Regional Transportation Planning, Research, Investment Strategies, and Funding.

WSDOT Selects Bridge Grants
The Washington State Department of Transportation recently selected four local projects to receive approximately $1.84 million in federal funds for local bridge improvements. The bridges to be improved include the Washougal River Bridge (Camas), Lehto Bridge (Clark County), Smith Bridge (Clark County), and Salmon Creek Bridge (Clark County). The local bridge program focus is to preserve and improve the condition of local bridges that are physically deteriorated or structurally deficient through replacement, rehabilitation, and systematic preventive maintenance.
WSDOT Selects County Safety Grants
The Washington State Department of Transportation recently selected two projects in Clark County and one project in Klickitat County to receive a total of $1.96 million from the federal Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP). Clark County will be making safety improvements at NE 259th Street/NE 72nd Avenue intersection and NE 63rd Street/NE 58th Avenue intersection. Klickitat County will be upgrading curve warning signs. The HSIP program requires that all safety improvements be consistent with Washington State’s Safety Highway Plan (Target Zero).
Region Continues to Innovate with Low-Cost Freeway Improvements
In November 2014, the RTC Board adopted recommendations to address long- and short-term roadway improvements and transit operations in the I-205 corridor, as well a set of operational policies for regional freeway corridors in the region. Regional partners continue to deliver on those Plan recommendations. Since Plan adoption, C-TRAN and WSDOT have partnered to deploy a pilot study of shoulder running bus operations on SR-14. And in addition to completing the NE 18th St. interchange, WSDOT has recently implemented a low-cost restriping of the I-205 and SR-500 interchange merge area to improve traffic flow, and implementation of ramp meters to improve freeway flow will be coming in the near future.
2017 Annual Report
In 2017, RTC celebrated 25 years of regional transportation collaboration across Clark, Skamania and Klickitat counties. Over the course of the past 25 years, RTC has awarded nearly $233 million in federal transportation grants to help plan and build needed transportation projects in our community. In addition to distributing grant funds, RTC has led several major planning studies, which have resulted in regional consensus in and investments to serve the region’s rapid growth. Going forward, our region faces many more needs and will find many more growth opportunities. As a collection of agencies committed to community progress and investment, we continue to plan for the future to see what projects need to be done, then work collectively to put those ideas into action.
Using Technology to Improve Traffic Operations
The Vancouver Area Smart Trek program, led by RTC, is a partnership of transportation agencies in the Clark County region that work to improve transportation system performance by collaborating on signal systems, freeway and arterial management, traveler information, and transit signal priority projects through the use of smart technology and the system infrastructure needed to support it.
Buses Saving Time on SR-14
C-TRAN’s bus on shoulder demonstration project is now in operation. It lets commuter buses bypass congestion on SR-14 by using the freeway shoulder when mainline traffic is slow. RTC, in partnership with C-TRAN and WSDOT, evaluated shoulder running bus operations as part of the Bus on Shoulder Feasibility Study. Study recommendations included a Pilot Project on SR-14 between I-205 and 164th. C-TRAN and WSDOT developed agreements and operating rules and implemented the 18 month demonstration project on October 23, 2017. C-TRAN has produced an informative video about the project that shows a bus using the shoulder.
RTC Awards $9.4 million to Fund Critical Transportation Projects
On October 3, the RTC Board of Directors selected 11 projects to receive approximately $9.4 million in regionally allocated federal transportation funds. Projects will be programmed in year 2021, and include funding for arterial improvements along Hwy. 99, SE 1st St., Eaton Blvd., and NE 99th St. Funding will also be used for traffic signal and technology improvement along I-205, 134th Street, and throughout the Clark County traffic signal system. C-TRAN will receive funding for electric buses.
In addition to selecting grants, the RTC Board approved the 2018-2021 Transportation Improvement Program, which indicates a funding commitment for approximately $216 million in regional transportation improvements over the next four years within the Clark County region.
Washington Road Usage Charge Pilot Project
Help Washington explore a potential new way to pay for roads and bridges. Sign up to test a road usage charge where drivers will simulate paying for the miles they drive rather than the gallons of gas they buy.
WSDOT Selects Preservation Grants
The Washington State Department of Transportation selected three local projects to receive approximately $5.39 million for the preservation of major local roads. The program awarded funds to the City of Vancouver and Clark County based on their use of pavement management systems. Funded projects are located on East Mill Plain Boulevard ($665,000), SE 164th/NE 162nd Avenue ($1,003,000), and Highway 99 ($3,723,000). Paving will occurring in years 2018 or 2019.
