Phase I - Planning and Programming

Phase I - Planning and Programming

Transportation planning and programming in Arizona is an interdisciplinary process that begins with visioning, transitions to long-term planning and culminates in short-term funding commitments for specific projects.  The process systematically analyzes transportation issues and their impacts on Arizona’s social, economic, physical, natural, and political environment and identifies improvements and infrastructure needed to provide a safe, efficient, cost effective transportation system.  The long range visioning and long-term planning occurs primarily on the regional and state transportation system level.  The programming occurs on the project level and involves the development of short-term, fiscally constrained capital improvement programs (CIPs) or in the case of ADOT, the Five-Year State Transportation Improvement Program that commit funds to specific projects. Within ADOT, these efforts are led by staff in the Multimodal Planning Division (MPD).

The planning process is continuous, comprehensive, and cooperative; engaging residents and other stakeholders to provide their vision for the future of the state transportation system. ADOT is the central hub for the State’s transportation planning process and works directly with local governments, regional planning agencies (e.g., MPOs and COGs), tribal governments, land management agencies, federal transportation agencies, and the public to identify needs, assess project impacts, and fund transportation projects. 

Phase I: Planning/Programming graphic

PM Actions and Tasks

  • Participate in development of the 5-year program.
  • Monitor current project costs relative to the program amount
  • Participate in planning studies as a team member.


MPD Links

ADOT also works directly with Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), the Federal Rail Administration (FRA) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to carry out federal transportation policy, to secure and administer federal funding, and to ensure that federally funded projects are developed according to federal regulations and standards (refer to 23 CFR 450 for more information on federal planning assistance and standards).

ADOT’s Five-Year Program is a lineup of projects that is revised annually.  It serves as a blueprint for project development and designates the amount of local, state and federal funding allocated for the projects.  A potential project goes through several levels of review to become part of a “tentative” program before being presented to the State Transportation Board for consideration and approval. A public comment period and public hearings are also part of the process. The board considers all public comments before voting to approve the Five-Year Program.

All highway and transit projects in the state must be included in a federally approved State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP). Projects in the STIP must be consistent with the statewide long-range transportation plan and metropolitan Transportation Improvement Programs (TIPs).

ADOT is currently implementing a “Planning to Programming” (P2P) process that supports a performance-based programming process. The P2P process relies on internal technical groups and programs to nominate and prioritize projects in a manner that takes into consideration performance driven evaluation criteria using data.

Every year, the agency revisits evaluation criteria weights to fit performance targets for the following conditions: pavement, bridge, safety, mobility and air quality. The P2P process is valuable because it leads to improved project scoping and a data driven project prioritization process that will lead to more efficient programming of projects giving the travelling public the highest return on investment possible. Pre-scoping, a relatively new function within the P2P process, is a quick and cost effective method to identify a planning level project scope and cost estimate.

Pre-scoping is performed in MPD and should occur prior to a project being programmed.


Planning - Extended Information


The Planning section is responsible for preparing comprehensive multimodal transportation plans for the State.  These plans identify needs and guide transportation investments in the areas of preservation, modernization, and expansion.   Our solutions consider all modes; evaluate operational efficiency; consider the links between land use and transportation; and address financial and environmental sustainability.   Planning duties include working with internal and external partners including local and regional governments, tribal agencies, land management resource agencies and the public to deliver transportation projects.

The current transportation bill, “Fixing America’s Surface Transportation”  (FAST) Act , encourages the continued improvement, evolution, and coordination of metropolitan and statewide transportation planning processes.  Primary goals are promotion of transportation needs and decisions that maximize the effectiveness of transportation investments.  The Planning section will ensure federal requirements are being followed throughout the planning process.

The Planning section is responsible for updating and following the policies defined in the State Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP) that provides a 25 year fiscal outlook.  The LRTP defines budgets for three primary investment categories including “Preservation”, “Modernization” and “Expansion” projects.  Budgets within these three categories are set considering the right mix of investments to best address the transportation needs of the Statewide multimodal infrastructure network.   A major component of the upcoming What Moves You Arizona update in 2016 will be setting of performance and condition targets for the transportation system.

