Central Midlands Council of Governments &

Columbia Area Transportation Study Metropolitan Planning Organization

2045 Regional Long Range Transportation Plan







The Regional 2045 LRTP will shape the Central Midlands’ transportation funding priorities for the next 25 years. Transportation planners and engineers will use data to understand how congestion can be managed across the region and where pedestrian, biking, transit, vehicular, freight, and rail improvements can be made, but they cannot do their work without you.

Your experience and input are necessary to make certain the plan and its recommendations are responsive to local concerns and equitably share solutions where they can be most impactful.



Every five years, the country’s 400+ Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) and Councils of Governments are required to update their Long-Range Transportation Plans (LRTP) to guide federal and state transportation expenditures.

The Regional 2045 LRTP will be a combined LRTP that will cover the Columbia Area Transportation Study (COATS) area and the Central Midlands Council of Governments. This plan will take a comprehensive approach to addressing transportation in our area while meeting federal and state guidelines. The Regional LRTP will not only offer a regional transportation plan for the next 25 years; it will also update the regional Travel Demand Model (TDM) and Congestion Management Process (CMP).

The Regional LRTP study area includes all or portions of Richland, Lexington, Fairfield, Newberry, Kershaw, and Calhoun Counties in South Carolina.













CMCOG has performed an analysis of the transportation system to improve traffic flow, connectivity within and through the region, safety, and provide more travel options. The analysis has provided recommendations for short- and long-term solutions. It looked at travel for motorists, transit, bicycles, pedestrians, and freight.



To speak to the COATS 2045 Project Manager and the CMCOG’s Deputy Executive Director/Transportation Director, please email rsimmons@centralmidlands.org or call Reginald Simmons at (803) 376-5390.


Central Midlands Council of Governments

236 Stoneridge Drive

Columbia, SC 29210

Business Hours:  Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.



Transportation planning and funding comes with lots of anacronyms, data, meetings, and models. We hope the following definitions and information will answer your questions and address your concerns. If you do not find the information you need, please email rsimmons@centralmidlands.org or call Reginald Simmons at (803) 376-5390. If you have a question, someone else is probably wondering the same thing.


Why do we need a Long-Range Transportation Plan (LRTP)? 

An LRTP is necessary to guide a region’s transportation planning for at least a 20-year horizon.  Not only does an effective LRTP offer a vision and performance goals for a Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) and/or Council of Governments, it also establishes funding priorities, not just for road and transit capacity improvements but also for sidewalks, bike paths, traffic signal upgrades, intersection design, rail and freight projects, as well as other critical mobility related investments.


What is a Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO)? 

An MPO is a regional agency created by federal law to make certain local elected officials and the communities they represent are able to have input into the planning and spending of federal transportation dollars within population zones greater than 50,000 people. The Central Midlands MPO or Council of Governments (CMCOG) is governed by a policy board made of local elected officials and citizens who meet on a regular basis and must guide the update of the region’s LRTP every five years.


What is the Columbia Area Transportation Study (COATS)? 

COATS is another way to describe the regional Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) and accurately reflects the MPO’s requirement to study the region and develop transportation plans.


What is the Central Midlands Council of Governments (CMCOG)?

Since 1969, the Central Midlands Council of Governments (CMCOG) has been assisting local governments in developing local and regional plans within the four midlands counties of Fairfield, Lexington, Newberry, and Richland.  CMCOG currently consists of 15 member governments and serves in excess of 725,000 people by providing a regional forum, which allows local officials to seek out common goals and address regional concerns.


Which South Carolina counties and municipalities are included in the Regional LRTP? 

The Regional LRTP will determine funding priorities for all or portions of Richland, Lexington, Fairfield, Newberry, Kershaw, and Calhoun Counties in South Carolina.



When will the Regional LRTP be completed? 

The Regional LRTP was completed in December 2021.


What is a Travel Demand Model (Travel Demand Model)? 

A TDM estimates future travel demand and traffic conditions. TDM travel estimates will be used to identify existing and projected deficiencies in the region’s transportation system. The TDM will also be used to evaluate the effectiveness of proposed projects and assist the air quality conformity determination process. View the Systems Analysis section to learn more.


What is a multi-modal transportation plan? 

A multi-modal transportation plan recognizes that a comprehensive transportation system must serve a variety of users with diverse demands. For example, people and goods use a variety of methods to get from point A to point B.  A transit trip may require walking, biking, or riding in a car to and from the station. A package may require a truck, train, and bicycle to get to from the manufacturer to your door. A multi-modal transportation plan considers all of the alternative methods and means.


The transportation planning world is full of acronyms. Here is a key for some of ones you may encounter as a part of this planning effort.

  • SOV – Single Occupancy Vehicle
  • CMP – Congestion Management Process
  • CFR – Code of Federal Regulations
  • CMCOG – Central Midlands Council of Governments
  • LRTP – Long Range Transportation Plan
  • TDM – Travel Demand Model
  • CMP – Congestion Management Plan or Process
  • MPO – Metropolitan Planning Organization
  • WSP – The name of the planning and engineering firm hired by CMCOG to complete this plan.
  • 2040 LRTP – CMCOG’s 2015 LRTP being updated by COATS 2045
  • SCDOT – South Carolina Department of Transportation
  • FHWA – Federal Highway Administration
  • PSC – Project Steering Committee
  • GIS – Geographic Information System often used to connect land use, population data, transportation routes, etc. to layers of maps.
  • COMET – The Central Midlands Regional Transportation Authority also known as the Central Midlands Transit system.


Regional LRTP Documents