Transportation Planning Process

Transportation planning is the process of defining future policies, goals, investments, and designs to prepare for future needs to move people and goods to destinations. As practiced today, it is a collaborative process that incorporates the input of many stakeholders including various government agencies, the public and private businesses.Transportation planners apply a multimodal and / or comprehensive approach to analyzing the wide range of alternatives and impacts on the transportation system to influence beneficial outcomes.

The Columbus-Phenix City Transportation Study (C-PCTS) is one (1) of sixteen (16) Metropolitan Planning Organizations in the State of Georgia and one (1) of twelve (12) in the State of Alabama.In 1964, the C-PCTS was designated a Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) through the Federal-Aid Highway Act 1962. An MPO is defined as a transportation policy-making body made up from representatives of local governments and transportation agencies with authority and responsibility in metropolitan planning areas. The Act also required Governors of each state to formally designate local government entities to make up a MPO in each urbanized area with a population of 50,000 persons or more. Listed below are several core functions of the MPO:

  • Program and allocate federal funds to transportation projects and infrastructure investments through identifying and evaluating alternative transportation improvement options.
  • Create and coordinate policy that guides transportation planning in its area of jurisdictions. A key element of policy development is that it is data driven, goal focused and anticipated outputs are measurable.
  • Establish and manage a fair and impartial setting for effective regional decision making in the metropolitan are.
  • Transparent decision making through active public involvement is a key requirement. Successful existing and future transportation plans seek to incorporate and sustain a significant level of public input.
  • Prepare and maintain a Metropolitan Transportation Plan (MTP). Preparation of this document occurs once every five (5) years and has a typical planning horizon between 20 to 30 years.
  • Develop a Transportation Improvement Program (TIP), which is similar to the MTP however with a much shorter planning horizon, e.g., four (4) years. Transportation projects presented in the TIP are also included in the MTP.

MPO’s do not implement transportation projects but facilitate their construction or initiation through the allocation of federal funds or by the creation of a policy environment conductive to transportation planning, outcomes monitoring and / or land use development. MPOs assist local jurisdictions to access federal and state financial resources by ensuring their transportation planning efforts meet federal and state regulations. Collaborating with state and / or county agencies, the Columbus-Phenix City Transportation Study (C-PCTS) MPO provides the public and interested stakeholders reasonable and meaningful opportunities to participate in the transportation planning process.

For additional information, please contact the Columbus-Phenix City Transportation Study MPO at 706-225-4421. 


Since the mid-1960’s, transportation planning for the community of Columbus, Georgia has been managed by the Columbus-Phenix City - Metropolitan Planning Organization (C-PC-MPO). As the region grows, it is the responsibility of the C-PC-MPO to provide transportation policy to keep Columbus and the urbanized area moving.

The C-PC-MPO is responsible for providing transportation policy and overseeing the federal transportation process for the Columbus region which includes full and fair participation from the public. The C-PC-MPO consists of the City of Columbus (Muscogee County), Chattahoochee County, and a portion of Harris County in Georgia, and the City of Phenix City, the City of Smiths Station, and parts of Lee & Russell Counties in Alabama.

The organization is officially known at the “Columbus-Phenix City Transportation Study” and is the lead agency responsible for administering and coordinating the activities of participants carrying out the required tasks of the transportation process. Participants in this process included the Policy Coordinating Committee (PCC), and the Technical Coordinating Committee (TCC), public transit operators METRA and PEX, and the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT).

In 1964, the governors of Alabama and Georgia appointed the Columbus, Georgia Department of Planning as the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for the Columbus-Phenix City Metropolitan area. Since that time C-PCMPO has been charged with maintaining and planning the transportation needs of this region. In 1991, the role of the C-PCMPO changed with the passage of Inter-modal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA) and continues to change with the Infrastructure, Investment, and Jobs Act (IIJA) of 2021. The primary goal of these programs is to establish new policies promoting multi-modal planning that performed in an efficient and comprehensive manner, while meeting the needs of surface transportation.


