Frequently Asked Questions
On this page, you’ll find some of our most Frequently Asked Questions about VTrans, organized by topic. Do you have a question that’s not reflected here? Please contact us for any questions.
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Why do we have a Statewide Transportation Plan?
Virginia's transportation network needs to efficiently and effectively meet the demand for travel and connectivity between different parts of the state, all while working with limited public funds. The Statewide Transportation Plan identifies the most critical needs to guide public investment in our transportation network. Please visit the About VTrans webpage for regulatory and statutory requirements for state transportation plans.
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 state. OIPI takes a leadership role within the performance-based planning and programming process—Plan, Invest, Evaluate, and Manage. In this role, OIPI convenes stakeholders and engages the public, conducts planning studies and technical analysis, prioritizes investments, and tracks system performance. The Office has the following four sections that assist the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB):
- Plan: This section focuses on three areas: (1) statewide transportation planning process through VTrans - Virginia's Transportation Plan; (2) technical assistance and capacity building through the Growth and Accessibility Planning (GAP) Technical Assistance program; and (3) other statewide transportation planning initiatives focusing on transportation needs.
- Invest: This section focuses on the SMART SCALE Program, which prioritizes solutions that address transportation infrastructure needs identified in VTrans.
- Evaluate: This section focuses on the Project Pipeline program, which identifies solutions for Priority 1 and 2 locations identified in VTrans.
- Manage: This section tracks the performance of investments to ensure optimal use of limited transportation dollars.
How does VTrans inform the Six-Year Improvement Program or SYIP?
Transportation needs identified in VTrans become eligible for funding consideration in the SMART SCALE Program and receive priority consideration in VDOT’s Revenue Sharing Program. In addition, funding requests selected through these programs are included in the state’s Six-Year Improvement Program (SYIP). The SYIP is approved by the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) annually.
Similarly, Priority 1 locations established in VTrans are further evaluated under the Project Pipeline program. We continue to strengthen the connection between planning and investment to ensure the best usage of limited transportation dollars.
How can I participate in the VTrans update?
We welcome feedback on these existing policies and suggestions for new policies. The Office of Intermodal Planning and Investment conducts outreach before recommending modifications to the existing policies listed below. Please join our email list to get four to six emails by providing your contact details on this webpage or participating in one of the upcoming public meetings in your area.
1. VTrans Travel Markets: Pursuant to Virginia State Code § 33.2-353, VTrans identifies Mid-term Needs and Priority locations for three distinct travel markets: Corridors of Statewide Significance (CoSS), Regional Networks (RN), and Urban Development Areas (UDAs). VTrans also evaluates all public roadways and identifies safety needs.
2. Identification of VTrans Mid-term Needs: VTrans identifies Mid-term Needs to advance the Goals and Objectives established by the CTB over the next ten years. The latest set of identified transportation needs, referred to as the 2021 VTrans Mid-term Needs, are can be seen on InteractVTrans MapExplorer.
3: Prioritization of VTrans Mid-term Needs: Once the VTrans mid-term needs are identified, they are prioritized to focus on locations with more pressing needs or locations with several overlapping needs. The latest set of priority locations, referred to as the 2019 Prioritized VTrans Mid-term Needs, are can be seen on InteractVTrans MapExplorer.
4. Policy for the Development and Monitoring of the VTrans Long-term Risk & Opportunity Register: VTrans Long-term Planning focuses on the development and monitoring of a long-term transportation risk & opportunity register which identifies four Megatrends (Climate, Technological Advancements, Consumption Patterns, and Socio-Demographic Changes).
How do I find more information or submit comments?
- Sign up for email updates using the subscription form at the bottom of this page.
- Check our recent Program Updates and Meetings posts at VTrans.org.
- Email us at Comment@VTrans.org.
- Visit InteractVTrans, an online tool for searching and downloading VTrans Mid-term Needs. information specific to your jurisdiction.
- Follow us on Facebook and Instagram.
- Write to us at our mailing address below
Office of Intermodal Planning and Investment
VTrans Biennial Transportation Survey
What is VTrans Biennial Transportation Survey?
The 2022 VTrans Biennial Transportation Survey is a standardized and scientific method to gather and allow for the comparison of public input over time. Furthermore, the data collected will help inform the policymakers responsible for developing, modifying, and implementing transportation planning policies.
I want to take the survey. Can anyone take the survey?
