The Danville (Pittsylvania County) Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) serves as the area's transportation agency for planning in the urbanized area of the Danville Metropolitan Statistical Area, designated by the Governor and approved by the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) in 1983. At that time, the West Piedmont Planning District Commission (WPPDC) became the administrative agent for the MPO with the approval of the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), the City of Danville, Pittsylvania County, and FHWA.
The Commission also is concerned with transportation issues in non-MPO areas of the District, which for planning purposes are designated as the Rural Planning Area. In effect, all areas of the District outside the Danville Urbanized Area as designated by the U.S. Census Bureau and Federal Highway Administration are considered rural areas. The Commission has taken an active role in promoting improvements in these areas via official actions represented by resolutions and/or letters. In 1991, the VDOT Transportation Planning Division began to proactively work with the WPPDC and other PDCs to advance the cause of enhanced transportation planning in the rural areas of the Commonwealth so that the entire state might be better served. The Commission annually undertakes planning efforts to enhance transportation in the rural sections of its service area.
The Commission seeks to effectively utilize its GIS and planning staffs in transportation planning efforts that address issues and needs to improve regional transportation infrastructure. As an example, the Commission produces its own street maps for distribution through member localities and their chambers of commerce. Other projects have included tour maps for public distribution. In 2015, the WPPDC partnered with VDOT to disseminate information on House Bill 2, now known as Smart Scale, and assisted local governments with project applications. The MPO staff also submitted two project applications on behalf of the MPO Policy Board.
The Virginia Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration offices in Richmond are principal and indispensable partners in the operation and funding of the Commission's transportation planning efforts. The VDOT District Offices in Lynchburg and Salem and the VDOT Residency Offices in Halifax and Bassett, respectively, are local partners in the cooperative efforts.