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Section 3: Compliance with Planning Requirements

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This section involves integrating project planning with various local, regional and statewide plans. As part of that integrated planning, applicable requirements are determined and complied with.

This section includes the following tasks. The tasks are listed in approximate chronological order but may be performed concurrently in some cases.

10300. Evaluate compliance with planning documents

10310. Identify and review related studies

10320. Identify area/regional goals and plans

10330. Identify corridor plan development needs

10340. Partnership plan review/coordination

10350. Identify funding alternative/feasibility economics, value capture, sustainability

10360. Institutionalization of coordination/partnerships in project development

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10300: Evaluate compliance with planning documents

Description. After preparing a Purpose and Need Statement (see 30310: Prepare “Purpose and Need” statement), the project manager assesses the following situations:

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  • Whether the proposed project follows the policy and mandates of the Unified Transportation Plan (UTP),
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  • Whether the project is consistent with regional and local transportation plans,
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  • Whether the proposed project is consistent with ongoing Texas freight, rail, and airport planning efforts.

Pertinent Project Types. New construction, reconstruction, and rehabilitation projects.

Responsible Party. Director of Transportation Planning and Development


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  • Review long-range planning documents, which have planning periods of 20 to 24 years:
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    • Statewide Long-Range Transportation Plan, which is a comprehensive statewide multimodal plan with a vision for the state's transportation and services. (24 year period)
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    • Metropolitan Transportation Plan (MTP)
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    • Rural Transportation Plan (RTP) (20 year period).
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  • Review ten year mid-range Unified Transportation Program (UTP) planning document, developed annually.
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  • Review short-range programming documents:
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    • Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) developed by an MPO in cooperation with the department containing a prioritized list of proposed projects and funding (4 year period),
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    • Rural Transportation Improvement Program (RTIP) is developed in cooperation with rural planning organizations and is a prioritized list of projects for proposed funding (4 year period),
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    • Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) is a compilation list of projects to be implemented with reasonable anticipated funding over the four-year period.
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  • Review local master street plans and networks.
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  • Consult with district coordinators and local planning staffs for other modes, and assess need to incorporate design features to accommodate other modes (e.g., transit, pedestrian, bike, port, railroad, aviation).
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  • Consult the State's coastal zone management plan for project development considerations along the Gulf Coast.
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  • Work with the district planning staff to coordinate with the MPO and other planning entities.

Critical Sequencing.

Resource Material.

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  • Transportation Planning and Programming Division
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  • Texas Coastal Management Program - General Land Office (for projects along the Gulf Coast)
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  • Unified Transportation Program (UTP)
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  • City plans including: comprehensive plan, regional transit plans, transit oriented Transportation Opportunity Development (TOD) plans, other land use plans, economic/commercial development plans, street or transportation plans; neighborhood plans, and bicyclist/pedestrian plans, greenway/trails plans, and Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone (TIRZ) project plans or other similar plans for other value capture districts.
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  • TxDOT statewide freight, aviation, and/or public transportation plans.
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10310: Identify and review related studies

Description. Related studies may provide information for planning a project and assessing the relationship between a specific project and neighboring projects. Obtaining and reviewing these studies gives a broader perspective of regional needs.

Types of related studies include:

Pertinent Project Types. New construction and reconstruction projects

Responsible Party. District Director of Transportation Planning and Development

Critical Sequencing. This task should occur before preliminary design.

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  • Coordinate and consult with the Transportation Planning and Programming Division. Check with city, county, MPO, transit or special authority, and recognized neighborhood planning organizations for plans or studies in the affected area.

Resource Material.

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10320: Identify area/regional goals and plans

Description. Coordination with other entities and other areas of expertise is important to ensure that projects compliment the surrounding community or local area. This early coordination is important since the transportation corridor may be only one component of the long-term local objectives.

One method is a collaborative, interdisciplinary approach using Context Sensitive Solutions (CSS) strategic planning process. While not applicable to all project types (e.g., restoration, preventive maintenance), CSS principles exercise flexibility and creativity, preserve resources, enhance the community, as well as, improve mobility, safety, and infrastructure conditions. Transportation and development projects may be better accomplished in a joint development or well-coordinated process that will meet the objectives of multiple stakeholders.

For example, local entities may wish to encourage certain development, preserve, change or sustain the character of a specific area of the community or set future sustainable development for an entire transportation corridor or area network.

CSS principles promote the establishment of public and private partnerships that can support the project by (1) bringing together the future revenue streams with costs in order to provide funding for operation and maintenance, (2) creating funding for future projects, and (3) optimize return on public resources such as local tax bases. The establishment of these long-term relationships that consider transportation projects in the context of regional or local overall objectives can be a significant future benefit.

The Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) and the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU) have developed recommended practices for context sensitive design process principles for streets, intersections, and networks, providing design flexibility in project development.

Possible outcomes in considering the CSS principles and partnerships include:

Consult the following possible partners/stakeholders:

Usually, the following district staff have established contacts with local entities:

The following divisions may be contacted:

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  • Aviation Division (AVN), project development within airport property and interface issues,
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  • Maritime Division (MRD), corridor, transport nodes, maritime highways, water, and ports,
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  • Rail Division (RRD), passenger and freight rail,
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  • Public Transportation Division (PTN), metropolitan and statewide planning.

Pertinent Project Types. All projects except preventive maintenance and restoration projects

Responsible Party. District Director of Transportation Planning and Development


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  • Identify stakeholders in project area.
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  • Coordinate Context Sensitive Solutions (CSS) workshop for partners and stakeholders to establish project visions, goals, objectives, issues, and opportunities.
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  • Establish contacts or teams for ongoing feedback and to move project issues forward.
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  • Participate in related workshops sponsored by project stakeholders.

Resource Material.

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10330: Identify corridor plan development needs

Description. A transportation corridor is a broad geographic band along an interstate or major principal arterial that follows a linear flow integrating operational surface transportation networks of origin-destination trip generators. Urban and rural corridors have unique design characteristics.

For planning purposes, rural corridors are outside a metropolitan planning area and may be basic, developed, or suburban. Rural corridors may be defined by scenic purpose, connection between urban areas, or by accommodating surface freight transport.

Corridor and network planning is an early opportunity to establish a framework for integrating specific thoroughfare projects into local area overall objectives. This represents an early opportunity to bring public and private stakeholders together to discuss the transportation project. This helps to expedite the project development process by identifying and addressing key issues, opportunities, and community objectives before the design and engineering process begins.

Integrated network and corridor planning process can:

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  • Determine the relationships and needs for both mobility and land uses along the corridor and in the subareas.
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  • Allow non MPO communities to discuss multimodal transportation issues that may benefit their residents.
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  • Determine how decisions for individual thoroughfare segments affect the corridor and the transportation network as a whole.
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  • Establish objectives, operational concepts, context-based functions, performance measures and thresholds, land uses, access control, and functional classification for an entire network or corridor, which can be applied to individual thoroughfare segments in project development.
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  • Allow for policy, social and public discussion of debate on issues that impact a broader area than an individual thoroughfare segment.
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  • Expose additional related studies that may provide information for planning a project and assessing the relationship between a specific transportation project and neighboring community projects. Obtaining and reviewing these studies can give a broader perspective of network and corridor needs. Types of related studies include: feasibility study, route study, toll road study, corridor study, market study, value capture study, environmental documentation, and value engineering study.

Pertinent Project Types. New construction, reconstruction, and some rehabilitation projects

Responsible Party. District Director of Transportation Planning and Development, Project Managers


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  • Coordinate this work with district staff and divisions.
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  • Review local planning documents.
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  • Review any special municipal plans for study area (e.g., economic development, Transportation Opportunity District (TOD) area near major terminals).
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  • TxDOT Public Transportation Division - coordinating public transportation.
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  • TxDOT Environmental Affairs, public involvement as part of the NEPA process.
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  • Review other specialty plans, as appropriate (e.g., water/wastewater, other utility, transit, aviation, railroads, ports).
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  • While obtaining plans, inquire from the agency whether they can advise of other relevant plans or agencies to contact.
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  • Meet with regional and local agency staff and discuss area objectives together with the need to bring stakeholders into the process.
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  • Assess corridor mobility and land use opportunities, needs, issues, objectives, and existing plans and, with stakeholders, determine which ones should be considered or developed further.

Helpful Suggestions.

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  • Coordinate and consult with the Transportation Planning and Programming Division. Meet with city, county, COG department managers, and other public or private stakeholders to obtain input and published plans or information.

Critical Sequencing.

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  • Obtain local plans early because project planning by public and private local entities may affect transportation project planning.
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  • This task should occur before preliminary design.

Resource Material.

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10340: Partnership Plan Review/Coordination

Description. As the planning process begins to move the project from the planning process toward the initial stages of design development, coordination of the partnerships that have been established become critical. Stakeholders have to make solid and supported commitments to the project effort at this point. The expected outcomes of this step include commitments for:

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  • Joint/coordinated progress toward transportation improvement concepts and plans for land use enhancements and development,
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  • Innovative solutions that meet project needs, reflect community values, and enhance resources,
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  • Compatibility and support of the transportation improvement within its context of the surrounding area and activities,
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  • Expedited approval of the project through early and consistent stakeholder involvement,
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  • Agreement on the relationship between sustainable land uses, urban design, and the transportation system,
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  • Agreement on multimodal planning including vehicular, transit, pedestrian, bicycle and green infrastructure potential such as trails,
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  • Agreement on the travel demand forecasts and network functionality for various modes of travel that will guide the project development process,
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  • Identification of any performance measures, sustainability goals or milestones that will be used in project development,
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  • Application of CSS, design flexibility and documentation of design decisions. See: 20100: Conduct a Preliminary Design Concept Conference, Form 2440 Design Summary Report (DSR).
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  • Commitment for continuation of stakeholder input throughout the design of the project,
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  • Assurance that commitments made in the planning process are honored through construction.