You must be 18 years or older, reside or plan to reside in the Commonwealth of Virginia for at least six months in calendar year 2022, and have received an official randomly-drawn invitation letter to take the survey.
What will my survey answers be used for?
Your responses will be used by the Commonwealth Transportation Board, a policy board, for the development or modifications of transportation planning policies, such as the vision, goals, and objectives, as well as to gather information on emerging trends (E-Commerce, Electric Vehicles, etc.).
When and how will I receive the $10 for taking the survey?
The survey is being administered by WBA Research and they will send a $10 gift card from Rybbon (https://www.rybbon.net/) to an email address provided at the end of the Survey.
What method will be utilized to select residents to partake in the survey?
The method utilized is address-based sampling (ABS). ABS relies on the one thing that virtually everyone has – a home address. This means that the 2022 VTrans Biennial Transportation Survey will have three points of potential contact with randomly selected Virginia residents – landline, cell phone, and home address. This is to gather a representative sample of the total population. Please refer to the 2022 VTrans Biennial Transportation Survey webpage for more information.
Will all geographic regions have an equal opportunity to partake in the survey?
To align with current transportation planning efforts, VDOT construction districts(https://virginiadot.org/about/districts.asp) will be used as the basis for the sampling zones. Sampling will further divide each zone into urban and non-urban areas. Please refer to the 2022 VTrans Biennial Transportation Survey webpage for more information.
Can the 2022 VTrans Biennial Survey be taken over the phone?
You may call 833-397-4141 to schedule an interview at your convenience. You will need to provide the unique six-character password provided in the invitation that was mailed to your residence. If we have a phone number associated with your residential address, you may also receive a call.
VTrans Freight Element
Why does VTrans include a Freight Element and how will it be used?
In addition to meeting federal requirements, the VTrans Freight Element serves a wide range of planning purposes:
- Informing decision-making and substantive change by potentially integrating greater consideration of freight into future updates of the Policy for the Identification and Prioritization of VTrans Mid-Term Needs.
- Increasing education and awareness of freight movement, and the opportunities and challenges that may directly or indirectly impact the flow of freight within and through the Commonwealth.
- Providing capacity-building opportunities for local and regional partners by providing data, tools and knowledge in an accessible manner.
The Commonwealth of Virginia and all Virginians benefit from improvements in freight flows through greater efficiency and reduced congestion on major highways and streets. More efficient freight movement means lower transportation costs for industries and businesses that depend on freight transportation, helping them (and Virginia’s economy) to grow and prosper, which makes Virginia a more attractive place to live and do business.
What performance measures were developed to assess Freight-related Issues?
Several performance measures, ranging from truck-related congestion, reliability, safety and commodity flows, have been developed and used to identify locations with issues that may directly or indirectly impact the flow of freight ewithin and through the Commonwealth. These measures and commodity flow patterns are available on the VTrans Freight Element webpage and can be downloaded via InteractVTrans MapExplorer.
How do the Freight Performance Measures relate to FHWA requirements for performance management?
The Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21), the Federal transportation bill signed into law in 2012, established a set of national performance goals for the Federal-aid highway program across seven categories, including Freight movement and economic vitality. Under this law, States and Metropolitan Planning Organizations are required to report on progress toward meeting established performance targets.
The freight performance measures developed for the VTrans Freight Element builds upon the performance-based planning principles of MAP-21; however, the freight performance measures are not intended to represent the measures, targets and reporting requirements established under this law. Rather the freight performance measures are developed to focus on data-driven analysis to identify freight-related issues and recommendations.
What are Critical Urban Freight Corridors and Critical Rural Freight Corridors, and why are they designated by the Commonwealth?
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) defines the National Highway Freight Network for the purposes of administering several funding programs, including the National Highway Freight Program (NHFP). The federal regulations allow for States and Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) to designate additional critical urban and critical rural freight corridors to be included in the national freight network.
The VTrans Freight Element designates critical urban and critical rural freight corridors to increase the state's eligible network and provides programming flexibility in allocation of National Highway Freight Program (NHFP) formula funds and FASTLANE Grant Program funds.
Will the designation of Critical Urban Freight Corridors and Critical Rural Freight Corridors impact allocation of funds in my jurisdiction?
In Virginia, National Highway Freight Program (NHFP) funds are allocated to projects selected via SMART SCALE and other established processes. The designation of Critical Urban Freight Corridors and Critical Rural Freight Corridors does not impact the allocation of dollars.
