Responsibilities and Activities
The Knoxville Regional Transportation Planning Organization is federally mandated to provide comprehensive transportation planning in the TPO Planning Area, consisting of all of Knox County and the urbanized areas of Anderson, Blount, Loudon and Sevier Counties.
Federal transportation legislation outlines several factors that must be considered as part of the planning process.
The factors are as follows:
- Support the economic vitality of the metropolitan area, especially by enabling global competitiveness, productivity, and efficiency;
- Increase the safety and security of the transportation system for motorized and non-motorized users;
- Increase the accessibility and mobility options available to people and for freight;
- Protect and enhance the environment, promote energy conservation, and improve quality of life;
- Enhance the integration and connectivity of the transportation system, across and between modes, for people and freight;
- Promote efficient system management and operation; and
- Emphasize the preservation of the existing transportation system.
Specific planning activities and documents required of the TPO include:
Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP)
The Unified Planning Work Program, a document identifying the specific work tasks, funding source, and responsible agency, is prepared on an annual basis by the TPO with input from the Technical Committee. Each participant in the process provides a description of tasks to be accomplished, schedule for completion, and estimated cost. The elements of the Unified Planning Work Program must address the four functions of the continuing transportation planning process, namely, administration, data management, technical analysis, and plan reappraisal. The TPO participants carry out the elements of the Unified Planning Work Program.
Long Range Mobility Plan (LRMP)
Federal legislations requires that each MPO with a population of at least 200,000 develop an intermodal transportation plan with at least a 20-year horizon. The plan must be updated every four years to keep consistent with existing conditions, reevaluate proposed plans, programs and projects, and validate air quality conformity analysis. The plan must include congestion management strategies, show costs, sources of revenue, and how the plan is financially constrained, reflect operations and management of the transportation system, and list all public involvement procedures and include all public comment on the plan.
Transportation Improvement Program (TIP)
The Transportation Improvement Program documents the cooperatively developed program of projects selected by the Technical Committee to be implemented during the program period of three years. This document provides a description of each project, estimated cost, and year in which implementation activity is scheduled. The TIP must be financially constrained and meet air quality conformity requirements. It includes all federally funded projects and all regionally significant projects. The TPO staff initiates, coordinates, and prepares the Transportation Improvement Program for transmittal to TDOT for subsequent transmittal to the Federal Highway Administration and Federal Transit Administration.
Congestion Management Process (CMP) Plan
The Knoxville Urban Area is identified as a Transportation Management Area (TMA) because it contains a population of greater than 200,000. As a result, the TPO is responsible for managing the CMP for the TPO Planning Area. There are six components that must be included: System Monitoring, Performance Measures, Congestion Identification, Mitigation Strategies, Implementation Strategy, and Monitoring of Effectiveness.
Regional Transportation Planning
As a result of the non-attainment designations comes the responsibility of addressing transportation planning regionally. The TPO Executive Board approved an agreement with TDOT which will fund the TPO to conduct regional transportation planning and air quality analysis for the Knoxville Regional nonattainment area.
TPO Executive Board
The TPO Executive Board is responsible for setting policy and adopting plans and programs. This Board provides cooperative decision making for transportation planning in the TPO Planning Area with responsibilities as follows:
- Provide administrative and fiscal control;
- Review and approve transportation planning and programming studies and reports;
- Establish study committees as required to ensure cooperative, comprehensive, and continuing transportation planning;
- Carry out the provisions of Federal transportation planning regulations.
TPO Technical Committee
The Technical Committee, through policy direction, is responsible for the daily administration of all transportation activities. The members of this committee, by virtue of their staff position, disseminate transportation policies, procedures, and schedules to respective agency professionals for execution. The Technical Committee receives plans, programs, and transportation documentation for review prior to presentation to the Executive Board for approval. The Technical Committee appoints subcommittees, as needed, to organize, coordinate, evaluate, and document transportation planning, programming, and reporting requirements necessary for orderly program implementation and certification. The TPO Technical Committee performs the following tasks:
- The Technical Committee is responsible directly to the Executive Board for administration of transportation planning and programming, relying on the TPO Director to achieve coordination among technical staff participating in the process;
- The Technical Committee shall establish schedules and assign personnel to accomplish same in accordance with Executive Board policy and legislative requirements;
- The Technical Committee, individually or collectively, shall research and prepare planning studies and program development, and report to the Executive Board as appropriate;
- The Technical Committee shall cooperatively review and approve plans and the planning process;
- The Technical Committee shall carry out Federal transportation planning regulations.
TPO Executive Director
The Executive Director of the Knoxville/Knox County Metropolitan Planning Commission designates the TPO Director. With a professional staff from the Knoxville/Knox County Metropolitan Planning Commission, the TPO Director conducts studies, develops plans and programs, and chairs all TPO subcommittees. This staff is the liaison between the TPO and the Federal Highway Administration, the Tennessee Department of Transportation, local governments, and other groups or individuals interested in transportation issues.