About VTrans

Why do we have a Statewide Transportation Plan?

Virginia's transportation system is a complex network of highways, streets, sidewalks, trails, rail corridors, transit systems, information systems, airports and runways, shipping ports and docks, intermodal connectors, and even a space port. This variety is the essence of a "multimodal" transportation system. The multimodal transportation system serves residents, businesses, tourists and other visitors, all of whom have different needs and desires. Virginia's transportation providers are facing ever-increasing challenges to address growing demands for facilities and services with limited public funds. The Statewide Transportation Plan identifies the most critical needs and cost-effective means to operate, maintain and improve the Commonwealth's transportation systems and serves to guide public investment in the transportation network.

What is the Office of Intermodal Planning and Investment?

The Office of Intermodal Planning and Investment (OIPI) is located within the Office of the Secretary of Transportation and was created in 2002 to encourage the coordination of multimodal and intermodal planning across the various transportation modes within the Commonwealth. Since then, the office has produced multiple statewide planning efforts, performance reports and collaborated with multiple entities to promote a safe, strategic and seamless transportation system.

What modes of transportation are included in the VTrans update?

VTrans is multimodal and includes the following modes of transportation: roads and bridges, public transportation, bicycle, pedestrian, freight transportation, passenger rail, ports and aviation activities. Federal regulations emphasize safety and security; the VTrans update will look carefully at the safety and security of different transportation modes.

How are the VTrans update and the Six-Year Improvement Programs related?

VTrans is a long-range planning document looking 20 years or more into the future. VTrans is not required to include specific projects but will provide a plan to improve and maintain the State's current assets. As required by law, the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) allocates public funds to transportation projects over six fiscal years, comprising the Six-Year Improvement Program (SYIP). Projects include improvements to the interstate, primary, secondary and urban highway systems, public transit, ports and airports and other programs. The CTB updates the SYIP each fiscal year. As revenue estimates are updated, new priorities are identified and existing projects advanced.

How can I participate in the VTrans update?

During the development of VTrans, there are ample opportunities for citizens to participate through public meetings, an opinion survey, reviewing materials on the web, and providing comments. You can send in comments via mail, e-mail, or in person at meetings. You can stay involved through materials posted to the web, by attending public meetings, and by communicating with the study team.

How do I find more information or submit comments?

Mid-Term Needs

What is the status of the Mid-term Needs identified in VTrans2040 and will they be used in this Needs identification process?

The Mid-term Needs identified in VTrans2040 (as part of the VMTP process) will be considered in the VTrans Needs identification process. However, as part of the VTrans Update, there will be an outreach process to all regions in the state, as well as new metrics and performance measures applied. The results of this outreach process and new performance metrics will modify the prior VTrans2040 Needs into a new set of Mid-term Needs that are based on this new input and information. The VTrans Needs framework will assess the State’s transportation Needs at three scales, listed below, and will include a statewide assessment of Safety Needs:

  • Corridor of Statewide Significance (CoSS) – Interregional travel market
  • Regional Networks – Intraregional travel market
  • Urban Development Areas (UDA) – Local activity center market

What is the planning horizon for the Needs?

The planning horizon for the Mid-term Needs is roughly 7-10 years. This time frame is helpful when considering potential solutions that can be implemented in the near term — such as infrastructure projects in SMART SCALE. Long-term Needs will have a planning horizon of ten-plus years. These types of Needs will be more general and used to help inform policy and programming decisions.

What are Corridors of Statewide Significance?

There are twelve designated Corridors of Statewide Significance (CoSS) in the State. CoSS are those facilities and services which comprise the multimodal network connecting major centers of activity (RNs and UDAs) and accommodate inter-city travel between these centers as well as interstate traffic. The Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) is responsible for the designation and study of these multimodal corridors per the code of Virginia section § 33.2-353. The official definition of a CoSS is: “An integrated, multimodal network of transportation facilities that connect major centers of activity within and through the Commonwealth and promote the movement of people and goods essential to the economic prosperity of the state.”

To be considered a CoSS, a corridor must meet all four criteria pertaining to:

  1. Multimodal - must involve multiple modes of travel or must be an extended freight corridor.
  2. Connectivity - must connect regions, states, and/or major activity centers.
  3. High Volume - must involve a high volume of travel.
  4. Function - must provide a unique statewide function and/or address statewide goals.

What are Regional Networks?

