Project Prioritization: Spotlight: Kentucky’s Regional Concept Plans

Through the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet’s contracts with each of the state’s 15 Area Development Districts, a Regional Concept Plan is developed to inventory significant facilities and traffic generators in the rural portions of  the state.  In addition to this descriptive information, the Lincoln Trail Area Development District (LTADD), which staffs a rural planning program as well as the Radcliff/Elizabethtown MPO, defines its goals, objectives, strategies, and measures.

Within the vision developed through LTADD’s Regional Concept Plan and many other regions’ LRTPs, stakeholders set a series of goals that narrow the focus of the vision to a set of core issues, for instance, describing high level ambitions for issue areas like safety, economic competitiveness, mobility, connectivity, or equity.  A series of objectives often identifies more specifically what results the goals aim to produce.

In addition, planning documents sometimes define measures (sometimes also called metrics or indicators) that demonstrate progress in a goal area.  LTADD has developed a series of measures for each objective, and published through its Regional Concept Plan.

In the safety goal area, for example, LTADD’s objectives address corridor identification, developing transportation projects that improve safety, and facilitating completion of safety-related projects.  Several measures are used to track movement for each objective, including metrics such as the number of roadways with over 500 collisions per year, percent of dangerous corridors with identified countermeasures, and the number of projects on dangerous corridors included in the Kentucky Highway Plan.

Strategies to implement the objectives are also listed; these include developing a database for collisions and safety statistics, identifying low-cost safety improvements, and identifying safety-oriented projects, along with several other safety strategies, a timeline, and whether LTADD staff or regional transportation committee are responsible for completing the strategies.

A similar set of objectives, measures, and strategies have been developed for other goal areas, including economic development, accessibility, environmental protection, and coordination of the planning process with other parties.  For more information, visit

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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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