Consistent with the direction provided by the Federal transportation law, the Infrastructure, Investment, and Jobs Act (IIJA), the mission of the C-PCMPO is to develop, promote, and ensure implementation of a regional transportation plan that:

  • Supports the economic vitality of the metropolitan area, especially by enabling global competitiveness, productivity, and efficiency while promoting consistency among transportation improvements and state and local planning growth and economic development patterns.
  • Increase the safety and security of the transportation system for motorized and non-motorized users.
  • Increase the accessibility and mobility of people and for freight.
  • Protect and enhances the environmental, promote energy conservation and improve quality of life, and promote consistency between transportation improvements and State and Local planned growth, housing, and economic development patterns.
  • Enhance the integration and connectivity of the transportation system, across and between modes, for people and freight.
  • Promote efficient system management and operation.
  • Emphasize the preservation of the existing transportation system.
  • Improve the resiliency and reliability of the transportation system and reduce or mitigate storm water impacts of the surface transportation.
  • Enhance travel and tourism.


The Columbus-Phenix City Metropolitan Planning Organization achieves its mission by:

  • Organizing, overseeing, and managing the planning process in compliance with the current federal requirements:
  • Providing direction to and receiving policy related support from the Technical Advisory Committee of the C-PCMPO; and
  • Providing policy direction and oversight to meet Federal and State environmental requirements for attaining air quality standards as required by the Federal Clean Air Act as amended.

GA-MPO Transportation Performance Management Approach 

Pursuant to the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) enacted in 2012 and the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act) enacted in 2015, state Departments of Transportation (DOT) and Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPO) must apply a transportation performance management approach in carrying out their federally required transportation planning and programming activities. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021 continues this requirement. The process requires the establishment and use of a coordinated performance-based planning approach to transportation decision-making to support national goals for the federal-aid highway and public transportation programs. ….read more 


The C-PCMPO is comprised of three committees which oversee various aspects of the planning process. Each committee is staffed by local government officials and private citizens form within the transportation study area. The committees, along with a brief description of their responsibilities, are listed below.

  • Policy Coordinating Committee (PCC)  is the body responsible for review and approval of the Columbus-Phenix City Transportation Study and all aspects including goals, objectives, plans, and programs developed by the Study.
  • Technical Coordinating Committee (TCC)  is responsible for collecting, maintaining, and analyzing data for transportation planning.

Transportation Improvement Plan

The Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) is a financially constrained three-year program covering the most immediate implementation priorities for transportation projects and strategies from the metropolitan transportation plan.It is the region’s way of allocating its limited transportation resources among the various capitals and operating needs of the area, based on a clear set of short-term transportation priorities.

Under Federal Law, the TIP:

  • Covers a minimum four-year period of investment.
  • Is updated at least every four years.
  • Is fiscally constrained and not a wish list of projects.
  • Is approved by the C-PCMPO and the governor for air quality; and
  • Is incorporated into the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP).


The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and Federal Transit Administration (FTA) issued the Final Rule to revise the Statewide and Metropolitan Transportation regulations incorporating changes from the Infrastructure, Investment & Jobs Act (IIJA) on November 15, 2021. The revised regulations clearly define administrative modifications and amendments as actions to update plans and programs. 23 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 450.104 defines administrative modifications and amendments as follows:

  • Administrative modification “means a minor revision to a long-range statewide or metropolitan transportation plan, Transportation Improvement Program (TIP), or Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) that include minor changes to project/project phase costs, minor changes to funding sources or previously included projects, and minor changes to project/project phase initiation dates.Administration Modification is a revision that does not require public review and comment, re-demonstration of fiscal constraint, or a conformity determination (in non-attainment, and maintenance areas).”
  • Amendment “means a revision to a long-range statewide or metropolitan transportation plan, TIP, or STIP that involves a major change to a project included a metropolitan transportation plan, TIP, or STIP, including the addition or deletion of a project or major change in project cost, project/project phase initiation dates, or a major change in design concept or design scope (e.g., changing project termini or the number of through traffic lanes). Changes to project that are included only for illustrative purposes do not require an amendment. An amendment is a revision that requires public review and comment, re-demonstration or fiscal constraint, or a conformity determination (for metropolitan transportation plans and TIP’s involving “non-exempt” projects in non-attainment and maintenance areas). In the context of a long-range statewide transportation plan, an amendment is a revision approved by the State in accordance with its public involvement process.”


