121.2 The Planning Framework for Transportation Decision-Making

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MoDOT is committed to working with local officials, citizens and stakeholders to help determine the right transportation solutions for their communities. MoDOT recognizes that a transparent, inclusive and flexible process produces the best outcomes.

MoDOT includes planning partners, transportation stakeholders and the general public in the process to identify the highest priority needs and improvements statewide and in each district. This process, referred to as the Planning Framework, relies on the right people being involved in discussing and evaluating needs and then making decisions on those needs that should move forward for more detailed evaluation as potential projects.

Because Missouri has significantly more transportation needs than funds available, the Planning Framework provides a process to determine which priorities should receive the limited available funding each year.

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Figure 121.2, The Planning Framework’s Needs Prioritization Process

121.2.1 Public Involvement

Missourians have a say in how transportation dollars are spent. The most common way for citizens to be involved is through public meetings that MoDOT, metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) and regional planning commissions (RPCs) hold throughout the planning and project development processes.

The public may participate in discussing the needs and proposed improvements in their communities during any publicly held meeting by MoDOT, MPO, RPC, City and/or County governmental entity. Outreach methods to engage minority and economically disadvantaged residents, as well as other groups such as the elderly, individuals with disabilities, economic development interests, and historical and environmental groups should also be used.

The public is also invited to make comments regarding proposed projects during the draft Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) and Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) comment periods.

The development of quality transportation improvements depends on early, often and continuous involvement of the public in decisions. Public involvement allows MoDOT to gather real, valid input on transportation needs.

121.2.2 Transportation Planning Partners and Stakeholders

MoDOT focuses on involvement by local officials and community leaders within metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) and regional planning commissions (RPCs).

MPO’s are created by Federal Statute 23 CFR 450.210 (also view Title 49 USC Chapter 53). MPO’s represent urbanized areas with populations of more than 50,000. They are responsible for transportation planning within their areas. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) shall designate each urbanized area with a population of over 200,000 individuals as a Transportation Management Area (TMA) as defined by the Bureau of the Census.

RPCs are created by Missouri RSMo. 251.150 to 251.440. RPCs represent multi-county rural regions and coordinate with regional local governments in community affairs, including transportation planning.

MoDOT consults with metropolitan and non-metropolitan planning agencies on substantive changes to the Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP) and other statewide transportation plans and programs as required by 23 CFR 450.120(b).

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Figure 121.2.2, Missouri’s MPOs and RPCs

121.2.3 Data

Missouri has the seventh largest state highway system in the United States. As established by state law, MoDOT is responsible for maintaining Missouri’s highway system. That system is comprised of over 10,300 bridges and more than 33,000 miles of highways. Other significant infrastructure components of this vast system include culverts, retaining walls, noise walls, large structural signs, high mast lighting poles and Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) devices along Interstates and other major roadways throughout the system.

As the primary recipient of federal and state funding for transportation, MoDOT is required to comply with established data gathering and reporting requirements and protocols for the entire system. These include the performance measures described in EPG 121.2.7 Prioritize Needs. On an annual basis, MoDOT must report the condition of its highways and bridges to FHWA through FHWA’s Highway Performance Monitoring System and the National Bridge Inventory, respectively. MoDOT is also required to report its use of safety funds and the improvement results gained from the use of these funds.

MoDOT regularly collects a wide array of data and information on its transportation system. From daily traffic operations in Missouri’s large urban centers to traffic counts on lesser traveled roads in non-urban areas of the state, data collection and analysis are integral to MoDOT’s operation and maintenance of the system. Data is collected primarily through field inspections. For congestion in the urban areas, data is collected electronically through RITIS and other ITS data gathering technologies. Here is a representative cross-section of data MoDOT regularly collects about the system and its performance. (See EPG 171.11 Roadside Appurtenances and EPG 145 Transportation Management Systems (TMS) for a comprehensive listing.)

  • Highway travel – vehicle miles of travel, including seasonal travel and truck volumes
  • Bridge condition – all structural elements
  • Pavement and roadside appurtenances condition – subsurface and surface, signs, guardrail, median barriers, end terminals, fences, etc.
  • Safety – crash data including roadway geometrics, road surface condition, railroad crossings, sign posts and work zones
  • Truck permitting – oversized loads
  • Environmental - noise, wetlands, archaeological and cultural, erosion control
  • Operations and maintenance – snow, grass and weed control, roadside debris.