The Priority Programming section links analysis, transportation plans, implementation and infrastructure such as roads and bridges.  Priority Programming is chiefly responsible for the state statutorily required Five – Year Transportation Facilities Construction Program that prioritizes all ADOT projects to be constructed over the next five years; and the federally mandated Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP). 

This section ensures that ADOT and its partners efficiently meet state and federal requirements for programmed projects.

ADOT is currently in the process of implementing a “Planning to Programming” process that will lead the agency to a performance based programming process.  In FY 2016 the agency plans to “pilot” a project nomination and scoping process that will lead to a consistent and thorough State system projects scoping process allowing ADOT to apply performance based “technical” and “policy” evaluation criteria for the selection of projects in the “Preservation”, “Modernization” and “Expansion” investment categories as defined in the Statewide Long Range Transportation Plan.  A key component of Planning to Programming process implementation is restructuring of the Systems Planning group to include the following programs that will nominate State system projects for consideration in the Tentative 5 – Year program be developing an “MPD Annual Report”:

Linking Planning to Programming (P2P)

The Planning to Programming (P2P) process encompasses all activities and coordination associated with connecting fiscal scenarios developed in the What Moves You Arizona Recommended Investment Choice scenarios including “Preservation”, “Modernization” and “Expansion” projects to the ADOT 5 – Year Facilities Construction Program. The Planning to Programming process entails increased internal stakeholder and programs communication to nominate and prioritize projects in a manner that takes into consideration performance driven evaluation criteria specific to the three investment choice categories. Planning to Programming integrates ADOT technical and engineering district feedback to properly scope and nominate projects for prioritization.

As the agency moves forward, evaluation criteria weights will be calibrated to fit performance targets for the following conditions: pavement, bridge, safety, mobility and air quality. The Planning to Programming process is valuable because it leads to improved project scoping and a performance driven project prioritization process that will lead to more efficient programming of projects giving the travelling public the highest return on investment possible.


Pre-scoping, as part of the project development process, is a quick and cost effective method to identify a planning level project scope and cost estimate. Pre-scoping applies to all projects. This phase occurs prior to a project being programmed.

Pre-scoping serves three major purposes:

  1. It is a critical step to estimate a planning level project construction cost so that a reasonable amount of fund can be programmed for the project.
  2. Pre-scoping determines the scope that needs to be included in a project for design and construction. It assists the Design Project Manager and the Design Engineers in identifying their design scope and estimating their design cost.
  3. It provides data needed for the P2P Evaluation and determine if a project can be moved to the Final Design phase or additional Scoping (Project Assessment or Design Concept Report) is needed.

Complete Transportation Guidebook

The Complete Transportation Guidebook, produced in February 2016, is a reference tool for integrating sustainable practices into transportation planning, scoping, and design throughout the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) project development process. The Guidebook provides strategies and techniques for identifying transportation choices that provide mobility to connect communities and economic opportunity to maximize a limited set of resources, time, and money.

Complete Transportation Guidebook

Planning Assistance for Rural Areas

The PARA program provides federal funds to non-metropolitan communities for the purpose of conducting transportation planning studies and “pre-scoping” activities.  Funds may be applied to a broad range of multimodal planning issues.  Program funds are available to local jurisdictions outside the Maricopa Association of Governments and Pima Association of Governments regions including tribes.  COGs and MPOs are not eligible to receive funding under this program due to receipt of planning funds through their annual work programs. 

The purpose of this program is to provide local jurisdictions with a means to develop studies and plans that recommend lists of transportation improvement projects for short (5-year), Mid (10-year) and long-range (20-year) timeframes.  Project recommendations are identified for consideration to be included in local COG and MPO transportation improvement plans or local capital improvement programs.

Another component of the program provides “pre-scoping” assistance to local jurisdictions and tribes by providing funding to perform site visits and scoping documentation for projects identified in local COG and MPO transportation improvement programs or capital improvement programs.  The primary goal of pre-scoping efforts is to develop project scopes to a level of considerable certainty with regards to scope, schedule and budget prior to a project being placed in a local transportation improvement program or capital improvement program.  Pre-scoping projects leads to a decrease in transportation improvement program amendments creating efficiencies associated with the programming and design processes.

