MPO 101

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“MPO 101” Introduction to the Purpose & Function of a Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO):

“MPO 101” Introduction to the Purpose & Function of a Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) Presented by Peter Plumeau Wilbur Smith Associates October 2004 The Association of Metropolitan Planning Organizations


2 Purpose Present and discuss purpose and nature of an MPO Open discussion on issues and concerns for new (and existing) MPOs


3 Overview Some Key Concepts MPOs – What, Why, Who? Functions & Products Structure Operating Procedures Best Practices Challenges & Issues Resources Key Concepts Revisited Discussion

Some Key Concepts:

4 Fiscal Constraint Public & Stakeholder Involvement Collaboration Multimodalism/Intermodalism Transportation-Land Use Connection Transportation-Economic Vitality Connection System Management & Operations (M&O) Safety & Security Some Key Concepts

Slide 5:

5 MPOs – What, Why, Who?

What is an MPO?:

6 What is an MPO? A transportation policy-making and planning body with representatives of local, state & federal government and transportation authorities Required in urbanized areas of 50,000+ Ensures federal spending on transportation occurs through a comprehensive, cooperative and continuing (3-C) process Variety of organizational arrangements – “hosted” by another agency; stand-alone; existing agency designated as MPO

Why an MPO?:

7 Why an MPO? Transportation investment means allocating scarce transportation funding resources appropriately Planning needs to reflect the region’s shared vision for its future Requires a comprehensive examination of the region’s future and investment alternatives MPO facilitates collaboration of governments, interested parties and residents

Who is the MPO?:

8 Who is the MPO?

Slide 9:

9 MPO Functions & Products

MPO Functions:

10 MPO Functions Five Core Functions: Establish a setting – fair & impartial Evaluate transportation alternatives Maintain a Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP) Develop a Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) Involve the public – residents and key affected sub-groups (PIP)

The MPO Process:

11 The MPO Process

MPO Products:

12 MPO Products

MPO Products:

13 MPO Products Time Horizon Contents Update Requirements UPWP 1-2 Years Planning Studies, Tasks, Budget Annual LRTP 20 Years (min.) 25 Years (preferred) Future Goals, Strategies & Projects Every 5 Years (3 years for non-attainment/maintenance TMAs) TIP 3 Years Transportation Investments/Projects Every 1-2 years (varies by state)


14 UPWP Reflects local planning priorities Lists studies & tasks to be performed by MPO and/or member agencies (with MPO funds) Covers 1 year Funding sources for each study/task Basis for PL contract & FTA 5303 transferability Schedules Responsible agencies for each study/task Often includes “preamble” element


15 LRTP Statement of region’s transportation system investment priorities and plans Minimum 20-year time horizon from date of next update [25 years preferred] Focused on systems level & intermodal/multimodal in nature Clearly link with regional land use, development, housing & employment goals & plans


16 LRTP Analysis & Evaluation Strategies: Transportation, Land Use, Access, Investment Recommended Plan Public & Stakeholder Involvement & Feedback Implementation Strategy: Phasing Financing Responsibilities Institutional Structures Vision & Goals Impacts, Benefits, etc. Data on Existing Conditions Forecasts of Future Conditions


17 LRTP Emphasize efficient use of existing system & its preservation Consistent with Statewide Transportation Plan Conform with SIP (non-attainment areas only) Be fiscally-constrained Update every 5 years (3 years in non-attainment areas) Prioritized listing of projects


18 LRTP TEA-21 Required Planning Factors: Support the economic vitality of the metropolitan area; Increase the safety and security of the transportation system for motorized and non-motorized users; Increase the accessibility and mobility options available to people and to freight; Protect and enhance the environment , promote energy conservation , and improve quality of life ; Enhance the integration and connectivity of the transportation system, across and between modes, for people and for freight; Promote efficient system management & operation through the development of a congestion management plan; and Emphasize the preservation of the existing transportation system.


