Project Priority Review (PPR) Guidelines

The CUUATS PPR Guidelines are currently under revision to reflect the goals and objectives of the LRTP 2045, approved in December 2019.

Approved June 2016
Updated April 2017

Introduction

The Project Priority Review (PPR) Guidelines are a federal requirement that links the local use of federal Surface Transportation Program-Urban (STPU) funding with federal transportation goals and the region’s Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP). The Surface Transportation Program (STPU), recently renamed the Surface Transportation Block Grant Program (STBGP) (hereinafter referred to as STPU/STBGP), is one of the core Federal-aid Highway Program categories. The Champaign-Urbana urban area receives a population-based suballocation of STPU/STBGP funds from IDOT each year.

The PPR Guidelines outline the process by which CUUATS evaluates and documents consistency between the local use of federal STPU/STBGP funds and federal and regional transportation goals. Local agencies seeking to use STPU/STBGP funds are required to submit a project application to be reviewed by CUUATS staff and the Project Priority Review working group who use a set of criteria based on federal and regional transportation goals to score each project. The project scores are intended to illustrate the level of consistency with federal and regional transportation goals and also serve as a way to measure projects against one another in the event that multiple projects apply for STPU/STBGP funding in the same year.

STPU/STBGP funds are documented and recorded in the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP). The purpose of the TIP is to publicly document proposed transportation projects for a four-year fiscal period so that project funding can be secured. Any local project that uses federal or state monies must be in the TIP in order to be considered for such funding.

Background

The CUUATS Project Priority Review Working Group is comprised of CUUATS staff, and representatives of CUUATS member agencies and has been meeting periodically since 1995 or earlier. In 2001, the CUUATS Project Priority Review Working Group created the first “Project Assessment Guidelines” for the Champaign-Urbana MPO in an attempt to create an objective system to prioritize projects applying for STPU funds. Criteria for highway projects were developed and weighted according to a methodology created by CUUATS staff. The 2001 guidelines focused on regional and local priorities and evaluated future roadway safety using Selected Crash Intersection Locations (SCIL) criteria approved by the Champaign Urbana Traffic Engineering Committee (CUTEC).

In 2008 the CUUATS PPR Working Group and CUUATS Technical and Policy Committees approved a revised version of the Project Assessment Guidelines that incorporated new federal regulations (SAFETEA-LU, passed in 2005) as well as the priorities established in the Long Range Transportation Plan for 2025 that was approved in 2004 and updated in 2007 (after the adoption of SAFETEA-LU). Security was introduced as a project criteria and the safety analysis was updated to be consistent with the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) Comprehensive Highway Safety Plan. In addition, the newly created CUUATS Travel Demand Model allowed for the inclusion of forecasted average daily traffic (ADT) as a project evaluation tool.

This update in 2016 incorporates new federal transportation legislation [Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21), passed in 2012 and Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act), passed in 2016] and a new LRTP for the region (Sustainable Choices 2040, approved in 2014).

MAP-21 and the FAST Act

The FAST Act preserves the system of transportation investment performance measures put in place in 2012 with Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21) and represents the first comprehensive surface transportation legislation since SAFETEA-LU was passed in 2005. “The FAST Act converts the long-standing Surface Transportation Program into the Surface Transportation Block Grant Program acknowledging that this program has the most flexible eligibilities among all Federal-aid highway programs. [FAST Act § 1109(a)]. The STBG promotes flexibility in State and local transportation decisions and provides flexible funding to best address State and local transportation needs,” (FHWA FAST Act Fact Sheet, 2016). One significant change from previous legislation is the FAST Act’s emphasis on freight investments including a new National Multimodal Freight Policy.

The six pillars of LRTP: Sustainable Choices 2040LRTP: Sustainable Choices 2040

The 2040 LRTP goals, objectives, and performance measures are based on six overarching Planning Pillars that summarize and organize the results of extensive research and data collection (LRTP chapters 2-7), an ambitious and innovative public outreach campaign (LRTP Appendix A), and the CUUATS annual LRTP Report Cards that track the goals and objectives set forth in the previous LRTP, Choices 2035, approved in 2009. The LRTP 2040 Planning Pillars are listed below including graphics drawn during LRTP visioning meetings held around the Champaign-Urbana area in 2013.