The main repository for most of this data is MoDOT’s Transportation Management System (TMS). Data is analyzed, data sets are created and used by MoDOT staff, its senior leadership and planning partners to prioritize needs and help shape policy. For example, MPOs rely on traffic and other system condition data as input for regional demand modeling, to set regional long-range transportation goals and for congestion management processes. TMS data can also be produced in graphical format as well as in interactive tools such as DataZone for planning scenario purposes. Data is also used by MoDOT district staff as well as private sector partners (primarily engineering consulting firms, for example) to conduct traffic impact studies, corridor analyses and major environmental studies on MoDOT’s behalf. As mentioned previously, MoDOT uses TMS generated data to analyze and set performance benchmarks and for accountability reporting. For example, MoDOT’s performance Tracker is an accountability tool used throughout MoDOT and available to the public. On a quarterly basis, MoDOT staff and senior leadership report on an array of performance measures provided through Tracker. MoDOT also uses TMS and other data to monitor trends for accountability reporting and for strategic initiatives and continuous improvement processes as reported in FOCUS. Information is regularly shared with planning partners, providing critical information not just for their planning and needs prioritization processes but for their own performance-based reporting purposes.

For modeling and other specialized needs, electronic databases, GIS files, spreadsheets, customized reports and interactive maps are made available to planning partners upon their request.

121.2.4 Performance Management

The Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21) Act, enacted in 2012, emphasized performance management within the Federal-aid highway program and transit programs and required use of performance-based approaches to statewide, metropolitan, and nonmetropolitan transportation planning. The Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, enacted in 2015, reaffirmed the requirements established by MAP-21.

Transportation Performance Management (TPM) is a strategic approach that uses system information to make investment and policy decisions to achieve national performance goals.

It includes seven national Federal highway program performance goals as established by Congress:

  • Safety - To achieve a significant reduction in traffic fatalities and serious injuries on all public roads.
  • Infrastructure Condition - To maintain the highway infrastructure asset system in a state of good repair
  • Congestion Reduction - To achieve a significant reduction in congestion on the National Highway System
  • System Reliability - To improve the efficiency of the surface transportation system
  • Freight Movement and Economic Vitality - To improve the national freight network, strengthen the ability of rural communities to access national and international trade markets, and support regional economic development.

TPM also includes new Federal Transit Administration (FTA) requirements of States, MPOs and transit agencies.

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Figure 121.2.4.1, Six Elements of TPM Roles and Responsibilities
  • USDOT
– Performance Measure Rules include:
• Establish measures; identify data sources; define metrics
• Report to Congress
• Stewardship and oversight
• States, MPOs and transit agencies
– Establish targets
– Support national goals in the planning process and consider measures and targets in plans and programs
– Report progress to USDOT (States and transit agencies)

Performance-based planning and programming (PBPP) refers to the application of performance management within the planning and programming processes of transportation agencies to achieve desired performance outcomes for the multimodal transportation system. This includes a range of activities and products undertaken by a transportation agency together with other agencies, stakeholders, and the public as part of a 3C (cooperative, continuing and comprehensive) process. It includes development of: long range transportation plans (LRTPs), other plans and processes (including those Federally-required, such as Strategic Highway Safety Plans, Asset Management Plans, the Congestion Management Process, Transit Agency Asset Management Plans and Transit Agency Safety Plans, as well as others that are not required), and programming documents, including state and metropolitan Transportation Improvement Programs (STIPs and TIPs). PBPP attempts to ensure that transportation investment decisions are made – both in long-term planning and short-term programming of projects – based on their ability to meet established goals.

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Figure 121.2.4.2, How PBPP Stages Fit Within a Traditional Planning and Programming Process

MPOs must ensure the new TPM requirements are met based on the final rules established by USDOT. Details on these requirements are available in the links below:

In an effort to ensure outstanding communication and collaboration on performance management with our planning partners, MoDOT holds a monthly MAP-21/FAST Act performance management webinar. In addition to the Missouri MPOs, MoDOT invites DOT representatives from the States that share MPOs with Missouri, regional staff from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and Federal Transit Administration (FTA), FHWA and FTA staff from neighboring states and the regional planning commissions. The webinars serve to ensure continued education on performance management and to advise all parties of upcoming deadlines and requirements.

121.2.5 Establish Vision

Missouri’s vision for its transportation future is best articulated by the five goals in MoDOT’s LRTP namely:

  • Take care of the existing transportation system
  • Provide for the safety of all users of the system regardless of the mode of travel
  • Make investments in the system that spur economic growth and development
  • Provide better transportation choices, and
  • Improve the reliability of the system and reduce congestion on the system.