A key benefit of critical freight corridor designation is to provide additional programming flexibility to the State in assigning NHFP funds to eligible funded projects.
Growth & Accessibility Planning (GAP) Technical Assistance Program
How can my agency apply for the GAP Technical Assistance program?
The GAP Technical Assistance Program will be open for new project applications on an annual basis. Notice of new application rounds will be promoted on the www.vtrans.org website and through notices sent to subscribers of VTrans Updates.
Applicants will be required to complete an online application which takes between 15-30 minutes to complete. The following information will be required to complete an application:
- Type of Agency/Jurisdiction
- Contact Information
- Focus of the technical assistance request
- The desired end output or outcomes
- Preliminary scope outline
- Letter of support
- Map or shapefile of project location
Can the GAP Technical Assistance Program be used to develop alternatives for major capacity expansions, such as a new interchange or roadway alignment?
The GAP Technical Assistance Program has four program components which focus primarily on multimodal planning, development and evaluation of strategies to address emerging planning issues and the development of accessibility planning processes. In most cases, a GAP supported study will focus on network or system level considerations, rather than the design, engineering or project development activities related to a specific improvement.
Email us at GAP-TA@vtrans.org if you have questions or would like to request more information.
Can the GAP Technical Assistance Program be used to help my locality designate an Urban Development Area (UDA)?
Urban Development Areas (UDAs), or other similarly defined growth areas, are voluntary designations made by Virginia localities with comprehensive plan and zoning authority per the Virginia Code § 15.2-2223.1. GAP Component 1 is focused on conducting multimodal planning within existing or planned UDAs or Growth Areas. The outcomes of GAP Component 1 may include assistance to conduct planning so that projected growth can be supported, however, the designation of UDAs is ultimately a locality driven process.
For more information on UDA designation, see the 'How to Designate a UDA' Fact Sheet.
Can the GAP Technical Assistance Progrm be used to develop a local comprehensive plan or regional long-range transportation plan?
The GAP Component 3 is focused on supporting a local government or regional entity in establishing ongoing performance-based planning processes. An expected outcome of a GAP Component 3 is that the recipient will establish a planning process that can be utilized for future updates for Long-Range Transportation Plans (LRTPs), Comprehensive Plans, Rural Long-Range Transportation Plans, Bicycle-Pedestrian Plans, etc.
This component is for creating processes to address on-going requirements and to support performance-based planning, but it is not intended to be used for producing an updated plan or study document.
Long-term Risk & Opportunity Register
What is a Risk & Opportunity Register? Why include in a planning document?
There are many uncertainties associated with long-term planning. The VTrans Long-Term Risk and Opportunity Register provides for a risk-based approach focused on improving preparedness.
This risk-based approach allows for the inclusion of a range of potential impacts (positive or negative), proximity, and relative priority. It is a widely used practice utilized by several major public and private entities that allows focus on the “most consequential and significant risks ….. an area that merits the time and attention of executive management and the board of directors.” This approach provides for a continual business process to proactively identify risks and opportunities for Virginia's transportation system.
Why should we develop a long-term risk and opportunity register, given the uncertainty of the future?
By identifying long-term risk and opportunities, we are not trying to predict the future, but rather prepare so that we are more aware and informed of possible gradual or systemic changes coming our way. Long-term risk and opportunities will be more policy-oriented, not project- or location-based. The long-term risk and opportunity register will the allow the CTB to track and monitor risks and opportunities, so that actions can be taken to mitigate risks and accentuate impacts of opportunities We plan to revisit the register on an annual basis through the VTrans Trend Trackers.
The planning horizon of year 2045 was established with consideration of state and federal requirements, as well as direction received from the Commonwealth Transportation Board.
The Virginia Code requires “at least a 20-year planning horizon” (VA Code § 33.2-353) for the statewide transportation plan. The code of federal regulations also requires “a minimum 20-year forecast period” (23 CFR § 450.216) at the time of the plan adoption.
In December 2018, CTB directed OIPI to:
- Evaluate mid‐ and long‐term viability of federal, state, and regional revenues for multimodal transportation investments
- Identify surface transportation infrastructure needs and associated policy and legislative requirements to ensure Virginia’s readiness for shared mobility, and autonomous & connected vehicles
- Complete a resiliency assessment of Virginia's multimodal network from a transportation planning perspective.