Application Prerequisites

The first application prerequisite comes from federal legislation while the last five are a result of agreement among the CUUATS PPR Working Group regarding the use of local STPU/STBGP funds:

  • Federal legislation stipulates that federal transportation monies can only be used on roadways that are eligible to receive federal aid. Federal-aid eligibility is determined by roadway functional classification, with the lowest classifications being ineligible for federal aid.
  • In order to maximize the number of local projects that can utilize STPU/STBGP funds, CUUATS Member Agencies signed a resolution specifying the use of STPU/STBGP funds at a 50/50 cost share rate for location studies, construction, and utility relocations only. As of December 2020, the STPU/STBGP resolution has been updated to reflect a cost share rate of 80/20 federal/local and removed the language that previously restricted the use of this funding for location studies, construction, and utilities. 
  • Project has certification of matching funds.
  • Project is listed in LRTP and/or other adopted plans.
  • Project increases system connectivity within the existing transportation network.
  • Project does not negatively impact the environment
    and/or historically significant landmarks.

Biennial STPU/STBGP Application and Review Schedule

Step 1: Project Application, May – August

  • CUUATS solicits project applications beginning in May
  • Project applications due August 31

Step 2: CUUATS Staff Review & Score, September

  • CUUATS staff review application materials and collect additional data for project evaluation
  • CUUATS staff apply PPR criteria to score projects submitted and produces draft project score(s)
  • CUUATS staff submits draft project score(s) to PPR Working Group for review

Step 3: PPR Working Group Finalize Score(s) & Allocate Funds, October – November

  • PPR Working Group reviews project score(s) and collects data for additional analysis if necessary
  • PPR Working Group assigns final score(s)
  • PPR Working Group allocates available STPU/STBGP funding to scored projects by fiscal year
  • PPR Working Group submits draft STPU/STBGP project schedule to CUUATS staff for inclusion in the TIP

Step 4: Technical and Policy Committee Review and Approval/TIP Programming, December

  • CUUATS staff includes draft STPU/STBGP funding schedule in Draft TIP
  • CUUATS Technical and Policy Committees review and approve Final TIP

PPR Application and Review Calendar

Fiscal Year of ApplicationFiscal Year of Eligible Projects
2019 (May – December 2018)2022 – 2023
2021 (May – December 2020)2024 – 2025
2023 (May – December 2022)2026 – 2027

CUUATS Project Evaluation Criteria

LRTP Pillar(s)PPR CriteriaMaximum Points
Safety and Security0 points = projected future crash rate is higher than current rate
15 points = projected future crash rate is equal to existing rate
20 points = projected future crash rate is better than existing rate (for new roadways, rate is maintained or better than average rate for comparable road types/segments in the urbanized area)
20
Safety and SecurityProject improves a roadway that currently has relatively heavy hazmat material traffic or is connected to interstate, railroad, or hazmat facility5
Resilient Economy, Balanced Development10 points = project within 1/4 mile of a downtown district or one of the area’s top employment locations
5 points = project within 1/4 mile of any other significant employment center or traffic generator
10
Resilient Economy, Multimodal ConnectivityProject within 1/2 mile of a regionally significant transportation facility (e.g. airport, transit hub, highway interchange)5
Resilient Economy, Accessibility and AffordabilityProject is within 1/2 mile of a census block group with 51% or greater percentage of persons with Low or Moderate Income (LMI) and/or 1/2 mile of one or more of the affordable housing locations defined by the Housing Authority of Champaign County5
Multimodal Connectivity, Accessibility and AffordabilityProject includes new sidewalk or existing sidewalk improvements that result in a PROWAG score of 60 or above according to CU Sidewalk Network Inventory10
Multimodal Connectivity, Accessibility and AffordabilityProject includes new bicycle facilities or establishes a new connection to or within the bicycle network (bike lane, multi-use path, bike repair station, etc…)10
Multimodal ConnectivityProject adheres to the CUUATS Complete Streets Policy5
Accessibility and Affordability, Multimodal Connectivity 10 points = project location supports existing transit route and includes additional service or new/upgraded transit facilities
5 points = project location supports existing transit route
10
Multimodal Connectivity, Accessibility and AffordabilityProject adheres to the CUUATS Access Management Guidelines5
Healthy Neighborhoods10 points = project is within 1/4 mile of park, open space, or other public recreational facility
5 points = project is within 1/2 mile of park, open space, or other public recreational facility
10
Healthy NeighborhoodsProject includes green design elements or use of sustainable construction materials (native plants, porous pavement, bioswales, etc….)5

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