These goals, in turn, are guided by MoDOT’s mission; and they are actualized in a manner consistent with MoDOT’s values.

The vision is defined and set, collaboratively, by MoDOT and a host of partners and stakeholders from across the state. Partners and stakeholders include Missouri’s 23 MPOs and RPCs, special interest groups and engaged citizens, all of whom participate in this open and transparent process of vision setting. Thus, the statewide LRTP reflects the goals Missourians have said are important to them.

Building upon this foundation, MoDOT has produced several other important documents to help translate Missouri’s transportation vision into actionable results. These include:

Perhaps the two most important documents for producing actionable results are MoDOT’s Asset Management Plan (AMP) and its Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP). The AMP quantifies asset management needs across the system and their associated costs. Goals are established for the three major asset types – pavements, bridges and mobility. It is both a strategic and tactical plan in that it identifies specific types of work, bridge square footage, lane miles, treatments, etc. In essence, it is a ten-year plan for keeping Missouri’s infrastructure assets in good condition.

Each district is required to develop an AMP. District plans must clearly define how, given the limited funding available to them, they intend to meet established system condition goals for assets types or categories. These plans must also include the districts’ strategy for meeting their ADA Transition Plan commitments by 2027 (see Tracker Measure 5G).

The STIP is MoDOT’s rolling five-year investment program. It is MoDOT’s tangible commitment, to the citizens of Missouri, for how it will maintain the system in good condition. The STIP lists all projects to be worked on during a given five-year period within each of MoDOT’s seven geographic districts. The STIP provides specific project descriptions, project estimates and project schedules. It is approved annually by the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission. Both the AMP and STIP are updated annually.

Both of the aforementioned MPOs and RPCs were established by federal and state law, respectively. They were created to help communities and regions set vision and goals for themselves. MPOs were established by federal law more than 50 years ago. Missouri’s Regional Planning Commissions were established by the Regional Planning and Community Development Act of 1965.

MPOs are responsible for developing long-term transportation plans (which typically cover a 20-year time period) called Metropolitan Transportation Plans (MTPs) or regional long-range transportation plans (LRTPs), which identify the needs and aspirations of the communities they represent. They also develop shorter (typically three- to four-year) Transportation Improvement Plans (TIPs) for their respective geographic areas, which identify the specific projects which are planned throughout the region.

RPCs are composed of locally elected officials, city and county staff, MoDOT representatives, and citizens – many of whom may have an interest in transportation issues if not a background in transportation itself. These organizations are structured to include a board of directors and technical advisory or other standing committees that facilitate the prioritization of needs. Daily operations, including work tasks are carried out by technical and professional staff of these organizations. As previously mentioned, these organizations collaborate with MoDOT to help establish Missouri’s transportation vison.

121.2.6 Identify Needs

MoDOT identifies transportation system needs through the framework of the LRTP process. However, to satisfy federal and other requirements, MoDOT also performs or conducts systematic inspections to monitoring and evaluating system condition. The results are used to better evaluate and prioritize needs. Through their own local and regional collaborative planning processes, MPOs and RPCs also play significant roles in identifying needs; and they work, collaboratively with MoDOT’s seven district offices to prioritize needs.

MoDOT uses its knowledge of the existing system to determine needs that develop throughout the system. Each district uses its pavement, bridge, maintenance, traffic and safety experts to regularly gather system condition and performance information, analyze that information, and to both quantify and clarify needs based on data collected for the system. Additionally, data may be collected through studies or field investigations conducted by MoDOT. The aim is to identify and define corridor- or roadway-specific problems and improvement needs. Identifying, analyzing, and quantifying needs are routine system performance monitoring practices conducted by MoDOT.

Metropolitan Transportation planning, including identifying and prioritizing needs, in the state’s urban areas located within metropolitan planning areas (MPA), are the responsibility of MPOs. MPOs are required, by law, to carry out three major planning functions: development of a long-range plan; development and management of a TIP - generally covering four years; and a Unified Planning Work Program - which lays out the annual tasks and activities of the MPO’s staff. MPO staff work collaboratively with MoDOT districts on each of these major areas of responsibility.

For long-range planning, MoDOT provides data, takes part in the MPO’s prioritization process and develops cost estimates for needs that have been prioritized for inclusion into the plan. MoDOT also inform the plan’s development by providing critical information from the analysis and outcomes of its annual Asset Management planning efforts. A more in-depth description of what MoDOT contributes to the regional planning process is presented in EPG 121.2.3 Data.

