysis and evaluation by regional transportation agencies and guidelines for the preparation of RTPs. The Commission, in consultation with Caltrans and the California Air Resources Board (ARB) is also required to maintain guidelines for travel demand models used in the development of RTPs by MPOs.
On April 7, 2010, the Commission adopted revisions to the RTP Guidelines . The revisions were prepared through the work of an Advisory Committee representing MPOs, RTPAs, federal, state and local governments, organizations knowledgeable in the creation and use of travel demand models, and organizations concerned with the impacts of transportation investments on communities and the environment. The Commission appreciates the members of the Advisory Committee for their dedication to develop guidelines that promote the successful implementation of statutory requirements as well as consistency through an integrated, statewide approach to the transportation planning process.
The guidelines reflect recent revisions to address the planning requirements of Senate Bill (SB) 375 (SB 375, Steinberg, Statutes of 2008) and other planning practices. SB 375 targets regional greenhouse gas emission reductions from passenger vehicles and light duty trucks through changes in land use and transportation development patterns. To achieve these changes, the law encourages MPOs to think differently about how communities are designed. As a result, MPOs, in partnership with local governments, are now required to develop a sustainable communities strategy as part of the transportation planning process for inclusion in the RTP. The sustainable communities strategy should demonstrate the land use and transportation measures that will be used to meet the region's greenhouse gas emission reduction target established by ARB. The inclusion of the sustainable communities strategy as a part of the RTP represents a significant change to an MPOs traditional transportation planning process by adding the strategy as a new element and requiring internal consistency among all elements of the RTP.
In addition to addressing SB 375, the guidelines set forth a uniform transportation planning framework throughout the state that identifies federal and state requirements for the development of RTPs. However, the guidelines are intended to provide flexibility and options for transportation decision makers recognizing geographic diversity and complexity. The development of sustainable communities strategies in the planning process is a critical step to a better future. The Commission will continue to utilize whatever resources are available to us to help the regions develop transportation investments consistent with these strategies.