121.2 The Planning Process

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For Additional Information
Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) and Regional Planning Commissions (RPCs)
2014 Long-Range Transportation Plan, "A Vision for Missouri's Transportation Future"
Freight Info
Missouri State Freight Plan

The transportation planning process can take up to 20 years for a project to go from needs identification through project development to construction. The planning process, as illustrated in the Figure 1, is an iterative process, a continuous cycle and at any given time there are multiple needs or projects at each step in the process. The four outer arrows represent steps that are part of the process. The texts between the arrows are the key products of these steps. All steps require continuous participation from local officials and the public.

Contents

121.2.1 Long-Range Transportation Plan

MoDOT, Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs), Regional Planning Commissions (RPCs), public officials, special interest groups and citizens set and refine Missouri’s transportation vision in the Long-Range Transportation Plan (LRTP). The vision is Missouri’s ideal transportation system; however, Missouri cannot afford all the components of this ideal system. The LRTP also includes policies, goals and strategies for achieving the highest-priority components of the transportation vision. This requires working with MPOs and RPCs to determine where Missouri’s transportation dollars should be spent.

2014 Long-Range Transportation Plan, "A Vision for Missouri's Transportation Future"

MPO LRTPs include policy development, fiscally constrained needs identification, public involvement and conformity with air quality regulations. The content of these MPO plans is similar to the statewide long-range transportation plan. MPO plans include public outreach and require approval of the MPO board of directors, which is comprised of the region’s local officials. In general, items in MPO and state LRTPs are consistent. Resources will be allocated only to the needs and projects agreed upon by both the MPO and MoDOT.

LRTP public involvement concentrates on developing Missouri’s shared transportation vision and captures public opinion on transportation issues and needs. The plan targets all levels of public involvement including MPOs, RPCs, local officials, legislators, interest groups and the public. MoDOT gages Missourians’ expectations of the transportation system and the relative priority of each expectation.

Fig. 121.2.1  Transportation Planning Process
Fig. 121.2.1 Transportation Planning Process

121.2.2 Identify Needs

Redesigning an intersection
Redesigning an intersection

There are various needs on Missouri’s transportation system. Identifying these needs is a continuous process and crucial for successful planning. For example, one need might be redesigning a high-accident intersection; another need might be a location improvement that helps a new business move products more efficiently. Proper identification of these needs involves evaluating the same type of information from all parts of Missouri.

The two levels of needs identification, regional and statewide, can be further classified into two groups: physical system condition needs that target the state of road and bridge repair and functional needs that target how well the transportation system is operating.

Statewide needs are formally identified through the LRTP step and public outreach is done with the LRTP development. These needs typically cross several county lines and involve interstates and U.S. highways.

MoDOT districts and their planning partners identify regional transportation needs.

121.2.3 Prioritize Needs

Needs prioritization is based on the goals in Missouri’s LRTP. MoDOT districts and planning partners annually prioritize regional needs. Statewide needs will be prioritized when MoDOT’s LRTP is updated; however, emerging needs can be added to the needs priority list between updates. The planning framework includes an objective element regions can use to prioritize needs, in addition to subjective criteria.

Table 121.2.3.1 Prioritization Process - Physical System Condition Needs

This process applies to all areas of the state
Taking Care of the System
Roadway
Pavement Smoothness 30 pts
Pavement Condition 20 pts
Functional Classification 10 pts
Daily Usage (all vehicles) 10 pts
Truck Usage 10 pts
District Factors/Flexible Points 20 pts
Total100 pts
-OR-
Bridge
Bridge Condition 50 pts
Functional Classification 10 pts
Daily Usage (all vehicles) 10 pts
Truck Usage 10 pts
District Factors/Flexible Points 20 pts
Total100 pts
Prioritization Factors explains what each factor is.
There is no flexibility among investment goals in this prioritization process because other goals do not have a direct effect on measuring the physical system condition needs on the transportation system.
Flexibility lies in “district factors/flexible points” that can be used to capture unique conditions important to individual regions or can be allocated among existing factors.

