US Department of Transportation

FHWA PlanWorks: Better Planning, Better Projects

US Department of Transportation

FHWA Planworks: Better Planning, Better Projects

LRP-1: Approve Scope of LRTP Process

Long Range Transportation Planning


The scoping Key Decision involves a broad assessment of the data, decisions, and relationships to consider, acquire, or make throughout the entire long range transportation plan (LRTP) process. Decisions made at the scoping Key Decision in long range planning inform both corridor planning and environmental review by establishing the baseline information that will dictate those subsequent processes. This is a key point to form new or acknowledge existing relationships with partners in transportation decision-making and other decision-making processes such as land use, natural environment, human environment, capital improvement and safety and security.


The first table describes the purpose and anticipated outcome of a Key Decision. If the decision is federally mandated, the purpose and outcome will relate to the legal intent.

The second table describes roles for key partners with legal decision making authority in the transportation process. The roles indicate the influence a partner can have on a decision, and show each partner where their input is most needed. For a full understanding of roles see the Partner Portal.


To develop a common understanding and reach agreement on the LRTP process, including all information relevant to transportation, community, and the environment. This includes stakeholders to engage; roles and responsibilities; tools and data sources to be used; timeframes; and public involvement plan.


Documented agreement on the LRTP process and its elements, including transportation conformity in nonattainment and maintenance areas for the transportation-related pollutants. This agreement can be used as a foundation when starting the corridor planning and environmental review processes.
Confirmation that the transportation process is in agreement with the larger community plans and programs.

Partner Role Type Description
MPO Decision Maker Ensures LRTP development that is broadly inclusive and considers both the human and natural environment of the region.
FHWA/FTA Advisor Ensures the process is inclusive and meets federal requirements.
State DOT Advisor Ensures that LRTP development meets federal requirements and incorporates the state's interests as appropriate.
Resource Agency Advisor Agree to collaborate in long range planning and ensure appropriate information is brought forward and used, including the ecological planning region, ecological goals and priorities.
Public Transportation Operator(s) Advisor Ensures that LRTP incorporates transit interests as appropriate.

Questions to Consider

Questions are a way to gather input from partners and stakeholders that can be used to inform the decision. Decision makers can discuss the questions provided to ensure a broad array of interests are considered to support a collaborative process. Questions also allow staff to collect stakeholder interests, ensure these are included in the decision, and provide a response based on the decision outcome. Although Public Transportation is not represented by a PlanWorks Application, the information provided may be useful in a collaborative transportation process.

