Metropolitan Planning Organization

A Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) is the policy board of an organization created and designated to carry out the metropolitan transportation planning process. MPOs are required to represent localities in all urbanized areas (UZA) of populations over 50,000, as determined by the US Census. MPOs are designated by agreement between the Governor and units of general purpose local government that together represent at least 75 percent of the affected population (including the largest incorporated city, based on population, as named by the Bureau of the Census) or in accordance with procedures established by applicable State or local law. When submitting the transportation improvement program (described below), to the State for inclusion in the statewide program, MPOs self-certify that they have met all Federal requirements.

An urbanized area with a population over 200,000, as defined by the Bureau of the Census and designated by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), is called a Transportation Management Area (TMA). As described in 49 U.S.C. 5303(k), and in recognition of the greater complexity of transportation issues in large urban areas, MPOs in TMAs have a stronger voice in setting priorities for implementing projects listed in the transportation improvement program (TIP) than MPOs that are not in TMAs. MPOs in TMAs, however, also are responsible for additional planning products. The planning processes in MPOs in TMAs also must be certified by the Secretary of DOT as being in compliance with Federal requirements.

Guidance image icon - Guidance Regulation image icon - Regulation Statute image icon - Statute

Name Description
MPO Certification Review Primer

This joint FTA-FHWA primer provides a basic understanding of the key concepts and expectations addressed through a certification review, along with references to pertinent laws, regulations, policies, and other resources.

Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) Database

Jointly maintained FTA-FHWA database of Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs).

New TMAs - FAQs

Resources for MPOs that have recently crossed the 200,000-person threshold into Transportation Management Area (TMA) status.

Staffing and Administrative Capacity of Metropolitan Planning Organizations

FHWA research report documenting how MPOs have structured their organizations and allocated staff resources.

Transportation Planning Implications of Transportation Management Area Designations

This webinar describes the transportation planning activities required in transportation management areas (TMAs), anticipated outcomes, and the procedural steps to be taken by transit providers, metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs), and States to ensure that the new and changed planning responsibilities are met timely and effectively.

Performance-Based Planning and Programming Guidebook

This Guidebook is designed to highlight effective practices to help transportation agencies in moving toward a performance-based approach to planning and programming.

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