Table 121.2.3.2 Prioritization Process – Functional Needs

This process does not apply to Transportation Management Areas (TMA) areas
Access to Opportunity
Weight: 5% minimum – 30% maximum
Vehicle Ownership 50 pts
District Factors/Flexible Points 50 pts
Total100 pts
Congestion Relief
Weight: 5% minimum – 30% maximum
Level of Service 25 pts
Daily Usage (all vehicles) 25 pts
Functional Classification 25 pts
District Factors/Flexible Points 25 pts
Total100 pts
Economic Competitiveness
Weight: 5% minimum – 30% maximum
Level of Economic Distress 30 pts
Supports Regional Economic Development Plans 20 pts
District Factors/Flexible Points 50 pts
Total100 pts
Efficient Movement of Freight
Weight: 5% minimum – 30% maximum
Truck Volume 50 pts
Freight Bottlenecks 20 pts
Intermodal Freight Connectivity 10 pts
District Factors/Flexible Points 20 pts
Total100 pts
Quality of Communities
Weight: 5% minimum – 30% maximum
Connectivity 40 pts
Complies with Regional or Local Transportation Plans 30 pts
District Factors/Flexible Points 30 pts
Total100 pts
Environmental Protection
Weight: 0% minimum – 30% maximum
District Factors/Flexible Points 100 pts
Total100 pts
Safety
Weight: 20% minimum – 50% maximum
Safety Index 85 pts
Safety Concern 5 pts
District Factors/Flexible Points 10 pts
Total100 pts
Taking Care of the System
Weight: 5% minimum – 30% manximum
Substandard Roadway Features OR Substandard Bridge Features 75 pts
District Factors/Flexible Points 20 pts
Total100 pts
Prioritization Factors explains what each factor is.
MoDOT districts allocate 50% of the weight among investment goals.
“District factors/flexible points” may be used to capture unique conditions important to individual regions or can be allocated among existing factors.
MPOs designated as TMAs may develop their own functional needs prioritization process, subject to certification by MoDOT.
The total weight of all investment goals must equal 100% while meeting minimum and maximum percentages.


If a region chooses to use the objective scoring to prioritize needs, it is recommended to divide these needs into three categories:

  • High Priority – Resources address these needs first by selecting them for preliminary engineering.
  • Medium Priority– These needs may be addressed as additional resources become available.
  • Low Priority– No work for these needs at this time.

Each time needs are prioritized, existing needs will be re-evaluated. Some high priority needs may never be designed or constructed due to prohibitive costs, changing priorities or other reasons.

121.2.4 Design and Develop Projects (Project Scoping)

Project scoping analyzes transportation needs and selects the best overall solutions. It involves:

1) Determining the root causes of the transportation problems;

2) Developing a range of possible solutions for the problems;

3) Reviewing the social, economic, energy and environmental impacts;

4) Evaluating and choosing the best solutions;

5) Setting the projects’ physical limits;

6) Accurately estimating the projects’ cost; and

7) Forecasting the projects’ delivery schedule.

The scoping process helps determine the most complete, cost-effective solutions early in project development.

Public involvement in defining the needs and determining the appropriate solution can take several forms. The public may actually initiate the investigation of needs by contacting MoDOT or its other planning partners. The public, through local officials, is represented in the scoping process.

After viable solutions have been identified for high-priority needs, the needs move on to the project prioritization process.

121.2.5 Project Prioritization

Project prioritization is based primarily on data and can be a starting place for determining the best candidates for funding. Separate project prioritization processes exist for each category in MoDOT’s funding distribution method.

