Regional Planning Approach
As the MPO for the Baltimore region, the Baltimore Regional Transportation Board (BRTB) coordinates planning activities and investment decisions related to surface transportation assets (roads, bridges, transit assets, pedestrian facilities, bicycle facilities).
The BRTB’s planning efforts follow a federally prescribed process. The Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (the FAST Act) is the authorizing legislation governing the regional transportation planning process. This process facilitates regional cooperation and decision making in transportation planning.
3-C Process / Federal Planning Factors
The FAST Act and its regulations stipulate that the regional transportation planning process “shall be continuous, cooperative, and comprehensive” [referred to as the 3-C process]. The BRTB has developed an agreement as to how they undertake the 3-C process in the Baltimore region. The planning approach also provides for consideration and implementation of projects, strategies, and services that address a series of planning factors.
Integrating Equity into Transportation Planning
In tandem with the 3-C process is the integration of equity throughout the process. Planning is an integral part of the transportation equation that ensures an equitable approach is applied to project and program development. To further this approach, the Baltimore Regional Transportation Board conducted a review of key products to assess opportunities to further this integration. The result of that effort can be found in the Equity Scan Recommendations.
Per federal regulations, the regional transportation planning process “shall provide for the establishment and use of a performance-based approach to transportation decision making.” Further, “each metropolitan planning organization shall establish performance targets that address . . . performance measures . . . to use in tracking progress toward attainment of critical outcomes.”
Performance targets cover several broad categories related to how well the transportation system is functioning. These categories include the condition of transit assets, transit safety, highway safety, traffic congestion, emissions, roadway and bridge condition and travel time reliability. Chapter 5 of the current Long-Range Transportation Plan and Section II.G of the current Transportation Improvement Program provide an overview of the performance-based approach and a regional system performance report with adopted performance measures and targets.