Many of our local jurisdictions participate in the transportation planning process by assigning professional staff and elected officials to serve on our Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC) and Technical Coordinating Committee (TCC). In this capacity, they support the planning efforts and programs of the Burlington-Graham MPO.
Historically, most planning efforts by local jurisdictions have been geared towards land use (zoning) considerations and impacts. This is beginning to change as practitioners and researchers steadily acknowledge the intersection between land use and transportation planning. This is evidenced by local jurisdictions' participation in the development of special studies and the regional CommunityViz model. Burlington-Graham MPO supports this change and encourages our local jurisdictions to take an active role in planning for their transportation future.
While transportation financing decisions are made at a regional or state level, the determination of need for most projects often starts with our local jurisdictions. Some local jurisdictions, such as Mebane and Orange County, have adopted Comprehensive Transportation Plans for their area that identifies improvement opportunities across various modes. Other plans, such as the US 70 Corridor Study, examine a specific area. All are useful in helping Burlington-Graham MPO identify projects for future inclusion in the regional Metropolitan Transportation Plan (MTP).
Many of our local jurisdictions have played a key role in expanding the scope of transportation planning to consider other modes. Five of our largest municipalities--Burlington, Graham, Mebane, Elon and Gibsonville--have all adopted bike or pedestrian plans. Burlington and Mebane developed and adopted train connectivity studies in the last few years. Alamance County adopted a Trail Plan in 2014 that highlights existing trails and opportunities for growth and connections. All these plans and studies help to shift our transportation planning approach from an auto-centric perspective to one that is truly multi-modal. They also build a pipeline of projects, supported by quantifiable research and public engagement, that can potentially be integrated into future MTP versions and funded through the STIP.