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Iowa in Motion 2045


What’s the Plan?

The state transportation plan (Plan) is a long-range document that addresses federal requirements and serves as a transportation investment guide. The Iowa Department of Transportation’s (DOT) long-range planning process is called Iowa in Motion, and the most recent Plan developed through this process was adopted in 2012. The Plan is updated every five years in order to stay current with trends, forecasts, and factors that influence decision-making, such as legislation, funding, technological changes, and State priorities.

The Plan will forecast the demand for transportation infrastructure and services to 2045 based on consideration of social and economic changes likely to occur during this time. Iowa’s dynamic economy and the need to meet the challenges of the future will continue to place pressure on the transportation system. With this in mind, the Plan will provide direction for each transportation mode, and will likely include a continued emphasis on stewardship. The Iowa DOT views stewardship as efficient investment and prudent, responsible management of our transportation system.

As Iowa changes and the transportation system evolves, one constant will be that the safe and efficient movement of Iowans and our products is essential for stable growth in Iowa’s economy. Iowa’s extensive multimodal and multijurisdictional transportation system is a critical component of economic development and job creation throughout the state. The system is also a major contributor to Iowans’ quality of life.

What will be in the Plan?

Plan content will include the following.
  • Trends: An analysis of demographic, economic, passenger and freight trends, and what these trends mean for Iowa’s transportation system.
  • System condition: An overview of each mode within the transportation system.
  • Vision: Broad statement that encapsulates the overall vision for Iowa’s future transportation system.
  • Investment areas: Overarching areas within which actions will be defined to implement the system vision.
  • Strategies and improvements: Actions and initiatives that will be utilized by the department to implement the vision.
  • Costs and revenues: An analysis of anticipated costs and revenues for each transportation mode.
  • Implementation: A discussion related to addressing any funding shortfalls, programming future investments, and continuous performance monitoring.

What’s changing from the last Plan?

The most recent state transportation plan, adopted in 2012, focused on policy issues and not on specific, actionable items. The goal with the new Plan is to provide specific strategies and improvements that can be implemented and revisited over time. The Plan will include some notable enhancements from the 2012 document, including the following.

  • Extensive internal and external stakeholder and public input efforts throughout the plan development process.
  • A multimodal action plan with specific strategies and improvements that can be implemented. This will include short-term, long-term, and ongoing strategies, and the targeting of potential future corridor improvements.
  • Performance measures to help the department track and monitor performance in key areas over time.

What’s been happening?

The Iowa DOT kicked off work on the 2045 update to the state transportation plan in the fall of 2015, and anticipates completion by spring of 2017. Several efforts have been ongoing as part of Plan development.

  • Two internal groups have been meeting regularly – an Internal Steering Committee (ISC), and an Action Plan Focus Group (APFG). The ISC has been serving as a sounding board for plan development and is helping provide guidance for the overall process. The ISC includes broad representation from across the department to ensure the opportunity for a wide range of perspectives to provide input to the plan, and also includes a Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) liaison. The APFG involves a subset of individuals from the ISC and additional representatives from the department, and is assisting in the development of the structure and content of the action plan portion of the Plan.
  • In February 2016, a survey was conducted to gather initial feedback on possible investment areas and strategies for the plan. The survey involved ranking four potential investment areas and suggesting others; providing ratings for possible strategies; and answering three open-ended questions related to the department’s activities. A total of 520 people provided data through the survey. Results helped inform the draft vision and investment area structure and content that has been carried forward in Plan development.
  • In August-September 2016, a survey was conducted to gather additional feedback on how people want to live and travel in the future and what they think of particular highway investment strategies. There were 1,646 responses to the survey, and the results will be used to help inform the strategies in the action plan portion of the Plan.
  • Presentations have been made to the Iowa Transportation Commission, Iowa’s metropolitan planning organizations (MPO) and regional planning affiliations (RPA), and other interest groups. Links to presentations are available at the bottom of this webpage.
  • Draft plan content is being developed and analysis of various strategies and improvements, as well as financial forecasting, is underway. Draft content that is available for review and comment is linked at the bottom of this webpage.

What’s coming up?

Throughout fall 2016, draft analysis and content will be discussed with the Commission and made available for review. Draft content that is available for review and comment is linked at the bottom of this webpage. Additional public input will take place as the draft plan comes together, with the goal of adopting the final Plan in spring 2017.



What will the outcome be?

Once adopted, the Plan will be a guide to assist the department and Commission in making informed transportation investment decisions for the state. It will help provide policy direction for the types of investments the department should be making, and will also identify specific strategies and corridor-level improvements for consideration. Additionally, MPO and RPA policy boards and technical committees may use the Plan to help capture the Iowa DOT’s perspective for their planning efforts, and to help guide their own investment decisions.

Projects programmed within the Iowa DOT’s Five-Year Program, which is approved by the Commission, logically flow from the Plan and align with its vision. In addition, more specialized plans will provide further detail concerning the implementation of elements of the Plan. The Plan plays a key role in the transportation planning cycle of public policy and input, the transportation plan, the Five-Year Program, and performance monitoring.

Public policy and input
Congress outlines specific requirements and factors to be addressed in planning and programming activities. Federal and state legislation provide parameters for the administration of transportation funds. The governor, state legislature, and citizens provide statewide direction, and the Iowa Code lays out numerous program operational criteria.

Transportation plan
The Plan serves as a guide for the development of transportation policies, strategies, and improvements between now and 2045. The Plan evaluates transportation in Iowa from a system perspective, focusing on the movement of people and freight.

Five-Year Program
The Five-Year Program is a listing of specific departmental project investments and is approved by the Commission on an annual basis. Major elements include individual modal projects scheduled over the next five years, sources of funds, annual accomplishments, and criteria/eligibility of different modal funding programs.

Performance monitoring
Tracking performance assists the Iowa DOT with understanding whether investments are helping to achieve desired results for the transportation system. This naturally feeds back into the direction the department receives from the public and stakeholders regarding what is needed for the system. Performance monitoring and target setting has also become a focus in recent federal transportation legislation, and will continue to be an evolving process.






Draft content

Chapter 1: Looking ahead to 2045
Chapter 2: Understanding Iowa
Chapter 3: Planning considerations
Chapter 4: System overview


Presentations and materials from stakeholder and public engagement activites

MPO/RPA Quarterly Meeting, September 15, 2015
MPO/RPA Quarterly Meeting, December 1, 2015
Commission Workshop, January 12, 2016
MPO/RPA Quarterly Meeting, March 23, 2016
Commission Workshop, May 10, 2016
Passenger Transportation Summit, May 12, 2016
MPO/RPA Quarterly Meeting, June 30, 2016
Commission Workshop, August 8, 2016
Commission Workshop, September 13, 2016
MPO/RPA Quarterly Meeting, September 21, 2016


For additional information, or to comment on draft material, contact:
Andrea White
Office of Systems Planning
Iowa Department of Transportation
800 Lincoln Way
Ames, IA 50010
Phone: 515-239-1210
Fax: 515-233-7857
Email: iowa.motion@iowadot.us