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Home Page 3-30-2020

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

What is regional transportation planning?

Regional transportation planning is a collaborative process designed to foster participation by all interested parties, such as the business community, community groups, elected officials, and the public, through a proactive public participation process. The Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT), in cooperation with council of governments (COGS) and regional transportation planning organizations (RTPOS) allocates a portion of the State Planning and Research (SPR) funding made available via federal transportation legislation to provide transportation planning assistance for the non-metropolitan areas of the State. This regional transportation program assists ODOT in meeting the requirements of the Statewide Planning Process to address the transportation needs in non-metropolitan areas.

At a minimum, the RTPO addresses the following activities:

  • Review the Statewide Transportation Plan and compile local government comments relative to recommended plan updates,
  • Review the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program and compile local government comments relative to the program,
  • Provide input and oversight of various transportation-planning activities specific to the regional communities within the region,
  • Assist with developing Regional consensus on priorities of highway, transit, bicycle, and pedestrian projects,
  • Develop regional long-range transportation plans,
  • Provide a forum for public participation in the transportation planning process, and
  • Provide transportation related information to local governments.

History of the
Southwest Oklahoma Regional Transportation Planning Organization

The South Western Oklahoma Development Authority (SWODA) is an association of local governments, comprised of 8 counties, 48 cities and towns, and 10 soil conservation districts. SWODA on October of 2009 by Resolution #09-04 created the Southwest Oklahoma Rural Transportation Planning Organization (SORTPO). This action was in response to advocacy efforts by RPO America as part of the SAFETEA-LU federal highway and transit reauthorization process.

In April 2012, the Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT) entered an agreement with Oklahoma Regional Councils of Governments (OARC) to oversee development of the regional transportation planning process and the regional public participation process in the non-metropolitan areas of the state. Three Councils of Governments were selected as pilot projects: SWODA, Northern Oklahoma Development Authority (NODA), and Central Oklahoma Economic Development District (COEDD). In Federal Fiscal Year (FFY) 2016, through a collaborative effort involving SORTPO, the Association of South Central Oklahoma Governments (ASCOG) and the Department of Transportation (ODOT) a transportation planning pilot project comprising sixteen (16) counties was initiated representing two Councils of Governments SWODA and ASCOG. The SWODA Board of Trustees adopted a Resolution 16-06 amended the SORTPO region.

The objective of the Southwest Oklahoma Regional Transportation Planning Organization (SORTPO) is to coordinate with rural stakeholders and the public to develop a region wide transportation planning process. 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.

SORTPO has completed the development of 16 county long range transportation plans (Beckham, Caddo, Comanche, Cotton, Custer, Grady, Greer, Harman, Jackson, Jefferson, Kiowa, McClain, Roger Mills, Stephens, Tillman, and Washita. SORTPO has begun development of a single long-range transportation plan for the 16 counties. The process of development of this plan will culminate with anticipated adoption in FFY 2023. The plan will be developed in cooperation and collaboration with the SWODA /ASCOG member governments, the Oklahoma Department of Transportation and Federal Highway Administration, stakeholders and citizens in southwest Oklahoma. The Plan will include key issues, trends, challenges, goals and strategies, population and employment data, existing projects and recommended projects and services that address the following factors:

  1. Increase the safety of the transportation system for motorized and non-motorized users,
  2. Increase the accessibility and mobility of people and for freight,
  3. Protect and enhance the environment, promote energy conservation, improve the quality of life and promote consistency between transportation improvements and State and local planned growth and economic development patterns,
  4. Promote efficient system management and operation,
  5. Emphasize the preservation of the existing transportation system,
  6. Address a twenty-year planning horizon,
  7. Indicate, as appropriate, the transportation enhancement activities within the region,
  8. Include a financial plan that demonstrates the consistency of proposed transportation investments with already available and projected sources of revenue.