The Unified Transportation Plan is more than just a compilation of separate transportation plans. Utah’s transportation agencies have participated in joint planning efforts for over a decade, with each Unified Plan update providing an opportunity to further enhance this collaboration.
In 2002, Wasatch Front Regional Council, Mountainland Association of Governments, the Utah Department of Transportation and the Utah Transit Authority, in close coordination with the Federal Highway Administration, established the Joint Policy Advisory Committee (JPAC). The role of the committee has evolved over the years to include Cache Metropolitan Planning Organization and Dixie Metropolitan Planning Organization. Comprised of elected officials and senior transportation agency staff from across the state, JPAC provides oversight and guidance to the unified planning process. This process includes the development of common highway and transit project evaluation criteria, shared planning time horizons and update cycles, agreed-upon performance measures and the same financial assumptions regarding current and future revenue assumptions.
This means that UDOT, UTA and the MPOs all agree on which projects and needs to include in the Unified Plan, when those projects will be needed, how to pay for them, and how to measure their effectiveness in meeting shared objectives. Finance, performance measures, safety and modeling subcommittees comprised of representatives from each agency were established to study important components of the planning process in more detail.
Each agency still retains autonomy in planning for the unique needs of their individual jurisdictions within this collaborative framework. Regional and statewide Long-Range Transportation Plans reflect each agency’s individual plans.