Pertinent Project Types. All projects except preventative maintenance and restoration projects

Responsible Party. District Director of Transportation Planning and Development, Project Managers

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10350. Identify funding alternative or feasibility - economics, value capture, sustainability

Description. As part of the partnership coordination, the transportation project development process considers the effects of financial availability and decisions on costs, liability risks, and operations and maintenance. Application of CSS partnerships, principles, and design flexibility can affect these funding considerations in specific project applications.

Depending on the type and timing of the project, the stakeholders may need to consider a range of alternatives to traditional transportation funding. These alternative funding sources can provide a broader approach to project development and offer opportunities within corridors beyond just the transportation facility itself.

Some non-traditional funding and resource considerations include:

Pertinent Project Types. All projects except preventative maintenance and restoration projects.

Responsible Party. District Director of Transportation Planning and Development, Project Managers


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  • Identify potential funding sources and partners as appropriate (local government entities, other public agencies, adjacent property owners, other private sources, etc.).
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  • Consider advantages, disadvantages, and necessary actions to make the best options viable.
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  • Identify appropriate agreements to facilitate long-term sustainability of the project and its context by supporting and tracking future capital investment, debt service, credit enhancements as well as operation and maintenance.
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10360. Institutionalization of Coordination and Partnerships in Project Development

Description. The institutionalization of coordination and partnerships developed early in the project development process is necessary if it is to be sustained through the project planning phase, the development phase, and the construction phase. Even at the individual project level, unless these partnerships are actively involved, the likelihood of a successful project that meets as many objectives as possible within the local context can be significantly reduced. Further, and perhaps more importantly, the partnerships created should be maintained for future development beyond simply the immediate project, corridor, or area transportation network.

There are several ways to assist in maintaining these partnerships and coordinating these efforts. For example, a Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) is required for each urbanized area with a census population of 50,000 or more. The MPO may also function as the designated contact for rural plan development A Metropolitan Transportation Plan (MTP) or Rural Transportation Plan (RTP) are long-range 20-year plans of ways a region plans to invest in and transportation facilities functioning as an integrated transportation system. Early project planning and development must consider the applicable MTP or RTP.

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  • Urbanized Areas (UZAs) greater than census 50,000 population are required to have a Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO). The MPO is the local decision making body responsible for planning and coordinating a multimodal transportation system that facilitates better and efficient transportation development in the urban area. MPOs can provide information, studies, or analyses for portions of the transportation system located in metropolitan planning areas.
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  • Urbanized Areas (UZAs) greater than census 200,000 population are designated as a Transportation Management Area (TMA). The TMA is required to have a Congestion Management Process (CMP) to address congestion.

The public involvement process is an additional activity requiring coordination with the MPO. An MPO may have its own specific public involvement requirements. See 30100: Public involvement.

Different vehicles for sustaining these partnerships may function better in different circumstances. These partnerships and project coordination can result in:

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  • Better identification of community transportation, land use, development, activity centers, and other context issues that provide future direction,
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  • Identification of public and private stakeholders’ priorities,
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  • Development and coordination of interagency multidisciplinary teams,
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  • Regular communication among stakeholders,
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  • Better educational outreach and transparency for agencies involved in project development,
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  • A pattern for future coordination of transportation issues within established community contexts.
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  • Identification of design issues, area planning goals, environmental process coordination, and construction phasing,
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  • Feedback on individual projects through construction as well as future coordination efforts.

Pertinent Project Types. Projects or facilities contained in the MTP or RTP.

Responsible Party. District Director of Transportation Planning and Development and Regional and Local Agency Planning Directors

Helpful Suggestions. Coordinate with the district and local agency planning staff.

Resource Material. TxDOT Transportation Planning and Programming Division


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  • For individual corridors or projects, review each task in Section 3 to ensure that any later task revisions are still appropriate. This review process may necessitate revision of conclusions about the project Need and Scope. This feedback loop will insure that issues are not overlooked so that the project will (1) support community sustainability and economic development goals, and (2) allow for project development to stay on schedule.
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  • Maintain regular involvement and communication among stakeholders.
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