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MPO 101. Arkansas Transportation Planning Conference May 18, 2011 FHWA – Jim Thorne. Objectives. Describe the functions of a Metropolitan Planning Organization Understand the roles of a policy board member Review the transportation planning process

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mpo 101

MPO 101

Arkansas Transportation Planning Conference

May 18, 2011

FHWA – Jim Thorne

  • Describe the functions of a Metropolitan Planning Organization
  • Understand the roles of a policy board member
  • Review the transportation planning process
  • Discuss development and approval of the major planning products
what is a metropolitan planning organization mpo
What is a Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO)?

“The policy board of an organization created and designated to carry out the metropolitan transportation planning process.”

Source: 23 CFR Part 450.104


What is transportation planning?

Transportation planningprovides

the information, tools, and public involvement needed for improving transportation system performance

Transportation planning is

a continuous process that requires monitoring of the system’s performance and condition

a metropolitan planning organization
AMetropolitan Planning Organization…
  • Has the authority of Federal law
  • Is a representative group of local stakeholders
  • Leads the transportation planning process for the metropolitan area
  • Is the region’s policymaking organization responsible for prioritizing transportation initiatives
  • Carries out the metro transportation planning process in cooperation with the State DOT(s) and transit operators
what do mpos do
What do MPOs Do?
  • Carry out the metropolitan transportation planning process in cooperation with the State DOT(s) and transit operators
  • Determine responsibilities in concert with the State DOT(s) and transit operators
  • Cooperatively develop, update, and approve:
    • Unified Planning Work Program
    • Transportation Plan
    • Transportation Improvement Program
  • Have a proactive Public Participation Process
the three c s
The Three C’s

A Comprehensive, Cooperative, and Continuing process is required for initiatives to be eligible for Federal transportation funding

mpo composition
MPO Composition
  • Policy Board
    • Local Elected and Appointed Officials
    • Major Modes of Transportation
    • State Officials
    • Citizens
    • Tribal Governments
  • MPO Staff
  • Technical Committee (Sub-committees as needed)
  • Citizens Committee
who sits on the mpo
Who sits on the MPO?
  • The MPO Policy Body is identified in the documents that designate the MPO
  • Membership is determined by agreement among the Governor(s) and units of general purpose local government that represent 75% of the metropolitan area population
  • Membership is inclusive. (Outside entities can be members of the MPO Policy Board)
typical policy board members
Typical Policy Board Members
  • Required in TMAs/encouraged everywhere:
    • Local elected officials
    • Transportation operators
    • Appropriate State officials
  • Other possible members:
    • Representatives from private and not-for-profit sectors
    • General public
role of the board
Role of the Board
  • Develop a regional vision
  • Establish regional policy
  • Adopt UPWP, Transportation Plan, and TIP
  • Adopt Conformity Determinations for Plan and TIP (in AQ non-attainment and maintenance areas)
  • Ensure that the decisions reflect the concerns of residents of the region
in making decisions the board should consider
In making decisions, the Board should consider...
  • Public comments and community values
  • Long-term vision for the region
  • Effect on system operations
  • Impacts on the environment and the economy
  • Comparison with alternative options
  • Cost effectiveness and short- and long-term availability of funding
  • Federal, State, and local regulations and plans.
role of the technical advisory committee
Role of the Technical Advisory Committee
  • Oversee work efforts outlined in the annual UPWP
  • Review/coordinate UPWP efforts by MPO staff and partners
  • Provide analysis and recommendations to Board
role of the staff
Role of the Staff
  • Provide information & technical support to Board Members
  • Prepare documents
  • Foster interagency coordination
  • Facilitate input and feedback from the public
  • Manage the planning process
the mpo must work with others
The MPO must work with others
  • Actively seek the participation of all relevant agencies
  • Actively seek input from the general public
  • Cooperate with the State and public transit providers and coordinate with other transportation providers
working beyond jurisdictions
Working Beyond Jurisdictions
  • MPO is the forum for discussion
    • Place to air issues
    • Find solutions that benefit all jurisdictions/regions
  • MPOs working with adjoining regions
    • Consistency of projects
    • Multi-regional projects
the people in the process
The People in the Process











Special Interest








basic requirements

The “3C” planning process

The eight SAFETEA-LU planning factors


A Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP)

Public Participation process/plan (PPP)

Financial Planning

Produce and maintain

A Long-Range Transportation Plan

Transportation Improvement Program (TIP)

Basic requirements
what are the metropolitan planning products required by law and regulation
Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP)

Metropolitan Transportation Plan

Transportation Improvement Program (TIP)

Public Participation Plan

Annual List of Obligated Projects

Air Quality Conformity Analysis & Finding

Congestion Management Process(in TMAs)