In January 2020, CTB directed OIPI to develop scenarios to assess the impacts of divergent trends to identify Long-term Needs.
In July 2020, OIPI presented a framework for the development of VTrans Long-term Needs to the CTB.
In March 2021, CTB reaffirmed that direction provided in January 2020 to “……develop VTrans Strategic Actions to advance the Board’s Vision and Goals adopted on January 15, 2020 by providing policy- and program-specific recommendations to address the identified and prioritized VTrans Mid-term Needs, as well as to address the VTrans Long-term Needs identified based on divergent future trends and a vulnerability assessment per the policy framework presented to the Board on July 14, 2020. “
In December 2021, the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) adopted the Policy for Development and Monitoring of VTrans Risk & Opportunity Register. OIPI will provide an annual update on the identified risks and opportunities.
What will the development of the long-term risk and opportunity register lead to?
Long-term risk and opportunities draw from emerging transportation issues that could affect our ability to meet the CTB’s Vision, Goals and Objectives. They are used to develop Strategic Actions and monitoring activities. Some items require immediate action or preparation for near-term action whereas others may just need to be monitored until they solidify. The long-term risk and opportunity register also provide tools, methods, and techniques for local jurisdictions, MPOs, PDCs, and other stakeholders for awareness and to improve collective preparedness.
How does the Policy for the Development and Monitoring of the VTrans Long-term Risk & Opportunity Register benefit local jurisdictions, MPOs, PDCs, and other jurisdictions?
The Policy for the Development and Monitoring of the VTrans Long-term Risk & Opportunity Register establishes a business process that allows Virginia's surface transportation agencies to be in better position to mitigate risks and accentuate opportunities for the benefit of all stakeholders. Identified risks and opportunities also remain relevant to local jurisdictions, MPOs, PDCs, and other entities. Available data and information can help inform local and regional decision-making. Please utilize InteractVTrans DataExplorer to view and download jurisdiction-specific data. Finally, the Office of Intermodal Planning and Investment (OIPI) Growth and Accessbility Planning (GAP) Technical Assisstance Program emerging trends.
How are 'Megatrends' and 'Macrotrends' defined in the long-term risk and opportunity register?
A Megatrend is defined as "a large, social, economic, political, environmental or technological change that is slow to form. Once in place, megatrends influence a wide range of activities, processes and perceptions, both in government and in society, possibly for decades. They are the underlying forces that drive trends.”
A Macrotrend is defined as "an emerging pattern of change likely to impact state government and require a response. More than one macrotrend can be associated with a megatrend."
The long-term transportation risk & opportunity register identifies four Megatrends (Climate, Technological Advancements, Consumption Patterns, and Socio-Demographic Changes) which each have assoicated macrotrends.
What is the difference between trends and scenarios?
The Policy for the Development and Monitoring of the VTrans Long-term Risk & Opportunity Register identifies trends as external pressures that directly or indirectly impact Virginia's transportation system in the long-term (20+ years). Given a long planning horizon, there are many uncertainties which are captured as part of scenarios. Using scenarios will help to see a range of different possibilities to inform the VTrans Risk and Opportunity Register.
Will COVID-19 change your approach?
The many changes that have been made in response to the coronavirus pandemic have affected all aspects of the transportation system, including transportation demand, safety, mode choice, and even funding. In many respects, we see some of these changes as an acceleration of trends that were already developing. For example, while teleworking increased rapidly and has remained popular over the past year, telework in general was already on the rise. Other changes may be temporary in nature and we don't want to lose sight of long-term issues.
What types of “Vulnerabilities” were assessed for Macrotrend #1: Increase in Flooding Risk?
The VTrans Vulnerability Assessment is a screening-level analysis of the vulnerability of Virginia’s transportation system to current and future flood hazards by focusing on vulnerabilities from sea level rise, storm surge, and inland/riverine flooding.
What method was used to identify locations vulnerable to flooding for Macrotrend #1: Increase in Flooding Risk?
The indicator-based approach is based on the FHWA Vulnerability Assessment Scoring Tool (VAST) This approach uses data on asset location and other key attributes as indicators of each of the three components of vulnerability:
- Exposure – the nature and degree to which an asset is exposed (i.e., asset location relative to a stressor).
- Sensitivity – the degree to which an asset is affected by an exposure (i.e., if all assets were equally exposed, which assets would experience the greatest damage?).
