What is a MPO?
Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) were created by Congress in 1962 through the Federal Aid Highway Act. This legislation focused on planning for urban areas, rather than cities. The act requires that transportation projects be supported and coordinated with long range plans. MPOs were created in order to carry out the planning process with the cooperation of the states and local jurisdictions. MPOs are required in every urbanized area as a condition for receiving certain highway and mass transit funds.
In 1983 the U. S. Department of Transportation issued revised regulations that reduced the role of the federal government in urban transportation planning. Ensuring that the process is in conformance with all requirements is currently primarily the responsibility of the MPO and the State.
MPOs develop and implement a Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP, a listing of all the transportation projects planned for the next 20 years), a three to five year Transportation Improvement Program (TIP, a listing of all planned and funded transportation projects for the next three to five years), and a yearly Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP, a list of the planning activities the MPO will complete over the period of a year). MPOs are further charged with the responsibility of planning activities which promote an efficient and effective intermodal transportation system. These planning topics include, but are not limited to transit, rail, highways, air quality, livable communities, and bicycle and pedestrian issues. For a more complete description of MPO planning activities, click here.
What is a RPO?
While a formal planning and programming process is established for urbanized areas through Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPO), no similar requirement has been established for rural areas. The Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU), required states to consult with non-metropolitan local officials in transportation planning and programming.
Typically established as a voluntary association of local governments, Rural Plannning Organizations (RPO), provide the required consultation process between rural transportation systems, and advises the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) on rural transportation policy, programs, and projects.
Federal Transportation, Transit Administration, Transportation Planning
Association of Metropolitan Planning Organizations
National Association of Regional Councils
EPA Nonattainment Areas
FHWA/FTA Transportation Planning
Capacity Building Program
FHWA Performance Based Planning Program
FHWA Directory of MPOs
FHWA - Transportation Conformity
(including Nonattainment Area maps)
American Public Transportation Association
Alabama MPO Handbook Draft - recommended comments, edits, etc. can be addressed to Jill Hannah at Jill.Hannah@westal.org