A Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) is a transportation policy-making body comprised of representatives from local government and transportation agencies with authority and responsibility in urbanized areas. Federal transportation laws and regulations require the establishment of an MPO in every urbanized area of the U.S. with a population over 50,000. MPOs are responsible for meeting the federal metropolitan planning regulations for transportation and to ensure that existing and future expenditures for transportation projects and programs are based on a continuing, cooperative and comprehensive (3-C) planning process. Federal funding for transportation projects and programs is often channeled through the MPO.
The Core Functions of an MPO:
- Establish and manage a fair and impartial setting for effective regional decision-making with regard to metropolitan transportation planning.
- Evaluate possible transportation solutions appropriate to the region in terms of its unique needs, issues, and realistically available options.
- Develop and maintain a Long-Range Transportation Plan (LRTP).
- Develop and maintain a Transportation Improvement Program (TIP).
MPOs develop a Public Participation Process (PPP) to facilitate public involvement in each of the core functions. The PPP provides a documented plan and meaningful process that ensures opportunities for the public to be involved in all phases of the MPO area urban transportation planning process.