Regional Transportation Planning, Research, Investment Strategies, and Funding.

Comprehensive Federal Transportation Bill Funds State and Regional Programs
Congress passed and President Obama signed a new federal transportation funding bill which stabilizes federal funding to state and metropolitan regions for planning and project improvements. The Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act, or “FAST Act,” sets new policy direction and funding levels for the federal aid transportation program, and among other key initiatives adds new competitive grants which promote investments in the nation’s strategic freight corridors. In addition, the FAST Act retains the multi-modal emphasis of the federal program by ensuring funding of transit programs as well as the Transportation Alternatives Program. The RTC region’s Congressional delegation, Senators Murray and Cantwell and Representative Herrera Beutler, each provided meaningful leadership in many strategic areas and each supported passage in Congress. More preliminary information about the FAST Act as summarized by the Association of Metropolitan Planning Organizations can be found here.
2015 Annual Report
In 2015, RTC deployed over $8.9 million in seed capital funds, for 17 regional TIP/TAP projects in the three-county region. These important projects are designed to upgrade the region’s signal, roadway, transit, and trail networks. The RTC continues to collaborate with members on planning for future oriented traffic signal and communications systems across the region as part of the VAST program. Partners to VAST hosted a regional forum to explore the future of the “connected” transportation system, and work will continue to position the regional partners in accommodating the connected vehicle and information systems. Regional collaboration with our bi-state partners as part of the Bi-State Coordination Committee continued to show progress and emerging studies of interstate corridors for transit and operations upgrades will be a focus for partners in the upcoming year.
Bi-state Travel Times now Available on Vancouver Area Freeways
RTC programmed funds in 2012, through the Vancouver Area Smart Trek Program, for the Washington portion of the Bi-State Travel Time project, a joint collaboration between the Washington and Oregon Departments of Transportation. RTC assisted in the project by planning and facilitating meetings between the transportation departments to define and develop the project, resolve technical issues on data sharing and integration, and on route and destination information.  (See also.)
RTC Selects Transportation Projects for Funding
On October 6, the RTC Board selected 12 projects to receive approximately $7.4 million in regionally allocated federal transportation funds. Projects will be implemented between 2016 and 2019, and include funding for arterial improvements along NE 119th Street and NE 10th Avenue, pedestrian and bicycle improvements along Highway 99 and Fort Vancouver Way, and operational improvements throughout urban Clark County.
In addition, the RTC Board approved the 2016-2019 Transportation Improvement Program, which indicates a funding commitment for approximately $195 million in transportation improvements over the next four years in the Clark County region.
Governor Signs Into Law a Major State Transportation Funding Package
On July 15, Governor Jay Inslee signed into law major new statewide transportation revenue, project funding, and reform bills which will shape RTC’s regional transportation system performance and project funding for years to come. Major elements of the new laws (referred to as Connecting Washington) included: creating a 16-year funding plan for building major freeway and roadway projects, distributing a slice of the gas tax to local agencies, funding multiple discretionary grant programs, and enhancing multi-modal grants and direct funds to transit agencies across the state. Here in Clark County, the transportation funding package funds many of RTC’s high priority projects for freeways, arterial roadways, transit and ports. Detailed summaries of the transportation projects funded by Connecting Washington and associated summaries of discretionary grant programs and local agency funding are found here:
Monitoring Report Indicates Increased Bi-State Congestion
The RTC Board endorsed the Congestion Management Process 2014 Monitoring Report at their July 7 meeting. This report describes transportation conditions in the region at the street corridor level, including an assessment of traffic volumes, capacity, speeds, occupancy, safety, trucks, and transit. Report findings indicate the region needs to continue to focus on traffic management and operation improvements, add select capacity improvements, and address strong demand for bi-state travel.
RTC Selects Bike and Pedestrian Projects for Funding
On July 7, the RTC Board of Directors selected five bike and pedestrian projects to receive approximately $1.5 million in federal Transportation Alternatives Program funding. The projects are all community based projects that expand travel choices and improve the travel experience. All five projects will enhance bike and pedestrian mobility and safety.
Clark County Completes Hazel Dell Area Sidewalks
Clark County recently constructed sidewalks along the east side of NE Hazel Dell Ave and south side of NW/NE 68th Street. The project was constructed using $442,000 in federal Transportation Alternatives Program funds that were awarded by RTC.
Port of Vancouver Completes Transit Terminus to Port Center Path
The Port of Vancouver recently constructed a multi-modal path along the south side of SR-501/Lower River Road. The project was constructed using $289,600 in federal Transportation Alternatives Program funds that were awarded by RTC.
Klickitat County Completes 6th Street Sidewalk
Klickitat County recently constructed sidewalks along 6th Street in Lyle, Washington. The project was constructed using $125,000 in federal Transportation Alternatives Program funds that were awarded by RTC.
City of Stevenson Completes Trail of the Gods
The City of Stevenson recently completed the first phase of a multi-use trail linking the City of Stevenson to the Bridge of the Gods. The project was constructed using $66,400 in federal Transportation Alternatives Program funds that were awarded by RTC.
County to Upgrade Traffic Signal Technology
RTC’s VAST program continues investment in advanced signal systems countywide. The Vancouver Area Smart Trek Program, managed by RTC, provided funds to Clark County for the Signal Timing, Evaluation, Verification and Enhancement, or STEVE, project. The project will provide the ability for real time traffic management on major urban roadways in the County.
Big Data in Transportation and Urban Planning
RTC’s partnership initiative in planning and deployment of the Portal traffic data archive and analysis tool is highlighted in an industry blog. From the article: “The Urban Planning and Transportation domains are undergoing a major change in data collection and usage. Two major factors contributing to this change are: first, a significant increase in deployment of urban sensors - increases both in the number and type of sensors - and, second, a demand for measuring performance and making decisions based on collected data from those sensors.”
I-205 Access and Operations Study Published
The RTC Board adopted recommendations, in November 2014, to address long- and short-term roadway improvements and transit operations in the I-205 corridor, as well a set of operational policies for regional freeway corridors in the region. They identified a core set of long term capital projects and a set of near term operational improvements for I-205. The analysis, findings and recommendations are described in the I-205 Access and Operations Study Report.
Clark County RTP: 2014 Update Adopted
The RTC Board adopted a 2014 update to the Regional Transportation Plan for Clark County (RTP) at its December 2 meeting. The RTP is the long-range, twenty-plus year, transportation plan required by federal and state governments as a pre-condition for receipt of federal and state transportation funding to this region. Adoption of the 2014 Plan concluded a year-long process during which Plan elements, such as regional transportation policies, demographic projections and transportation projects and strategies, were reviewed and updated.
Demographic Report: County Population Diversifying with Steady Growth
Demographers looking at national population data have identified three major trends of note – the population is growing; the population is aging; and the population is becoming more diverse. Theses national trends are playing out here in Clark County as well. To provide a foundation for the update to the Regional Transportation Plan, RTC has published a demographic profile for Clark County.