The National Academies

NCHRP Synthesis 20-05/Topic 54-05 [Active (Synthesis)]

Practices for Statewide and MPO Coordination
[ NCHRP 20-05 (Synthesis of Information Related to Highway Practices) ]

  Project Data
Funds: $55,000
Authorization to Begin Work: 4/29/2022 -- estimated
Staff Responsibility: Trey Joseph Wadsworth
Research Agency: University of South Florida
Principal Investigator: Jeff Kramer
Fiscal Year: 2023

Final Scope

Federal transportation legislation requires formalized coordination between state departments of transportation (DOTs) and metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) in transportation planning and programming processes. DOTs have varying practices in implementing the 3C planning process (continuing, comprehensive, and cooperative) with their MPO partners. While coordination often happens through meetings and correspondence, effective coordination requires formal agreements, frequent communication, and practical strategies.

The need for coordination has grown in light of new federal transportation planning requirements. The newest federal surface transportation funding reauthorization bill, referred to as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill (BIL), continues the metropolitan transportation-planning program. Federal funding for multi-modal projects continues to flow through DOTs, with MPOs increasingly important in urbanized area transportation decision-making.

The objective of this synthesis is to document current DOT practice related to coordinating planning and programming requirements with MPOs, as well as any common challenges with fulfilling regulatory requirements.

Information to be gathered includes (but is not limited to):

  • DOT practices for coordination on performance measures, travel demand forecast models, air quality conformity, and MPO Congestion Management Processes (for example, MPO roles and responsibilities or procedures manuals);
  • DOT practices on priority alignment in consultation with MPOs for project selection;
  • DOT practices on coordination with stakeholders required in metropolitan planning processes such as housing, tribal governments, partner state agencies, freight, public transportation, or federal land management agencies;
  • DOT practices regarding centralized or decentralized DOT governance structures as related to MPO coordination;
  • DOT soft coordination practices with MPOs such as frequency and causes to interact;
  • DOT practices on sharing of data and analytical tools (licenses or data access protocols);
  • DOT practices on administration and oversight of metropolitan planning programs such (1) as roles on MPO policy boards or technical committees, (2) internal business units responsible for coordination, both internally to the DOT and with MPO partners, (3) implementation of memorandums of understanding (MOUs) on 3C planning and performance-based planning and programming (PBPP), and (4) self-assessments on meeting federal requirements;
  • DOT practices on Unified Planning Work Programs (UPWPs), such as development cycles, match of metropolitan planning funds, distribution formulas for federal funds, use of state funds (federal or non-federal), or sharing state-level planning emphasis areas;
  • DOT practices on TIPs, such as development cycles, amendment processes, match source, non-urbanized area-specific federal-aid programs for regional programming (for example, Highway Safety Improvement Program, Congestion Mitigation Air Quality, Transportation Alternatives), flexing of highway funds to transit projects, or access and use of toll development credits);
  • DOT practices on assisting MPO capacity building;
  • DOT practices on internal education or capacity building among business units that must coordinate with MPOs;
  • DOT practices on metropolitan planning and coordination in response to state legislation and state legislature involvement in project selection and programming;
  • DOT practices for variations in planning and programming for transportation management areas (TMAs), non-TMAs, and non-metropolitan areas;
  • DOT barriers and challenges to coordination with MPOs.

Note: Performance-based planning and programming related to TIPs and STIPs, and MTPs and state long-range plans will be addressed by NCHRP 20-05/54-08: Practices for Integrating Performance-Based Plans with Long-Range Transportation Plans and Statewide Transportation Investment Programs.

Information will be gathered through literature review, a survey of DOTs, and follow-up interviews with selected agencies for the development of case examples. Information gaps and suggestions for research to address those gaps will be identified.

Information Sources (Partial):

TRB Staff

Trey Joseph Wadsworth

Phone: 202-334-2307

Email: twadsworth@nas.edu  


Meeting Dates
First Panel: September 28, 2022
Teleconference with Consultant: November 18, 2022
Second Panel: June 13, 2023

Topic Panel
James Garland, Houston-Galveston Area Council

Jessie Jones, Arkansas Department of Transportation

Jennifer Marshall, Tennessee Department of Transportation

Gabe Philips, Washington State Department of Transportation

Anna Marie Pierce, Minnesota Department of Transportation

Dean Roberts, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation

Chandra Inglis-Smith, Federal Highway Administration Liaison

Claire Randall, Transportation Research Board Liaison



To create a link to this page, use this URL: http://apps.trb.org/cmsfeed/TRBNetProjectDisplay.asp?ProjectID=5288