  • Administration, Eligibility and Activities
  • Funds are administered through a funding application and selection process.
  • Corridor and Area planning studies are capped at $250,000.
  • Scoping of local TIP projects (or potential TIP projects) is a newly eligible expense, capped at $20,000.
  • Eligible applicants include counties, cities, and towns located outside the boundaries of Transportation Management Areas, as well as Native American Tribes.
  • Partnerships between communities are encouraged.

MPO and COG Coordination Program

The ADOT Multimodal Planning Division is the designated recipient of Federal-Aid Highway funds used for planning and research purposes.  The funds include Metropolitan Planning Funds (PL – 23 USC 104) which are provided for Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) to carry out requirements of 23 USC Section 134, and Statewide Planning and Research Funds (SPR).  As the designated recipient of planning funds, ADOT has both the responsibility and the authority under CFR Part 18 to oversee all sub-recipient activities.  Sub-recipients include MPOs and Councils of Governments (COGs).  In order to accomplish this ADOT MPD has designated Regional Planners to provide technical assistance and oversight to MPOs and COGs. Contact the planner who is overseeing your region.

ADOT’s oversight responsibilities include but are not limited to overall Work Program reviews and approval, invoice billing review and approval, transportation improvement program certification, quality assurance of traffic data, and assistance with Regional Transportation Plans (RTPs) and multimodal planning studies. The Regional Planners function as in-house experts on regional issues and ensure compliance with federal and state laws, regulations, and policies. 

Program Oversight and Activities:

  • Serve as voting member on MPO & COG Technical Advisory Committees (TAC)s
  • Develop Annual COG Work Programs and Budgets
  • Oversee MPO & COG Transportation Improvement Programs – approve and process annual TIPs and subsequent amendments
  • Reviews monthly MPO & COG Financial Ledgers for accuracy
  • Approve and processes MPO & COG Billing Invoices – review progress reports against Work Programs
  • Participate as a TAC member on Long Range and Multimodal Planning Studies
  • Serve as a Liaison between Federal Government, State, and Local Public Agencies
  • Coordination of MPO/COG Annual Report
  • Consultation with Rural Elected Officials
  • Annual FHWA and FTA Work Program Reviews
  • Attend Bi-Monthly MPO and COG Planner Meetings

Bike and Pedestrian Program

The purpose of this program is to promote and facilitate the increased use of non-motorized modes of transportation, including developing facilities for use by pedestrians and bicyclists, public education, promotional, and safety programs for using such facilities (23 U.S.C. §217. Bicycle transportation and Pedestrian Walkways).  Also, the Program coordinates and integrates all bicycle- and pedestrian-related activities with ongoing statewide planning efforts (in accordance with 23 U.S.C. §135.

Project Scoping and Corridor Planning Program

The Corridor Planning Group is responsible for evaluating Arizona’s highway corridors for adequate capacity and deficiencies related to aging or outdated infrastructure. The corridor profile Studies incorporate risk assessment and a life-cycle analysis to identify cost-effective solutions.

The corridor profile studies utilize a performance based approach to identify needs in three categories: preservation, modernization and expansion using performance measures identified in MAP-21. These Corridor Profile Studies will be used as a basis for long range planning and ultimately programming of specific projects. 

Projects identified in the corridor profile studies will be included and identified in the MPD Annual Report as part of the “Corridor Planning Program” chapter.  Projects identified will be added to the statewide pool of projects in the “Preservation”, “Modernization” and “Expansion” categories for application of Planning to Programming performance based evaluation criteria.  Application and scoring based on these criteria will prioritize the projects identified in corridor studies against all projects Statewide for State Transportation Board consideration to be included in the final adopted 5-Year Facilities Construction Program.

Another primary component of the program is to develop project scopes for State System projects as part of the Planning to Programming performance-based process.  The scoping process includes completion of a field review checklist and short scoping letter that defines a project scope, schedule and budget including incorporation of ADOT Intermodal Transportation Division input and engineering district feedback prior to considering and programming projects in the 5-Year Facilities Construction Program.

