Communication and Public Awareness

Frequently Asked Questions


  1. What is COMPASS?
  2. How is our population growing?
  3. What is the Treasure Valley?
  4. What is Communities in Motion?
  5. What is a regional long-range transportation plan?
  6. Why is land use important in developing a transportation plan?
  7. What is multi-modal transportation?
  8. What is the Regional Transportation Improvement Program?
  9. How is transportation funded?
  10. What is a public comment period?
  11. How can I be more involved in leanring about and planning my community?


What is COMPASS?

COMPASS (or Community Planning Association of Southwest Idaho) is an association of local governments working together to plan for the future of Southwest Idaho . COMPASS members develop a plan for regional investments in transportation over the next 20-plus years. COMPASS addresses regional issues by:

  • Coordinating and implementing planning efforts
  • Ensuring local government and citizen involvement
  • Developing policies to achieve solutions
  • Providing resources to support effective planning

As the metropolitan planning organization for the Boise and Nampa Urbanized Areas, COMPASS is specifically tasked with development of a regional transportation plan.

How is our population growing?

The population in the Treasure Valley is estimated to increase over 70% by 2040, from just over 600,000 to 1.022 million. Rapid growth can easily result in more cars, more pollution and more congestion. Effective planning can help reduce these effects. Detailed demographic information can be obtained by clicking here.

What is the Treasure Valley?

The Treasure Valley generally refers to the metropolitan region spanning Ada and Canyon Counties, including the cities of Boise, Meridian, Nampa and Caldwell.

What is Communities in Motion?

Communities in Motion is the name of the regional long-range transportation plan developed by Community Planning Association (COMPASS). The name illustrates that Treasure Valley communities are growing and need transportation systems that help people and the goods and services to move between and within communities effectively. The approved Communities in Motion 2040 plan is available to read here.

Communities in Motion is a both a process and a plan. The process uses dynamic and interactive tools such as this website, open houses, public comment periods, and social media to ensure public participation, resulting in a plan that truly reflects regional values and goals. The plan will outline priorities that guide growth and maintenance of transportation systems for the next 20-plus years.

What is a regional long-range transportation plan?

A long-range transportation plan is a document resulting from a regional collaboration and consensus on a region's transportation system. This document serves as the defining vision for the region's transportation systems and services. The plan indicates all of the regional transportation improvements needed over the next 20 or more years. Putting a transportation plan together requires careful consideration of many factors, including the eight themes from which Communities in Motion 2040 draws its goals: transportation, land use, housing, community infrastructure, health, economic development, open space, and farmland. To learn more about regional long-range transportation plans, click here.

Why is land use important in developing a transportation plan?

The land use/transportation connection has been a growing concern in transportation planning over the last 10-20 years. Many communities, especially those larger areas seeking to improve the effectiveness of public transportation, have turned their focus on changing the way their communities develop. Higher density, well-designed housing, increased connectivity of streets, mixture of residential with appropriate commercial and services, and the placement of buildings closer to the street can all play a part in improving the use of alternatives and reducing the need to drive. More information on land use and density can be obtained by clicking here.

What is multi-modal transportation?

Multi-modal is a word used frequently in transportation planning to refer to several different ways of getting from one place to another. People often think of cars and roads when they think of transportation. Multi-modal planning considers various transportation options and connections among those options. Examples of these options include roadways, buses, other public transit, bicycles, pathways, carpooling, vanpooling, and work-from-home incentives.  Multi-modal planning considers qualitative impacts to the transportation system, such as environmental impacts, accessibility, service equity, and evaluates how particular populations such as elderly, disabled, or low-income persons will be impacted by the available options. For more information on multi-modal planning, click here.

What is the Regional Transportation Improvement Program?

The TIP is a short-range (3-5 year) capital improvement program (budget) of transportation projects consistent with federal regulations and area policies and strategies. The TIP lists all projects for which federal funds are anticipated, along with non-federally funded projects that are regionally significant. The TIP represents the transportation improvement priorities of the region and is required by federal law. Learn more about the TIP here.

How is transportation funded?

Transportation funding is a complex topic, but for the most part, transportation is funded through a “user pay” system – fuel taxes, vehicle registration fees, and other mechanisms, as opposed to coming from general tax dollars. Learn more here.

What is a public comment period?

A public comment period is a window of time during which COMPASS requests public input into a specific plan, project, or issue. Current and scheduled public comment periods are listed here; current public comment periods are also highlighted under “Hot Topics” on the COMPASS home page. In addition to specific public comment periods, COMPASS welcomes comments and questions at any time. Email or call 208/855-2558.

How can I be more involved in leanring about and planning my community?

  • COMPASS offers several ways for members of the public learn about, and be involved, in planning issues and the planning process.
    • The COMPASS education series [the link here was strange, so I removed, but please do link] brings national and regional experts to the area to discuss issues relating to transportation and planning.
    • Public comment periods provide opportunities to comment on specific plans, projects, and issues.
    • The Executive Director’s blog and COMPASS Facebook and Twitter accounts provide additional timely information.
  • Find COMPASS public involvement plans here and a calendar of COMPASS meetings and events here.