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Regional Transportation Planning

What is an RTPO?

A Regional Transportation Planning Organization (RTPO) is formed through a voluntary association of local governments within a county or contiguous counties. RTPO members include cities, counties, WSDOT, tribes, ports, transportation service providers, private employers and others. 
Northeast Washington Regional Transportation Planning Organization

View printable version of  the RTPO map (pdf 388 kb).

Why were RTPOs created?

RTPOs were authorized as part of the 1990 Growth Management Act to ensure local and regional coordination of transportation plans.

Which Counties participate in RTPOs?

There are 14 RTPOs covering 37 of the 39 counties in Washington. Okanogan and San Juan Counties are not part of any RTPO.

What do RTPOs do?

RTPO planning must involve cities, counties, WSDOT, transit agencies, ports, and private employers. Among other duties individual RTPOs may perform to serve their membership, RTPOs are required to:

  • Prepare a Regional Transportation Plan
  • Certify that countywide planning policies and the transportation element of local comprehensive plans are consistent with the Regional Transportation Plan
  • Develop and maintain a six-year Regional Transportation Improvement Program

How are RTPOs different than Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPO)?

State legislation (GMA) created RTPOs. An RTPO covers both urban and rural areas and receives state funding in support of its planning efforts. Federal legislation created Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs). An MPO covers an urbanized area and receives federal funding in support of its planning efforts.

MPOs and RTPOs serve the same basic transportation planning functions – develop a long-range plan, coordinate within a region, and prepare a transportation improvement program. The federal MPO and state RTPO requirements of these organizations are complementary. The lead agency for a RTPO is also the lead agency for the MPO within the region (except Lewis-Clark Valley MPO because it is a bi-state organization).

What is the WSDOT’s role with RTPOs?

WSDOT provides administrative and technical assistance, supports RTPO coordination activities, and actively participates in the regional transportation planning process.

MPO/RTPO/WSDOT Directory (pdf 133 kb)

Northeast Washington Regional Transportation Planning OrganizationQuad County Regional Transportation Planning OrganizationSpokane Regional Transportation Council (SRTC) TMA, MPO, and RTPOSkagit Metropolitan Planning Organization (SMPO) MPO and Skagit/Island (S/IRTPO) Regional Transportation Planning OrganizationPeninsula (PRTPO) Regional Transportation Planning OrganizationBenton-Franklin Council of Governments MPO and Benton-Franklin-Walla Walla RTPOPuget Sound Regional Council (PSRC) TMA, MPO, and RTPOThurston Regional Planning Council (TRPC) MPO and RTPOPalouse (PRTPO) Regional Transportation Planning OrganizationCowlitz-Wahkiakum Council of Governments MPO and Southwest Washington RTPOSouthwest Washington Regional Transportation Council (RTC) TMA, MPO, and RTPORTPO Planning Guidebook (pdf 982 kb)

Building Projects that Build Communities
The concept of “Livable Communities” or “Community Partnerships” has been strongly endorsed by the Washington State Transportation Commission as well as multiple citizen advocacy groups. In January 2000, the Commission endorsed the policy for the Washington State Department of Transportation.