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Regional Transportation Plan

A 25-Year Vision for Transportation in the Greater Nashville Area

The MPO's new Regional Transportation Plan establishes guiding principles, goals and objectives for the enhancement of Middle Tennessee's transportation system over the next 25 years. It details a multi-modal strategy to support the economic growth and prosperity goals of the region's communities, while dealing with the problems of future congestion, concerns for the health, safety and security of travelers, as well as the negative effects that system expansion has on the natural and socio-cultural environment. The plan was developed according to the following guiding principles:

  • Livability- Enhance quality-of-life by supporting increased opportunities for affordable housing, education, jobs, recreation, and civic involvement without increasing the burden on citizens to enjoy their community;
  • Prosperity- Contribute to regional economic well-being through transportation solutions that reduce the cost of living and doing business, increase access to education, jobs and amenities, and attract new investment;
  • Sustainability- Support growth and prosperity without sacrificing public health, natural and socio-cultural resources, or the financial stability of this or future generations;
  • Diversity- Recognize the multitude of needs and variety of perspectives and backgrounds of Middle Tennessee's citizenry by promoting a range of transportation choices designed with sensitivity to the desired context.

The 2035 Plan provides a balanced, financially-feasible set of transportation improvements that can be constructed or implemented over the next 25 years with nearly $6 billion in expected federal, state, and local revenues.

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More about the MPO's Plan

The plan is updated every four or five years and may be amended as a result of changes in federal, state, and local funding, major investment studies, congestion management plans, interstate interchange justification studies, and environmental impact studies.

  • Required by Federal Law. Must look ahead 20+ years and include all regionally significant road, transit, walking, and biking projects, regardless of how they are funded.
  • The plan may include an illustrative vision that assumes revenues not already in place, but ultimately the plan must be financially-feasible based on a reasonable forecast of known revenue sources.
  • The MPO is responsible for air quality modeling of mobile source pollutants and must ensure the plan conforms to national ambient air quality standards. Federal funding may be withheld otherwise.
  • The plan must address regional goals for livability, sustainability, prosperity, and diversity.
  • Any project receiving federal highway or federal transit funds must be approved by the MPO and included in the region's plan.
  • The MPO has the authority to select projects for funding and to award funds to projects in the plan.
  • The MPO may require grant recipients to abide by its policies in order to receive federal funding.
  • The MPO may set-aside federal funds for projects that support significant policy initiatives like transit, walkable communities, livability, sustainability, etc.

Elements of a Transportation Plan

The 2035 Plan is a comprehensive set of strategies aimed at improving the livability, sustainability, prosperity, and diversity of Middle Tennessee through investments in all modes of transportation and in close coordination with land use planning. Read below about the planning efforts of the Nashville Area MPO and its partners.

photo: Interstate

Roadway Planning

Roadways are the most visible and productive component of our national, state, and regional transportation infrastructure. The greater Nashville region benefits from easy access to three major U.S. Interstates. However, those facilities demand constant monitoring, maintenance, and management to ensure an acceptable level of service for a growing region.

photo: LRT

Transit Planning

Public transportation in the United States is a crucial part of the solution to the nation's economic, energy, and environmental challenges – helping to bring a better quality of life. In increasing numbers, people are using public transportation and local communities are expanding public transit services. Every segment of American society – individuals, families, communities, and businesses – benefits from public transportation. Major initiatives are underway in Middle Tennessee to take advantage of those benefits.

photo: Pedestrians

Bicycle & Pedestrian Planning

Walking and bicycling are important modes of travel in our region. Everyone is a pedestrian, and people make pedestrian trips on a daily basis, whether that means walking from the transit stop to work, walking from the parking lot to the store, or walking with children to school. Walking and Bicycling provide great forms of exercise. Bicycling, once seen primarily as a form of recreation, is now viewed as an inexpensive, quick and eco-friendly form of travel. Our region is supporting the growth of walking and bicycling and the Nashville Area MPO is working with local, state, and Federal government to ensure that walking and bicycling are viable transportation options in the greater Nashville Region.

photo: Freight Movement

Freight Movement Planning

The Nashville region occupies a strategic location within North America. It is within 650 miles of half the U.S. population and sits at the nexus of major highways and rail routes. This location has made the region a transportation hub for many industries, which have produced enormous benefits to the many communities throughout the area. However, this position as a crossroads also brings the region a set of challenges associated with various aspects of transportation, particularly highway congestion and air quality, as the major sources of those problems originate outside the area. The need to influence the overhead flow of through traffic becomes a clear priority for a metropolitan area wishing to control its own development destiny.

Image: Land Use

Land Use & Urban Design

The Nashville Area MPO realizes its works should consider the varying scale and diversity of communities across the region. The MPO is increasing its efforts to knit transportation improvements and public/private investments so that they merge as seamlessly as possible into the community; and supporting the provision of mixed-use development so that transit, bicycle and pedestrian facilities, are viable options to the single occupancy vehicle.

Photo: Natural Landscape


More and more transportation, and polices that guide the expansion of transportation infrastructure, are increasingly linked to a variety of environmental issues. By federal law, the Nashville Area MPO is responsible for ensuring that the region's plans for transportation infrastructure conform to National Ambient Air Quality standards, but more than that, regional decision makers need to be aware of the affect that transportation has on water quality, wildlife habitat, natural and socio-cultural resources, and climate change.


2035 Regional Transportation Plan logo

In 2010, the MPO adopted a major update to the transportation plan for the greater- Nashville area. All plan documents, maps and project lists can be reviewed here.

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