Transportation Planning - Changes in North Carolina

Highway Planning has been a requirement in North Carolina since the passage of NC General Statute 136-66.2 in 1959. This Statute required the development of "a street system that will serve present and anticipated volumes of vehicular traffic" and has been the guiding force in roadway planning and implementation in North Carolina. Over the past decade, there has been a desire by the public, local decision-makers, and transportation professionals to expand transportation planning beyond highways. Federal legislation (Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act — ISTEA and Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century — TEA-21) expanded transportation planning requirements for areas over 50,000, or Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) to consider non-highway modes in their transportation planning process. In 2001, the North Carolina law was revised to require the development of a “transportation plan” that considers options other than roadway improvements. The primary challenge was defining the product that would be mutually adopted by the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) and the MPO, municipality, or county. Historically, NCDOT adopts a “thoroughfare plan,” which is a map designating existing and proposed roadway facilities. It has been an important planning tool for areas across North Carolina and has been a mechanism for municipalities and MPOs to implement roadway projects. For North Carolina’s 17 MPOs, the revised State Statute provides consistency with Federal law, but it is not as prescriptive. For non-MPO areas, the revised law expanded the scope of transportation planning. However, it is essential for the transportation planning process and product to be useful, easily understood, and not overly burdensome to develop. The transportation plans that are developed and adopted must compliment other transportation laws in North Carolina while providing a tool to facilitate the transportation vision of local communities. The Comprehensive Transportation Plan (CTP) is the transportation planning document that will be mutually adopted. It is a series of maps, which includes: a cover sheet, highway map, public transportation and rail map, bicycle map, and in the future will include a pedestrian map. The highway map is significantly different from the current thoroughfare plan. It classifies the primary roadway system into five categories based on the proposed level of access to the facility. Each category includes existing facilities, proposed facilities, and “needs improvement” facilities. The “needs improvement” category not only includes proposed widening projects, but also includes operational strategies and access management strategies that will facilitate increased mobility along a corridor. The public transportation and rail map includes existing and proposed public transportation infrastructure and services; it also designates active and inactive rail corridors. The bicycle map includes on-road and off-road facilities. The pedestrian map is still under development. The series of sheets that make up the CTP will be developed in a GIS format. This will allow electronic versions of the transportation plans to be distributed. Using the electronic form of the plan allows the user to visualize how the different modes interact. It also provides an opportunity to present more information than a hard copy of the plan. Interactive links would allow the user to view existing and proposed attributes associated with the various elements of the plan.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: CD-ROM
  • Features: Figures;
  • Pagination: 11p
  • Monograph Title: Tools of the Trade: 9th National Conference on Transportation Planning for Small and Medium-Sized Communities, September 22-24, 2004, Colorado Springs, Colorado

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01043970
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS, TRB
  • Created Date: Mar 9 2007 1:48PM