- Adaptive Capacity – the ability of a system or asset to adjust to the impacts, to moderate potential damages, to take advantage of opportunities, or to cope with consequences.
For more information, including data sources and technical methods, please review the Technical Guide: Development and Monitoring of VTrans Long-term Risk and Opportunity Register available here.
What is the scope and limitations of the VTrans Vulnerability Assessment undertaken for Macrotrend #1: Increase in Flooding Risk?
This is a screening-level assessment of the vulnerability of Virginia’s transportation system, more specifically all public roadways and VDOT-maintained structures (bridges and culverts) covered in the National Bridge Inventory (NBI), to projected sea level rise, storm surge, and inland/riverine flooding scenarios. The VTrans Vulnerability Assessment is not intended to be used to develop location-specific recommendations for the following reasons:
- While this screening-level assessment narrows the universe of transportation infrastructure for further review, it does not replace the need for the collection of more precise location-specific data.
- The transportation system is one of the many infrastructure components impacted by the forecasted vulnerabilities. Therefore, it would be advisable to conduct a more comprehensive area-wide assessment for all components of physical and social infrastructure as some vulnerability mitigation strategies might require systematic solutions such as perimeter protection.
- As noted in the VTrans Macrotrend 1: Flooding Risk Assessment Technical Memorandum, several critical datasets are either currently incomplete or unavailable. Therefore, our conservative approach capture a few locations that can be deemed as "false positive" as they are either elevated and therefore not at risk from flooding. As mentioned above, this screening-level analysis narrows the universe of facilities at-risk but does not replace the planning or engineering judgment.
VTrans Mid-term Needs: Agency and Public Involvement
How were the public and transportation agencies involved in the development of the policy for the identification and prioritization of VTrans Mid-term Needs?
Extensive stakeholder and public outreach was conducted as part of the development of the policy for the prioritization of the VTrans Mid-Term Needs. The draft policy for the prioritization of VTrans Mid-term Needs was presented at 30+ briefings to Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) and Planning District Commissions (PDCs), at four Virtual Workshops attended by over 350 participants and at several on-on-one meetings with various agencies and jurisdictions. Through this outreach over 140 written comments were received, and three substantial modifications were made to the policy in response to comments received.
How was the feedback provided during the VTrans Regional Workshops used to inform the policy for the identification and prioritization of VTrans Mid-term Needs?
The development of the policy for identification and prioritization of VTrans Mid-term Needs was informed by two phases of stakeholder engagement through VTrans Regional Workshops.
Between late July and mid-August of 2019, the VTrans team hosted a series of thirteen VTrans Regional Workshops with local and regional transportation stakeholders. The focus of these workshops was on the development of measures and thresholds for the identification of VTrans Mid-Term Needs. A table can be found here that summarizes how measures were changed due to comments received during the Regional Workshops. Location-specific comments associated with performance measures can be viewed on InteractVTrans.
In 2020, the VTrans team hosted a series of four online workshops focused on the draft policy for the prioritization of VTrans Mid-term Needs. Through the workshops and other outreach activities over 140 written comments were received, and three substantial modifications were made to the policy in response to comments received.
Is there a deadline for providing input on the policy for the identification and prioritization of VTrans Mid-Term Needs?
The Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) adopted the policy for the prioritization of the VTrans Mid-term Needs as outlined in the Policy Guide for the Identification and Prioritization of the VTrans Mid-term Needs and accepted the prioritized 2019 VTrans Mid-Term Needs in March 2020. Comments and feedback on the draft prioritization policy were accepted until the CTB took action.
The policy for the identification and prioritization of VTrans Mid-term Needs is continuously evolving to reflect change in conditions. If you would like to provide feedback for future updates of VTrans Mid-term Needs, please contact us.
VTrans Mid-term Needs: General
What are the VTrans Mid-term Needs?
The Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) established a policy to identify capacity and safety related transportation needs in January 2020 and established a policy to prioritize these needs in March 2021. These policies rely on performance-based planning to bring transparency and provide clarity to local and regional partners. The VTrans Mid-term Needs framework assesses the state’s transportation needs at three scales, or travel markets, listed below, and includes a statewide assessment of Safety Needs:
- Corridor of Statewide Significance (CoSS): Interregional travel market
- Regional Networks (RNs): Intraregional travel market
- Urban Development Areas (UDAs) and Industrial and Economic Development Sites (IEDAs): local travel market
For more complete information, see the Mid-term Needs and Priorities page.
