Regional Transportation Planning Coordination

The Office of the Director serves in a liaison role with other representatives of the Washington region on the Transportation Planning Board (TPB). The TPB is the designated Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for the region. Representation on the Board includes the State of Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia, the Counties and municipalities within the region and the Federal Transportation agencies. It plays an important role as the regional forum for transportation planning. The TPB has responsibility for preparing plans and programs that the federal government must approve in order for federal-aid transportation funds to flow to their regions. It responds to federal mandates such as the Clean Air Act of 1990 and other requirements that include the development of a Constrained Long Range Plan (CLRP) and a 6-year Transportation Improvement Program (TIP). The CLRP is required to be updated at least every 3 years and must cover a planning period of at least 20 years. The TIP shows how portions of the CLRP will be implemented over the first six years of the planning period. The transportation network reflected in the Constrained Long Range Plan and the Transportation Improvement Program is then tested using a conformity model to determine if they are in compliance with federal guidelines. These plans must be found in "conformity" in order to ensure the continued flow of federal dollars to the region.

The Director of the Department of Transportation is the County Executive’s designated member on the Transportation Planning Board with the Deputy Director of Transportation Policy, serving as the Alternate. Director's Office staff serves on the TPB Technical Committee and several subcommittees. The Department of Transportation Planning of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) provides staff support to the TPB.  The TPB's activities are closely coordinated with COG's programs for forecasting population and employment for the region, and with the air quality planning activities of the Metropolitan Washington Air Quality Committee.


Constrained Long Range Plan (CLRP) - responds to new federal requirements that funding sources be identified for all strategies and projects included in long-range plans. Updated at least every three years, the CLRP includes only those projects and strategies that can be implemented over the planning period with funds that are "reasonably expected to be available."

Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) - an accounting of projects that have federal funding and/or are of regional significance and shows how portions of the CLRP will be implemented over the first 6-years of the planning period.

Updating the CLRP and TIP - For each update cycle, the TPB issues a broad solicitation for proposals of projects and strategies to be included in the CLRP and TIP that will meet financial constraints and help to meet air quality and other goals. Individual counties, municipalities, and state and federal agencies with the fiscal authority to fund transportation projects, as well as public groups and individuals, respond. After conducting a technical analysis and evaluation of the proposals and considering public comment, the TPB approves final versions of the regional CLRP and TIP for federal funding.

Individual Project Studies - Individual projects in the CLRP and TIP are often analyzed in more detail in corridor or sub-area studies. These studies are conducted by state and local agencies in cooperation with the TPB, and in accordance with federal procedures. These corridor and sub-area studies sometimes result in revisions to the individual project designs, which are incorporated by the TPB into subsequent updates to the CLRP and the TIP.

Conformity - Under the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments, the U. S. Department of Transportation cannot fund, authorize, or approve Federal actions to support programs or projects which are not first found to conform to the Clean Air Act requirements. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) jointly make conformity determinations within air quality nonattainment and maintenance areas to ensure that Federal actions conform to the "purpose" of the State Implementation Plans (SIP).

For more information on Regional activities refer to the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments home page: