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Colorado

Number of Transportation Planning Regions serving partial or completely rural areas:  13 Total annual funding: $1,000 – $25,000 (80% FHWA SPR, 20% state match)  Date established: 1992 Though Colorado does not have a formal RPO structure, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) has a centralized planning process and consults with regional organizations for input.  Since 1991, Colorado state law has required a cooperative planning process for all parts of the state. The state DOT created 15 transportation planning regions to help develop regional transportation plans for inclusion in the statewide plan.  Colorado has ten transportation planning regions (TPRs) serving rural areas, three MPOs whose TPRs also serve some non-MPO territory, and two MPOs whose TPR service areas are completely urbanized.[1]

All regions submit priority lists to the state Transportation Commission for inclusion in the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP).  CDOT relies on support from the regional organizations for local public involvement efforts.  They focus heavily on involving the public, local leaders, and other civic interests in the planning process and crafting of a long-range vision for each region and the state.[2]

Representatives from the TPRs and MPOs meet monthly to participate in the Statewide Transportation Advisory Committee (STAC).  This provides an opportunity for regional transportation staff to advise CDOT and the Transportation Commission on multimodal transportation issues, review the regional transportation plans and their incorporation into the statewide plan, and discuss other issues related to the state’s transportation network.[3]

Map of Colorado showing planning and transportation boundaries

Click to enlarge. (Photo courtesy of Colorado DOT)

CDOT’s financial support of the TPRs includes funding to travel to the monthly STAC meetings, as well as to support meeting and administrative costs.  In total, $150,000 is allocated directly to the TPRs across the state each year, and CDOT uses additional FHWA SPR funds to support the TPRs through other planning activities.[4]

CDOT works closely with the state’s MPOs and TPRs in the development of transportation planning documents including the Statewide Transportation Plan, Regional Transportation Plans, and STIP.  Colorado law requires transportation planning to be grounded in performance-based metrics that use “research, data, and analysis to inform decision-making, including the establishment of goals and performance objectives, distribution of resources, and project selection.”[5]

The Southwest Colorado Council of Governments (SWCCOG) performs typical TPR tasks.  The region has a contract with CDOT to serve in an administrative role and receive planning assistance grant funds to oversee the Southwest Regional Transportation Planning Commission (RPC).  The RPC serves 17 jurisdictions that make up the Southwest Transportation Planning Region by providing transportation planning and project support.  It identifies regional transportation needs by providing an update to the Twenty-Year Regional Transportation Plan every five years, as do all the other TPRs around the state.  The RPC is represented at the monthly STAC meeting which brings together representatives from all the TPRs and MPOs throughout the state.[6]

The SWCCOG also oversees the Regional Transit Coordinating Council, which serves as a forum for transit stakeholders, including transit service providers, human service providers, government staff, and residents to address regional transit and mobility issues.[7]

For more information, visit www.codot.gov/programs/planning/planning-partners/tpr-mpo.

[1] Personal communication with Jeff Sudmeier, July 2016

[2] NADO Research Foundation / Center for Transportation Advancement and Regional Development (2010).  Four Corners Rural Transportation Forum:  Summary of a Peer Learning Exchange, www.nado.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/4Corners10.pdf

[3] Colorado Department of Transportation (nd). “Transportation Planning at CDOT,” www.codot.gov/programs/planning

[4] Personal communication with Jeff Sudmeier, July 2016

[5] Colorado Department of Transportation (nd)

[6] Southwest Colorado Council of Governments (nd). “Southwest Transportation Planning Region,” www.swccog.org/projects/transportation/southwest-transportation-planning-region

[7] Southwest Colorado Council of Governments (nd)