An Evaluation of County Comprehensive Plans in Virginia

Report No: 07-R6

Published in 2006

About the report:

This study evaluated the comprehensive plans of 59 Virginia counties to determine if the transportation elements of the plans had an inventory of the transportation network in the county, an assessment of the network, and recommendations to address the problems noted in the assessment. The study also determined whether or not the comprehensive plans included functional classifications and the extent to which the plans supported access management. The study found that most of the comprehensive plans had an inventory, an assessment, and recommendations, although the assessments were mostly qualitative instead of analytical. Approximately one fourth of the plans reviewed contained recommendations limited to policies, rather than specific transportation infrastructure improvements. The comprehensive plans were in a wide variety of formats and styles, and some contained blatant inconsistencies between the transportation and the economic development sections. This report also provides a list of modes for technical assistance by the Virginia Department of Transportation found in the comprehensive plans, guidance for VDOT staff regarding review of the plans, and a list of threats to the safety and operational integrity of the state highway system found in the comprehensive plans. The costs and benefits of the findings in this research are mainly related to staff time and better county comprehensive plan documents. The appendices provide a description of each plan and a template for the transportation element of a local comprehensive plan.

Disclaimer Statement:The contents of this report reflect the views of the author(s), who is responsible for the facts and the accuracy of the data presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Commonwealth Transportation Board, or the Federal Highway Administration. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation. Any inclusion of manufacturer names, trade names, or trademarks is for identification purposes only and is not to be considered an endorsement.


  • Matthew C. Grimes

Last updated: November 25, 2023

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