What is The Regional Transportation Plan?
The Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) is a long-range (20-25 year) transportation plan for the Santa Cruz County area. The long-range transportation plan assesses the transportation challenges we face now and those we will face in the future. The plan includes strategies to address our transportation challenges, a list of unmet multimodal transportation needs (highway, road, transit, bicycle, pedestrian, freight, airport, etc.), and priorities for limited funds.
The RTP is updated every four or five years to address new trends, issues, and priorities, and to incorporate new state and federal regulations. The last Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Plan was adopted in June 2014. The next plan is scheduled for adoption in June 2018 and will be referred to as the 2040 RTP.
How is the long-range transportation plan developed?
The first step is to identify the objectives for the region’s transportation system and craft overarching goals and policies, used to guide decisions. Performance measures or targets are also developed to track progress towards achieving the goals.
Next, an estimate of all the potential local, state and federal funding available for transportation projects is developed. Projects that advance the goals and targets are then identified by transportation agencies, local jurisdictions, and the public.
Based on the anticipated funding and the performance measures, the RTC prioritizes the projects that could be funded over the next 25 years. A list of additional projects that could be implemented should more funding become available is also identified. The priority project list is then reviewed to identify potential environmental impacts. There are opportunities at every stage of the development of the RTP for public, agency and committee input. The goals/policies, funding estimates and project lists build on each other and input at the early stages will shape the draft and final plan.
The Regional Transportation Plan provides information on the following:
- Transportation needs in the region for 20 to 25 years, based on population growth, environmental, economic and other social trends.
- The amount of state, federal, and local funding available for transportation projects and new sources of funding needed to deliver high priority projects.
- Sustainability of the transportation system and sustainable outcomes.
- New legislative requirements, including SB375, which stipulate that regions must meet greenhouse gas reduction targets through a coordinated land use and transportation plan called the Sustainable Communities Strategy.
- “Complete Streets” as a tool for planning for a balanced and multi-modal transportation system, particularly for those transportation improvements needed to accommodate growth.
Why a focus on sustainability?
The RTC represents diverse transportation interests and assesses the impacts of transportation investments on environmental, economic and social concerns. A focus on sustainability can assist in providing balanced evaluation of transportation projects and programs, recognizing that these areas are intertwined, not exclusionary.
This approach evaluates how transportation investments impact people’s health and safety, the economic vitality of the region, and the universal need for a healthy planet.
Some investments are win/win, but some require trade-offs in the three areas of economy, environment and people. This focus on sustainability assists the RTC in identifying these trade-offs and achieving multiple long-term goals.
How can you get involved?
Planning for the 2040 RTP has begun!
- Provide input as elements of the plan are developed. Tell us what projects you think should be considered for the transportation system. http://sccrtc.org/funding-planning/long-range-plans/new-project-ideas/
- Stay informed. Review materials on the RTP webpage: http://sccrtc.org
- Ask to be added to the RTP E-news List by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, calling 831-460-3200 or signing up on the RTC website www.sccrtc.org
- Send comments to SCCRTC: email@example.com or 1523 Pacific Avenue, Santa Cruz, CA 95060
- Participate in the development of the Association of Monterey Bay Area Governments’ Sustainable
- Communities Strategy (SCS), www.ambag.org.