Four-Stage Transportation Planning and Decision-Making
Stage 1: Policy Setting
Policy setting provides the foundation for planning and decision-making by articulating East-West Gateway’s transportation goals and region-wide priorities. Alongside technical analysis, citizen involvement is an essential resource for successful policy setting. East-West Gateway’s primary policy document is the Long Range Transportation Plan. This twenty-year plan provides the framework for future transportation decisions. Social, environmental, energy and economic factors contribute to the Long Range Transportation Plan.
Stage 2: Planning and Development
At this point, our transportation agenda is broadly defined. In the second stage, Planning and Development, transportation analysts further refine the region’s transportation needs and propose transportation solutions based upon the most up-to-date transportation models and diagnostic tools. Citizens and local leaders help analysts identify transportation needs and formulate solutions; they also influence the selection of a locally preferred alternative – the transportation improvement selected from among many alternate solutions. An example of planning and development is the Major Transportation Investment Analyses. These in-depth studies are used to identify and evaluate potential large-scale, costly transportation solutions, and are conducted with partner agencies such as the Missouri and Illinois departments of transportation and the Bi-State Development Agency
Stage 3: Project Selection
In this stage, transportation solutions become funded transportation projects. Proposals are solicited from local jurisdictions, transit providers, and state departments of transportation. These proposals are then evaluated based upon the transportation needs and priorities articulated in the Long Range Transportation Plan. Projects that best match these criteria are selected for inclusion in the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) – the three-year list of projects scheduled for design and construction backed by federal funds. The TIP acts like an accountant’s balance sheet. The total cost of selected projects, also known as programmed projects, cannot exceed federal and state monies ear-marked for region-wide transportation improvements.
Stage 4: Project Implementation
Project Implementation is the final stage. Here, a project is designed and constructed. Responsibility for implementation rests solely with a project’s sponsor – East-West Gateway has no formal role. Ideally, a project’s sponsor and East-West Gateway work closely to ensure consistency between transportation policy and the completed transportation project.