Project Prioritization: Spotlight: Virginia’s Statewide and Rural Long-range Plans

As part of the Virginia DOT’s work to complete the 2035 Transportation Plan, the agency added long-range planning as a new element in the rural transportation work programs of Virginia’s Planning District Commissions (the state’s regional development organizations).  The regional long-range plans will all be finalized and adopted by the end of 2011 and will include some common goals across all regions of the state, as well as goals developed within each individual region.

Virginia’s statewide rural transportation goals include supporting economic vitality through industrial access, recreational travel, and intermodal connectivity; preserving the existing transportation system to benefit the movement of people and goods; and encouraging land use and transportation coordination, among other goals.

Individual regions adopted additional goals specific to their transportation facilities and concerns.  For instance, Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission’s goals include accommodating bicycle and pedestrian traffic, which are beneficial to regional recreation and tourism for the area situated along the Blue Ridge Mountains.  For the rural areas served by the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission, providing economic opportunity for all Virginians was important; the Hampton Roads region is home to a major deepwater port.

In addition, each rural region analyzed the performance of the transportation system in its current condition.  The analysis focused on identifying priority areas and recommendations to address deficiencies in performance for those facilities.

Performance was assessed in three areas for roadways:

  • safety
    • sight distance and visibility, access management, and signage
  • operations and maintenance
    • geometric conditions such as lane and shoulder width and curvature, with priority on segments with higher levels of traffic
    • bridge condition, with a rating of under 50 for functional obsolescence and structural deficiency indicating a need for upgrade or replacement
  • level of service, both current and projected to 2035

Performance and recommendations were also assessed for public transportation, bicycle and pedestrian facilities, goods movement, travel demand management, and other issues relevant to each region, and an overview of local land use and future growth was provided. 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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