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Indiana

Number of Regional Planning Organizations: 11 Total annual funding: $29,000 – $101,000 (80% federal, 20% local match) Date established: 2001 and 2005The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) launched the Small Urban and Rural Transportation Planning Program in 2001 with five regional development organizations and four MPOs. Starting in 2005, the program was expanded to 11 regional and small urban planning partners, which includes three regions that include both RPOs and MPOs and three MPOs.

The planning activities of the groups are aimed at supporting the state’s headquarters and district office staff.[1] The program is reviewed and modified each year and each organization is evaluated and renewed based on its performance.

The annual activities include conducting traffic counts in each RPO’s rural counties and communities; level of service analysis; planning support to local governments such as plans, corridor or area studies, intersection studies, Hazard Elimination Studies, or bike/pedestrian plans; data collection for FHWA’s Highway Performance Monitoring System; railroad crossing data; support to INDOT’s district offices including rural consultation, assistance with a district’s public open house, or coordination with local officials.[2]  This level of engagement is designed to give local officials input into the STIP process.[3]

Certain RPO tasks that assist the state in meeting its own federal requirements are reimbursed at 100 percent, while other activities that provide significant benefit to local governments have a 20 percent match.

Frank Baukert, transportation planner-rural program manager for the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT), notes several benefits of the RPO program.  He says, “RPOs allow INDOT to meet its rural planning and consultation goals without the creation of a new organization.  The extension of the transportation planning process to rural areas allows communities to make smarter investments in their transportation infrastructure.”

[1] Personal communication with Jill Saegesser, January 2016

[2] 2015 Activity Guide for Rural Transportation Planning Program, Indiana DOT

[3] Personal communication with Frank Baukert, May 2016

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