Transportation Planning

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Along with its role to program and allocate transportation funds and advise the Secretary of the California State Transportation Agency and the Legislature to formulate and evaluate state transportation policies; the Commission has statutory responsibilities in the following transportation planning-related activities:

Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) Guidelines

Regional Transportation Plans (RTPs) are prepared by regional agencies to identify a 20-year vision for transportation priorities and investments. Federal and state requirements for the development of RTPs have been in law since the 1970’s, with additional requirements added over the years.

California Government Code Section 14522 requires the Commission to adopt guidelines for the development of RTPs. The RTP Guidelines were first adopted by the Commission in 1978. Since then, the guidelines have been updated as needed.

Most recently, in 2016 the Commission began the process of updating the RTP Guidelines through a stakeholder-driven and transparent public process. Hundreds of stakeholders representing federal, state, regional, local agencies, and tribal organizations, as well as private sector representatives and advocacy organizations, were engaged to provide perspectives and develop guidance. As required by Government Code Section 14522.1(a) (2), the Commission stakeholder workgroup specifically included representatives of the metropolitan planning organizations, Caltrans, the Air Resources Board, organizations knowledgeable in the creation and use of travel demand models, federal, state and local governments, and organizations concerned with the impacts of transportation investments on communities and the environment.

Interagency and workgroup meetings throughout California were held to facilitate broad stakeholder input. A wide-range of issues were discussed through the workgroup process including a comprehensive update of the regional travel demand modeling chapter to reflect current state of practice; development of guidance regarding new federal metropolitan planning requirements stemming from the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act of 2015, including new performance measures and performance-based planning; and pursuant to AB 441 (Monning, 2012) new resources and state of practice information for the consideration of health and health equity in the RTP process.

Commission staff is working in collaboration with Caltrans to update the RTP Guidelines for MPOs and RTPAs. A first public draft of the 2023 RTP Guidelines for MPOs is available below. Public comments will be accepted on the draft through June 5, 2023. Stakeholders may reach out via email to to provide feedback or schedule time to meet with staff. Staff anticipates presenting a second draft of the RTP Guidelines for MPOs and a first draft of the RTP Guidelines for RTPAs to the Commission in the fall.

On January 18, 2017, the Commission adopted the 2017 Regional Transportation Plan Guidelines for Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) and Regional Transportation Planning Agencies (RTPAs). 

Additional background information regarding the RTP Guidelines development process is available on Caltrans Regional Transportation Plan Liaison Branch web page.

California Transportation Plan (CTP) Guidelines

SB 486 (DeSaulnier, 2014) authorized and encouraged the Commission, in cooperation with Caltrans, to prepare guidelines for the development of the CTP. The Commission, in collaboration with Caltrans, established a format, strategy, and time line for the development of CTP Guidelines to clearly outline the federal and state requirements for the plan and to inform preparation of the next CTP which is due by December 2020. The CTP Guidelines were developed through a transparent public process with input from, and in direct consultation with, staff from Caltrans, the Air Resources Board, and other state and federal agencies as well as a broad coalition of stakeholders including: regional and local governments, the private sector and business community, and social equity and environmental advocates.

The primary purpose of the CTP Guidelines is to provide high-level direction to Caltrans on the development of the next CTP. The CTP Guidelines were developed to identify the federal and state requirements necessary for the preparation of a statewide long-range transportation plan, including Governor’s Executive Orders and other state policies impacting transportation.

Commission staff is working in collaboration with Caltrans on an update to the CTP Guidelines. A public draft of the 2023 CTP Guidelines is available below. Stakeholders may reach out via email to to provide feedback or schedule time to meet with staff.

Contact Information

Laura Pennebaker 
Deputy Director Transportation Planning
California Transportation Commission 
Phone: (916) 837-8164