TJCOG's overall approach to planning focuses on developing and managing partnerships that bring local communities together with other stakeholders to achieve results. Working with community partners on long-term, regional-scale strategies, the Regional Planning Department takes on five principal roles:

1. Convener and common ground for research, project development, relationship-building, and information-sharing
2. Coordinator of cost-effective regional services
3. Manager of regional planning projects
4. Administrator for regional institutions addressing development, conservation, and infrastructure
5. Provider of technical assistance and data to member communities