Core DOT Planning Products – LRTPs and STIPs
Kristen Z, Transportation Planner
[<3 Minute Read]
State Departments of Transportation (DOTs) develop and maintain two core planning products – the Statewide Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTPs) and the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIPs).
Statewide Long Range Transportation Plans (LRTPs) Overview
Federal regulations require DOTs to develop and maintain Statewide Long Range Transportation Plans (LRTPs). LRTPs are policy-oriented plans that set long range goals for the state multi-modal transportation system. These plans incorporate safety, access and mobility. LRTPs involve the state highway system of interstates, U.S. highways, state highways, and other transportation modes like air, bicycle, pedestrian, rail, and transit. There are no federal requirements regarding frequency of updating LRTPs or for listing individual projects. Since most LRTPs do not list projects, many states design and implement separate processes for identifying and prioritizing highway infrastructure projects.
Statewide Transportation Improvement Programs (STIPs) Overview
DOTs also develop and maintain Statewide Transportation Improvement Programs (STIPs). STIPS provide a list of all projects occurring in the statewide transportation system and all projects associated with statewide transportation initiatives that will be implemented over the next four years. Projects are listed as either individual projects (i.e. a modernization project to reconfigure an interchange on a highway) or as “bucket projects/programs” (i.e. ongoing transit operations funding program). STIPs include projects funded with federal funding, state funding and local government funding. In fact, federal funding cannot be approved for any project unless it is specifically listed in the STIP. STIPs typically are funded by billions of dollars and include hundreds of projects. Many DOTs utilize EcoInteractive’s Project Tracker software, which contains an administrative portal for DOT staff to manage and track STIP projects at the update and amendment stages.
STIPs require extensive coordination with MPOs in the state because they must include the current Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) from each MPO in the state. They also require extensive coordination with the division’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) office and the regional Federal Transit Administration (FTA) office because federal regulations require approval from these offices. EcoInteractive’s Project Tracker software helps with the flow the process with modules to seamlessly upload MPO TIPs and modules to receive federal review and approval. Additionally, DOTs provide regular opportunities for public input in the STIP and amend it regularly (EcoInteractive’s Project Tracker software includes a public facing portal to assist with public input).