Next Regional Transportation Plan (RTP)
On this page
- A Focus on Sustainability
- Components of the Regional Transportation Plan
- Scenario Planning
- Current Activities
- Previous Activities
As the transportation planning agency for Santa Cruz County, the Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) is responsible for developing, implementing, and regularly updating the Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) for Santa Cruz County which is incorporated into the Association of Monterey Bay Area Governments’ (AMBAG) Metropolitan Transportation Plan (MTP). The RTP serves as our region’s long range transportation plan and provides guidance for decisions about transportation spending priorities.
A Focus on Sustainability
The next Regional Transportation Plan, scheduled for adoption in 2014, will address new requirements from California’s Assembly Bill 32 and Senate Bill 375 (2008), which call for regions across California to reduce greenhouse gas (GhG) emissions from cars and light trucks. The role of the RTP will be to plan for a transportation system that, when combined with the land use initiative in the Sustainable Communities Strategy (SCS) for the three counties area (Santa Cruz, San Benito and Monterey counties), will reduce the number of vehicle miles traveled by reducing trip distances and making it easier for everyone to access services by walking, biking, and/or transit. The GhG reduction target set by California Air Resources Board for the three-county area is to reduce per capita GHG to 2005 levels by 2020 and to reduce per capita GHG by 5% from 2005 levels by 2035.
A new and innovative tool, the Sustainable Transportation Analysis and Ratings System (STARS), is being utilized to develop the Regional Transportation Plan based on sustainable outcomes. This approach provides a framework for evaluating the RTP in terms of access, environment and economy (also referred to as people, planet and prosperity). The transportation plan goals and policies incorporate sustainable outcomes identified by STARS and will guide project selection for the short and long term. For more information about this approach, please see the complete Draft STARS for Plans Manual.
Watch the Transportation Cafe episode that highlights the inclusion of sustainability principals in the next edition of the area’s long range Regional Transportation Plan.
Components of the Regional Transportation Plan
The RTP includes goals, targets and policies (Policy Element) that are used to prioritize projects for funding; identifies the area’s transportation needs and plans (Action Element); and estimates the amount of state, federal, and local funds that may be available (Financial Element). Certain transportation funds require the project/program to be included in the most current RTP.
Policy Element – The goals, targets, policies and strategies were developed using the Sustainable Transportation Analysis and Rating System (STARS). The Draft Goals, Targets, Policies and Strategies were accepted by the Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission in May 2012.
Action Element – The Action Element component of the RTP, and the federal MTP, includes a list of transportation needs in the region for the next 20+ years as defined by the proposed project list. The draft project list has been approved by the RTC in March 2013. The next step in developing the project list for the RTP is to identify the projects that will be on the “constrained” (projects that can be implemented within foreseeable revenue) versus the “unconstrained” list (projects that could be implemented if additional funding was identified). Scenario planning is being used as a decision making tool to help identify the projects for the constrained versus unconstrained list (see discussion on Scenario Planning below).
Financial Element – Another step of the RTP development is to estimate the total expected revenue over the next 20+ years in order to better understand how Santa Cruz County will meet their transportation needs. The majority of the federal, state and local funding sources have specific eligibility requirements. One of the methods used in the draft plan to form project/program priorities is to match these regulations with the projects proposed. A preliminary draft financial element for funding projections through 2035 is under development.
In order to determine which projects will be on the “constrained” list in the RTP and MTP, RTC staff has been working closely with AMBAG staff on a scenario planning process. Scenario planning is a tool that provides a framework for land use and transportation decision making. By assuming various combinations of land development and transportation system improvements under different scenario themes, one can assess how each scenario advances the region’s goals using performance measures.
Transportation projects in the Draft RTP project list will be grouped into financially “constrained” packages that would be implemented under each scenario. Analysis of five distinctly different scenarios should provide the public and decision makers more information about, “what if funding is invested in…”. Following the development of the initial scenarios, two hybrid scenarios will be created that will bring together a mix of land use and transportation projects that best achieve regional goals and SB375 greenhouse gas emission targets. The final preferred scenario, selected from the hybrid scenarios, will be the land use and transportation vision for 2035 and will define the transportation projects that are on the constrained list in the RTP and MTP.
AMBAG, with input from the tri-county Regional Transportation Planning Agencies, Planning Directors, the Regional Advisory Committee, and the public have drafted the themes and descriptions of land use patterns and transportation investments to be considered in the Future Alternative SCS Scenarios. More information on AMBAG’s Sustainable Communities Strategy can be found on their Moving Forward Monterey Bay Project webpage.
- JUNE 2013 – RTC Transportation Policy Workshop – RTC and AMBAG staff will present the initial scenarios and an analysis of how the various initial scenarios compare in advancing the performance measures of the RTP and MTP.
- JULY 2013 – AMBAG will be hosting a second workshop in Santa Cruz County on July 18, 2013 from 6:00 to 8:00 pm at the Watsonville Community Center and on July 22, 2013 from 6:00 to 8:00 pm at the Santa Cruz Police Department. Results on how the initial scenarios advance the MTP/RTP goals will be presented and input on the hybrid scenarios will be solicited.
- MAY 2013 –Public Workshops hosted by AMBAG on the tri-county land use/transportation scenarios (also used in the STARS analysis) for how the projects advance the goals/targets of the RTP.
- MAY 2013 – Information on scenario planning for the 2014 Regional Transportation Plan and Metropolitan Transportation Plan was received and input provided by the RTC. (see Scenario Planning above) (see item #30)
- MAR 2013 – RTC approved the draft project list that identifies the transportation needs for Santa Cruz County through 2035
- OCT 2012 – Over 270 people completed a survey on travel patterns and barriers. (Survey 3 results)
- SEP 2012 – Input solicited on new project ideas for the 2014 RTP project list.
- MAY 2012 – The revised draft goals, targets, and policies were accepted by the RTC incorporating extensive input by the public, RTC advisory committees, and RTC commissioners. (staff report (see item #5), comments/responses)
- MAY 2012 – Over 400 people completed a second Regional Transportation Plan Goals, Targets, and Policy Survey. (Survey 2 results)
- APR 2012 – Public workshop held on the Goals, Targets and Policies for a Sustainable Transportation Plan. (presentation slides).
- FEB 2012 – Over 195 people completed the initial Transportation Plan Sustainability Survey about the sustainability objectives (Survey 1 results)
- JAN 2012 – Goal & Policy sustainability framework accepted
- NOV 2011 – Held two Sustainability Workshops focused on balancing the environment, economics and access. (public comments)
- RTP Draft Project List (accepted March 2013)
- RTP Draft Goals, Policies, and Targets (accepted May 2012)
- RTP Fact Sheet (updated May 2013)
- Transportation Cafe episode on STARS and the RTP (January 2012)
- RTP Timeline
- 2010 RTP
- Plan Regional de Transporte Hoja Informativa (Octubre 2011)