Note on Version 1.1 of Advancing Major Transit Investments through Planning and Project Development

Prepared by:
Federal Transit Administration
Office of Planning
Office of Program Management
January 2003

[PDF Version]


The following presents Version 1.1 of FTA’s revised guidance on advancing New Starts projects through planning and project development. This guidance is intended as an update to FTA’s current Guidance on Requests for New Starts Projects to Enter Preliminary Engineering (PE) and Final Design (September 1999), and includes several significant enhancements to that document. First, whereas the 1999 document was originally issued as internal guidance to FTA Regional Office staff, this revised guidance is written for the broader transit community, including FTA grantees and other agencies which may be interested in the planning and project development process for major transit capital investments. Second, this guidance focuses less on the specific PE and final design decision points (including the New Starts evaluation and rating process) and more on the planning and project development activities that precede the FTA approval action. The intent here is to emphasize the principles of sound planning and project management as a means of developing transit capital investment projects. Third, this guidance explains FTA’s interest in becoming more actively involved in the early stages of local corridor and sub-area planning, and identifies specific activities and products of the planning and project development process which FTA would like to provide assistance on.

Version 1.0 of this guidance was issued in November 2002 to FTA Headquarters and Regional office staff for review and comment. Version 1.1 incorporates FTA staff comments, but does not reflect the entirety of FTA’s expectations for local conduct of the preliminary engineering and final design stages of development. FTA’s Office of Program Management (TPM) is continuing to develop materials which more fully describe project management principles, products, and programmatic requirements, particularly as they relate to the demonstration of an agency’s technical capability to advance a major capital investment through project development. Rather than wait for the completion of this information, FTA sees value in issuing a "beta" Version 1.1 of this guidance to the broader transit community, and to solicit their ideas and suggestions on it. Subsequent versions of this document will incorporate both user comments and TPM’s enhanced guidance on project development and management.

We hope that you find this guidance helpful, and welcome your thoughts and questions on it. Please send any comments or questions to Sean Libberton, FTA Office of Planning Innovation, at sean.libberton@dot.gov.

Ron Fisher
Director, FTA Office of
Planning Innovation and Analysis