Mobility Plan Overview

Mobility Plan 2045 was adopted in April, but we’re still talking about it! Staff created an interactive story map that details what’s in it and what it means for all of us living in the region. If you want a good condensed version of the plan and the process, be sure to check it out. Don’t forget to take the survey at the end to tell us what topics you’d like to learn more about and how you’d like us to share that information.

Community Meetings Scheduled for Alcoa Highway Corridor Study

Knoxville-Knox County Planning staff is undertaking a small area study for the portion of Alcoa Highway within Knox County. This work follows a design charette that was held by the East Tennessee Community Design Center in 2019. In 2020, the City of Knoxville and Knox County each approved resolutions for Planning to undertake a study to develop an approach and policies to envision and manage development along the highway. The final recommendations will look at land uses along the corridor, considering specific changes needed to spur that redevelopment and encourage retail, commercial, and increased housing.

A community meeting is scheduled for September 30, 2021, at 5:30 p.m. It will be held at the North Campus of Sevier Heights Baptist Church, 2939 Alcoa Hwy, Knoxville, TN 37920. The meeting will open with a short presentation followed by an open house.

In addition to this in-person meeting, a virtual meeting will also be held earlier that day. A presentation will be given, followed by time for questions, at 12:00 p.m. on September 30. Interested individuals can register to participate at

TPO Welcomes AmeriCorps Member, Jace Swain-Crowley

Jace was born in Maryland, but spent his childhood split between Bartlett and Cordova, TN, just outside of Memphis. He stayed there until he moved across the state to Knoxville to attend the University of Tennessee. Jace graduated from UT in the spring of 2021 with a degree in geography and a minor in history. Through his coursework in geography, he developed a particular interest in geographic information systems (GIS).

Jace is also interested in the environment, and that curiosity helped him find AmeriCorps as he was deciding what to do after graduation. He was initially attracted to Knoxville’s CAC group because of their focus on the environment and recognized the program as an opportunity to grow professionally. When he came across the open position with the TPO he was eager to learn more about the position. With this opportunity he hopes to help UT students become more aware of AmeriCorps and the opportunities their programs offer.

During his time with the TPO, Jace will help with bike shop outreach, Bike Month, events like Parking Day and Tour de Lights, the Smart Trips program, and bicycle and pedestrian counts. He’s already started reaching out to local bike shops and is enjoying it. He recently shared that he hopes to foster more local outreach, especially at UT, to increase awareness of the TPO’s work.

Jace’s familiarity with GIS also gives him an opportunity to get involved in other projects with the TPO and Planning during his time with us. He’s particularly excited to learn more about transportation-related GIS work.

When he’s not in the office, you can find Jace running on the greenway, beer tasting, and playing video games. He’s also a fan of seeing movies, especially anything Marvel, in the theater. Jace happily reports that he’s enjoyed a few at the downtown Regal location in person since it reopened. We’re excited to have him with us this year and look forward to all his contributions!

Program of Projects Available

The Program of Projects (POP) is a listing of how federal transit funds will be spent in the urban area. The Knoxville urban area received stimulus funding through the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) from the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA) and American Rescue Plan Act (ARP). The FTA stimulus funding is distributed through the FTA Section 5307 and Section 5310 Programs.

The City of Knoxville is the Designated Recipient of the FTA Section 5307 Formula Urban Area funds and the TPO is the Designated Recipient of the FTA Section 5310 5310 Enhanced Mobility of Seniors and Individuals with Disabilities funds.

If you have any questions please contact Doug Burton at 400 Main Street, Suite 403, Knoxville, TN 37902 or at (865) 215-3824 or at

The TPO Executive Board will act on the Section 5310 Program funds at their meeting on September 22, 2021 at 9:00 a.m. in the City County Building – 400 Main Street, Knoxville, TN 37902.   

Pellissippi Parkway Design Meeting Scheduled

At the request of the Blount County Commission and in conjunction with the Virtual Design Meeting held in April 2021, the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) will host an in-person Design public meeting on September 21, 2021, to gather additional public input on the proposed project in Blount County on SR-162 EXT (Pellissippi Parkway), from SR-33 to SR-73 (US-321).

The meeting will be held from 5:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. EST at Heritage High School, 3741E Lamar Alexander Parkway, Maryville, TN 37804.

For more information, visit

Research on School Walkability Published

Over the past 50 years, active commuting to school has declined 35 percent in the U.S. TPO’s Ellen Zavisca teamed up with researchers from the University of Tennessee to explore this issue and how increased connections could impact a student’s ability to walk or bike to school. Their case study, Impacts of Small Changes in Thoroughfare Connectivity on the Potential for Student Walking, was recently published in the Journal of Urban Planning and Development.