In the non-urban, or rural areas, transportation planning and needs identification are done in collaboration with the state’s RPCs. Each RPC has a Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC) which meets on a regular basis to discuss transportation issues and identify needs within their respective areas. These TACs are comprised of elected officials, city and county staff, and MoDOT representatives.

Transportation needs in the rural areas are identified and provided to the TAC for discussion, consideration and prioritization. The needs are identified through transportation concerns provided by state, county, and city public officials, and citizens who contact their local officials. MoDOT also provides pavement, bridge, and safety data to the TACs to help support or establish the transportation needs. All needs presented to the TAC are documented, and then prioritized for future funding and programming in the STIP.

121.2.7 Prioritize Needs

Transportation needs are prioritized in each district. Statewide, this prioritization effort works in concert with the goals of MoDOT’s LRTP. The prioritization efforts within individual MPOs also reflect the goals of their MTPs or LRTPs. MoDOT districts and planning partners work together to annually identify, discuss and then prioritize each district’s needs. Each district has the flexibility to prioritize their needs using a method they have agreed upon. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Scoring needs against performance measures; such as safety, congestion, traffic volume, condition, etc.
  • Multi-voting
  • Ranking needs high, medium, low and then assigning points to each category to end up with a prioritized list.

Each time needs are prioritized, the previously identified needs will be re-evaluated. Some higher priority needs may never be designed or constructed due to prohibitive costs, changing priorities or for other valid reasons.

121.2.8 High Priority Unfunded Needs List

MoDOT maintains a list of high priority unfunded needs. This list is used to demonstrate the identified needs around the state and includes roadway and bridge projects estimated at approximately $2 billion over both Tier 1 and Tier 2 and approximately $300 million in prioritized multimodal needs.

Through the planning process, MoDOT staff work with the planning partners to identify and prioritize regional needs. These prioritized regional needs include both roadway and bridge items as well as multimodal needs. Each region provides their prioritized needs to the district. The district will add the appropriate needs to the unfunded needs list. The prioritization process is intentionally flexible in order to allow each district and region the ability to adopt a process that functions adequately and can be molded to their desired approach.

Since the unfunded needs list is intended to represent just a portion of the needs in a district, the overall list for roadway and bridge needs and multimodal needs, is constrained to approximately $2 billion and $300 million respectively. The total value of the associated scoping estimates for all listed needs in each region correlates to each district’s distribution formula for both categories of work, road and bridge and multimodal. For example, if a district receives 10% of distributed funds, the total value of all projects included in Tier 1 and Tier 2 roadway and bridge needs would be approximately $50 million for Tier 1 and $150 million for Tier 2. Similarly, if a district receives 10% of distributed funds, the total value of all projects included in their multimodal need’s identification would be approximately $30 million.

Additional specific guidance on the unfunded needs list targets is provided to the districts prior to the start of the effort to develop the lists. The high priority unfunded needs list process starts once the draft STIP is created and it is finalized in the fall of each year to be taken to the Missouri Highway Transportation Commission (MHTC), usually around November.

121.2.9 Identify and Estimate Specific Improvements

The scoping process for specific improvements to address a need begins after all needs are prioritized. During this process, needs are analyzed to identify efficient and cost-effective transportation improvements. This process involves:

  • Determining the root causes of the transportation problem, issue or concern;
  • Developing a range of possible improvements;
  • Reviewing the social, historical, economic, energy, environmental and other pertinent impacts;
  • Evaluating, estimating, and choosing the preferred improvement;
  • Setting the improvement’s physical limits;
  • Accurately estimating the preferred improvement’s cost for programming; and
  • Forecasting the improvement’s delivery schedule.

The scoping process helps determine the most complete, cost-effective improvements early in project development. Public involvement in defining the needs and determining the appropriate improvement 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 needs have been identified, the needs move on to the improvement prioritization process as allowed by available funding.

121.2.10 Programming Improvements

The available funding for transportation system improvements is detailed in the Citizen’s Guide to Transportation Funding in Missouri. The adopted funding distribution formula outlines the allocation of construction funds to each of the MoDOT districts. This formula is updated and adopted by the Missouri Highway Transportation Commission (MHTC).