Freight Planning Program

The Freight Planning Program is responsible for developing and implementing the Statewide Freight Plan.  The purpose of the Freight Plan is to facilitate the safe, efficient movement of goods and freight throughout the State. The Statewide Freight Plan l also addresses aspects of safety, economic development, mobility, environmental impacts and provide recommendations and an implementation plan for the identified needs.  All recommendations from the Freight Plan will be considered for inclusion in the Planning to Programming process and ultimately the tentative 5-Year Facilities Construction Program through inclusion in the Multimodal Planning Division Annual Report.

Rail Planning Program

The Rail Planning Program is primarily responsible for implementation of the Arizona State Rail Plan, which was accepted by the State Transportation Board (STB) in March 2011 and currently being updated.  The State Rail Plan is one element of an overall vision for Arizona’s Transportation Future known as “Building a Quality Arizona” (bqAZ).  Arizona has the opportunity to include rail as part of a sustainable, multimodal transportation system that will support future mobility choices and economic prosperity.

The Arizona Passenger Rail Corridor Study between Phoenix and Tucson was identified as the highest priority implementation item in the State Rail Plan.  This study completed an Alternatives Analysis, Tier I Environmental Impact Statement, and Service Development Plan that will recommend a corridor location and operating assumptions for passenger rail service between Phoenix and Tucson.

Tribal Planning Program

Tribal Planning Program staff manages the production of diverse and complex plans, contracts, policies and programs in support of state and tribal governments including maintenance of effective working relationships.  Emphasis is placed on conducting coordination efforts including outreach, reports, presentations, workshops and planning assistance to improve tribal participation in State planning and programming processes.  A major goal of the program is to increase tribal participation as part of Metropolitan Planning Organization and Council of Governments Technical Advisory Committees leading to increased dialogue between tribes and local planning agencies, ultimately increasing investment in tribal transportation infrastructure statewide through inclusion of projects in local transportation improvement programs and the Statewide 5-Year Facilities Construction Program.

Tribal Planning Website

Programming - Extended Information

The Five-Year Transportation Program

To comply with Arizona Revised Statutes §28-304, and set forth the plan for developing projects and account for the spending of funds for the next five years. The first two years of the program will be financially constrained by year. All projects in the first two years of the program will be fully funded and be ready to advertise within the year programmed or sooner as determined by the State Transportation Board. The last three years of the program will be used to establish an implementation plan for projects moving through the various preparation phases needed prior to the construction of the project.

More information on the Five-Year Transportation Program.

Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP)   

The Arizona Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) identifies statewide priorities for transportation projects. It is a compilation of projects utilizing various federal funding programs and includes highway projects on the city, county, tribal and state transportation systems, as well as projects in the National Parks and US Forest Service system. This is a five-year project list (currently in FY 2019 – 2013) compiled in cooperation with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), Federal Transit Administration (FTA), Councils of Government (COGs), and the Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) (23 CFR §450.216). Projects are selected for inclusion in the STIP based on adopted procedures and criteria.

MPD develops and produces the STIP through a list of projects compiled by the Systems Planning and Programming section. Projects in the STIP must be consistent with the ADOT Five-Year Transportation Facilities Construction Program and metropolitan transportation improvement programs (TIPs). The program must reflect expected funding and priorities for the programming of all federal funding.

More information about the State Transportation Improvement program.

District Minor Application

The District Minor Application is used to help “pre-scope” a project and level the playing field for a project to compete against others for limited available funding.  It is generally completed by District personnel, though some help or guidance may come from a project manager.  It outlines the Scope, Schedule and Budget for a candidate project.  Projects which address multiple issues and illustrate the cooperation of other groups and/or entities, especially financial, tend to score higher.

Attached are documents to assist with filling out a District Minor Application form and understanding the project selection.