Amendments for 2024


Amendments for 2023
Columbus-Phenix City Transportation Study Unified Planning Work Program
for FY 2023
Amendment - 2021 - 2023 TIP to include Phenix City Project - May 2023
Amendment to the 2024 UPWP - to Delete 20% Match on the Y410 (Safe & Accessible Transportation Options) Funding - May 2023
Amendment - 2021-2023 TIP & 2045 MTP - To include System Performance Report
FAmendment - 2021-2024 TIP to include Electric Buses and other Transit items - May 2023




MPO Studies

Alternative Transportation Study
High Speed Rail Study
Second (2nd) Avenue Streetscape Study
J.R. Allen Parkway/US 80 Corridor Study

Transportation Projects

As Columbus, Georgia continues to grow, so does the strain on the City's infrastructure. The Planning Department is responsible for keeping Columbus' infrastructure ahead of future growth expectations. The projects listed below help the Planning Department meet this goal.

P.I. 0017138 - Military Drive – Columbus – MPO Project
P.I. 0015285 - Infantry Road and Follow Me Trail – Columbus - MPO Project
P.I. 0017691 - Resurface Eights Road in the City of Columbus – MPO Project
P.I. 0018352 - Construct a Multi-Use Trail on Cherokee Avenue - Columbus – MPO Project
P.I. 100073835 - Resurface Seale Road from 10th Avenue to the City Limits – Phenix City – MPO Project
P.I. 100073348 - Resurfacing on Opelika Road from SR 38 (US – 280) to the City Limits – Phenix City – MPO Project
P.I. 100073176 - Resurface 4th Avenue from Idle Hour Drive to 16th Street – Phenix City – MPO Project
P.I. 1000 - Resurfacing on CR-240 from the Hospilika Creek Bridge to the Russell County Line – Lee County – MPO Project
P.I. 100073177 - Resurface CR-235 from CR-246 to CR-240 in Lee County – MPO Project
P.I. 100063093 - Widen and Resurface Lato Road from Uchee Hill Highway to Tarver Road – Russell County – MPO Project
P.I. 100067449 - Widen and Resurface Tarver Road form Lato Road to Nuckols Road – Russell County – MPO Project
P.I. 1000 - Resurface Mullins Road from CR-430 to CR-430 – Smiths Station – MPO Project
P.I. 0012577 - Buena Vista Road Interchange DDI – TSPLOST Project
P.I. 0011436 - Buena Vista Road @ Spider Web – TSPLOST Project
P.I. 0011434 - Cusseta Road Interchange – TSPLOST Project
P.I. #0015559 - SR 520 / US 280 @ Chattahoochee River in Columbus – GDOT Project
P.I. 0016508 - SR 520 / US 27 @ First Division Road 7.5 MI NW of Cusseta – GDOT Project
M005022 - Resurface and Maintenance on SR 85 (2nd Avenue) from SR 1 (Veterans Parkway) to SR 1 (Veterans Parkway) – GDOT Project
P.I. 0013373 - Bradley Park Drive – DDI – GDOT Project
P.I. 100077208 - Intersection Improvements at SR-1 (US 431) and SR-165 including an additional NB Right Turn Lane, SV Left Turn Lane, and NB Acceleration Lane along SR-1 (US 431) and an additional lane along SR-165 to Seale Road – ALDOT Project.
Williams Road Improvements
PI No. 0015559 | A location and Design Public Information Open House
Amendment to TIP and MTP - PI 100070528 Resurfacing SR 1 - January
2nd Avenue Streetscape Study | P.I. No. 0016424
J.R. Allen Parkway / U.S. 80 Corridor Study | P.I. No. 0016425