Monitoring Report Indicates Increased Regional Congestion
The 2016 Monitoring Report and its findings were endorsed by the RTC Board at its August meeting. The report indicates congestion has been on the rise for the past five years, and has resulted in a growth in both morning and evening peak hour delay. The major hot spots for regional congestion are at the two Columbia River bridges for travel between Clark County and Portland. The morning peak period shows significant delay on I-5 from Main Street to the Columbia River, on I-205 from SR-500 to the Columbia River, and on SR-14 from 192nd Avenue to I-205.
RTC Selects Bike and Pedestrian Projects for Funding
On August 1, the RTC Board of Directors selected seven bike and pedestrian projects within Clark, Skamania, and Klickitat Counties to receive approximately $1.3 million in federal Transportation Alternatives funding. All were community based projects that expand travel choices, improve the travel experience, and enhance mobility and safety.
Agency Celebrates Twenty-Five Years
Formed in July 1992, RTC celebrates 25 years of regional transportation project planning and grant funding within Clark, Skamania and Klickitat counties. RTC’s three-county region has changed a lot over the last 25 years, growing from nearly 290,000 to over 490,000 population. In response to that community growth, RTC has distributed over $230 Million in grant funding for investments and has led several key planning efforts to advance multi-modal transportation projects across the region. A newly published retrospective highlights many of the agency’s efforts and recognizes the collective work of our twenty-four member agencies in addressing the region’s transportation needs.
RTC Completes Bus on Shoulder Feasibility Study
The Bus on Shoulder Feasibility Study looked at the technical, operational, geometric, and policy options for running transit buses on the freeway shoulder during times of heavy congestion. The experience of BOS in other areas of the country found that it can offer a low cost option to improve transit performance and reliability in the region. The study corridors are on SR-14 from I-205 to 164th Avenue and on I-205 from the 18th Street interchange to I-84 interchange. Both were considered good candidates for BOS because they have frequent existing transit commuter service and high traffic congestion levels.
State Selects Regional Mobility Grants
The Washington State Legislature recently selected 3 local projects to receive approximately $6.4 million from the Regional Mobility Grant Program. The Regional Mobility Grant Program funds transit mobility projects to lessen congestion, including new buses, park and rides, and transit service. The funded projects include Hybrid Buses for C-TRAN, Seasonal Weekend Transit Service in Skamania County, and Bi-State Express Bus Service in Klickitat County.
WSDOT Selects Public Transportation Grants
The Washington State Department of Transportation selected 8 local projects to receive approximately $2.45 million from the 2017-2019 Consolidated Grant Program. This program funds projects to improve public transportation service, purchase new buses, and improve service for the elderly and persons with disabilities. The funded projects sustains public transit service for elderly, persons with disabilities, and for employment purposes within Clark County, Skamania, and Klickitat Counties.
Regional Transportation Plan Update Begins
The RTP is Clark County’s long-range plan covering all modes of transportation. The current RTP was adopted in 2014. RTC is now beginning an update to the Plan, using 2040 as the horizon year, to be adopted in late 2018. Through 2017 and most of 2018, various topics have and will be considered as the RTP is updated. Those include: transportation policies, changing regional demographics, transportation trends, use of performance measures to evaluate how the transportation system is working, needed transportation projects and programs, as well as a financial plan for the transportation system. For more information, and to provide your input, visit the 2018 RTP Update web page.
Oregon Working Towards Rose Quarter Fix
Representatives from the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) briefed the RTC Board on March 7 regarding work now underway to improve traffic conditions and safety at the Rose Quarter pinch-point. The Rose Quarter bottleneck along I-5 may get relief once ODOT plans to improve a section of I-5 between I-405 and I-84 move forward to construction. At the recent RTC briefing, ODOT’s project manager reported that work is underway on the required environmental permitting requirements, and construction could begin once the permits are approved and the project is fully funded. As planned, the project would add auxiliary lanes and extend freeway ramps and shoulders which are projected to significantly improve travel times and reduce crashes in this high-use corridor segment. Additional information on this project can be found in the materials presented to the RTC Board.
