Priority & programming guidance for planning studies

Use this guidance to clarify your planning study recommendations in a way that WSDOT can support from a priority and programming perspective.

WSDOT staff and planning teams should shape each study in a way that aligns with Practical Solutions and RCW 47.05. Planning studies can manage local expectations and facilitate larger discussions that directly affect the transportation budget. As such, Capital Program Development & Management’s (CPDM) goal is for planning studies to support a systems-based, priority programming approach.

WSDOT planners are challenged to bring community values and vision into decision making while also representing state interests and, consistent with practical solutions, managing expectations around what can be realistically implemented with state funding. As state transportation funding is limited, many actions will rely on developer contributions, local investments, or grants for implementation.  

The following actions can guide improved alignment between planning studies and programming.

  • Planning study recommendations should place local recommendations in a statewide system context using key messages.
  • M2 Team check-ins occur as recommended in the updated planning studies concurrence guidance (present early and often and where possible and appropriate include on M3 teams).
  • The recommendations in the study support, and defer to, systems approaches. For example: Priority safety investments in a corridor should align with statewide systems approaches to improving safety.
  • Recommendations from planning studies should be able to be put in the context of statewide priorities.

Practical Solutions requires that we make planning study recommendations consistent with funding sources. Consistent messaging gives WSDOT a stronger presence.

8,683 animals crossed the Snoqualmie Pass East Project area

as recorded by WSDOT and partners in 2020 and 2021.

46% increase in Amtrak Cascades ridership to 251,000 passengers

in 2021 compared to 172,000 in 2020.

Nine wetland and stream mitigation sites across 32.7 acres added

to our monitoring program in 2021 to help offset climate change impacts.