Where can I find a complete list of the VTrans Mid-term Needs for my jurisdiction?
You can view, query, and download the 2021 and 2019 VTrans Mid-term Needs and 2019 Statewide and Construction District Prioritized Mid-term Needs on InteractVTrans MapExplorer.
VTrans Mid-term Needs: Methodology
What is the planning horizon for the VTrans Mid-term Needs?
VTrans Mid-term Needs identify locations that may require attention over the next ten years.
What was the basis for identifying performance measures for the VTrans Mid-term Needs?
Measures used to identify VTrans Mid-term Needs are based on the CTB adopted policy for the identification and prioritization of the VTrans Mid-Term Needs. The policy was developed in close coordination with localities, MPOs, PDCs and the CTB members. More information can be found on the Mid-Term Needs and Priorities page.
What does each performance measure tell us?
Per Board policy, the identification of VTrans Mid-term Needs relies on several performance measures developed to quantify congestion, reliability, accessibility, safety, capacity preservation, and transportation demand management needs:
- Congestion: Identifies locations where speed is significantly slower than the posted speed limit or travel time is longer than normal traffic conditions.
- Reliability: Pinpoints locations with high variability in travel time or locations that require extra travel time built in to ensure on-time arrival and includes average on-time station arrival of Amtrak and Virginia Rail Expressway passenger trains.
- Accessibility: Identifies areas where improved modal accessibility is needed, including regional Activity Centers where transit access is not competitive to automobile access and Equity Emphasis Areas where transit access is needed, as well as areas where bicycle and pedestrian access is needed.
- Safety: Identifies roadway segments and intersections with higher-than-normal crash instances, fatalities, and injuries, as well as corridors with pedestrian safety needs.
- Urban Development Areas (UDAs): Identifies various locally identified needs for improving circulation within designated areas to help support traditional neighborhood design characteristics.
- Capacity Preservation: Identifies roadways where low-cost investments now can minimize need for costly improvements later.
- Transportation Demand Management (TDM): Identifies need for proactive management of demand for travel based on roadway and area type.
- Industrial and Economic Development Areas (IEDAs): Identifies Needs for development sites qualifying for designation as an IEDA by the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) to access the nearest Corridor of Statewide Significance (CoSS).
For more information, visit the VTrans Mid-term Needs and Priorities page.
How are performance measures used to identify VTrans Mid-term Needs?
A performance measure is a numeric description of a condition. Performance measures are based on data, and tell a story about, for example, condition of a roadway segment or transit service. The Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) has developed a policy to identify conditions, referred to as Thresholds, that merit attention over the next ten years. If roadway or transit service conditions do meet thresholds established by the CTB, they are flagged as Mid-term Needs that require attention over the next ten years.
How are needs in rural and slow growth areas reflected in the Mid-term Needs?
Rural area needs that are outside of Regional Networks (RNs) have been identified through the Corridors of Statewide Significance (CoSS) and Urban Development Area (UDA) travel markets. More generally, Safety Needs can occur on any state road; they are not limited by travel market.
How does VTrans take into account changes in technology and other external factors?
In addition to Mid-term Needs for the next ten years, VTrans identifies a Long-term Risk and Opportunity Register with a longer (20+ years) planning horizon. The Policy for the Development and Monitoring of the VTrans Long-term Risk & Opportunity Register identifies trends as external pressures that directly or indirectly impact Virginia's transportation system in the long-term (20+ years). This policy also directs the Office of Intermodal Planning and Investment (OIPI) to monitor these external factors and provide annual updates to the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB).
VTrans Mid-term Needs: Prioritization Policy
Why prioritize transportation needs?
There are simply too many transportation needs identified around the state to focus on at the same time. Prioritizing the needs helps to differentiate locations where the transportation needs are more pressing.
Priority locations identified based on the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) Policy for the Prioritization of the VTrans Mid-term Needs, become eligible for funding and further evaluation under the Virginia Project Pipeline program.
Finally, local and regional planning agencies may utilize the prioritized Needs to inform local and regional planning efforts.
What is the “VTrans Multimodal Project Development Pipeline”?
The Virginia Project Pipeline Program relies on the prioritized VTrans Mid-term Needs to optimize the return on investments and ensure transparency, accountability, and efficient delivery of transportation programs, while also promoting performance based planning and programming per the CTB's VTrans Guiding Principles.
