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Richmond Regional TPO

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The RRPDC is a regional planning agency serving
the Town of Ashland;
the City of Richmond; and
the counties of Charles City, Chesterfield, Goochland, Hanover, Henrico, New Kent, and Powhatan.

Richmond Regional
Planning District Commission

9211 Forest Hill Avenue
Suite 200
Richmond, VA 23235

Directions to RRPDC

Phone:  804.323.2033
Fax:  804.323.2025

Office Hours:
Monday - Friday
8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.



Richmond Regional TPO Study Area Boundary

Study Area Boundary extension approved by the RRTPO April 13, 2006.

Click Here to go to the Town of Ashland's web site Click Here to go to Charles City County's web site Click Here to go to Chesterfield County's web site Click Here to go to Goochland County's web site Click Here to go to Hanover County's web site Click Here to go to New Kent County's web site Click Here to go to Powhatan County's web site Click Here to go to the City of Richmond's web site Richmond Area MPO Study Boundary Approved April 13, 2006


Frequently Asked Questions

Table of Contents
  1. What is an MPO?

  2. What is the RRTPO?

  3. What is a study area or metropolitan planning area?

  4. What about transportation planning for rural areas?

  5. What are the RRTPO's planning processes?

  6. What Federal, State and Regional Agencies are involved in the RRTPO process?

  7. What Federal Legislation guides the RRTPO?

  8. What Funding Programs are available to the RRTPO?

1. What is an MPO?

A metropolitan planning organization (MPO) is a regional organization that serves as the forum for cooperative transportation decision-making and funds-allocating in a metropolitan area. MPOs are made up of representatives from local governments and transportation authorities of a metropolitan region.

The Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1962 required the formation of an MPO for any urbanized area (UZA) with a population greater than 50,000. Federal funding for transportation projects and programs are channeled through a planning process performed by the MPO.

MPOs empower locally-elected officials to ensure that expenditures of governmental funds for transportation projects and programs are based on a continuing, cooperative, and comprehensive (“3‑C”) planning process. Statewide and metropolitan transportation planning processes are governed by federal law (23 U.S.C. §§ 134–135).

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2. What is the RRTPO?

The Richmond Regional Transportation Planning Organization (RRTPO) is the public name under which the RRTPO for the Richmond Region operates since October 2, 2014. The official name of the organization is the Richmond Regional Transportation Planning Organization. The RRPDC serves as the contracting agent for the Richmond Regional Transportation Planning Organization, and provides the administrative and technical staff.

The RRTPO is organized under a Memorandum of Understanding and Bylaws. The RRTPO annually establishes a Unified Work Program (UWP) which defines work tasks for the upcoming fiscal year (July 1 to June 30) and shows staff assigned and funds allocated to the UWP’s work tasks. The RRPDC provides lead staffing and primary administrative and technical support for RRTPO tasks. Based on these adopted plans, area local governments and transportation agencies prepare detailed and specific transportation projects.

The primary products of the RRTPO are a regional long-range 20-year transportation plan, a 3-year transportation improvement program, and related plans and studies. Within this regional framework, local governments and state and local transportation agencies refine these project proposals which are submitted to the RRTPO for review and approval as part of its Transportation Improvement Program (TIP). For fiscal year 2000-02, the RRTPO coordinated the development of a $302 million transportation improvement program.

The RRTPO is charged under Section 134 of the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1973, as amended, for maintaining and conducting a “continuing, cooperative and comprehensive” (i.e., “3C”) transportation planning process that results in plans and programs consistent with the comprehensively planned development of the Richmond urbanized area. The RRTPO and the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) annually certify the RRTPO’s compliance with federal requirements for the “3C” process, and other federal rules and regulations, as a condition for the Richmond area receiving federal capital and operating assistance funds.

Various federally funded highway and transit projects that are located within the RRTPO study area must be approved by the RRTPO prior to their becoming eligible for federal funds.

Voting membership on RRTPO includes nine local governments, four transportation/planning agencies, and VDOT. Consultants, local government, VDOT, and other staffs are also utilized as detailed in the UWP. Standing and special RRTPO committees review, comment, and advise the RRTPO on various work tasks and other matters and issues related to the region’s transportation needs, plans, programs, and projects.

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3. What is the study area or metropolitan planning area?

A study area (or metropolitan planning area) is the portion of a region for which an MPO does transportation planning. A study area encompasses the existing census-defined urbanized area of a metropolitan region, as well as the contiguous areas expected to become urban over the next 20-year period. Federal guidelines do not include expliclt requirements for setting or adjusting study areas. The MPO and the Governor approve the Study Area Boundary.

