Division Of Statewide Planning

The Division of Statewide Planning prepares and maintains plans for the physical, economic, and social development of the state; encourages their implementation; and coordinates the actions of state, local and federal agencies and private individuals within the framework of the state's development goals and policies. The basic charge is established by Sections 42-11-10 and 12 of the General Laws. The Statewide Planning Program consists of the State Planning Council and staff who specialize in land use, comprehensive planning, GIS, transportation and other related topics.

planning org chart

Statewide Planning, acting as staff to the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) is recertified by the United States Department of Transportation every four (4) years.

Unified Planning Work Program

The activities of Statewide Planning are guided by a Unified Planning Work Program, FY 2023 UPWP. Statewide Planning prepares quarterly reports detailing the progress of activities contained in the UPWP.

Transportation Management Area
2022 MPO Certification Review Report

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) conducted the certification review of Rhode Island’s transportation planning process through a series of virtual meetings held on February 8, 9, and 10, 2022, along with a presentation and period for public comment at the State Planning Council meeting (February 10, 2022) and Transportation Advisory Committee meeting (February 17, 2022). FHWA and FTA are required to jointly review and evaluate the transportation planning process for each urbanized area with more than 200,000 in population at least every four years (pursuant to 23 U.S.C. 134(k) and 49 U.S.C. 5303(k)) to determine if the planning process meets Federal planning requirements.

A note regarding Transportation Management Areas (TMAs) and Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs). In Rhode Island, we have three designations which happen to coincide at the state level: 1) a single urbanized area, the Providence, Rhode Island - Massachusetts urbanized area, with a population of greater than 200,000; which 2) qualifies it automatically as a TMA; and 3) a single MPO, designated by the Governor and recognized by FHWA and FTA, which covers the same geography.
Certification of the planning process is a prerequisite for the approval of Federal funding for transportation projects and programs in such areas. The certification review is also an opportunity for FHWA and FTA to provide assistance with new programs and to enhance the ability of the metropolitan transportation planning process to provide decision-makers with the knowledge they need to make well-informed capital and operating investment decisions.

In general, the reviews consist of three primary activities: a site visit (held virtually for this certification), a review of planning products (in advance of and during the site visit), and preparation of a Certification Review Report that summarizes the review and offers findings for the MPO. The review process focuses on the areas compliance with Federal regulations, challenges, successes, and experiences of the cooperative relationship between the MPO(s) (in this case, Statewide Planning as staff to the State Planning Council), the state Department of Transportation (in this case, RIDOT), and any public transportation operator(s)(in this case, RIPTA) in the conduct of the metropolitan transportation planning process.

FHWA and FTA’s findings can include commendations, recommendations, or corrective actions. Commendations describe processes and products that are considered notable and can be identified as best practices. Recommendations identify steps that should be implemented to improve processes and planning products that already meet minimum federal requirements. Corrective actions describe items that do not meet the requirements of the transportation statute and regulations, along with the actions that must be taken to attain compliance. Failure to address a corrective action may result in a more restrictive certification or the withholding of federal funds.

For the 2022 Certification Review, FHWA and FTA reviewed several of the MPO’s documents including the FFY 2022-2031 Statewide Transportation Improvement Program, FFY 2022 Unified Planning Work Program, and the Metropolitan Long Range Transportation Plan (Moving Forward RI 2040).

As a result of the 2022 Certification Review, FHWA and FTA Certified the transportation planning process conducted by the State Planning Council (SPC) / Division of Statewide Planning - the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for the Providence urbanized area, Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT), and the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA).

The findings from the 13 program areas in the 2022 Certification Review Report detail 26 recommendations and 5 commendations. Details of the certification findings for each review area can be found in the full 2022 Certification Review Report from FHWA and FTA.

Rhode Island Water Resources Board

The Rhode Island Water Resources Board is established by Chapter §46-15 of the RI General Laws. The General Assembly recognized that Rhode Island's water resources are among the state's most valuable-if not the most valuable-of all its natural resources.

The agency supports the proper development, protection, conservation and use of the state's water resources while providing for economic development and protection for the environment.