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What is a Transportation System Plan?

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A TSP describes a transportation system and outlines projects, programs, and policies to meet its needs now and in the future based on the community’s aspirations.

Questions the TSP Process will Help You Answer

What do we want?
What do we want?
What do we have now?
What do we have now?
What will we need in the future?
What will we need in the future?
How will we fund our projects?
How will we fund our projects?
What should we do first?
What should we do first?

Making your TSP a Success

A successful TSP is as unique as the community it describes: its policy framework, planning direction, and selected projects and programs reflect a community’s objectives and priorities to meet local multimodal transportation needs. Successful TSPs are developed in coordination with local city, county, regional, and state agency partners with input from local community leaders, business owners, and citizens.

Regulatory Compliance

A TSP must be consistent with other TSPs and planning documents governing the region it serves and with the Oregon Transportation Plan and its modal and topic plans. TSPs are required by the Transportation Planning Rule documented in the Oregon Administrative Rule 660-012-0015.

Example Transportation System Plans

Region 1: Portland Metro

The City of Gladstone TSP focuses on active transportation modes, multimodal connectivity, and the jurisdiction’s connection to regional systems (e.g., Regional Transportation Plan or regional transit network). It is organized around modal elements and focused on system needs, with mapped modal plan projects, project lists, and photo illustrations of design treatments included in to each modal chapter.

The Multnomah County TSP was developed in conjunction with the county’s Comprehensive Plan update. Notable elements include:

  • Addresses a wide range of users (from farm equipment operators to a growing cycling community)
  • Addresses areas with unique needs (e.g., Sauvie Island)
  • Supplements discussions of safety with a comprehensive map of crash types
  • Presents transportation solutions in a highly graphical, accessible toolbox
  • Provides a robust set of policies with an emphasis on health, equity, and inclusion of wildlife considerations (crossings)
  • Addresses bridges as a distinct element in the system plan.

Washington County created a TSP Users' Guide designed to be a user-friendly version of the Washington County TSP. This document, like the TSP itself, makes effective use of graphics and photos to illustrate the modal elements that make up the transportation system. Development code amendments adopted in conjunction with the TSP focus on implementation of the active transportation and transit elements of the plan.

The West Linn TSP features quantifiable targets to accompany goals instead of standard objectives. These are used as performance measures for TSP implementation. The bicycle element includes guidance from the League of American Bicyclists regarding bicycle-friendly communities and bicycle facility design guidance in a graphic matrix format. The plan includes constrained cross-section options for all functional classifications from minor arterials to local streets, and it has a well-developed transportation system management and operations section.

The 2013 Wilsonville TSP represents a new generation of reader-friendly TSPs with simple chapter categories and a heavily graphic orientation. The plan establishes an extensive set of policies that are more topic-oriented and includes policy areas such as connectivity and interchange management areas. Active transportation options are provided in both cross-sections and plan views for shared-use path, trail, and protected bike facility designs. The TSP presents recommended projects and programs in their own respective chapters and includes performance measures based on measures recommended by Metro.

Region 2: Willamette Valley and North Coast

The Eugene TSP, an adopted TSP from a large community includes a major university and an airport, and features extensive modally oriented policies. Policies specifically address complete streets, climate change, and equity, reflecting a triple-bottom-line planning and decision-making approach. The TSP explains its relationship to the state-mandated Regional TSP and the federally mandated Regional Transportation Plan. The TSP provides helpful graphics showing bicycle and pedestrian facility types, including neighborhood greenways, and organizes pedestrian and bicycle projects by treatment type.

The Cottage Grove TSP is a small community TSP and a good example of simple, clear document organization. The transportation projects are divided into financially constrained and illustrative (aspirational) categories. The plan identifies a wide range of pedestrian and bicycle treatments in the standards section; however, it does not provide design guidance (e.g., cross-sections) for the treatments.

The Gearhart TSP presents four improvement packages for different funding scenarios, including a financially constrained scenario. The plan includes a discrete section on emergency routes; describes Lifeline Routes and evacuation routes; and provides an evacuation route map showing the Lifeline Route (US 101), bridges and culverts, and tsunami assembly areas. Specialized street cross-sections allow for queuing on narrow local streets and include guidelines for modifying design elements in constrained areas. The TSP makes funding recommendations related to the City’s existing road district tax (a rare funding source) and other sources appropriate to the community’s tourism-based economy (e.g., transient room tax). The plan acknowledges that a project extensive enough to reduce congestion on US 101 would likely have unacceptable impacts on the community. The state and city must therefore address congestion by means such as introducing travel demand options; enhancing local street connectivity; maximizing system efficiency; and increasing walking, biking, and transit ridership.