MPD - Extended Information

Transportation Analysis

Learn more about the Transportation Analysis section by visiting the site below:

Transportation Analysis

Traffic Monitoring

The Traffic Monitoring Section in the MPD Transportation Analysis Group is responsible for the collection, analysis and reporting of vehicular traffic information throughout Arizona.  Vehicle volumes, classifications, speeds and weights are collected at over 5,000 locations on the highway network using both temporary and permanent traffic monitoring stations and then archived electronically to a cloud-based server.  After a series of quality assurance and quality control checks and analyses are performed, the data is posted to the Transportation Data Management System interactive website. The Traffic Monitoring Section is also responsible for estimating various traffic factors for the annual Highway Performance Monitoring System submittal and for performing regular field maintenance of the traffic monitoring stations and vehicle detection systems.    

Travel Demand Modeling

With state-of-the-practice computer simulation tools, the Modeling & Forecasting Section prepares traffic forecasts for local, regional and statewide planning and design studies.  The Modeling & Forecasting Section provides direct modeling services to MPOs, and technical guidance, training and assistance to MPOs, cities, counties, other government agencies and their consultants.  The Arizona Statewide Travel Demand Model (AZTDM) is a planning analysis tool that simulates the interaction between people and the transportation system. The Modeling & Forecasting Section uses a series of mathematical models to replicate travel behavior in response to candidate policy, plan, and project scenarios.  AZTDM is used to prepare the travel forecasts used for road design and transportation plans.  These forecasts are produced for planning horizons as far out as 2050 based on the population and employment growth projections established by the Arizona State Demographer's Office and MPOs.

Data Management

Geographic Information Systems

This program is responsible for oversight of Geographic Information Systems related to statewide roadway information, the authoritative roadway centerline known as Arizona Transportation Information System (ATIS), and the Highway Photo log inventory.  The GIS team supports Federal submittals of the All Roads Network of Linear Referenced Data (ARNOLD), Model Inventory of Roadway Elements (MIRE), and Highway Performance Monitoring System (HPMS).  The GIS team utilizes tools that include Aerial Photogrammetry, GPS, cartography, Online Mapping, geocoding, ArcGIS, dynamic segmentation, and linear referencing systems.  The team provides agency wide services related to data creation, custom mapping requests, plus in depth data analysis for data driven decision making. 

Highway Performance Monitoring System (HPMS)

HPMS is America's national database of highway information.  It is a federally-mandated program launched in 1978 for which ADOT and other state highway agencies are responsible for administering.  Roadway extent, use, condition and performance data is collected by and for the states and submitted to the FHWA on an annual basis.  From a national perspective, the FHWA's primary intent with this program is to provide Congress with a policy tool for major highway legislation and funding decisions. The scope and scale of HPMS covers all publicly-owned roads and streets.  In addition to state-owned routes, this includes those under the jurisdiction of all county, municipal and federal government agencies. It is the responsibility of the HPMS Coordinator in the MPD  Data Management Section to ensure an extensive set of public highway attributes are collected and reported to FHWA through this program in accordance with specified guidelines and schedules. 

For more information about transportation analysis, traffic data and counts, please visit Traffic Data and Counts.


Aviation Planning is responsible for developing and providing information to assist Airports with planning projects such as:

  • Airport Master Plans
  • Airport Layout Plans
  • Environmental Assessments
  • Drainage Plans
  • Rates and Fees Studies
  • Stormwater Pollution Prevention Program/Plans (SWPPP)
  • Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasures plan (SPCC) information

In conjunction with Arizona’s public airports and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), ADOT develops the Five-Year Airport Capital Improvement Program (ACIP) to parallel the FAA’s Airport Capital Improvement Program. The ACIP has the dual objective of maximizing the use of State dollars for airport development and maximizing FAA funding for Arizona airports. Federal monies are derived mainly from taxes on airline tickets and are distributed by the Federal Aviation Administration directly to local airports through the national Airport Improvement Program.

State funding comes mainly from flight property tax, aircraft lieu tax, aircraft registration, and aviation fuel tax. The ACIP development process allocates money from the State Aviation Fund and distributes these funds across five major programs of airport development assistance. The State Transportation Board approves this distribution annually. The five programs are:

1) Federal/State/Local Grants
When a federal agency provides eligible grants directly to the airports, the State provides ½ of the local share of approved grants directly to the airports. Projects utilizing federal, state and local funds include: Airport design, construction, safety, security, capacity enhancement, equipment, maintenance, environmental, planning, and land acquisition.

