NADO RF Transportation Planning Research 2005-2015

This page catalogues the NADO Research Foundation’s reports and studies on the topic of transportation planning from the years 2005 to 2015.

2014 – Moving toward Performance-based Transportation Planning in Rural and Small Metropolitan Regions

State departments of transportation (DOTs) have increasingly encouraged or required their regional partners to include performance measures in their regional plans, and regions have formalized their planning and programming processes to include more formal project selection processes. Finding performance information may require requesting data from partners or sharing data with them. This can open up new lines of communication, dialogues about goals and strategies, and shape the way that information is shared in the future. This report drew on research and training efforts conducted by the NADO RF from 2010-2014, with support from the FHWA.

The PDF report can be read here.

2013 – 2010 – 2013 RPO America Peer Symposium Proceedings:

This annual symposium was held during the National Rural Transportation Peer Learning Conferences with FHWA support, showcasing how planning organizations and their partners create innovative, beneficial programs. The proceedings report for 2010 can be found further below.

The PDF reports can be read here.

2012 – Lessons Learned from Irene: Vermont RPCs Address Transportation System Recovery:

In the wake of Hurricane Irene’s August 27, 2011 arrival in Vermont, the Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) sought help from the state’s 11 regional planning commissions (RPCs) to assume responsibility for assessing needed local road repairs. While the RPCs were well positioned to assist because of their established relationships and networks within the towns, their recovery activities often went beyond their typical scope of work. The collaboration between VTrans and the RPCs offers lessons for disaster preparedness and recovery, both crucial elements for building more resilient communities.

The PDF report can be read here.

The RPCs’ infrastructure damage assessment form can be read here.

2011 – Transportation Project Prioritization and Performance-based Planning Efforts in Rural and Small Metropolitan Regions:

This report, supported by the FHWA, provided an overview of the state of the practice in non-metro regional transportation planning, including the contract amounts, RPO tasks, and committee structures.  The research also examines rural long-range planning efforts and criteria used to rank regional priority projects.  With case studies on the statewide and regional planning processes in North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Washington, the document provides examples for rural and small metro regions looking to formalize their planning process.

The PDF report can be read here.

2011 – Connecting the DOTs:

This report by David Cole, former commissioner of the Maine Department of Transportation and the former CEO of the Eastern Maine Development Corporation (EMDC), provided a guidebook for creative problem solving, building stronger state and local partnerships, and understanding the unique opportunities that transportation and economic development projects bring to regions and communities.

The PDF report can be read here.

2010 – National Symposium for Rural Transportation Planning Organizations and Metropolitan Planning Organizations: Assessing the Structure and Benefits of Collaboration:

This proceedings report documented a special event on the relationships among regional planning organizations, state and local government agencies, and stakeholder groups. This symposium was held as a joint session during the 2010 National Rural Transportation Peer Learning Conference and AMPO Annual Conference, with attendees learning models for collaboration on planning efforts from five states: Alabama, Iowa, Missouri, North Carolina and Tennessee.

The PDF report can be read here.

2010 – Four Corners Rural Transportation Forum: Summary of a Conference:

These two proceedings reports detail conferences of transportation practitioners on topics including transportation planning, rural livability, and relationship-building with Tribal nations, taking place in Sedona, AZ (2009) and Park City, UT (2010).

The 2009 PDF report can be read here.

The 2010 PDF report can be read here.

2009 – 2009 National Scan: Rural Transportation Planning Organizations:

This report provided an overview of characteristics of rural planning organizations (RPOs) and similar organizations, based on a scan emailed to regional organizations in April and May 2009.

The PDF report can be read here.

2009 – Metropolitan and Rural Transportation Planning: Case Studies and Checklists for Regional Collaboration:

This report provided case studies and checklists of possible actions that metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs), rural transportation planning organizations (RPOs), state departments of transportation (DOTs), local government entities, and other planning partners may take to enhance their partnership efforts.

The PDF report can be read here.

2008 – Rural Local Officials Consultation Assessment Guide:

This guide was intended to provide rural local elected and appointed officials, along with their regional planning organizations, with a framework for appraising the effectiveness, timeliness and results of their involvement and input into the statewide transportation planning and decision-making processes within their respective states.

The PDF report can be read here.

The accompanying presentation can be read here.

2005 – Transportation Planning in Rural America: Emerging Models for Local Consultation, Regional Coordination and Rural Planning Organizations:

This report built on the NADO Research Foundation’s nearly ten years of studies into the emerging and evolving partnerships between state transportation agencies and regional development organizations with respect to facilitating and enhancing the involvement of rural local government officials in statewide planning, a process best described as the “gateway” for accessing federal surface transportation funds.

The PDF report can be read here.


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Joe McKinney serves as Executive Director of the National Association of Development Organizations (NADO). Headquartered in Washington DC, NADO provides advocacy, education, research, and training for the nation’s 500+ regional planning and development organizations.

Joe has thirty-one years of experience having served in city, county, regional, national association, and government management since 1991. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Public Policy Analysis from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is a candidate for a master’s degree in Public Administration from UNC-Chapel Hill.

McKinney has provided congressional testimony on numerous occasions regarding the importance of regional development organizations in helping shape the nation’s economic growth. He is nationally recognized for promoting innovative solutions in areas such as planning and economic development, workforce development, transportation and transit, and aging services.

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