Project prioritization places projects into these categories:

  • Safety (joint regional/district decision)
  • Taking care of the system (joint regional/district decision)
  • Regional and emerging needs (joint regional/district decision)
  • Major projects – system expansion (regional input for statewide decision)
  • Interstates (regional input for statewide decision)


Table 121.2.5.1 Prioritization Process – Taking Care of the System Projects

This process applies to all areas of the state
Access to Opportunity
Weight: 0% minimum – 20% maximum
Eliminate Bike/Ped Barriers (ADA) 25 pts
Vehicle Ownership 25 pts
District Factors/Flexible Points 50 pts
Total100 pts
Congestion Relief
Weight: 0% minimum – 20% maximum
Level of Service 75 pts
District Factors/Flexible Points 25 pts
Total100 pts
Economic Competitiveness
Weight: 0% minimum – 20% maximum
Strategic Economic Corridor 30 pts
Level of Economic Distress 20 pts
District Factors/Flexible Points 50 pts
Total100 pts
Efficient Movement of Freight
Weight: 0% minimum – 20% maximum
Truck Volume 90 pts
District Factors/Flexible Points 10 pts
Total100 pts
Quality of Communities
Weight: 0% minimum – 20% maximum
District Factors/Flexible Points 100 pts
Total100 pts
Environmental Protection
Weight: 0% minimum – 20% maximum
Environmental Index 50 pts
District Factors/Flexible Points 50 pts
Total100 pts
Safety
Weight: 5% minimum – 25% maximum
Safety Index 70 pts
Safety Concern 10 pts
Safety Enhancements 10 pts
District Factors/Flexible Points 10 pts
Total100 pts
Taking Care of the System
Weight: 75% minimum – 95% manximum
Roadway
Pavement Smoothness 30 pts
Pavement Condition 20 pts
Functional Classification 10 pts
Daily Usage (all vehicles) 10 pts
Truck Usage 10 pts
Substandard Roadway Features 10 pts
District Factors/Flexible Points 10 pts
Total100 pts
-OR-
Bridge
Bridge Condition 40 pts
Exceptional Bridge 10 pts
Functional Classification 10 pts
Daily Usage (all vehicles) 10 pts
Truck Usage 10 pts
Substandard Bridge 10 pts
District Factors/Flexible Points 10 pts
Total100 pts
Prioritization Factors explains what each factor is.
MoDOT districts allocate 20% of the weight among investment goals.
“District factors/flexible points” may be used to capture unique conditions important to individual regions or can be allocated among existing factors.
The total weight of all investment goals must equal 100% while meeting minimum and maximum percentages.


Table 121.2.5.2 Prioritization Process – Safety Projects

This process applies to all areas of the state
Access to Opportunity
Weight: 0%
Congestion Relief
Weight: 10%
Daily Usage 90 pts
District Factors/Flexible Points 10 pts
Total100 pts
Economic Competitiveness
Weight: 0%
Efficient Movement of Freight
Weight: 0%
Quality of Communities
Weight: 0%
Environmental Protection
Weight: 0%
Safety
Weight: 90%
Safety Index 40 pts
Accident Severity 25 pts
Accident Rate 20 pts
Safety Concern 5 pts
Safety Enhancements 5 pts
District Factors/Flexible Points 5 pts
Total100 pts
Taking Care of the System
Weight: 0%
Prioritization Factors explains what each factor is.
Since this process is more data intensive and requires a higher degree of statewide consistency, the investment factors are fixed.
“District factors/flexible points” may be used to capture unique conditions important to individual regions or can be allocated among existing factors.