Fiscal Year 2018 Unified Planning Work Program Adopted
RTC annually prepares a UPWP to document the proposed transportation planning activities RTC and regional partners will carry out in the forthcoming year. After reviewing a draft at its April 4 meeting and after making the document available for public review, the Board adopted the FY 2018 UPWP at its May 2 meeting. Fiscal Year 2018 begins July 1, 2017, and goes through June 30, 2018. The UPWP is a requirement of a coordinated transportation planning process required by federal and state governments.
RTC Board endorses Resolutions to Advance I-5 Bridge Replacement
The RTC Board of Directors endorses two Resolutions which advance a Regional Transportation Plan (2014) project priority; to complete an I-5 bridge replacement project within the next 20 years. The resolutions are a current statement of support for ongoing Washington state legislative efforts to move forward with policy and project related activities to replacing the I-5 bridges. The first resolution (02-17-03) recommends that the Washington Legislature designate a future I-5 bridge replacement project as a “Project of Statewide Significance.” With that formal designation, a future project may benefit from provisions in state statute which foster additional Washington state agency coordination and expedited project reviews and permitting. The second resolution (02-17-04) supports clearing of impediments in law, be it state or federal law. Such a statement of support may further focus efforts to accelerate planning, funding and construction of a future project.

News Feed

Below are an assortment of recent news items related to or impacting local transportation issues. Most of these stories were authored outside the agency, and will take you to a new page on (or PDF document from) an external site.

Clark Asks: Change to I-205 interchange straightforward solution - January 10, 2018
Why did the Washington Department of Transportation take away one lane on southbound Interstate 205 at the mall exit? That was just one of many road-related questions readers suggested for a Clark Asks story. Even if you didn’t reach out to us, odds are good you’ve asked yourself that same question if your commute on I-205 starts somewhere north of the state Highway 500 interchange. The short answer: congestion. “More lanes does not always equal better flow,” said Scott Langer, a traffic engineer with the Washington State Department of Transportation. “What’s important is how the lanes flow into the system.”
The Vine: 1 year old and going strong - January 9, 2018
After one year of operation, The Vine, the most ambitious project in C-Tran’s history, is beginning to bear fruit. “I’m not going to say we were shocked by the numbers, but we were very pleasantly surprised when they came to our desk,” said C-Tran spokeswoman Christine Selk. Comparing October and November of 2016 (when the Fourth Plain corridor was served by Route 4) and October and November 2017 (when The Vine was running) C-Tran saw a 45 percent increase in ridership. In raw numbers, Route 4 had just under 142,000 riders compared to The Vine’s more than 205,000.
Ridgefield mayor to chair Regional Transportation Council - January 2, 2018
North County will have their representative in the Southwest Washington Regional Transportation Council at the top seat of the body as Ridgefield Mayor Ron Onslow has been named the chair of the council for 2018. Onslow was the vice-chair of the RTC in 2017 and will be taking the true chair following a vote by the body Dec. 5 to have him in that position. Onslow is the North County representative of the 14-member board, representing Battle Ground, Yacolt, La Center and Ridgefield. Previously Clark County Councilor Jeanne Stewart had sat in the chair position. Onslow explained that there was a sort of rotation regarding who chairs the council, with those from less densely populated areas generally alternating with bigger entities to balance out the board’s voice.
Driverless future looks bright - December 29, 2017
If you’ve ever found yourself stuck in traffic on a freeway surrounded by other drivers, know that it’s all because a computer isn’t driving your car. At least that’s the reasoning of proponents of autonomous, or driverless, cars — vehicles that are driven entirely by computers and can sense and respond to their surroundings without human guidance. Proponents of the technology, which now include the federal government and an increasing number of car manufacturers, argue that humans simply are not that good at driving. They say putting computers behind the wheel will cut down on congestion, pollution and accidents. With no clear consensus on how to address the chronically congested Interstate 5 Bridge, autonomous cars may offer a solution.
C-Tran takes to shoulder for study - December 28, 2017
C-Tran is optimistic about preliminary results of its bus-on-shoulder study underway on state Highway 14. Route 164 Fisher’s Landing Express, which shuttles from Fisher’s Landing park and ride in east Vancouver into downtown Portland and is the primary user of the study corridor, showed service improvements in the first month of the pilot program compared with the month prior. The bus-on-shoulder corridor runs along Highway 14 between Interstate 205 and Southeast 164th Avenue, about 15 percent of Route 164’s overall length. From Oct. 23 to Nov. 30, the 164’s westbound morning travel time through that area dropped from 3.74 minutes to an average 3.25 minutes.