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

2019 Monitoring Report Indicates Continued Congestion
The 2019 Congestion Monitoring Report indicates that the pace of regional growth slowed in 2019, with continued congestion at key corridors and intersections. The region did experience a continuation of the 5-year trend of modest degradation of evening roadway speed performance. The major hot spot continues to be access to the I-5 and I-205 Columbia River bridges during peak hours. The region will move forward in 2020 with I-5 southbound active traffic management and bus on shoulder improvements to address congestion and safety in this critical corridor.
Agency Response to COVID-19 OutbreakStay Home. Limit Travel. Save Lives.
COVID-19 is having a serious impact on our community and around the world. In accordance with Governor Inslee’s Proclamation 20-28, and out of concern for the health and safety of our staff, our colleagues, and the public we serve, RTC will follow the public meeting guidelines established to minimize spread of the novel coronavirus. Until further notice, meetings deemed essential will be held virtually, with a minimum of on-site personnel present. Public access will be provided online. Please contact your meeting organizer to confirm plans for meetings you’d planned to attend.
2019 Annual Report on RTC’s Operations and Technology Program
The program known as Vancouver Area Smart Trek (VAST) is a partnership of transportation agencies in the Clark County region established to improve transportation system operations and performance through the use of smart technology and the system and communications infrastructure needed to support it. The VAST agencies, made up of WSDOT, Clark County, City of Vancouver, C-TRAN, and RTC collaborate on signal systems, freeway and arterial management, traveler information, and transit signal priority projects. Investments on operational and technology projects have been a small, but effective part of the overall transportation funding program. The annual report summarizes key 2019 accomplishments and recurring, recent and upcoming activities of the program.
Board Awards $14.2 million to Fund Critical Projects
On October 1, the RTC Board selected 15 projects to receive approximately $14.2 million in regionally allocated federal transportation funds. Projects will be programmed over the next four years, and include funding of transportation improvements in Cities of Vancouver, Camas, Battle Ground, and unincorporated Clark County. Funding will also be used for signal coordination, planning, and ramp meters. In addition to selecting grants, the RTC Board approved the 2020-2023 Transportation Improvement Program, which indicates a funding commitment for approximately $343.8 million in regional transportation investments over the next four years within the Clark County region.
RTC’s Investment in Main Ave Pathway Taking Shape
In 2015, RTC awarded $148,000 in federal Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) to Clark County to help fund the Ridgefield Main Avenue Pathway connector project from downtown Ridgefield to the Ridgefield Wildlife Refuge. These funds were combined with other local and federal funds to create a significant access and safety improvement project that is taking shape in the summer of 2019. When complete the improvement project will create a separated multi-use pathway and upgraded fish passages along Main Avenue, fostering much needed safety and access improvement into the Wildlife Refuge.
Board Selects Bike and Pedestrian Projects for Funding
On July 2, the RTC Board of Directors selected three bike and pedestrian projects within Clark and Skamania Counties to receive approximately $2.35 million in federal Transportation Alternatives funding. All were community based projects that expand travel choices, improve the travel experience, and enhance mobility and safety. The projects are along 1st Street in Stevenson, and NE 68th Street and Hazel Dell Avenue in Clark County.
Clark County RTP: 2019 Update Adopted
The RTC Board of Directors adopted a 2019 update to the Regional Transportation Plan for Clark County at its March 5 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 2019 Plan concluded an almost two-year process during which Plan elements, such as regional transportation policies, demographic projections, and transportation projects and strategies, were reviewed and updated.
Clark County’s Aging Population has Important Transportation Needs
The Clark County Commission on Aging has published a report highlighting the results of a years long effort to identify the County’s needs and to highlight potential strategies for helping aging residents access mobility options. This effort was running concurrent with RTC’s study of the residents social service needs and access to transportation mobility. RTC’s Human Services Transportation Plan and project recommendations was approved by the RTC Board in November 2018. Clark County’s Commission on Aging is hosting a community summit on February 21 to share their report recommendations and to foster community dialogue regarding taking action. RTC is a co-sponsor to this event and will participate in the summit.

News Feed

Below are an assortment of recent news items related to or impacting local transportation issues. Most of these stories were authored outside the agency, and will take you to a new page on (or PDF document from) an external site.

