Best Practices in Developing Regional Transportation Plans

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Best Practices in Developing Regional Transportation Plans


AltAlthough Regional Transportation Plans (RTPs) have been prepared for many decades, there has been little effort to comprehensively compare and evaluate the different features of these documents. Most Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPO) typically do this on an ad hoc basis, thus resulting in duplication of efforts. Furthermore, there is a need to evaluate how the many changes in federal transportation policy during the 1990s have affected the planning of major new transportation facilities.

The purpose of this study is to compare Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) Regional Transportation Plans (RTP) and planning processes in California with selected regions. Seventeen MPOs were included to provide a balance of geographical location, growth rate, transit orientation, size, density and air quality conformity status.


This report makes numerous recommendations about public participation in the RTP; the frequency of updates; scoring criteria for projects; the use of planning data in the RTP; coordination with ports and airports; and the evolving role of MPOs as it relates to preparation of the RTP. These are documented in the report, based on written and oral surveys conducted by the research team.



Donald N. Rothblatt chairs the Urban and Regional Planning Department at San José State University and is Research Associate at the Institute of Governmental Studies, University of California, Berkeley. A past president of  the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning, his most recent works include Planning the Metropolis: The Multiple Advocacy ApproachSuburbia: An International Assessment (co-author), Metropolitan Dispute Resolution in Silicon ValleyMetropolitan Governance Revisited (co-editor), An Experiment in Sub-Regional PlanningComparative Study of Statewide Transportation Planning Under ISTEA, and Government Performance Measures Linking Urban Mass Transportation With Land Use (co-author). He has studied planning in the United States and abroad and holds a PhD in city and regional planning from Harvard University, where he was on the planning faculty.

September 2001
Land use
Intermodal transportation



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