Rural Planning Organizations - Their Role in Transportation Planning and Project Development in Texas: Technical Report

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J.H. Overman, P.L. Ellis, W.E. Frawley, R.F. Taylor, T.S. Geiselbrecht, V.D. Goodin

Publication Date:

June 2011


While a formal planning and programming process is established for urbanized areas through Metropolitan Planning Organizations, no similar requirement has been established for rural areas. Currently, under the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users, states are required to consult with non-metropolitan local officials in transportation planning and programming. The consultation process between state Departments of Transportation (DOT) and non-metropolitan local officials is not prescribed in the planning rules, and consultation practices vary widely among each state's DOT. Historically, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) has worked in cooperation with each individual rural county to plan and program projects. This has often resulted in a county-by-county project lists that the TxDOT districts must try to fashion into a regional strategy or plan. A need exists to examine the concept of rural planning organizations and research their use in Texas to determine if a formal rural planning organization may offer a means to improve transportation planning and programming. The objective of this research is to identify and examine rural planning organizations, their structure and operation, and their role in transportation planning and programming. The project will include a review of current processes used by TxDOT and other agencies to plan and program transportation projects in rural areas.

Report Number:



Rural Planning Organization, Rural Transportation Planning

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