2) State/Local Grants
The State provides either 90% or 95% funding for prioritized approved grants directly to the airports. Projects utilizing state and local funds only include: design, construction, safety, security, capacity enhancement, environmental, planning and land acquisition.

3) Airport Pavement Management System (APMS)
Prioritized projects maintaining and protecting eligible aviation pavement surfaces are performed by the State. The State provides 100% of the design and construction administration for APMS projects and 90% of the construction costs. The airports provide a local share of 10% of the construction costs and airport access through a joint project agreement.

4) Airport Loan Program
The State considers and awards loans to airports. These loans have typically included revenue generating projects like construction of new fuel farms, aircraft “T-hangars” and large aviation business hangars.

5) Statewide System Planning and Services
The State performs state-wide system studies and projects either with only state funds or with state and federal funds.

Learn more about our ADOT aeronautics.

Public Transportation

More information about Transit Programs and Grants.

Transportation Performance Management

Transportation Performance Management (TPM) is a strategic approach that uses system information to make investment and policy decisions to achieve performance goals. ADOT has adopted TPM principles to ensure the right bundle of projects is selected and delivered to produce the performance outcomes desired by the agency, external partners, elected officials, and the public. TPM helps determine what results are to be pursued, using information from past performance levels and forecasted conditions to guide investments, measuring progress toward strategic goals, and making adjustments to improve performance. TPM is grounded in sound data management, usability, and analysis as well as in effective communication and collaboration with internal and external stakeholders.

Asset Management

The Performance Management Section is also responsible for the development of a risk-based asset management plan. Asset management is a strategic, systematic process to maintain and improve transportation assets using lifecycle and risk management analysis to sustain a good state of repair on our highways at the minimum practicable cost.  The focus of the initial asset management plan is pavement and bridge. Per MAP-21, the minimum components of an Asset Management Plan are:

  • A listing of pavement and bridge assets on the NHS and a description of the condition of each asset;
  • Asset management objectives and measures;
  • Performance gap identification;
  • Lifecycle and risk analysis;
  • A financial plan; and
  • Investment strategies.


The ADOT Research Center is a catalyst for innovation at the Arizona Department of Transportation. The Research Center engages in two major functions:

  1. Administering the department’s research program
  2. Managing the product approval program

The Research Center conducts research studies that aim to improve processes and products within the agency.  The studies address a range of issues covering five topic areas:

  • Planning, Policy, and Communication
  • Environmental
  • Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS), Traffic Engineering, Traffic Safety, and Transportation System Management and Operations (TSMO)
  • Materials, Construction, and Maintenance
  • Bridges, Structures, and Roadways. 

The Research Center encourages ADOT staff and the department’s stakeholders to submit ideas for research studies that will lead to improvements such as technical innovations, process and product improvements, and efficiencies.  The goal of all research projects is the development of results that can lead to implementable solutions.

The product evaluation program reviews construction and traffic control products for the department, and lists those products approved for use on the Approved Products List (APL).

More information on our Research Center.

MPD Finance and Administration

The Finance and Administration section provides coordinated, centralized support to meet the goals and objectives of MPD and ADOT.  The section’s purpose is to provide the oversight support to facilitate compliance with applicable laws, regulation, and administrative requirements in core function areas such as budgeting, financial reporting, inventory, purchasing, personnel, and contract administration. The section is also responsible for monitoring contract compliance of our sub-recipients and planning partners, which are MPO’s and COG’s. Expected outcomes include:

  • Procurement of supplies, equipment, and services to support program activities
  • Executed contracts and amendments
  • Annual Inventory Report
  • Financial system entries for purchase orders, product and service receiving, and receivable invoices for sub-recipient cash match.
  • Annual Performance Report
  • Annual, quarterly, monthly financial reports
  • SPR Work Program, amendments, and funding authorizations
  • Initiating budget adjustments, expenditure corrections, journal entries for in-kind match, and deposits.
  • Supply information and support data for all executive, management, and financial purposes as requested.

MPD processes multiple on-call contracts through procurement. Each section within MPD has their own on-call consultant list. Further information about upcoming bids and active contracts can be viewed at Procure Arizona.