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

RTC Paves the Way for Fourth Plain Bus Rapid Transit
RTC completed the High-Capacity Transit Study, along with its partner agencies, in 2008. This study identified BRT improvements along the Fourth Plain, Highway 99, and Mill Plain corridors with significant bus improvements in the I-205 Corridor, tagging Fourth Plain as the priority corridor. RTC then provided seed funding in the form of a $4 million regional competitive CMAQ grant for the design, planning, and engineering of the Fourth Plain BRT route. Leveraging RTC’s seed funding, C-TRAN was able to obtain a $3 million state regional mobility grant and a $38.4 million federal Small Starts grant to fund final construction. The Vine will provide enhanced bus service along primarily the Fourth Plain corridor between Vancouver Mall and Downtown Vancouver.
Three Local Projects Granted Safety Funding
WSDOT has recently awarded over $1.6 million in federal Innovative Safety funds for three local projects. The funds will be used for the design and construction of countermeasures that will reduce fatal and serious injury crashes. The following projects received 2016 Innovative Safety Program Grants:
  • Clark County, Curve Safety Improvement Project — $331,000
  • Clark County, Hazel Dell Avenue Adaptive Traffic Signals — $1,004,000
  • Klickitat County, BZ Glenwood Highway High Friction Surface Treatment — $275,000
2016 Annual Report
In 2016, RTC deployed over $8.8 million in seed capital funds for 10 regional projects in Clark County. These important projects are designed to upgrade the region’s signal, roadway, transit, and trail networks. RTC partnered with C-TRAN and WSDOT to initiate a regional evaluation of operating transit buses on the shoulders of the regional freeways as part of a Bus on Shoulder Feasibility Study. This study, along with other regional transportation system management improvements funded by the VAST program, push the region to implement strategies which optimize the use and efficiency of the regional transportation networks. As the congestion on major commute routes increases, strategies like those will become more important. Continued monitoring of the region’s major transportation networks was a focus for RTC as part of this year’s re-designed Congestion Monitoring Report. Select recommendations for responding to the region’s commute congestion conditions are documented in the CMP Report and are a cornerstone of the region’s Regional Transportation Plan.
C-TRAN to Receive a Grant for additional Hybrid Buses
WSDOT is recommending that C-TRAN receive $5,812,993 in state funds through the 2017-2019 Regional Mobility Grant Program. With this proposal, C-TRAN will purchase eight 40-foot hybrid diesel/electric buses and two 60-foot hybrid diesel/electric buses to accommodate a 24,000 vehicle hour service expansion. The prioritize list of projects has been submitted to the state legislature for final approval.
Two Local Projects Granted Pedestrian and Bicycle Funding
WSDOT is recommending that two local projects receive funding through the 2017-2019 Pedestrian and Bicycle Program. Battle Ground received $906,707 to construct a shared use path along SR-503. Clark County received $410,000 to construct sidewalk and bicycle lane upgrades on Highway 99. The prioritized list of projects has been submitted to the state legislature for final approval.
Eleven Local Projects Granted $13.2 Million by TIB
The Washington State Transportation Improvement Board funds high priority transportation projects in communities throughout the state of Washington to enhance the movement of people, goods and services. State-wide, the TIB awarded transportation grants totaling $121.2 million to local agencies on November 18. The following eleven transportation projects, in southwest Washington (Clark, Skamania, and Klickitat counties), were awarded grants totaling $13.2 million...   [show]
The TSMO Plan: Guiding Investment in Smart Technology
RTC and the Vancouver Area Smart Trek agencies have released the 2016 update to the Transportation System Management and Operations Plan, first developed and adopted by the RTC Board in June 2011. The TSMO Plan guides the implementation of operational strategies and supporting Intelligent Transportation Systems technologies for Clark County in Southwest Washington. It presents a structure for accomplishing transportation system management objectives and making future ITS investments and capital improvements necessary to accomplish those objectives.
RTC Board Selects Transportation Projects for Funding
On October 4, the RTC Board selected 10 projects to receive approximately $8.8 million in regionally allocated federal transportation funds. Projects will be programmed in year 2020, and include funding for arterial improvements along NE 119th Street East, NE 137th Avenue, and NE Blair Road. Funding will also be used for C-TRAN Hybrid Buses and arterial operational improvements throughout urban Clark County.
