Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission News
Celebrating 50 Years of Regional Service
Regional Commission urges General Assembly to Find Funding Mechanism for I-81 Corridor Improvement Plan
At the September 2018 meeting of the Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission (RVARC), a resolution was passed that urged the General Assembly to find a dedicated funding mechanism to pay for improvements along I-81 based on the Commonwealth Transportation Board’s I-81 Corridor Improvement Plan. This resolution came about after reviewing the I-81 Corridor Improvement Plan and the benefits it could have on enhancing safe and reliable travel in and through the region.

Below you will find information about the I-81 Corridor that was prepared by the Virginia Office of Intermodal Policy and Investment, Virginia Department of Transportation, and the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation as a part of the I-81 Corridor Improvement Plan:
  • As a critical north-south backbone of the East Coast’s freight network, the I-81 corridor is vital to the efficient movement of goods through Virginia. 
  • More than one-third of all trucks and nearly 50% of the state’s value of goods are transported along this 325-mile corridor (Transearch, 2012). 
  • I-81 has the highest per capita truck volume in Virginia (VDOT Traffic Monitoring System). 
  • Within Virginia, I-81 connects with five other interstates and traverses 21 cities and towns, 13 counties, and 25 colleges and universities between the Tennessee and West Virginia border. 
  • 11.7 million trucks travel on I-81 each year.
  • $312 billion in goods are moved along I-81 each year.
  • 42% of Statewide Interstate vehicles miles traveled are along I-81.
  • 45+ crashes that require more than 4 hours to clear occur on I-81 each year.
  • Approximately 11,000 crashes have occurred on I-81 over 5 years.
  • More than 2,000 vehicle crashes occur annually in the I-81 corridor with 26% involving heavy trucks, which is the highest percentage for any interstate in Virginia.
Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission Earns Bronze Bicycle Friendly Business Designation by League of American Bicyclists
The League of American Bicyclists, a national bicycling and advocacy organization of nearly 20,000 members, has recognized the Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission (RVARC) with a prestigious bronze-level Bicycle Friendly Business (BFB) certification. 
With the announcement of 82 new and renewing BFBs across the country, RVARC joins a growing list of 1,314 local businesses, government agencies, and Fortune 500 companies nationwide leading the way to transform transportation, health, and wellness for the betterment of U.S. workers and local communities. In our region, we have joined local businesses including Carilion Clinic, Downshift Handcrafted Bikes & Brews, and United Way of Roanoke Valley as a Bronze Bicycle Friendly Business. The City of Roanoke is also a Bicycle Friendly Community.

BFB requirements identify incentives, programming, and amenities proven to enable and inspire more people to ride bikes. RVARC offers free bikeshare membership to its employees, maintains the Regional Bikeway Plan and interactive bike map, and works with localities to implement bicycle improvements. In addition, RVARC staffs the Regional Bicycle & Pedestrian Advisory Committee. RIDE Solutions, a program of RVARC, launched Zagster bikeshare in 2017, and administers the Bike Hero award and the bicycle rack donation program.

RVARC and other businesses have access to a variety of tools and technical assistance from the League to become even more bicycle-friendly. To apply or learn more about the BFB program, visit the League online at
FY20 SMART SCALE Funding Recommendations
Virginia’s SMART SCALE program is a process that allows the Commonwealth to select transportation projects for funding in order to ensure the best use of limited tax dollars.

Transportation projects are scored based on an objective, outcome-based process that is transparent to the public and allows decision-makers to be held accountable to taxpayers. Once projects are scored and prioritized, the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) has the best information possible to select the right projects for funding.

At the January 15 Commonwealth Transportation Board meeting, SMART SCALE scores were released, along with a preliminary funding scenario. The project applications below were submitted in August 2018 from the RVARC and Roanoke Valley Transportation Planning Organization (RVTPO):
None of these projects were recommended for SMART SCALE funding. There were, however, six project applications recommended from the VDOT Salem District. All six of these applications come from localities in the urban and rural portions of the Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Region:
A few basic statistics of the FY20 funding round are:

FY20 SMART SCALE District Grant Program Funds for Salem District: $33,503,596
FY20 SMART SCALE District Grant Program Funds all Districts: $389,921,453
FY20 SMART SCALE High Priority Program Funds Statewide: $389,921,453
Total SMART SCALE Funding Statewide: $779,842,906

The Commonwealth Transportation Board will be reviewing the recommended funding scenario and will conduct public hearings during the spring Six-Year Improvement Program (SYIP) meetings. The funding will be approved concurrent with the SYIP in June.