Pollution from vehicles down in Clark County, but outdoor burning rises - June 25, 2020
The cloud of COVID-19 comes with a thin silver lining: air pollution usually caused by commuting vehicles is down in major metropolitan areas, due to more people staying home. But in Clark County, the full picture is a little more complicated. Our region hasn’t seen pollution drop as significantly. In fact, according to various metrics monitored by the Southwest Washington Clean Air Agency, there hasn’t been much change at all – although emissions from cars are down, other kinds of pollutants, like those that come from wood burning, are up.
I-5, I-205 bridge crossings to and from Clark County plummet early on during pandemic - June 14, 2020
Traffic numbers on the Interstate 5 Bridge and Interstate 205 Bridge plummeted during the early weeks of the coronavirus pandemic, with daily vehicle crossings on I-5 dropping from a weekday average of about 139,000 in the first week of March to about 85,000 at the start of April. The numbers reflect a large-scale shift in commuting patterns as thousands of Clark County residents with Portland jobs made the switch to working from home. Daily crossings have begun to climb again, but local transportation officials have an important message for participants of the Great Telecommuting Experiment of 2020: Be ready to do it again. Clark County is about three months out from the start of the I-5 Bridge trunnion replacement project, which will relegate all of the freeway’s traffic to the southbound span for up to nine days while the northbound span undergoes an extensive renovation of its lift mechanism.
Work begins on Interstate 5 bus lane - June 13, 2020
C-Tran and the Washington State Department of Transportation will start construction this weekend on a project that will create a bus-only lane on the left shoulder of a 5-mile stretch of southbound Interstate 5 through Vancouver. The $4.9 million project will narrow the existing traffic lanes of I-5 from 12 feet wide to 11 feet, allowing the shoulder to be widened to 14 feet for bus use. The bus-only lane will run from around 99th Street in Hazel Dell to the Interstate 5 Bridge, allowing buses to bypass morning commute congestion if speeds drop below 35 miles per hour. The lanes will continue to look and operate like normal shoulders for other motorists, and they will still be available for disabled vehicles, incident response and other emergencies.
ODOT and WSDOT name key leader to head the Interstate Bridge Replacement Program - June 11, 2020
The Oregon Department of Transportation and Washington State Department of Transportation are excited to announce the appointment of Greg Johnson as the program administrator to lead the bi-state Interstate Bridge Replacement Program office. In this role, Johnson will jointly represent both ODOT and WSDOT to lead program development efforts using a transparent, data-driven process that prioritizes equity and inclusion. Replacing the aging Interstate Bridge across the Columbia River with a seismically resilient, multimodal structure that provides improved mobility for people, goods and services is a high priority for the bi-state region. Oregon Governor Kate Brown and Washington Governor Jay Inslee have directed the state DOTs to open the program office to restart work that identifies a bridge replacement solution for this nationally significant corridor.
Work begins to convert the southbound shoulder of I-5 in Vancouver into a bus-only lane, June 13 - June 11, 2020
People who ride C-TRAN buses on southbound Interstate 5 in Vancouver will soon have a more reliable trip during peak travel times. On Saturday, June 13, C-TRAN in collaboration with the Washington State Department of Transportation, will begin work to construct a bus-only lane using the left shoulder of southbound I-5, between the 99th Street Station and the Interstate Bridge. During peak early morning travel times, traffic along southbound I-5 routinely experiences heavy congestion, causing significant backups and delays and an increasing potential for crashes. The bus-only lane allows C-TRAN buses to bypass congestion by traveling on the shoulder, when speeds drop below 35 mph throughout this 5-mile stretch of highway.
A Proposed Ferry Service Between Vancouver, Wash., and Portland Just Got a $300,000 Grant - June 9, 2020
Commuters could be one step closer to bypassing the typically clogged freeways over the Columbia River via a new ferry service between downtown Portland and Vancouver, Wash. The Murdock Trust has provided Friends of the Frog Ferry with a $300,000 grant to study the benefits and costs of adding public water transportation in the Portland metro area. The nonprofit estimates a ferry would get passengers from Vancouver to Portland in 38 minutes. The proposed route would include multiple stops, from Cathedral Park in North Portland to Oregon City, in vessels that could move 596 passengers per trip.
Agencies propose cuts in key programs as Washington looks at budget woes - June 9, 2020
Washington residents could see dramatic cuts in road projects, care for seniors and college financial aid next year as state agencies try to adjust to a loss of tax dollars from the economic downturn brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. State agencies turned in proposals Monday to cut 15% from their budgets over the next fiscal year, which starts on July 1, as well as the two years after that. Among the suggested reductions are the following: $949 million from Transportation Department programs, with some of the biggest cuts coming in highway construction, maintenance and ferry service. The total includes about $500 million the department hasn’t spent on projects since mid March when much of the state’s construction temporarily halted, but doesn’t account for the cost of restarting those projects and making any changes.
C-Tran’s Mill Plain Vine project secures federal funding - May 29, 2020
C-Tran’s Mill Plain Vine project reached a significant milestone Friday when the Federal Transit Administration announced that it has allocated $24.9 million for the planned bus rapid transit line. The federal funding will cover approximately half of the project’s $50 million cost. The $24.9 million allocation fully matches what C-Tran had requested for the project. The agency was confident it had a strong application, according to chief external affairs officer Scott Patterson, but the news came much sooner than expected; C-Tran had been hoping to hear back by the end of the year. “We were surprised but also elated that they’ve announced it as soon as they have,” he said. Patterson said the agency’s biggest concern was that the funding would be delayed for some reason, which would have pushed back the whole project timeline. But Friday’s announcement means the FTA has committed to having the funding available when construction begins next year.
C-Tran says bus service holding steady - May 14, 2020
Despite unprecedented operational and budgetary challenges from the COVID-19 crisis, C-Tran bus service has persisted at essentially the same level as before the pandemic, and that’s not about to change anytime soon. That was the core message from C-Tran CEO Shawn Donaghy during a Tuesday evening report delivered to the transit agency’s board of directors. The agency is also forging ahead with several key projects, he said, most notably, the planned Mill Plain bus rapid transit line. “Our intention is to run as close as we can to full service – that’s been our goal since Day 1,” he said. Bus ridership plummeted in March as the coronavirus pandemic worsened. Rider numbers have begun to slowly climb in the past couple of weeks, Donaghy said, but they remain far below normal; ridership in the week ending May 2 was down 55.4 percent year-over-year.