19 TIP Financially-constrained 3-year program covering most immediate LRTP-based projects & strategies for implementation Allocates limited transportation resources among region’s priorities Minimum 3 years covered Updated every 1-2 years, depending on state requirements Not a “wish list” – fiscally constrained Conforms with SIP (if necessary) Incorporated into Statewide TIP without change once approved

Slide 20:

20 MPO Structure

“Typical” MPO Structure:

21 “Typical” MPO Structure

“Typical” MPO Structure:

22 “Typical” MPO Structure Policy Committee (“the MPO”) Local elected & appointed officials Modal representatives State agency officials Interest group representatives Tribal Governments

“Typical” MPO Structure:

23 “Typical” MPO Structure Technical Committee An advisory body to the MPO Board for transportation issues, primarily technical in nature Oversees MPO technical work and develops recommendations on projects and programs for Board consideration Meets on regular schedule Usually comprised of staff-level officials of local, state & federal agencies

“Typical” MPO Structure:

24 “Typical” MPO Structure Citizens Advisory Committee Acts in an advisory capacity to MPO on public participation strategies Meet regularly to review and develop plans, and also assists in organizing and managing public meetings and comments Comprised of members of the public Often appointed by localities & MPO Policy Board May include representatives of community, environmental & other interested organizations

Slide 25:

25 Operating Procedures

MPO Operations:

26 MPO Operations Decision-making processes Effective & ongoing public involvement


27 Decision-making MPO process is designed to be “bottom-up” Leadership is also critical to progress Policy Board needs to clearly delineate roles & responsibilities of committees & staff (through adoption/maintenance of Bylaws)

Effective Public Involvement:

28 Effective Public Involvement Public Involvement Plan (PIP) Required document Need to clearly lay out process, strategy and responsibilities for ensuring continuous opportunities for public input and education EJ populations critical Citizens Advisory Committee Innovation in public involvement can both enhance the process and make it more cost-effective

Effective Public Involvement:

29 Effective Public Involvement Interactive websites Videos Public Access TV Electronic communications Telephone “hotlines” Speakers’ kits Local liaisons Community meetings Interactive workshops/ open houses Resident surveys Newsletters/media releases Reach the “under-involved” High Tech High Touch

Slide 30:

30 MPO Best Practices

MPO Best Practices:

31 MPO Best Practices Lots of innovation across MPOs in many different topics Small MPOs sometimes among the leaders Worth considering best practices for lessons learned and local applicability

Themes of MPO Best Practices:

32 Themes of MPO Best Practices Creativity & innovation in public & stakeholder involvement Focus on consensus-building on priorities & actions “Push the envelope” in use of planning tools & process to effectively address hot topics the in region

Themes of MPO Best Practices:

33 Themes of MPO Best Practices Aggressively monitor & report on regional performance measures Develop plans, projects and work programs within a strategic framework Strong leadership is most important determinant of MPO “success”

Slide 34:

34 Challenges and Issues


35 Challenges “Meeting fatigue” – MPO participants and citizens Coordination among different players in MPO process (and knowing who they are!) Staying on top of emerging issues and requirements – federal, state, local Balancing management of in-house work and consultant tasks Achieving organizational goals with limited financial & staff resources


36 Issues Establishing existing MPO boundaries Based on Population Density (can leave out major empl. centers) SHALL include areas by 2010 meeting density threshold TEA-21 reauthorization – TEA-LU Overall continuation of TEA-21 concepts Freight emphasis Operations & safety emphasis ?? - MPO funding & mandates

Slide 37:

37 Resources


38 Resources The Metropolitan Transportation Planning Process: Key Issues – A Briefing Notebook for MPO Board Members (Nov. 2001) Transportation Planning Capacity Building Program - Association of Metropolitan Planning Organizations (AMPO) – TRB Committee on Metropolitan Policy, Planning and Processes –


39 Resources Federal Highway Administration FHWA Resource Centers - Federal Transit Administration Regional Offices- Your state DOT Other MPOs in Your State and Across the Nation

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