What is a Metropolitan Planning Organization?
A Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) is a transportation policy-making body comprising representatives from local government and various transportation authorities. Every metropolitan area with a population of 50,000 or more is federally mandated to have an MPO.
Why do MPOs exist?
- Legal reasons: formation of MPOs is required by Federal Aid Highway Act of 1962 and subsequent acts for 50,000+ population urban areas.
- Planning reasons: MPOs promote cooperation and open planning processes and ensure local concerns are addressed.
What are MPOs’ functions?
- Identify and assess transportation improvement options
- Engage and coordinate stakeholders, produce data and facilitate information sharing across jurisdictions
- Make decisions about the allocation of federal highway and transit funds within the metropolitan areas
Development of MPOs in Alabama
The transportation planning process for the first MPOs in Alabama started as early as 1963 and included Birmingham MPO, Huntsville MPO and Tuscaloosa MPO.
Over time, the number of MPOs within the state has grown as more metropolitan areas in Alabama achieved the population threshold of 50,000 residents. Currently, there are fourteen MPOs in Alabama. Eastern Shore MPO was the most recently registered MPO, formed in 2012.
This site is a project of the Alabama Transportation Policy Research Center to provide information about the organizational structure, demographics, and mobility data for each of Alabama’s fourteen MPOs.
Who Will This Project Benefit?
- Researchers at institutions of higher education, research centers and economic development agencies
- Transportation planning and GIS professionals
- Private consulting companies
The information provided in MPO profiles is based on official MPO planning documents such as Transportation Improvement Program, Long-Range Transportation Plan, Public Participation Plan, Unified Planning Work Program, and others as well as data collected via phone and email communication with MPO staff members.
For more information about this project or any questions, please contact Olga Bredikhina.