In addition, the RTC Board approved the 2017-2020 Transportation Improvement Program, which indicates a funding commitment for approximately $219 million in transportation improvements over the next four years in the Clark County region.
Seed Funding Paves the Way for Fisher’s Park-n-Ride Expansion
Transit access increases for east Clark county residents and businesses. RTC provided seed funding in the form of an $800,000 regionally competitive CMAQ grant for the design, planning, and engineering of the recently opened Fisher’s Landing Park-n-Ride expansion. C-TRAN also garnered a $1.7 million state regional mobility grant to fund final construction. This expansion grows the capacity of the Park-n-Ride to 759 spaces serving seven transit routes in east Clark County.
I-205, 18th Street interchange opens
After more than a decade of work, the new Interstate 205 Mill Plain Interchange to Northeast 18th Street was declared officially open Wednesday afternoon. Staff members of Washington’s federal delegation, legislators from the 17th and 49th Legislative Districts, a staffer from the governor’s office, transportation officials and Vancouver officials gathered on the 18th Street offramp for a ceremonial ribbon-cutting. The occasion celebrated the new interchange, and officials congratulated the Washington State Department of Transportation on completing the project. “This has been a long time coming. It’s the end of an era,” said Bart Gernhart, WSDOT assistant regional administrator, referencing the interchange’s status as the final project in Clark County to be completed with the state 2005 Transportation Partnership Program funding packages.
Monitoring Report Indicates Increased Congestion
The 2015 Monitoring Report and its findings were endorsed by the RTC Board at its July meeting. The report indicates congestion has been on the rise for the past five years, and has resulted in an increase in both morning and evening peak hour delay. The major hot spots for regional congestion are at the Columbia River bridges for travel between Clark County and Portland. Morning peak hour delay has significantly increased on the I-5 South corridor, with a backup regularly extending from the I-5 Columbia River Bridge north to Main Street.
Clark County Completes Hazel Dell–Felida Traffic Signal Optimization Project
Clark County recently completed the upgrade of traffic detection and coordination of traffic signals to improve traffic flow in the Hazel Dell-Felida area. The project was implemented using $378,000 in federal CMAQ funds that were awarded by RTC.
Clark County Completes Barberton Traffic Signal Optimization Project
Clark County recently completed the upgrade of traffic detection and coordination of traffic signals to improve traffic flow in the Barberton area. The project was implemented using $707,300 in federal CMAQ funds that were awarded by RTC.
Regional Transportation Issues the Focus of June Meeting
The Washington State Transportation Commission was in Vancouver to meet with local officials and business leaders to learn about the region’s transportation issues, challenges and successes. Read about it here.
WSDOT Completes SR-14 Traveler Information
WSDOT recently add a communications link, traffic detection, and roadway cameras to provide additional traveler information along SR-14, from SE 164th Avenue to NW 6th Avenue. The project was constructed using $679,375 in federal CMAQ Program funds that were awarded by RTC.
WSDOT Completes SR-503 Traveler Information
WSDOT recently add a communications link, traffic detection, and roadway cameras to provide additional traveler information along SR-503, from NE 119th Street to SR-502. The project was constructed using $760,000 in federal CMAQ Program funds that were awarded by RTC.
Fiscal Year 2017 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 5 meeting and after making the document available for public review, the Board adopted the FY 2017 UPWP at its May 3 meeting. Fiscal Year 2017 begins July 1, 2016, and goes through June 30, 2017. The UPWP is a requirement of a coordinated transportation planning process required by federal and state governments.
RTC to Study Bus Use of Freeway Shoulders
RTC is embarking on a study to evaluate the feasibility of transit vehicles using freeway shoulders on parts of SR-14 and I-205. Allowing buses to travel on the shoulder during times of heavy traffic congestion is an approach that has been used successfully for about 50 years in different areas of the United States. Experience has shown that this strategy can improve transit without impairing mainline traffic and provides the opportunity for a low cost option to boost ridership and make transit more efficient.
