October 23, 2019 – Bi-State Regional Commission staff facilitate long range transportation planning as directed by the States of Iowa and Illinois, and by the federal government requirements on 5-year cycles. Planning for 20-30 years into the future is the typical time horizon for these plans.

Planning Areas. Long range transportation plans (LRTPs) are developed for the Quad Cities Metropolitan Area, Iowa/Illinois and the area known as Region 9, including rural Scott County and the entire geographic area of Muscatine County, Iowa. These are funded through federal transportation funds passed through the respective states.

In Iowa, the Region 9 transportation planning process mirrors the metropolitan area process as an initiative supported through the Iowa Department of Transportation. In Illinois, the DOT supports rural transit planning, and provides some funding for rural transportation planning via a competitive grant process for the regional planning agencies state-wide. Specialty transportation plans have been developed for trails, transit, and comprehensive land use in Henry County, Illinois.

Why Plan? LRTPs frame the basis for future transportation investments. Policies and goals for future travel demand guide and support future priorities and improvements to transportation system performance. People and their wish to go place to place is at the heart of these plans. Where people live and work, and examining an equitable way to distribute improvements to the system so they serve many of the populations’ needs, is an important aspect of the planning process. Defining needs then leads to identifying gaps and necessary or wanted connectivity to destinations within a metro area or region.

Move QC2050 – Planning for Progress, Innovation and Connectivity. Pre-planning efforts are underway to fold into the 2050 Quad Cities Long Range Transportation Plan. A number of studies and reports are being prepared to incorporate findings into the LRTP. These are specialized plans to address corridor or rail river bridge crossing issues and extreme weather resilience.

Bi-State staff is working on data collection and the development of a travel demand model to predict future trips. Preliminary feedback related to travel issues include preparing for new technologies, replacing obsolete bridges, addressing system growth and operations, improving regional corridors, and educating transportation system users on the system itself. At the time of the writing of this article, there were 175 responses to the Citizen Survey, which was set to close October 25, 2019. Other opportunities for input are planned.

A draft plan is expected by the end of calendar year 2020. Public meetings will be held in early 2021 on the draft with consideration of adoption in March 2021.

Region 9 Iowa Long Range Transportation Plan Update. Pre-planning efforts include an update of the Muscatine County Area Trails Plan, Scott and Muscatine County Hazard Mitigation Plans to coincide with resilience, and the Bi-State Regional Transit Development Plan. Data collection is underway. A public participation outline will be shared with the Technical and Policy Committees at upcoming meetings. A draft plan is anticipated in late summer with consideration of adoption targeted for October 2020.