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When to update a Transportation System Plan?

Like all planning documents, a TSP should be updated periodically to reflect a community’s growth and change. Many circumstances can trigger a TSP update, including state or regional compliance issues, changing community priorities, and funding availability. Cities located within a metropolitan area must update their TSPs in conformance with the 2022 updates to the State Transportation Planning Rule (TPR) intended to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (see OAR 660-0012-0100). The Department of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD) encourages communities to review and update their major plans, including TSPs, on an interval of around seven years. Communities experiencing rapid change may need to update at shorter intervals.


Does my community need to have a TSP?

The TPR provides exemptions to some jurisdictions.

Cities with fewer than 10,000 people
Outside of a metropolitan area - Cities with fewer than 10,000 residents may not be required to have a TSP

Inside a metropolitan area - Cities and Counties with fewer than 10,000 residents  may not be required to have a TSP
Counties with fewer than 25,000 people
Outside of a metropolitan area - Counties with fewer than 25,000 residents may not be required to have a TSP
Unincorporated areas with fewer than 10,000 people
Outside of a metropolitan area -Unincorporated areas of counties inside the UGB with fewer than 10,000 residents may not be required to have a TSP

DLCD may grant a whole or partial exemption from TPR requirements for these jurisdictions. This includes jurisdictions that are newly included in a metropolitan area and may be subject to new rules. Exempt jurisdictions are still eligible for state grant funding to prepare or update a TSP but may not be obligated to fulfill all the requirements in the TPR. More information about how to apply for an exemption may be found here.

Can my community secure funding to complete a TSP update?

Many communities looking to update their TSP need funding to support the effort. Some funding opportunities, like the Oregon Transportation and Growth Management (TGM) program, are competitive and could impact when an update takes place. Other communities may be able to self-fund a TSP update, providing more flexibility for timing.

How long will a TSP update take?

Completing all elements of a TSP typically takes 18-36 months. Scope, complexity, staff availability, community interest, budget, and the number of agency participants can influence the timeline.

What might trigger an update?

Change in population  

Population growth and changes to land use patterns, such as:

  • Significant actual or anticipated population growth
  • Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) expansions and annexations
  • Adoption of a Climate Friendly Area (CFA) for jurisdictions within a metropolitan area
  • Zoning changes, particularly those that increase residential density or that mix uses
  • Updated planning documents (i.e., Buildable Lands Inventory, Housing Needs Analysis, Economic Opportunities Assessment)

Bike in car lane vs. bike in bike lane. Reflects changing community priorities.  

Changed community priorities, such as: 

  • Planned new employment or residential development that requires new transportation infrastructure 
  • Increased housing diversity and complete neighborhoods policies
  • Climate Action Plans that call for a reduction in vehicle miles traveled
  • Planning for evacuation and supply routes as part of emergency preparedness
  • Community interest in enhancing active transportation modes
  • New funding sources (i.e., state or federal grants that require an adopted plan for eligibility)
  • New infrastructure that is needed to comply with an Americans with Disabilities Act Transition Plan
  • For metropolitan areas, plans to add new or expanded road facilities as defined in OAR 660-012-0830

Calendar showing TSP is out of date  

The current TSP document no longer addresses the existing or future transportation needs/vision/standards of the local jurisdiction, such as:

  • Need for new transportation projects based on infill redevelopment or UGB expansions
  • Need to update a Capital Improvement Program
  • Plan amendments or zone changes
  • Specific modal elements need inclusion or updating (i.e., transit plan)
  • Roadway functional classifications are inconsistent between local and state jurisdictions
  • Most projects in the TSP have been completed
  • The TSP planning horizon is less than 15 years from the current date

Crossed out smog cloud  

The current TSP is inconsistent with other local plans or policies, such as:

  • Updated comprehensive plan elements, including a Housing Capacity Analysis
  • A new or updated transit development plan
  • Updated system development charges/transportation impact fees
  • Periodic review (regularly scheduled updates to major planning documents; see below)
  • An expansion of the urban growth boundary
  • Annexation of land into a jurisdiction
  • An Urban Reserves designation
  • Planning for the location or relocation of a major transportation facility
  • New or relocated employment center
  • Transportation refinement plans (draft, adopted by resolution, or legislatively adopted by reference into the TSP)
  • Planning for major improvements on the state system (e.g., freeway interchanges or new bypasses)
  • Plans related to access to and connectivity with other transportation modes (e.g., air, rail, transit, or freight)

Autonomous vehicle  

The current TSP is inconsistent with state or regional plans or policies. Examples include:

  • For jurisdictions within metropolitan areas, amendments to the area’s Regional Transportation Plan
  • For jurisdictions within metropolitan areas, compliance with 2022 amendments to the TPR intended to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, address equity to historically underserved populations, and conduct an equitable engagement process
  • Changes to State policy or requirements in the Oregon Transportation Plan or the associated mode and topic plans
  • Proposed major projects that require exceptions to Oregon's Statewide Planning Goal (e.g., Goal 3, Agricultural Lands)

When is a TSP update required?