Category Questions to Consider
Long Range Planning
  • Are there emerging issues?
  • What major changes have occurred since the last plan?
  • What are the potential opportunities or challenges that might come up with respect to other plans/programs in progress?
  • Who are our proponents and opponents?
  • Is the existing public involvement plan sufficient to support full stakeholder engagement?
  • For projects involving innovative financing and/or non-traditional revenue sources, is the required expertise available?
  • Have potential funding partners been identified?
  • What funding programs are available?
  • Are there potential funding partners to consider?
Corridor Planning
  • Are there active or completed corridor studies to inform the LRTP update?
Environmental Review
  • Is there agreement on the planning region with respect to ecological assessment?
Bicycles and Pedestrians
  • Is the scope set up to consider bicycle and pedestrian network connectivity, barriers, connections to transit and other modes, accessibility for people with disabilities and linkages to jobs, schools, and community services?
  • Are there federal, state, local or regional bicycle pedestrian or trail plans that can be incorporated? Are there local, regional, or State Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Transition Plans that can be incorporated?
  • Which bicycle and pedestrian stakeholders should be at the table?
Capital Improvement
  • Have capital improvement planners been informed of the long-range plan update and invited to participate?
  • What information is available about capital improvement plans, including projects and available funding?
Economic Development
  • Is there agreement on the planning region with respect to assessing economic impacts?
  • Has a need for additional funding and revenue sources been identified in economic plans/policies?
  • Have all sources of economic data and information on performance indicators been identified?
  • Is the scope broad enough to consider freight movement?
  • Is the region significantly impacted by freight movement? If so, what corridors or subareas are most heavily impacted?
  • Are there areas that are particularly problematic for freight movement?
  • Is there an existing freight advisory group that can be re-engaged? If not, should this be initiated at this time?
  • Which freight stakeholders should be involved in the planning process?
  • How will the process integrate or interact with national and State freight planning processes?
Greenhouse Gas Emissions
  • Are existing tools and data resources sufficient to support the proposed method of GHG analysis? If not, what additional data/resources will be needed to support the desired method of GHG analysis?
  • Are there requirements that will influence how GHG emissions will be considered, (for example, state climate action plan and/or Federal GHG inventory or reduction requirements)?
  • Does the consideration of GHG emissions have bearing on other objectives - (energy, congestion, smart growth, others)?
  • What are the specific years of interest for the GHG analysis? Have data for those years been received?
Health in Transportation
  • Do decision makers recognize public health as an important transportation issue? If not, will identifying benefits, strong community support, or other factors increase support?
  • Have any existing plans, partnerships, or relationships that support integrating health been identified (e.g., Strategic Highway Safety Plan, Toward Zero Deaths, or Health in All Policies)?
  • Are there any existing studies or assessments of the relationship between health and transportation in the region? If so, how can these studies be used as guides?
  • Have all the potential health stakeholders been identified and invited, including those with relevant information and perspectives for assessing and addressing the community‚Äôs health needs and priorities?
  • Has a communication plan been developed with identified points in the planning process when it will be most beneficial to have the advice, expertise, and perspective of health stakeholders?
  • In general, what transportation-related health issues identified at the outset are relevant in the region? Examples may include safety, air quality, physical activity, noise, equitable access to community resources and opportunities, health equity, or other issues identified by community and health stakeholders.
Human Environment and Communities
  • How will the community be represented and participate in the planning process?
  • What do we know about low-income, disabled, and minority populations or other specific groups to engage?
  • What information is available about the human environment, important features, and interests?
Land Use
  • Have the appropriate land use stakeholders been identified and invited to participate?
  • Have land use patterns and growth forecasts been considered in defining the planning region for analysis?
  • How will land use partnerships, political context, and land use planning constraints influence the scope?
  • Is there political will to implement land use changes in the region?
Linking Planning and Operations
  • Are there local operational strategies in place that can be built upon to create a regional operational approach?
  • Are there operational partners/stakeholders to include?
  • Is there a regional concept of operations or an operations related plan?
Natural Environment and Implementing Eco Logical
  • Is there a formal interagency conservation and transportation partnership agreement?
Performance Measures
  • What performance measures have been used in the past? Are they still appropriate?
  • Are any agreements in place regarding regional support for state and National Goals?
  • What data is readily available and what new data must be collected?
  • How might planning partners assist in data or analysis?
Planning and Environment Linkages
  • Are there active or completed PEL studies that may inform the scope?
Public Private Partnerships
  • Is there public and political support for tolling, especially tolling by a private company, in the region?
  • Is there existing legislation that supports the use of revenue generation strategies in a private concession or other P3 arrangement? If not, are decision makers considering such legislation?
  • Is there a state or regional agency/department that assists with revenue generation projects to serve as a trusted advisor?
  • Has prior experience with revenue generation strategies in the region (or in other regions) been considered?
  • If there is no interest or ability to support revenue generation strategies such as tolling or value capture taxation during development of the long-range plan, has this been documented for potential consideration during project development?
Public Transportation
  • Have modal partners been identified and invited to participate? Are there modal stakeholders that should be included?
  • What safety planning is available to inform development of the long range plan?
  • Have safety partners been notified of the plan update and invited to participate?
Stakeholder Collaboration
  • This Key Decision is not associated with the Application.
Transportation Conformity
  • What is the transportation conformity deadline?
  • Is there an emissions budget for the region?
Visioning and Transportation
  • Is there a community vision or goals to consider from an external visioning process? If so, what is the preferred vision?


The following list of data may be needed to support the Key Decision. Practitioners collect this information for decision makers to consider. Although Public Transportation is not represented by a PlanWorks Application, the information provided may be useful in a collaborative transportation process.

