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

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.
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.

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.

I-5 overflow snarls downtown Vancouver streets - July 24, 2017
Like water poured too quickly through a funnel, when traffic backs up on Interstate 5 it overflows and makes a mess of Vancouver’s west side and downtown. While those diverting drivers may save themselves time, transportation officials say they’re making things worse on streets and on the highway. “It is a big problem because the local streets are acting as a regional bypass,” said Patrick Sweeney, Vancouver’s principal transportation planner. “You have a local street network that’s designed for local traffic, however it’s handling this pulse traffic that uses it as bypass.” As congestion on southbound I-5 during the peak travel times between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m. has grown, so too has the traffic in Vancouver’s west-side roads.
Test drive: Prep begins for bus travel on shoulders of SR 14 in east Vancouver - July 18, 2017
People who ride C-TRAN buses on State Route 14 between Interstate 205 and Southeast 164th Avenue will enjoy a more reliable trip during certain busy travel times later this year. As part of a cooperative pilot project between C-TRAN and the Washington State Department of Transportation, C-TRAN buses will be allowed to use the shoulder when travel speeds drop below 35 mph on the brief stretch of SR 14 beginning this fall.
Battle Ground project seeks to relieve clogged roads - July 10, 2017
The next major transportation project in Battle Ground is set to kick off in the coming weeks, this one looking to alleviate congestion where the city’s two state highways meet. The first phase of the multiyear Congestion Relief Project, which could start as soon as July 17, according to Scott Sawyer, the city’s public works director, will focus on three different sections near the intersection of state Highway 503 and state Highway 502. The phase will change the traffic flow a bit in the area, and add an entrance to Fred Meyer.
Construction Starts Next Week on Highway 99 Pedestrian and Bicycle Improvements - June 29, 2017
Work will begin next week to enhance public safety by improving pedestrian and bicycle facilities along the west side of a 15-block stretch of Highway 99. On Wednesday, July 5, Colf Construction, LLC, a Vancouver-based contractor working for Public Works, is scheduled to begin replacing portions of sidewalk on the west side of Highway 99 between Northeast 63rd Street and Northeast 78th Street. Access to all businesses will remain open during construction. The existing substandard sidewalk along this three-quarter-mile section of Highway 99 will be reconstructed to at least 6 feet wide, creating a safer, disabled-accessible walkway.
Whipple Creek project advances; crews prepare for bridge - June 26, 2017
Construction crews continued to lay the groundwork for a new stretch of Northeast 10th Avenue and a bridge over Whipple Creek on Monday. When completed, the 450-foot, two-lane, concrete bridge will stand close to 48 feet above the creek. It’s expected to last for 75 to 100 years. The work is part of a larger project to improve Northeast 10th Avenue from Northeast 154th Street north to Northeast 164th Street. “The 10th Avenue project will complete a portion of the planned transportation network of this region,” said Troy Pierce of Clark County Public Works, noting there’s no roadway there at all. “It closes the gap.” It’ll also improve area connectivity before the surrounding land develops in the future.
C-Tran says changes positive, more work to do - June 20, 2017
Chris Forhan uses C-Tran nearly every day and has been a constant rider for a little more than 10 years, so he had a keen interest when the agency made a substantial service change last year and added The Vine in January. C-Tran altered 375 bus stops, changed 11 routes, added three more and dropped two others in September in an effort to improve overall functionality of its system. The changes helped lay the foundation for The Vine, the region’s first bus rapid transit system, which went live a few months later. So, how’d the agency do?
C-Tran to shoulder pilot project - June 15, 2017
A few months from now, drivers needn’t be alarmed if they’re stuck in a traffic jam on part of state Highway 14 and a C-Tran bus passes them on the shoulder. The C-Tran Board of Directors approved an interlocal agreement with the Washington State Department of Transportation that paves the way for an 18-month bus-on-shoulder pilot project. Likely starting in September, the project will allow buses on routes 41, 65 and 164 to drive on the eastbound and westbound highway shoulder between Interstate 205 and Northeast 164th Avenue when traffic in the main lanes drops below 35 mph.
Group: Get HOV lane back in gear - June 1, 2017
Clark County resident Natalie Richards is one of thousands of Portland-bound commuters who finds herself frustrated and stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic. Richards, a civil engineer and project manager, rides the bus across the Columbia River, but it’s done little to save time. In fact, she found herself having to leave earlier and earlier to make it to work by 8 a.m. “When the gas price went down all the cars hit the road at 5:30 too … We were stuck behind all these single-driver cars,” she said. Now she and a group of 16 others have been championing High Occupancy Vehicle lanes on the southbound stretch of Interstate 5 in hopes that they would bring some reprieve for carpools and mass transit riders. Officials say HOV lanes can be a solution to congestion, but not on southbound I-5 in its current configuration.