What are the Metropolitan Planning Products Required by Law and Regulation?
unified planning work program upwp
Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP)
  • Lists the metropolitan area’s 1-2 year program of planning studies
  • Identifies sources of funding, schedules and responsible agencies
  • Coordinates the planning undertaken by all participants in the regional process
  • Describes all Federally-funded studies
  • Lays out MPOs Strategic Plan
transportation planning and programming
Transportation planning and programming


  • Developing a vision
  • Creating policies and strategies to support the vision
  • Long-term horizon
  • Programming:
  • Prioritizing proposed initiatives
  • Matching initiatives with available funds
  • Short-term horizon

The public must be involved in both

the transportation plan
The Transportation Plan

To be eligible for Federal funds, a project must be consistent with the approved transportation plan

safetea lu planning factors
SAFETEA-LU Planning Factors

The MPO is required to consider:

  • Economic vitality of the region
  • Safety of the transportation system
  • Security of the transportation system
  • Accessibility and mobility options
  • Environmental protection, energy conservation, and quality of life
  • Integration and connectivity of the system
  • Efficient system management and operations
  • System preservation
the transportation plan1
The Transportation Plan…
  • Documents conclusions and decisions of the planning process
  • Includes long term and short term policies, strategies, and actions
  • Covers capital improvements and operations
  • Addresses movement of people and goods
  • Contains an environmental discussion
  • Is financially constrained by reasonably available resources
requirements for the transportation plan
Requirements for the Transportation Plan…
  • At least a 20-year horizon at time of adoption
  • An update every 5 years – 4 years for non-attainment and maintenance areas
  • Multi-modal coverage
  • Fiscal constraint – Year of Expenditure (YOE)
  • Early and continuous public involvement
  • Consideration of the 8 Planning Factors
  • Conformity with air quality requirements



Implementation of Strategies

Other Sources for Project Ideas

Short- (3-5 year) Range Program

Economic Development




Goals and






Long- Range Plan

Mobility and Accessibility




Operations strategies

Infrastructure projects



Education and awareness


Financing strategies


Collaborative undertakings

Analysis Methods


Collaboration with stakeholders and the public

Transportation Planning Process

what is programming and why do we do it
Programming is identifying top priority projects for funding

The total cost of worthy projects always exceeds available funding – hence the need to set priorities

The TIP and STIP are products of the programming process

What is Programming and Why Do We Do It?
transportation improvement program tip
Is a means of allocating limited transportation funds to projects and programs

Is a list of transportation projects to be implemented within the short-term (no less than 4 years)

Includes nearly all surface transportation projects proposed for federal funding

Includes all regionally significant projects – regardless of funding source in non-attainment and maintenance areas

Identifies funding for each project by programmatic source

Transportation Improvement Program (TIP)
requirements for the tip
Covers at least 4 years

Is updated at least every 4 years

Is consistent with approved Transportation Plan

Can be amended during its life span (subject to approval by Governor and inclusion in STIP)

Conforms to air quality requirements

Is financially constrained by year (YOE)

Is approved by MPO and Governor

Becomes part of the State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP)

Requirements for the TIP…
the mpo planning process
The MPO planning process





the statewide planning process
The Statewide planning process













federal requirements for public participation
MPOs must prepare a public participation plan

Plan must be developed in consultation with interested parties

Federal Requirements for Public Participation
  • Adequate notice
  • Early and continuing involvement
  • Opportunity to comment
  • Explicit consideration and response to input
objectives of public involvement
Provide timely information about transportation issues and processes

Seek public review and comment

Respond to public comments

Provide access to key decisions

Continuing involvement of the public in developing plans and TIPs

Objectives of Public Involvement
air quality conformity
Air Quality Conformity?
  • Link between air quality planning and transportation planning
  • Analytical process to ensure that transportation plans, programs, and projects meet the SIP’s emissions budgets for mobile sources
  • Pass/fail test on meeting the SIP’s emissions budgets
annual list of obligated projects
Submit by 90 calendar days after end of the program year

Developed cooperatively by the MPO, State and transit operators

Published and available for review in accordance with PPP for the TIP

Annual List of Obligated Projects
effective planning pays off
Effective planning pays off
  • Modal connectivity to provide access, mobility, and ease in travel for all citizens
  • Quality communities
  • Environmental protection
  • Regional economic development
  • Safer, more secure transportation systems
  • Equitable and efficient use of scarce financial resources
where you can get more information
Where you can get more information
  • The Transportation Planning Capacity Building Program –
  • FHWA Division Office –
    • Gary DalPorto - 501-324-6441
    • Amy Heflin 501-324-6435
    • David Blakeney


    • Valera McDaniel