Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO)

A Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) is the policy board of an organization created and designated to carry out the metropolitan transportation planning process. MPOs are required to represent localities in all urbanized areas (UZAs) with populations over 50,000, as determined by the U.S. Census. MPOs are designated by agreement between the governor and local governments that together represent at least 75 percent of the affected population (including the largest incorporated city, based on population) or in accordance with procedures established by applicable state or local law. When submitting a transportation improvement program to the state for inclusion in the statewide program, MPOs self-certify that they have met all federal requirements.

An urbanized area with a population over 200,000, as defined by the Bureau of the Census and designated by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), is called a Transportation Management Area (TMA). As described in 49 U.S.C. 5303(k), and in recognition of the greater complexity of transportation issues in large urban areas, an MPO in a TMA has a stronger voice in setting priorities for implementing projects listed in the transportation improvement programand are responsible for additional planning products. The planning processes in MPOs in TMAs also must be certified by the Secretary of DOT as being in compliance with federal requirements.


Source: Federal Transit Administration (FTA), United States Department of Transportation