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

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 the rest of 2017 and most of 2018, various topics will be considered as the RTP is updated. Those will 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.
Agency 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.
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.
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]
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.
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.

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.

State transportation system aching - December 8, 2017
By several standards, the transportation network of Washington state is creaking under the pressures of age and economic growth. Drivers traveled 6.4 percent more highway miles than two years ago and 4.8 percent farther overall. This increase fueled a 22 percent increase in urban delays due to congestion and added carbon pollutants that cause global warming. Highway pavement is wearing out faster than the Washington State Department of Transportation can maintain it. And traffic killed 537 people last year, far above a goal set by safety advocates and a sign that Washington’s long-term gains have stalled. These data appear in the third quarter 2017 WSDOT Gray Notebook, which mostly covers 2014-2016. To be sure, the update contains good news. Bridge maintenance is doing fine. Fewer than 10 percent qualified as poor, based on federal standards used by bridge inspectors. And WSDOT’s highway-incident teams cleared 58,235 fender-benders, objects and stalled cars within an average 13 minutes — a service that prevents untold numbers of secondary crashes.
Cities smart to grow together - December 6, 2017
Kristin Tufte thinks the journey toward smart cities can be simplified into three words: People, intention and coordination. “It’s data and technology and service of people,” said Tufte, Smart Cities Liaison for Portland State University. “Is the pedestrian on the street safer because of our work? Does the woman taking the bus to work know it will get her to work on time so she can relax on the bus?” Tufte was one of three speakers Wednesday at Regional Transportation Council’s Smart Cities Workshop, which focused not only on smart cities but some regional opportunities. The general aim in being a smart city is to use information technology to not only increase efficiency and improve government but to better share information with the public while improving their lives.
Phase of Battle Ground congestion-relief work wrapping up - December 4, 2017
Battle Ground’s population is around 20,000, but more than double that figure travel through the city on a typical weekday. According to the Southwest Washington Regional Transportation Council’s list of high-volume intersections in the county, the intersection of state Highway 502 and state Highway 503 receives about 50,000 travelers on an average weekday. The first phase of the city’s Congestion Relief Project is expected to mostly wrap up this week, which will change the flow of traffic in the area.
Tolling advisory group holds first meeting - November 20, 2017
Oregon’s plans to toll highways Clark County commuters rely on to get to work took another a step forward on Monday. But this step included officials representing Southwest Washington who used the inaugural meeting of a new regional advisory committee to make appeals on behalf of their constituents who may face more expensive commutes. The Portland Region Value Pricing Advisory Committee held its initial meeting at Oregon Department of Transportation’s Portland regional offices on Monday. The committee is tasked with evaluating and making recommendations on a contentious part of Oregon’s $5.3 billion transportation plan that directs the department to develop a proposal for tolling or “value pricing” on Interstate 5 and Interstate 205 between the state line and where the two freeways meet south of Tualatin. The proposal has been presented by Oregon as a means of managing congestion in the growing region and will ultimately require federal approval. Although any actual tolling is years away, the idea has drawn concern from Clark County commuters that they will be unfairly tolled on their commutes to Oregon while seeing little or no benefit.