Chapter 6: Rural Transportation Planning


Section 1: Overview of Transportation Planning Process in Non-MPO Areas

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Non-MPO Areas

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) Transportation Planning and Programming (TPP) Division works with the district offices to address the rural transportation planning process. TxDOT currently has only two districts (the Childress District and the Lufkin District) that do not also work with MPOs. In districts that do work with MPOs, TPP works with the District Study Office personnel to ensure that the rural transportation planning process is carried out. In the two districts without MPOs, the District Director of Transportation Planning and Development (TPD) has designated staff to perform this function. Guidance to the district staff and District Study Office personnel is provided through the Texas Administrative Code (TAC) Sections 15.1 through 15.8 and the applicable federal regulations.

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District Responsibilities

The district responsibilities are generally less that those of the MPOs. The districts must prepare rural TIPs, which address area needs within the district boundaries that fall outside the Metropolitan Area Boundary (if applicable). The rural TIP is not defined in 23 CFR 450. However, it is required in order to comply with the requirements of 23 CFR 450 for a Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP). In preparing Texas Administrative Code Sections 15.7(b)(2), TPP defined the rural TIP. TAC Section 15.7(m)(2) defines the requirement for a rural public involvement process policy.

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TPP Responsibilities

TPP has been charged by the Texas Transportation Commission and the TxDOT Executive Director with ensuring that transportation planning activities required by the applicable portions of Title 23 United States Code (U. S. C.) 134 and 135, Title 49 U. S. C. 5303 through 5306, and other federal regulations, as applicable, are carried out. TPP is responsible for preparing and coordinating changes to TAC Section 15.1 through 15.8 that deal with transportation planning requirements.

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Public Involvement

Content of 23 CFR 450 Subpart B addresses public involvement for STIP preparation and Subpart C addresses public involvement requirements for MPOs. Based on discussions with FHWA, TPP wrote into TAC Section 15.7(m)(2) the requirement that each district develop a rural public involvement policy. In addition to the rural TIP public involvement requirements and the MPO public involvement requirements TPP, in preparing the STIP, follows the public involvement process as written in TAC Section 15.8(d).

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Public Involvement Policy for Public Transportation

Since projects that use either FHWA funds or FTA funds/grants must be listed in the TIP, the rural TIP public involvement process rules stated in TAC Section 15.7(m)(2) apply to public transportation projects. The districts normally coordinate with their designated Public Transportation Coordinator (PTC) to ensure that public transportation projects are presented during this process.

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