Within metropolitan areas, the TPR outlines two types of TSP updates: major and minor (see 660-012-0105). A major update is one that changes the horizon year of the plan or adds a project that requires enhanced review under 660-012-0830 because it adds significant capacity, such as a road widening larger than a 3-lane arterial. A major update triggers a complete review of all parts of the TSP, including compliance with the new CFEC program.

A minor update is any other change that a jurisdiction wants to make to its TSP that does not change the horizon year and can be surgical in its approach, such as a refinement plan.

An update is required under the TPR in the following cases:

Cities with a population of more than 25,000 in a metropolitan are encouraged to review and update major planning documents, including the TSP, every seven years, and cities with a population over 10,000 and outside a metropolitan area are encouraged to review documents every 10 years. The periodic review process is based on an evaluation and work program developed with the assistance of the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD). Periodic review type updates are typically major updates because they almost always change the horizon year of the plan.

While the process of completing a task on the work program varies based on the needs and practices of the jurisdictions and the nature of the task, the local process for developing a TSP is essentially the same as it would be for a plan amendment outside of a periodic review. The notice requirements, however, are different.

Periodic review requirements are established in ORS 197.628 to 197.650, and are interpreted and supplemented by Oregon Administrative Rules 660-0025.​​

A plan or land use regulation amendment that would substantially affect one or more transportation facilities may trigger the need to update a TSP. This includes actions such as rezoning an area to land uses that could increase or change transportation needs that are inconsistent with the comprehensive plan or adding to the UGB outside of a periodic review. This may be either a major or minor update, depending on the extent of the change. 

The TPR requires local jurisdictions to evaluate proposed plan amendments for consistency with adopted land use and transportation plans. This part of the TPR, as discussed in OAR 660-012-0060, is designed to address several important objectives:

  • Ensuring that local governments consider transportation impacts of changes to land use
  • Keeping land use and transportation plans in balance with one another by ensuring that the planned transportation system is adequate to support planned land use
  • Addressing how needed transportation improvements will be funded
  • Accommodating new development in a way that minimizes traffic impacts

OAR 660-012-0060 specifies a category of facilities, improvements, and services that can be assumed to be in place or committed and available to provide transportation capacity over a 20-year planning horizon. The TPR guides local jurisdictions in determining what transportation improvements are reasonably likely to be provided by the end of the planning period when considering amendments to local plans and land use regulations. Multimodal Mixed Use Areas (MMAs) and Climate Friendly Areas (CFAs) are exempt from the requirements of OAR 660-012-0060 per OAR 660-012-0325: Transportation Review in Climate Friendly Areas.​

The TPR has a special section for rules that only apply within the Portland Metropolitan area (Metro) (see 660-012-0140). Metro must develop a Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) in coordination the with regional transportation plan required by federal law for metropolitan areas. Cities and counties within Metro must amend their plans to be consistent with the Metro RTP as implemented through the Functional Plan and may set their horizon year to match the horizon year of the adopted RTP. Metro has some flexibility built into the TPR to propose alternative requirements to those in the Rule, as well as the authority to impose additional requirements for transportation system planning within the cities and counties located within Metro. Any additional or alternative requirements must be approved by LCDC.​

Oregon Statewide Planning Goal 12, Transportation, defines the state’s policies on transportation. OAR 660 Division 12, also known as the Transportation Planning Rule, implements Goal 12. The Transportation Planning Rules requires :​

  • Most jurisdictions prepare and adopt a regional or local transportation plan that serves as the transportation element of a comprehensive plan (see OAR 660-012-0015​ for non-metropolitan areas and OAR 660-012-0100​ for metropolitan areas.
  • Local TSPs are consistent with Regional Transportation Plans. Where elements of the RTP have not been adopted, coordination is needed between the city/county and the regional transportation planning agency in the preparation of the local TSP (see OAR 660-012-0015​​)​

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