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Number of Regional Transportation Planning Organizations: 3    Funding range: $78,000 (80% federal; 20% local match) Date established: 2012Following the designation of 11 sub-state planning districts in 1970, local governments throughout Oklahoma established Councils of Governments to work on regional planning issues.[1]  In 1992, the Oklahoma Association of Regional Councils (OARC) was created to provide a statewide platform to address regional issues.[2]  In 2012, the Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT) initiated a contract through OARC to establish regional transportation planning organizations (RTPOs) within the state.  With the funding provided, three pilot RTPOs were created.

The RTPOs were tasked with reviewing and providing comments on the statewide transportation plan and STIP, developing regional consensus on priority projects from multiple modes of transportation, developing rural long-range transportation plans, conducting public participation, and providing transportation-related information to the local government members of the RTPOs.  The RTPOs responsibilities and priorities include data collection, developing long-range transportation plans (LRTPs), short range studies, and conducting public participation guided by a public participation plan.[3]  The RTPO structure, established through bylaws, includes a policy board, technical committee, and steering committee.

The three pilots have completed their first LRTPs and are now working on county transportation plans and other initiatives.  “The success of the RTPOs working on the LRTPs has opened up new opportunities for them,” notes Jana Harris, Director of Community & Economic Development at the Southwest Oklahoma Development Administration (SWODA), which staffs the Southwest Oklahoma Regional Transportation Planning Organization (SORTPO), one of the original pilot regions.[4]  These new projects include reviewing and scoring Transportation Alternative Program (TAP) projects, as well as conducting freight analysis by tracking trucking, tonnage, and hauling data.[5]

The RTPOs “serv[e] as the point of contact, facilitator, and convener” for public meetings and engagement with a variety of transportation stakeholders.[6]  The RTPOs’ public participation plans are designed to “encourag[e] citizens and organizations to take an active participation in their community-related transportation issues,” including those stakeholders who are traditionally underserved during the planning process.[7]

The RTPOs are funded through FHWA SPR funds.  OARC continues to serve in an administrative role, connecting the state and the three pilot RTPOs.  For those areas not served by an RTPO, OARC also plays a coordinating role to support collaboration between the COGs and ODOT on statewide and regional transportation plans.[8]  Currently, two additional COGs are in the process of forming RTPOs.  They are in the administrative stage, establishing bylaws and forming policy boards.[9]


[1] Southwest Oklahoma Regional Transportation Planning Organization (2016).  Custer County, Oklahoma 2035 Long Range Transportation Plan,

[2] Oklahoma Department of Transportation (nd). “Metropolitan Planning,”

[3] Southwest Oklahoma Regional Transportation Planning Organization (2015). Regional Transportation Planning Work Program, FFY2016

[4] Personal communication with Jana Harris, June 2016

[5] Personal communication with Jana Harris, June 2016

[6] Southwest Oklahoma Regional Transportation Planning Organization (2016)

[7] Central Oklahoma Rural Transportation Planning Organization (nd). “Public Participation Plan,”

[8] Oklahoma Department of Transportation (nd).  “Metropolitan Planning,”

[9] Personal communication with Jana Harris, June 2016

RTPO Models


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