For more information, contact Bryan Hill at
RVTPO Hosts Truck-to-Rail Panel Discussion
At its January 24th meeting, the Roanoke Valley Transportation Planning Organization (RVTPO) hosted a “Truck-to-Rail” panel discussion. The idea for having the panel presentation arose at the December RVTPO meeting when Policy Board members raised the issue that the recently completed I-81 Corridor Improvement Plan did not appear to address, in any specific way, rail usage along the I-81 Corridor. Some RVTPO Board members thought that it might be valuable to find out more about how transferring freight to rail might reduce truck traffic along I-81.

Representatives of the following organizations were invited to serve as panel members: the Virginia Department of Rail & Public Transportation, the Virginia Department of Transportation, RAIL Solution (a regional non-profit), and GoRail (a national organization). 

Following the panel discussion, the RVTPO Board said they would like to continue to examine the concept of “truck-to-rail”. The RVTPO appreciates those who participated in the panel discussion.
Jeremy Latimer

Director of Rail Programs

Ben Mannell

I-81 Corridor Improvement Plan Project Manager

Emily Traiforos

State Director

David Foster


RIDE Solutions Leads Statewide Process to Update Ridematch Software
The Commission’s RIDE Solutions program recently led an initiative under a grant from the Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT) to migrate a number of the commonwealth's transportation demand management (TDM) programs onto a single, statewide ride-matching database. The new system would provide enhanced mobility services within the region, as well as allow commuters who may cross from one region into another to easily find carpool matches. In the RVARC region, for example, this would enable commuters to find carpool partners to the Rideshare program in the greater Charlottesville area, as well as one-time matches for events or single trips.

In December of 2018, RIDE Solutions and the DRPT selected Agile Mile (formerly NuRide) as the vendor. Currently, RIDE Solutions is leading the development process to customize the statewide software for local needs, as well as coordinating with other TDM programs throughout the state.

The new software will link together the following non-northern Virginia TDM programs: RIDE Solutions, Rideshare (Charlottesville), Ride Finders (Richmond), TrafFIX (Hampton Roads), and Middle Peninsula Rideshare.

Agile Mile has been providing Transportation Demand Management software to state and local government agencies for over 15 years. Government agencies use the software to help commuters find greener ways to travel and get rewarded for going green.

The new software should launch statewide in February.
New Population Estimates Released
The Weldon Cooper Center for public service at UVA released their annual population estimates this week. The estimates for July 1, 2018 show that the City of Roanoke population has increased to 100,033. The City has had less than 100,000 people since the 1980 Census, and has rebounded from a low of 94,911 in the 2000 Census. 

Four localities have shown population loss since the 2010 Census and the region’s growth rate has been relatively slow. The Roanoke Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) grew 1.7% in the past 8 years making it the second slowest growing metro area in the state.

For more information, contact Matt Miller at
Ongoing Projects
The Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission is always working with localities on projects that benefit the region. Some of these projects are listed below.

  • Alleghany County Wrightsville Neighborhood CDBG Planning Grant
  • Alleghany Highlands Broadband Planning Effort
  • Gravel Trail Mapping for Franklin County
  • Greenway Support
  • Local Food Plan
  • Rural Bikeway Plan
  • Rural Transit Study
  • Summit View Trails Plan
  • Total Action for Progress Economic Impact Analysis
  • Urban Forestry Council
  • Working with local governments, tourism organizations, and the private sector on a promotional campaign for the Roanoke River Blueway
  • Working with the regional local foods partners to examine "Food Hub" needs in the region

For more information on ongoing projects contact  Tim Pohlad-Thomas   or visit .