The 1962 Federal Aid Highway Act introduced the vision of cooperative, comprehensive, and continuing (3-C) multimodal planning for urbanized areas. By the mid-1970s, federal statutes and associated rulemaking resulted in the formation of metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs). Much has changed since then, including shifts in focus regarding multimodalism, transportation technologies, environmental considerations, planning for sustainability and resiliency, goods movement, asset management, system performance, capacity enhancements, coordinating land use and transportation, and funding and financing methods. MPOs have been the subject of various studies but limited work has been undertaken, to date, to (1) conduct a comprehensive or critical review of their strengths and weaknesses in light of 21st century transportation issues and (2) position MPOs throughout the United States for future success.
The proposed research should benefit MPOs, state departments of transportation (DOTs), and key stakeholders (such as public transportation providers, local and regional entities, and the public) by supporting the 3-C planning process and the delivery of future transportation projects and programs, in light of emerging trends. Importantly, the deliverable(s) from this research should be practical, engaging and actionable.
The objective of this research is to develop a comprehensive resource to inform and guide the evolving roles and functions of MPOs in partnership with their key stakeholders for the 21st century. The resource should take into account the diversity among MPOs, such as population served, complexity of the region (e.g., number of jurisdictions), scope of responsibilities, governance structure, staff and financial resources, technical capacity, and level of interaction with stakeholders.
STATUS: The research is underway.