Clark County Population Climbs Rapidly
Clark County’s estimated population has risen to 459,495 residents, as growth resumes in the area. Between 2014 and 2015, the county grew by 2 percent, netting 9,054 new people, according to data released from the Census Bureau.~ The Columbian
RTC will be reporting annual traffic conditions later this spring as part of its Congestion Management Process. Stay tuned to see how this rapid rise in population has affected regional transportation conditions.
GMA Certification Process Guide and Checklist Adopted
As the state-designated RTPO for the region that includes Clark County, RTC has certain responsibilities under the state’s Growth Management Act. These responsibilities include certification of the transportation element of local Comprehensive Plans. On March 1, the RTC Board adopted a Guide to RTC’s Certification Process that clarifies RTC’s role in certifying local plans as part of Washington State’s growth management planning process. The Guide includes a checklist for local jurisdictions to complete to help them and RTC fulfill certification requirements.
Comprehensive Federal Transportation Bill Funds State and Regional Programs
Congress passed and President Obama signed a new federal transportation funding bill which stabilizes federal funding to state and metropolitan regions for planning and project improvements. The Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act, or “FAST Act,” sets new policy direction and funding levels for the federal aid transportation program, and among other key initiatives adds new competitive grants which promote investments in the nation’s strategic freight corridors. In addition, the FAST Act retains the multi-modal emphasis of the federal program by ensuring funding of transit programs as well as the Transportation Alternatives Program. The RTC region’s Congressional delegation, Senators Murray and Cantwell and Representative Herrera Beutler, each provided meaningful leadership in many strategic areas and each supported passage in Congress. More preliminary information about the FAST Act as summarized by the Association of Metropolitan Planning Organizations can be found here.
Bi-state Travel Times now Available on Vancouver Area Freeways
RTC programmed funds in 2012, through the Vancouver Area Smart Trek Program, for the Washington portion of the Bi-State Travel Time project, a joint collaboration between the Washington and Oregon Departments of Transportation. RTC assisted in the project by planning and facilitating meetings between the transportation departments to define and develop the project, resolve technical issues on data sharing and integration, and on route and destination information.  (See also.)

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.

C-Tran debuts new bus rapid transit service Sunday - January 4, 2017
After years of talk, wrangling and anticipation, The Vine’s 60-foot articulated buses will begin rolling through Vancouver on Sunday. “Jan. 8 dovetails with a midyear service change, so we felt it would make sense to launch The Vine in conjunction with that,” C-Tran spokeswoman Christine Selk said in an email. In addition to The Vine, C-Tran is implementing several other changes on Sunday. Route 4 is ending. The Vancouver Mall Transit Center is moving from the north side to the south side of the mall. C-Tran will also launch Route 73, which will circle Vancouver Mall.
Cantwell supports funding of SR-14 improvements - December 29, 2016
Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) wants the U.S. Department of Transportation to consider funding a project that would make some changes to the State Route 14 Corridor in Washougal. In a letter to U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx, Cantwell requested the FASTLANE grant program application be “fully and fairly” considered. “Investment in projects like that proposed by the City of Washougal signals that ports and communities of all sizes deserve the support necessary to safely and efficiently move locally made products around the globe,” she wrote.
Port Bridge Study Would Build on Previous Work - December 14, 2016
Back in the early 1990s, a little-known entity called the Klickitat County Regional Transportation Policy Organization identified replacement of the aging Hood River Bridge as a transportation imperative, in a regional transportation plan (RTP) for the county prepared in conjunction with and by the Southwest Washington Regional Transportation Council (SWRTC) based in Vancouver. The RTP was last updated in 2014. The Washington Legislature gave the project a boost when designated a State Route 35 corridor in the 1997 legislative session. The SR-35 corridor would provide a future link across the Columbia River to Oregon from the Bingen/White Salmon area.
5 major issues the county council is facing in 2017 - November 27, 2016
If you’ve ever driven in Clark County during rush hour, you’ve probably noticed some of the key findings from the Southwest Washington Regional Transportation Council’s most recent report on congestion. The report found that in 2015, some 294,000 vehicles crossed the Interstate 5 and Interstate 205 bridges into Portland on an average day, a 7 percent increase from 2011. “If you want to go to Portland, you have to schedule your whole day around it,” said county Councilor Jeanne Stewart. “It’s unpredictable, and unpredictable traffic time is not good for business.”