Rural Planning Organization

Purpose & Benefits

The purpose of the First Tennessee Rural Planning Organization (RPO) is to involve local officials in multi-modal transportation planning through a structured process. Our goal is to ensure quality, competence, and fairness in the transportation decision-making process.  The RPO process allows rural community leaders and elected officials to consider multi-modal transportation needs on a local and regional basis; the process also allows leaders to review long-term needs, as well as short-term funding priorities, and make future project recommendations to the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT).  

Since the RPO was formed in 2005-2006, the main goal of the program has been to assist local governments with identifying multi-modal rural transportation needs through the Development District.  As transportation funding mechanisms change throughout the District and nation, the RPO process will continue to be a valuable tool for local governments. The RPO Executive and Technical Committees meet quarterly, agenda items for those meeting can be found here


The RPO consists of two working committees, a Technical Committee and an Executive Board, whose primary function is to work each year to prioritize projects for future funding and prioritize a list of “requests for study”.


The RPO Coordinator maintains an active RPO Projectdatabase of elected and appointed transportation officials, as well as a database of stakeholders.  Stakeholders are primarily interested citizens and principal users of the regional rural transportation system.  Staff also assisted with TACIR infrastructure surveys related to transportation projects.  Several new projects were identified by local officials during this process.  The Coordinator also worked in several counties in the District to identify or confirm existing County Seat Connector routes.  These are proposed four-lane routes from each county seat to an Interstate. 

TDOT’s Project Status Report is provided by the Tennessee Department of Transportation and is an update of projects currently underway in the First Tennessee RPO area.  The Report lists projects by County and will be updated periodically.  Please consider projects are constantly in a state of development and information provided in this Report may not be current with actual progress. RPO staff also maintains an interactive map of TDOT projects which is below, for a full page view of this map, please click here. In order to initiate a "Needs Assessment" for a "New Start" project, please complete and return the Community Transportation Planning Request (CTPR) Request Form to Chase Milner, (423) 928-0224

RPO Regional Traffic Generators Map



The RPO maintains a Google Earth GIS Database for the eight counties in the First Tennessee Development District that includes the locations of traffic generators such as schools, manufacturers, hospitals, and airports. Enrollment and employment numbers can be accessed by clicking on each individual icon. Also included are functional classifications for streets, location of railroad lines, and the boundaries for the three Metropolitan Planning Organizations in our region. Google Earth must be installed on your computer in order to utilize the database. To download the database, please click here.


RPO Regional Commuter Patterns Map

To view in full screen, please click here


TDOT Projects Map