Ohio MPO Urban Transportation Planning Process
Overview - Federal transportation law requires urbanized areas (as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau) with population concentrations in excess of 50,000 persons, to conduct an urban transportation planning process as a prerequisite for receiving federal funding for financing regional transportation improvements. The organizational structure for conducting this planning process is called a Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO). MPOs are committees comprised of local elected officials, operators of major modes of transportation, and State officials, that the State’s Governor formally designates as the body responsible for conducting an urbanized area’s transportation planning process. In Ohio, this committee is typically referred to as a Policy Committee. There are seventeen (17) Ohio MPOs.
The premise behind the federal planning regulations is that the complexity of transportation problems, the range of potential solutions, and the number of agencies involved in operating and maintaining transportation systems in urbanized areas requires an enhanced level of coordination and cooperation among the area’s transportation stakeholders. MPOs provide a forum where regional transportation stakeholders collaboratively assess regional transportation issues and identify optimal solutions meeting area travel needs.
MPO urban transportation planning programs are based on the 3-C (continuing, cooperative, and comprehensive) process. The term continuing reflects the ongoing nature of the planning process. MPO planning programs are routinely updated to address current and future socio-economic and environmental conditions impacting regional transportation conditions. Cooperative references the effort to include all regional transportation stakeholders (public, private, and governmental) in the MPO transportation decision making process. Comprehensive means the MPO planning programs address persons and goods movement for all transportation modes.
MPO Staff - ODOT contracts with a local agency willing to house a staff responsible for assisting the MPO Policy Committee in developing policies, analyzing regional transportation system conditions and operations, and performing the administrative activities necessary for conducting an area’s planning process.
Primary MPO Planning Documents
Transportation Plan - The formal MPO planning document describing the transportation policies, programs, and projects needed to facilitate the efficient movement of persons and goods within and through the region for 20 years into the future. Plan development includes consideration of the interrelationships among transportation systems, land use, and the social, economic, and natural environments. The plan must address all transportation modes, and be fiscally constrained. Transportation Plans in air quality areas must also demonstrate transportation conformity with the official State plan for meeting and maintaining national air quality standards.
Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) - A listing of the specific transportation system improvement projects scheduled for implementation within the MPO boundary over the next four years. All projects financed with US DOT surface transportation funding, regardless of project sponsor, must be listed in the MPO TIP. Projects must be consistent with the MPO’s Transportation Plan. Project information includes project phase, federal funds type, and costs by Federal, State, and local participation rates. ODOT practice is to also include 100% State funded projects into TIPs. MPO TIPs are directly incorporated into the State TIP (STIP).