Through her involvement with Safe Routes to School, Ellen knew that physical activity and active commuting are associated with increased academic achievement, higher attendance rates, fewer disciplinary actions, increased activity outside of school, and lower body mass index. She had started noticing that kids who live very close to their school were often not in the Parental Responsibility Zone (PRZ) because road networks didn’t provide connections needed to easily get there. The lack of commuting options had resulted in increased traffic from private transportation and busing, increased pollution, and increased costs associated with buses, drivers, and associated expenditures.

To further explore this, the researchers conducted a case study to determine what would happen if there was increased road connectivity around schools in Knox County. Ten Knox County elementary and middle schools, both suburban and rural, were selected for the study. New streets were added to the selected areas to evaluate how they would impact walking to the nearby school.

They found that adding a 600-foot street near a suburban school resulted in:

  • 700 additional residences within the PRZ,
  • 120 more students within the walking distance,
  • 120 students who got 40 more minutes of physical activity each day, and
  • 4 less daily bus trips, resulting in approximately $88,500 saved per year.

Ellen’s partners concluded that retrofitting neighborhoods was the answer, but Ellen’s takeaway was different. Through her experience as a transportation planner, she recognized the benefits that could come from working with developers and school systems on the front end. Doing this could ensure that schools are better connected to their surrounding communities by streets, sidewalks, or footpaths. Creating these connections gives families better access to school walkability and saves the school system significant transportation dollars.

Life-Altering Crash Map Available

Every 13 hours in our region, someone experiences a fatal or serious-injury traffic crash. Staff created a new interactive map that shows where these life-altering crashes occur and sorts them by severity and type.

Between January 2016 and June 2019, 2,326 life-altering crashes occurred in the Knoxville Region. Of those, 321 were fatalities and 2,005 involved a serious injury. This tool helps to better understand where, when and how these types of crashes happen, as well as the impact they have on individuals, families and communities. 

The idea for this mapping and data analysis came from previous work on pedestrian- and bicycle-related traffic crashes. Pedestrian- and bicycle-related crashes account for approximately eight percent of life-altering crashes in the region. Staff wanted to investigate additional crash types to better understand the locations and circumstances in which road users of all types are most at risk.

Several categories of crashes were analyzed for the new map, and in some instances, more than one factor is at play. The categories are: 

  • Single-motor-vehicle-only crashes, which are typically crashes in which one vehicle runs off the road and hits a pole, tree, or other object; 
  • Senior-driver crashes, which involve a driver age 65 or older;
  • DUI crashes, where the police report notes the possible presence of alcohol or drugs in at least one person involved;
  • Teen-driver crashes, which involve a driver between the ages of 13 and 19;
  • Motorcycle-related crashes; and
  • Pedestrian- or bicycle-related crashes.

This data is important to our work on traffic safety. Some crash types occur more often on certain days and times of day; for instance, teen-driver crashes happen most frequently on Wednesday evenings and Friday afternoons, while senior-driver crashes occur most often on weekday afternoons. Many of these crashes also involve alcohol or other drugs, which suggests that the use and abuse of these substances is an important factor. And just 13 roadways in the region account for a large share of life-altering crashes. Addressing these issues requires a broad effort by multiple parties. The TPO helps coordinate those efforts by regularly collaborating with local governments, TDOT, and others to share information.

All of this information – including maps, infographics, reports, and access to raw data – can be found on one web page:

Mobility Plan 2045 Adopted

Mobility Plan 2045 was adopted by the Knoxville Regional Transportation Planning Organization’s Executive Board this spring. The Plan guides transportation investments in the region for the next 25 years, allowing federal money to be received for transportation projects and ensuring that the best long-term decisions are made for residents, employers, and visitors. It is updated every four years to account for changes in community and regional priorities, technology, project costs, and available funding.

The plan explores current conditions and determines expectations for growth and infrastructure needs in the future. It tries to determine the best ways to continue building prosperity and maintaining a high quality of life for everyone in the region. The goals of the plan are:

  • Make the transportation system safer and more efficient;
  • Reduce air pollution and improve the health of residents;
  • Improve links among transportation modes, infrastructure, and development; and
  • Address equal access to benefits and opportunities.

Last fall, local jurisdictions submitted applications for all potential projects to be included in the plan. To determine which projects to fund and when, the TPO considered the year of expenditure cost, project scoring, funding eligibility, and local priority. Projects were selected and prioritized after consideration of both technical analysis and input from residents, stakeholders, and elected and appointed officials. The result is the funding of 134 roadway, bicycle, pedestrian, and transit projects, totaling $4.5 billion, over the next 25 years. The final plan is fiscally constrained, meaning that the cost of all included projects does not exceed the available funding.

In addition to the plan, the Air Quality Conformity Report was also adopted. This report demonstrates that the projects within Mobility Plan 2045 conform to the requirements of the Clean Air Act and that federal funds are not spent on projects that violate, increase the frequency or severity of, or delay timely attainments of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards.

The final documents are available at