Looking northeast along Oklahoma State Highway 33 at its junction with Oklahoma State Highway 54 just east of Thomas, Oklahoma.

Rural transportation planning is a collaborative process designed to foster participation by all interested parties, such as businesses, community groups, elected officials, and the general public, through a proactive public participation process. Emphasis by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and Federal transit administration (FTA) is placed on extending public participation to include people who have been traditionally under served by the transportation system and services in the region.

The objective of the Southwest Oklahoma Regional Transportation Planning Organization (SORTPO) is to coordinate with rural stakeholders and the public to compile a statewide list of capacity/mobility projects, develop scoring criteria and prioritize a list of rural roadway projects. Non-highway modes will also be a part of the SORTPO Regional Transportation Plan.

The primary goals of the SORTPO Regional Transportation Plan include enhancement of rural transportation system connectivity, promotion of rural mobility/congestion relief and enhancement of rural transportation safety. When complete, the SOPTPO Regional Transportation Plan will represent Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT) long-term transportation goals for rural areas of the state.

The transportation planning process involves both long-term transportation system objectives and short-term implementation of projects and will provide a blueprint for the development of a safer, more efficient and less congested transportation network between population centers. Long-term objectives will be identified and documented in the regional transportation planning process. The identified planned transportation improvements will be implemented with the next 20 years. Steps will be taken to determine what short-term projects can be completed within the next 5 years.