Category Data to Consider
Long Range Planning
  • Enablers and constraints on the planning process
  • Federal requirements for LRTP updates and schedule required to meet deadlines
  • Previous long range transportation plan
  • Full range of identified stakeholders to include in the process.
  • Stakeholder perspectives coming into the planning process
  • Public involvement plan or policy
  • Project detail information from those projects currently in development or construction
  • Potential funding sources/partners
  • Innovative financing mechanisms to fund projects in the LRP
  • Funding available for LRTP development
Corridor Planning
  • Small area and corridor plans
  • Transportation planning (MPO, city, county, corridor) boundaries
Environmental Review
  • Risks and potential risk mitigation strategies
Bicycles and Pedestrians
  • Bicycle and pedestrian data, including existing and proposed pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure, injuries and fatalities, and volume/activity

    Estimating Bicycling and Walking for Planning and Project Development: A Guidebook (

  • Multimodal data such as bicycle and greenway plans, trails plans, including recreation plans including Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan, and other recent plans
  • Any bicycle and pedestrian data that partners have to contribute, including pedestrian and bicycle counts, and crash/fatality data, such as that collected through the Fatality Analysis Reporting System, emergency rooms, and university health centers.
Capital Improvement
  • Capital improvement or development plans
Economic Development
  • Economic development visions or plans
  • Existing truck routes/rail lines
  • Existing freight plans (e.g., State freight plans or congestion management elements related to freight)
  • Specific projects implemented to address freight need
  • Funding resources specific to freight
  • List of freight stakeholder contacts
  • Location of freight facilities
Greenhouse Gas Emissions
  • Availability of data and tools to support analysis
  • Plans in the region that address GHG
  • Public or political support for GHG reduction
  • Analyze years of interest for GHG and other considerations
  • GHG emissions source data
  • Relevant rules and regulations that apply to GHG emissions
Health in Transportation
  • Assessment of agency, political, and public support for incorporating health
  • Existing plans and studies that affect or assess health in the region
Human Environment and Communities
  • Data from individual programs such as Safe Routes to School
  • General information about communities in the region
  • American with Disabilities Act (ADA) Transition Planning activities and priorities identified in the state and local ADA Transition Plans
  • Special populations to consider
  • Federal and state resource agency contacts (for example, State Historic Preservation Office)
  • Information from community visioning processes and/or comprehensive plans
Land Use
  • Enablers and constraints to implementation of land use plans
  • Land use planning boundaries, patterns, and stakeholders
  • Land use plans, policies, and philosophies (both local political jurisdiction and from land management agencies)
Linking Planning and Operations
  • Operations plans and partners, successful strategies, and operations related performance measures
Natural Environment and Implementing Eco Logical
  • Any funding sources identified through ecological planning
  • Combined map of conservation, restoration, and enhancement priorities
  • Ecological goals, memoranda of understanding, and other agreements
  • Ecological partnerships that exist or are willing to initiate partnerships, relationships with resource agencies, and conservation NGOs
  • Ecological plans that exist or are in planning
Performance Measures
  • Performance measures used or required
  • Individual data types and the required analysis/tools to use these
Planning and Environment Linkages
  • Data from relevant PEL studies
Public Private Partnerships
  • Assessment of public and political support for revenue generation strategies such as tolling
  • Rules and regulations relevant to revenue generation strategies in the P3 context , including necessary authorization
  • Expert perspectives on issues related to project development through P3 arrangements for project delivery, funding, and finance
Public Transportation
  • Public transportation agency staff and available public transportation data
  • Public transportation operating plans
  • Safety plans (i.e. Strategic Highway Safety Plan emergency management, State Homeland Security Program)
  • Safety partners and stakeholders
Stakeholder Collaboration
  • This Key Decision is not associated with the Application.
Visioning and Transportation
  • Vision and goals from an external process


In - depth case studies of successful practices in collaborative decision making were used to develop the Decision Guide.Links in this table point to a specific paragraph or section of a case study that supports a Key Decision. It is not necessary to read through an entire case study to find the example; however, full versions are available in the Library.

PlanWorks Case Study Examples:
I-5 Beltline Interchange Plan - Using Community Values as Performance Measures lrp-1

Other Examples:
Springfield's Pedestrian and Bicycle Network
Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission Pedestrian and Bicycle Counts