Table 121.2.5.3 Prioritization Process – Regional and Emerging Needs Projects

This process does not apply to Transportation Management Areas (TMA) areas
Access to Opportunity
Weight: 5% minimum – 30% maximum
Eliminate Bike/Ped Barriers (ADA) 25 pts
Vehicle Ownership 25 pts
District Factors/Flexible Points 50 pts
Total100 pts
Congestion Relief
Weight: 5% minimum – 50% maximum
Level of Service 20 pts
Daily Usage 20 pts
Functional Classification 20 pts
System Efficiency (without expansion) 20 pts
District Factors/Flexible Points 20 pts
Total100 pts
Economic Competitiveness
Weight: 5% minimum – 30% maximum
Supports a Strategic Economic Corridor 20 pts
Level of Economic Distress 20 pts
Supports Regional Economic Development Plans 20 pts
District Factors/Flexible Points 40 pts
Total100 pts
Efficient Movement of Freight
Weight: 5% minimum – 30% maximum
Truck Volume 50 pts
Freight Bottlenecks 25 pts
District Factors/Flexible Points 25 pts
Total100 pts
Quality of Communities
Weight: 5% minimum – 30% maximum
Complies with Local/Regional Land-Use Plans 25 pts
Connectivity 25 pts
District Factors/Flexible Points 50 pts
Total100 pts
Environmental Protection
Weight: 5% minimum – 30% maximum
Environmental Index 50 pts
District Factors/Flexible Points 50 pts
Total100 pts
Safety
Weight: 15% minimum – 40% maximum
Safety Index 50 pts
Safety Concern 25 pts
District Factors/Flexible Points 25 pts
Total100 pts
Taking Care of the System
Weight: 5% minimum – 30% manximum
Roadway
Bridge Condition (of bridge to be replaced) ‘‘’OR’’’ Pavement Condition (of lanes to be replaced)25 pts
Substandard Roadway ‘’’OR’’’ Substandard Bridge Features 25 pts
District Factors/Flexible Points 50 pts
Total100 pts
Prioritization Factors explains what each factor is.
MoDOT districts allocate 50% of the weight among investment goals. Also, “district factors/flexible points” may be used to capture unique conditions important to individual regions or can be allocated among existing factors.
All investment goals must meet the minimum and maximum percentages. But the point values for each factor are recommendations and may be changed at the district’s discretion.
The total weight of all investment goals must equal 100%.
MPOs designated as TMAs may develop their own functional needs prioritization process, subject to certification by MoDOT.


Table 121.2.5.4 Prioritization Process – System Expansion Major Projects

New major roadway, new bridge and roadway expansion projects. This process does not apply to Transportation Management Areas (TMA) areas.
Access to Opportunity
Weight: 5%
Vehicle Ownership 75 pts
Eliminate Bike/Ped Barriers (ADA) 25 pts
Total100 pts
Congestion Relief
Weight: 30%
Level of Service 40 pts
Daily Usage 30 pts
Functional Classification 30 pts
Total100 pts
Economic Competitiveness
Weight: 15%
Strategic Economic Corridor 40 pts
Level of Economic Distress 30 pts
Supports Regional Economic Development Plans 30 pts
Total100 pts
Efficient Movement of Freight
Weight: 5%
Truck Volume 60 pts
Freight Bottleneck 20 pts
Intermodal Freight Connectivity 20 pts
Total100 pts
Quality of Communities
Weight: 5%
Complies with Local/Regional Land-Use Plans 50 pts
Connectivity between cities/regions 50 pts
Total100 pts
Environmental Protection
Weight: 5%
Environmental Impact 100 pts
Total100 pts
Safety
Weight: 30%
Safety Index 80 pts
Safety Concern 20 pts
Total100 pts
Taking Care of the System
Weight: 5%
Bridge Condition (of bridge(s) to be replaced/rehabbed) 40 pts
Pavement Condition (of lanes to be replaced/rehabbed) 40 pts
Substandard Roadway Features 20 pts
Total100 pts
Prioritization Factors explains what each factor is.
Since this process requires statewide consistency, the investment goal weights are fixed.

Starting with the needs prioritization results, MoDOT, MPOs and RPCs divide projects into three categories.

  • High Priority – These projects are likely to be selected for commitment to right of way purchases and construction.
  • Medium Priority – These projects may be addressed as additional resources become available.
  • Low Priority – No work for these projects at this time.

Each time projects are prioritized, existing projects not yet programmed for construction will be re-evaluated. Some high priority projects may never be constructed due to prohibitive costs, changing priorities or other reasons. If MoDOT and its planning partners unanimously agree that a project no longer addresses a valid need, it will be removed from the priority project list, freeing resources for other projects.

MoDOT districts, local officials and planning partners review the project prioritization processes each year. Every completely scoped project will be prioritized and there is a steady flow of projects ready for prioritization each year.

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