COLUMBIA AREA TRANSPORTATION STUDY
METROPOLITAN PLANNING ORGANIZATION
2024 & 2025 UNIFIED PLANNING WORK PROGRAM (UPWP)
The Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP) incorporates in one document all transportation planning and directly supporting comprehensive planning activities in the Columbia Metropolitan Area, which appears in Figure 1, during the fiscal years 2024 & 2025. It is intended to provide a mechanism for the coordination of planning efforts by local, State, and regional agencies through the Columbia Area Transportation Study (COATS).
The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) and its modal administrations [i.e., the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA)] require this Unified Planning Work Program as a basis and condition for all funding assistance for transportation planning to State, local and regional agencies. The authority for this requirement is found in two separate Federal legislative acts establishing transportation planning programs:
- Title 23, U.S. Code Section 134 (Federal Aid Highway Act of 1962, as amended)
- Title 49, U.S. Code Section 1603 et. al.: (Urban Mass Transportation Act of 1964, as amended)
DEVELOPMENT OF THE UNIFIED PLANNING WORK PROGRAM
As the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) designated by the Governor of the State of South Carolina, COATS has the responsibility to carry out the continuous, comprehensive and cooperative transportation planning process for the Columbia Metropolitan Area. The Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP) identifies the transportation planning activities which are to be undertaken in the COATS study area in support of the goals, objectives and actions established in the 2045 Long-Range Transportation Plan, which was adopted in December 2021. COATS staff, working with the Planning Department of the South Carolina Department of Transportation, annually initiates the process of developing the UPWP and prepares a final draft for the MPO Policy Committee consideration. The intent in developing a comprehensive Work Program is to ensure that a coordinated transportation planning process occurs in the region, which will make positive contributions towards achievement of the established 2045 goals regarding mobility, facilities, safety, the environment, and land use.
The UPWP outlines a framework for the work program which the staff is expected to accomplish and provides guidance with respect to a financial plan to support the Work Program. This 2024 & 2025 Work Program is intended to be consistent with the metropolitan planning requirements of the Federal Legislation: Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021 (IIJA), Public Law No. 117-58, November 15, 2021, and its implementing regulations. Compliance with these regulations’ frames much of this program. Further, the Work Program strives to address South Carolina Department of Transportation planning emphasis areas which are intended to implement the State’s policies for urban area transportation planning. This is to ensure that projects conceived by COATS fulfill Federal and State policies and local issues progress in a timely manner.