Fifteen Regional Networks were defined during the VTrans2040 VMTP 2025 Needs Assessment. Regional Networks refer to the major economic regions of the Commonwealth and are based on the designated Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) areas in Virginia. MPOs are regions greater than 50,000 in urban area population and are considered the primary centers of Virginia’s regional economies. The Regional Networks encompass the MPO boundary and any county that is included as part of the MPO boundary. The Regional Network includes all transportation infrastructure and facilities inside the regional jurisdiction boundaries. Outside those boundaries, those facilities associated with a Regional Network Need that extends beyond the regional analysis area are considered part of the Regional Network. Regional networks serve commuters, intra-regional, and local travel.

What are Urban Development Areas?

In 2007, the General Assembly in § 15.2-2223.1 established Urban Development Areas (UDAs) as a mechanism to assist with the coordination of transportation and land use planning, to encourage infill development, and to help reduce public costs related to the provision of services by focusing development in areas with existing infrastructure. In 2010, the legislation was amended to establish density and design criteria for UDAs and to improve the coordination between transportation and land use. In 2012, it was amended again to make the designation of UDAs voluntary across all localities and to include a more flexible definition. A UDA is defined as:

  1. Areas designated by a locality that may be sufficient to meet projected residential and commercial growth in the locality for an ensuing period of at least 10 but not more than 20 years;
  2. Where an urban development area in a county includes planned or existing rail transit, the planning horizon may be for an ensuing period of at least 10 but not more than 40 years;
  3. Areas that may be appropriate for development at a density on the developable acreage of at least four single-family residences, six townhouses, or 12 apartments, condominium units or cooperative units per acres and an authorized floor area ratio of at least 0.4 per acre for commercial development, or any proportional combination thereof, or any other combination or arrangement that is adopted by a locality in meeting the intent of the UDA code section; and,
  4. Areas that incorporate principles of traditional neighborhood design (TND).

Designated UDAs should also have boundaries which are identified in the locality’s comprehensive plan and are shown on future land use maps contained in such plans. The code also states that any incentives, financial or other, for development of these UDAs should be described in such plans as well.

How can I designate an Urban Development Area for inclusion in VTrans?

Urban Development Areas (UDAs) are designated by Virginia localities (Counties, Cities, and Towns that have their own zoning authority) through an amendment to their Comprehensive Plan. Mid-term Needs for UDAs are selected by the localities through an online survey. As long as the UDA Needs are provided to OIPI before the Mid-term Needs are finalized and the UDA is officially designated prior to April 1, 2020, then the UDA Needs will be eligible for inclusion in SMART SCALE Round 4.

Are there Mid-term Needs measures associated with each of the Goals?

The VTrans Needs identification process relies on a combination of stakeholder input and Needs measures. Mid-term Needs measures are being developed for the Economic Competitiveness and Prosperity (Goal A), Accessible and Connected Places (Goal B), and Safety for all Users (Goal C). Measures developed for Proactive System Management (Goal D) and Healthy Communities and Sustainable Transportation Communities (Goal E) will be used for identifying trends and making policy decisions.

What is the definition of Activity Centers?

Activity Centers are defined as “areas of regional importance that have a high density of economic and social activity.” Additional Activity Centers can be identified in the Needs identification process.

What is the time frame for the adoption of the Mid-term Needs?

The VTrans Team will update the VTrans Mid-term Needs this summer, re-engage regions and present findings during fall, 2019. The draft list of Mid-term Needs require approval of the CTB. The final approved list of Mid-term Needs will be published by the end of 2019.

Will rural areas’ and slow growth areas’ Mid-term Needs be captured?

As in VTrans2040, rural areas that are outside of Regional Networks (RN) will have Needs identified through the Corridors of Statewide Significance (CoSS) and Urban Development Areas (UDA) geographies. In addition, Safety Needs are statewide and not limited to any particular geography.

How will STARS and Arterial Preservation Studies be utilized for Mid-term Needs identification?

The VTrans Needs identification process will include a scan of relevant plans at the regional level, which will include studies such as those conducted under STARS and the Arterial Preservation Program. However, not every need identified within a prior planning process can automatically be included in the statewide Needs process but will be reviewed in the context of the overall Mid- term Needs identification methodology.

How do Mid-term Needs relate to project scoping and development?

The Mid-term Needs framework is used to screen projects for SMART SCALE eligibility. Mid-term Needs guide the development tiered recommendations. Tier-1 Recommendations, per the CTB Policy (www.ctb.virginia.gov/resources/2018/jan/reso/resolution_14_vtrans.pdf), will become eligible for state funding for advance activities.