1. Prioritize VTrans Mid-term Needs
2. Identify locations for studies/solutions
3. Conduct studies / develop solutions
4. Inform VDOT and DRPT funding programs, including SMART SCALE.
Where can I find more details on the VTrans needs prioritization policy?
For detailed information on the policy, including which Needs categories fall within which Priority Locations, please review the Chapter 5 of the VTrans Policy Guide available on this webpage.
- Statewide Prioritization
- Needs¹ within the Corridors of Statewide Significance (CoSS) and Safety Travel Markets²
- Construction District Prioritization
- Needs¹ within the Regional Networks (RN), Safety, and UDA (IEDA Access) Travel Markets²
- Needs categories vary by Travel Market and include a wide range of multimodal needs such as congestion, transit access, pedestrian access, etc.
- There are four (4) Travel Markets, each with a unique set of characteristics. Please refer to the VTrans Travel Markets page for a more detailed description.
- Criteria 1
- Severity of the Need
- Criteria 2
- Magnitude (Number of Users, Vehicles, etc. Affected)
- Co-located transportation infrastructure repair, rehabilitation, or replacement needs
- Exposure to the projected sea-level rise, storm surge, and historical riverine/inland flooding
What are Statewide Priority Locations?
The VTrans Mid-term Needs are categorized into two prioritization geographies: (1) Statewide Priority; and, (2) District Priority. The Statewide Priority locations are prioritized statewide (irrespective of the VDOT Construction District or region) and include the following Needs within the Corridors of Statewide Significance (CoSS) travel market:
- Congestion Mitigation
- Improved Reliability (Highway)
- Improved Reliability (Intercity and Commuter Rail)
- Capacity Preservation
- Travel Demand Management
- Safety Improvement (on CoSS)
For example, a Congestion Mitigation Need location along the “East-West” CoSS Corridor, on I-64 in Henrico County, would be compared against a Need location along the "Washington to North Carolina" CoSS Corridor, on I-95 in Stafford County.
What are Construction District Priority Locations?
The VTrans Mid-term Needs are categorized into two prioritization geographies: (1) Statewide Priority; and, (2) Construction District Priority. The District Priority locations are only compared within each of the Nine VDOT Construction Districts utilizing the following Need Categories:
- Congestion Mitigation (RN)
- Improved Reliability (RN)
- Transit Access for Equity Emphasis Areas (RN)
- Transit Access to Activity Centers (RN)
- Pedestrian Access to Activity Centers (RN)
- Bicycle Access to Activity Centers (RN)
- Capacity Preservation (RN)
- Transportation Demand Management (RN)
- Access to Industrial and Economic Development Areas (IEDAs)
- Roadway Safety (Statewide
- Pedestrian Safety (Statewide)
For example, a Regional Network (RN) Need location in the Winchester RN would be compared against a Need location in the Harrisonburg RN, since they are both in the Staunton Construction District, but that same Need location in the Winchester area would not be compared against a Need location in the Richmond RN, because Richmond is in a different Construction District.
What is the difference between Statewide Priority Locations and Construction District Priority Locations?
The Policy for the Prioritization of the VTrans Mid-term Needs identifies Statewide Priority Location based on the needs along the Corridors of Statewide Significance Travel Market. Construction District Priority Locations include transportation needs within the following three travel markets: Regional Networks, Safety, and Industrial and Economic Development Area (IEDA) Needs. Please visit the VTrans Travel Markets webpage for more details.
Why do all areas or regions in the state have one weight for Statewide Priority Locations?
Corridors of Statewide Significance (CoSS) are established as multimodal corridors composed of transportation facilities and services connecting major centers of activity and accommodating inter-city and inter-state travel. These corridors play a major role in supporting passenger and freight movements across Virginia and are therefore, given their importance, are prioritized at the statewide level rather than compared with local or regional conditions or Needs. Please note that Needs identified along CoSS, if applicable within Regional Networks, are also identified as Regional Network Needs and also get evaluated to establish Construction District Priority Locations.
How was my feedback incorporated in the policy for the prioritization of the VTrans Mid-term Needs?
The draft policy for the prioritization of VTrans Mid-term Needs was presented at 30+ briefings to Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) and Planning District Commissions (PDCs), at four Virtual Workshops attended by over 350 participants and at several on-on-one meetings with various agencies and jurisdictions. Through this outreach over 140 written comments were received, and three substantial modifications were made to the policy in response to comments received.
