Project Priority Review (PPR) Guidelines

Approved September 2022


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 STBGP funds and federal and regional transportation goals. Local agencies seeking to use 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 STBGP funding in the same year.

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 six-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.


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.

In 2016, the update incorporated the most recent federal transportation legislation [Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21) and Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act)] and the region’s LRTP (Sustainable Choices 2040), approved in 2014. 

This update in 2022 incorporates new federal legislation Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) passed in 2021 and a new LRTP for the region (LRTP 2045), approved in 2019.

Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL)

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) (also known as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA)) was signed into law in November 2021 by President Biden. The law “provides approximately $350 billion for Federal highway programs over a five-year period (fiscal years 2022 through 2026). Most of this funding is apportioned (distributed) to States based on formulas specified in Federal law,” as well as through grant programs.

The “STBG requirements within the BIL took effect on October 1, 2021, and apply to all related funding obligated on or after that date, whether funded from new STBG authorizations or STBG and Surface Transportation Program (STP) funds authorized in previous years.”

Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP) 2045

The LRTP 2045 goals, objectives, performance measures, and five overarching goals are based on a combination of the Federal transportation goals, State of Illinois transportation goals, local knowledge, current local planning efforts, and input received from the public. Additionally, the plan was informed by the CUUATS annual LRTP Report Cards, which track the goals and objectives set forth in the previous LRTP 2040 and currently track those in LRTP 2045. For more information on the LRTP 2045, visit Long Range Transportation Plan 2045.

Vision, Goals, and Sample Projects from the LRTP 2045

Application Prerequisites

The application prerequisites come from federal legislation and local requirements agreed upon by the CUUATS PPR Working Group regarding the use of local 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.
  • Project is listed in LRTP (Future Projects) and/or other adopted plans (municipal transportation plans, Safe Routes to School Plans, etc.) that encourage public participation.
  • Project has certification of matching funds.
  • Project increases system connectivity within (rather than on the fringe of) the existing transportation network.
  • Project complies with Access Management, Complete Street, Roundabout, and Crosswalk Guidelines.

2022 STBGP Application and Review Schedule (estimate)

Step 1: Project Application, November – December

Step 2: CUUATS Staff Review & Score, January

  • 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, February – March

  • 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 STBGP funding to scored projects by fiscal year (in collaboration with IDOT District 5)
  • PPR Working Group submits draft STBGP project schedule to CUUATS staff for inclusion in the TIP

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

  • CUUATS staff presents new STBGP funding schedule for review and approval at December CUUATS Technical and Policy Committee Meetings

CUUATS Project Evaluation Criteria

LRTP/BIL GoalsPPR CriteriaMaximum Points
LRTP: Safety, Multimodal Connectivity

BIL: Safety
0 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)
LRTP: Multimodal Connectivity, Environment, Economy, Safety

BIL: Equity
Project includes new pedestrian facility or existing pedestrian facility improvement that results in a PROWAG score of 60 or above according to C-U Sidewalk Network Inventory (includes curb ramp, crosswalk, sidewalks, pedestrian signals)9
LRTP: Multimodal Connectivity, Environment, Economy, Safety

BIL: Climate Change
Project includes new bicycle facilities and/or establishes a new connection to or within the bicycle and/or trail network (bike lane, multi-use path, bike repair station, etc…)8
LRTP: Multimodal Connectivity, Environment, Economy

BIL: Climate Change
Project includes infrastructure that establishes new or supports existing transit ridership connections (e.g. bus routes, bus shelters, landing pads, etc.)8
LRTP: Equity, Multimodal Connectivity, Environment

BIL: Equity
Project is within ¼ – ½ mile of a Census Tract defined as an EPA “Environmental Justice Area” and/or a DCEO “Underserved Area”
¼ mile = 10 points
½ mile = 5 points
LRTP: Equity

BIL: Equity
Project is within ¼ – ½ mile of one or more of the Housing Authority of Champaign County affordable housing locations and serves to benefit residents
¼ mile = 10 points
½ mile = 5 points
LRTP: Economy, Multimodal Connectivity

BIL: Freight
Project is within ¼ – ½ mile of a regionally significant transportation facility (e.g. airport, transit hub, Amtrak station, highway interchange, etc.)
¼ mile = 10 points
½ mile = 5 points
LRTP: Economy, Equity, Multimodal Connectivity

BIL: Freight
Project is within ¼ – ½ mile of a downtown district or other regionally significant employment center or traffic generator
¼ mile = 10 points
½ mile = 5 points
LRTP: Environment, Economy

BIL: Climate Change
Project is located in Census Blocks with low Ecological Vulnerability Scores and/or includes environmental mitigation measures to reduce the project’s ecological impact, if necessary/relevant.15

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