The RRTPO's study area includes all of the City of Richmond, the Town of Ashland, and the counties of Chesterfield, Hanover, and Henrico, as well as approximately one-half of each of the counties of Charles City, Goochland, New Kent, and Powhatan.

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4. What about transportation planning for rural areas?

The RRPDC also assists rural areas in their transportation planning through cooperative agreements with member counties and the Virginia Department of Transportation.

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5. What are the RRTPO's planning processes?

Urban Transportation Process

Urban Transportation Planning Process

Major Projects of Integrated Transportation Planning &
Programming Process

Major Projects of Integrated Transportation Planning & Programming Process

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6. What Federal, State and Regional Agencies are involved in the RRTPO process?

CRAC——Capital Region Airport Commission

DRPT——Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation

EPA——Environmental Protection Agency

FAA——Federal Aviation Administration

FHWA——Federal Highway Administration

FRA——Federal Railroad Administration

FTA——Federal Transit Administration

GRTC——GRTC Transit System (formerly Greater Richmond Transit Company)

MRAQC——Metropolitan Richmond Air Quality Committee

RideFinders——A public nonprofit corporation that provides carpool/vanpool matching and other commuter and transportation services.

MARAD——Maritime Administration 

RMTA——Richmond Metropolitan Transportation Authority

RRPDC——Richmond Regional Planning District Commission

USDOT——United States Department of Transportation

VDA——Virginia Department of Aviation

VDEQ——Virginia Department of Environmental Quality

VDOT——Virginia Department of Transportation

VTRC——Virginia Transportation Research Council

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7. What Federal Legislation Guides the RRTPO?

ADA of 1990——Americans With Disabilities Act

CAAA of 1990——Clean Air Act Amendments

ISTEA——Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act; passed in 1991; reauthorized federal surface transportation programs for highways, highway safety and transit for a six-year period, 1992 to 1997. ISTEA provided for significant expansion of RRTPO planning and programming authority and responsibilities.

TEA-21——Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century; signed into law on June 9, 1998. Authorizes federal funds for highways, highway safety, transit, and other surface transportation programs for the next 6 years. Builds on and continues many of the initiatives established in the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) of 1991.

SAFETEA-LU——Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users; Signed into law on August 10, 2005. SAFETEA-LU guarantees funding for highways, highway safety, and public transportation totaling $244.1 billion and represents the largest surface transportation investment in U.S. history. SAFETEA-LU builds on the two landmark bills that brought surface transportation into the 21st century by shaping the highway program to meet the nation's changing transportation needs—the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA) and the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21). The metropolitan planning provisions of SAFETEA-LU retain most of the previous planning provisions from TEA-21; however, there are significant changes in several areas. These new provisions are identified and discussed under various work tasks in the UWP.

MAP-21——Moving ahead for progress in the 21st century; signed into law on July 6, 2012 (replaced SAFETEA-LU). Funding surface transportation programs at over $105 billion for fiscal years 2013 and 2014, MAP-21 is the first long-term highway authorization enacted since 2005. MAP-21 creates a streamlined and performance-based surface transportation program and builds on many of the highway, transit, bike, and pedestrian programs and policies established in 1991.

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8. What funding programs are available to the RRTPO?

SPR——State Planning and Research; funds allocated to VDOT in support of RRTPO program activities.

Local Match——Funds required by recipients of PL and Section 5303 funds for matching federal and state grant funds. Section 5303 and PL funds require a 10% match, with VDOT/VDRPT providing 10% and the remaining 80% provided by the federal source. 

RRPDC——Funds from the RRPDC (state appropriations and local dues) provided in addition to required local match funds (sometimes noted as RRPDC overmatch).

PL——Planning funds available from FHWA for RRTPO program activities. 

CMAQ——Congestion Mitigation/Air Quality funds also available for eligible planning activities leading to project implementation. 

Section 5303——Planning funds available from the FTA for RRTPO program activities. 

Multimodal Planning——Multimodal Planning Grant; VDOT discretionary grant program (state funds matched by local funds) providing assistance and support for innovative multimodal transportation planning initiatives.

TEIF——Transportation Efficiency Improvement Fund; purpose of program is to reduce traffic congestion by supporting transportation demand management programs designed to reduce use of single occupant vehicles and increase use of high occupancy vehicle modes; operated by the Commonwealth Transportation Board.

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Richmond Regional Planning District Commission | 9211 Forest Hill Avenue | Suite 200
Richmond, VA 23235 | (804) 323-2033

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