For more information, see the presentation from the January 19, 2021 CTB Meeting (link to slides) which details the recommended modifications. Also, see this document with all the comments received on the draft policy for the prioritization of VTrans Mid-term Needs.
VTrans Strategic Actions
What are the VTrans Strategic Actions?
The VTrans Strategic Actions are initiatives, new policies or changes to existing policies, items that require the attention of the Office of the Secretary of Transportation, and/or items requiring substantive multi/inter-agency coordination in order to be implemented.
The VTrans Strategic Actions are derived from work conducted as part of the following VTrans major components:
Why are the VTrans Strategic Actions developed and what is the intended use?
The identified actions are submitted by the Commonwealth Transportation Board to the Governor and General Assembly per the Code of Virginia § 33.2-353: “Each such plan shall be summarized in a public document and made available to the general public upon presentation to the Governor and General Assembly.”
The identified Strategic Actions aim to advance the CTB's Goals and Objectives, address identified VTrans Mid-Term Needs, and minimize long-term risks and take advantage of long-term opportunities. These actions are the key takeaways based on the entire multi-year planning effort.
Who will implement the VTrans Strategic Actions?
The VTrans Strategic Actions will be implemented by agencies under the Transportation Secretariat.
How will the VTrans Strategic Actions be monitored and tracked?
OIPI will provide an annual report on the progress of the VTrans Strategic Actions to the Commonwealth Transportation Board.
VTrans Travel Markets
What are Corridors of Statewide Significance?
A Corridor of Statewide Significance (CoSS) is set of roadways, rail lines, and other facilities to support interregional travel within and outside the state. There are twelve designated CoSS in Virginia. 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.
Regional Networks (RNs) refer to the major economic regions of the state and are based on the designated Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) areas in Virginia. MPOs are regions with a population greater than 50,000 in an urbanized area. The RNs encompass the MPO areas and include the whole county boundaries of any county that is only partly included as part of the MPO boundary.
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” and are associated with the Regional Networks (RNs). Activity Centers have been identified through stakeholder input. Please utilize InteractVTrans MapExplorer to view or download VTrans Activity Centers.
Regional Activity Centers are categorized as freight-dependent, local-serving, and knowledge-based – how is this determined?
For the purposes of VTrans, Activity Centers are defined as areas of regional importance that have a high density of economic and social activity. The number and type of jobs within the Activity Centers was analyzed, and jobs were divided into three industry clusters:
- Freight-Dependent: An area where the majority of activity output is dependent on freight transportation;
- Local-Serving: An Activity Center that primarily serves the local population; and
- Knowledge-Based: An Activity Center that relies on skilled labor and serves a broader market than Virginia.
Activity Centers were then assigned to the cluster that matched the plurality of jobs in that Center. For example, an Activity Center with 20% freight-dependent, 60% local-serving, and 20% knowledge-based jobs would be assigned as a Local-Serving Activity Center. Please utilize InteractVTrans MapExplorer to view or download VTrans Activity Centers.
The Urban Development Area (UDA) Travel Market includes two types of growth areas:
1. Growth Areas developed pursuant to the Code of Virginia § 15.2-2223.1: The designation of these growth areas is voluntary, and any City, County, or incorporated Town with its zoning authority may choose to designate one or more UDAs. UDAs must incorporate principles of traditional neighborhood design (TND), which include, but are not limited to:
pedestrian-friendly road design,
interconnection of new local streets with existing local streets and roads,
connectivity of road and pedestrian networks,
preservation of natural areas,
mixed-use neighborhoods, including mixed housing types, with affordable housing to meet the projected family income distributions of future residential growth,
reduction of front and side yard building setbacks, and
reduction of subdivision street widths and turning radii at subdivision street intersections.
2. Industrial and Economic Development Areas (IDEAs): Locally-identified industrial and economic development sites submitted to the Virginia Economic Development Partnership for the Virginia Business Ready Site Program (VBRSP) and with readiness tier 3 or higher are identified as the VTrans IDEA sites under the UDA Travel Market. Local sites are assigned a level of “business readiness” according to the following tiering categories:
Tier 1: Raw land with interested seller
Tier 2: Site controlled and marketed for development
Tier 3: Zoned industrial/commercial, due diligence complete
Tier 4: Certified as “infrastructure ready”
Tier 5: “Shovel Ready” – permits in place
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. This Fact Sheet includes steps for designation of these areas.