MoDOT, MPOs and RPCs determine which high priority transportation needs should be funded for improvements. Project selection considers not only the priority list, but also the amounts of available funding and type of funding available (fiscal constraint), project timing and coordination with other projects, and opportunities to obtain funding from other sources, such as federal discretionary funding or cost sharing with another agency or entity. The improvements that are selected for funding are included in MoDOT’s five-year Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP), and also in each MPO’s Transportation Improvement Programs (TIPs), where applicable. The STIP and TIPs set forth the specific transportation system improvements that will be completed during a four- to five-year period. The STIP and TIPs are rolling plans; as one year is completed, another year is added. MoDOT’s STIP aligns with the state’s fiscal year (SFY), which begins on July 1st and ends on June 30th of the following calendar year. MPO TIPs may use the state’s fiscal year, or the federal fiscal year (FFY), which begins on October 1, and ends on September 30th of the following calendar year, or an alternative cycle, although following the state or federal fiscal year is preferred.

Each year, the Draft STIP is presented to the Missouri Highway Transportation Commission (MHTC) in May, followed by a 30-day public comment period. A final STIP is taken to the MHTC for approval each July.

Once an improvement is added to MoDOT’s STIP, it is a commitment and, barring unforeseen circumstances, it will be delivered.

121.2.11 Communicating Outcomes

The fundamental purpose of the planning framework includes communicating needs and priorities, providing opportunities for input and providing guidance in the project planning and development process. It is therefore critical that communication continues throughout the process and results are conveyed back to the planning partners as progress is made.

Whether a project is identified through a district’s traditional prioritization process or is included on the High Priority Unfunded Needs list, the associated outcome for each applicable identified need should be communicated to the planning partners.

Projects committed to the STIP at the annual update would be removed from the high priority unfunded needs list as part of the subsequent district needs prioritization effort. At that time, the district’s high priority unfunded needs should be re-evaluated, and changes made if or when necessary.

121.2.12 Outreach and Engagement Communication Efforts

121.2.12.1 Engage the Traditionally Underserved

MoDOT plans to provide meaningful public involvement opportunities to traditionally underserved populations. Limited transportation access, childcare necessities, work schedules, access to technological tools and language barriers are just some of the hurdles that can keep underserved populations from attending workshops and focus groups.

Effective strategies to ensure that all communities are engaged and understand how the planning processes are relevant to them, must be used. These would include those strategies aimed at traditionally underserved or underrepresented communities including: actively engaging members at community gathering places; advertising in non-traditional media; providing outreach materials at transit facilities; providing diverse kinds of communication formats; and communicating through trusted community leaders. Additionally, consideration should be given to any available opportunities for partnership with organizations whose primary focus is working with underserved populations that could potentially enhance the outreach and engagement effort.

121.2.12.2 Use Diverse Outreach Tools

MoDOT recognizes the importance of reaching a broad spectrum of the public and that doing so requires a wide range of outreach techniques.

The following techniques and tools are potential methods that may be used during public outreach and participation efforts. Many of these tools can be customized (or provisions made) to allow those with visual, hearing or other disabilities to participate in the public outreach efforts.

  • Websites
  • Mainstream and non-traditional media outreach (including non-English or ethnic focused)
  • Email Groups
  • Focus Groups
  • Comprehensive Database of Stakeholder Groups
  • Printed Materials and other Media
  • Presentation to Local or Statewide Stakeholder Groups
  • Connecting with trusted community leaders
  • Regional Workshops
  • Additional Tools
o Podcasting
o Webcasting
o Blogging
o Web-posted videos
o Social Media
o Newsletters
o Surveys
o Online Public Meetings.

Selected methods for specific planning activities should be based on available resources, time constraints and applicability. As the digital divide can also be a barrier to access, consideration should be given to using multiple approaches which cover a broad spectrum of accessibility. As the public engagement process progresses, a schedule of public participation activities will be posted on the planning partner’s websites.

Outreach efforts should consider including language assistance to participants whose first language is not English, providing documents in alternate formats to those with sensory disabilities, and provide disability assistance at workshops/public meetings. These strategies might include sign language interpretation, large print document version, non-English interpretation or other approaches which can improve engagement and information sharing. Workshops, meetings and focus groups should be open to as many people as possible by choosing easily accessible locations and accommodating nontraditional work schedules.

121.2.13 Partner Satisfaction Survey

MoDOT has an annual partner survey independently conducted to collect satisfaction data from transportation planning partners. This survey is sent across the state including but not limited to MPOs, RPCs, elected officials and municipal employees. MoDOT encourages its planning partners to give open and honest feedback to find ways to continually improve partnerships and processes. The results of the survey are compiled into a comprehensive report that measures the overall satisfaction and feedback received from all survey respondents.

The survey results are used to evaluate the performance and the effectiveness of the partnership with our planning partners and to determine opportunities to improve MoDOT’s outreach and coordination efforts.