Aumsville is a small community accessed by a state highway, OR 22. The Aumsville TSP has several exemplary elements for communities similarly situated and of a similar size. The plan presents transportation needs and recommends improvements based on two scenarios: build-out of the Urban Growth Boundary and Urban Growth Boundary expansion. Each recommended bicycle and pedestrian project briefly identifies the need addressed by the project. The plan includes a table of transportation demand management strategies that provides estimates of the trip reduction potential of each strategy. Access management strategies from the OR 22/Shaw Highway Interchange Area Management Plan are incorporated into the TSP. The funding section provides a methodology for a potential new Transportation System Development Charge program.

Region 3: Southwestern Oregon

Jackson County has roadway authority over several unincorporated urban areas and must coordinate transportation system planning with a number of cities and the Rogue Valley Metropolitan Planning Organization, or MPO. An important accomplishment embodied in the Jackson County TSP is the inclusion of updated goals and policies that clarify the county's development-related expectations and requirements as they pertain to transportation improvements. Exemplary TSP goals and policies articulate the county's expectations regarding design guidelines and development regulations, jurisdictional transfer, and transit improvements. In addition, the Goals and Policies section contains creditable objectives related to coordination within the MPO, financing and project prioritization, and planning a multimodal transportation system that is responsive to environmental and scenic resources.​

The city of Phoenix straddles and is adjacent to major state facilities including I-5 and OR 99. The project lists in its TSP identify which projects may be bundled with others listed. The Phoenix TSP incorporates and/or refers to elements of the Fern Valley Interchange Area Management Plan, including alternative mobility targets and a trip budget overlay zone. In a strong visual display, the plan provides project cost by mode pie charts for both city project costs and those shared by ODOT and the developer.

The Talent TSP categorizes projects into two tiers. Projects reasonably likely to be funded are in tier 1 and those that need new or additional funding are in tier 2. The TSP provides innovative cross-sections that enhance the safety and operations of the bicycle and pedestrian modes, particularly on key facilities in the city. The plan emphasizes trail improvements and connections, including those for the regional Bear Creek and Wagner Creek Greenways. The improvements recommended in the TSP are referred to as complete street and trail projects.

The Brookings TSP provides a good overview of the city's demographics and the location of vulnerable communities (Title VI and Environmental Justice populations). The plan includes strong active transportation elements such as:

  • A map of pedestrian and bicycle network opportunities and constraints
  • A bicycle parking inventory
  • Performance measures including pedestrian level of service and bicycle level of stress (color-coded mapping)
  • Safety/crash analysis for non-motorized modes

It also features specialized street cross-sections including hillside and residential street designs differentiated by the number of dwellings accessing the street and the proximity of parking. Recommended projects are effectively formatted as prospectus sheets. Bicycle improvement projects are notable and include recommended kiosk locations for information, rest stops/seating, bike tools, and other resources.

Region 4: Central Oregon

The Klamath Falls Urban Area TSP is a jointly-adopted plan that documents both city and county facilities within the city’s Urban Growth Boundary. Recommended projects are documented in geographic information system-based maps and are further defined in specific project prospectus sheets.

The Crook County TSP is organized around modal elements and focused on system needs. Within each modal element section, the TSP outlines a cost summary with expected County contribution to roadway projects by cost. Each section includes a table listing project descriptions, cost, funding partners, relative priority, and a modal plan map that identifies the locations of the listed projects. Another exemplary feature is the Roadway Design Standards section, which describes how County roadways are to be designed to city standards within the City of Prineville's urban growth boundary, providing clear direction for updating the two governments' Urban Growth Management Agreement.

Region 5: Eastern Oregon

Weston is a very small community with no state facilities inside city limits. Its 2015 TSP includes local street cross-section options to accommodate combinations of parking and drainage swales as well as cross-section renderings showing vehicles typically seen in the community (e.g., tractors). The plan includes projects just outside the Urban Growth Boundary that the city would like ODOT and Umatilla County to take into consideration. The TSP features prospectus sheets for each project, a particularly strategic and helpful tool for cities such as Weston, which have no internal funding source for transportation. Policy and development code amendments (Volume II) emphasize transportation options for health benefits and cost-effectiveness.​

The Pendleton Active Transportation and Transit Plan is a focused, graphical, and reader-friendly document. The plan presents projects in tables and prospectus sheets, a format the city intends to use in future grant proposals. The project prospectus sheets give a color-coded, at-a-glance evaluation of how well the projects address planning goals. The plan includes a robust trail section with enhanced project prospectus sheets (additional map) and trail cross-section options. The detailed transit plan addresses the variety of transit services in the Pendleton area and is based on service provider plans, an original survey, and other data analysis. The plan concludes with a graphical, high-level health-impact evaluation.

A small community on the Oregon/Idaho border, the city of Nyssa is traversed by state highways. The 2011 Nyssa TSP is an update of the non-motorized elements of the TSP focused on active transportation and trails. The plan incorporates helpful illustrations for the use of sharrows and a targeted set of projects to improve connections to the school and a detailed section on trails. Lists of recommended projects specify levels of project readiness.

For more examples of TSPs and other planning documents, see the Transportation Planning Online Database.


City of Gladstone TSP 101 Presentation

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