How Innovative MPOs are Changing the Face of Transportation Planning

by Mariia Zimmerman


Earlier today, Transportation for America launched The Innovative MPO -- a new report written by MZ Strategies, LLC -- that spotlights the variety of ways that metropolitan planning organizations are working to make transportation work better for the communities they serve. Most of the public doesn't know much about MPOs or perhaps even that they exist.

Yet these organizations -- comprised of local elected officials and regional transportation providers -- are responsible for planning and programming millions of federal dollars each year. Effective MPOs manage to advance the needs of the region over parochial interests. They recognize that a transportation system which serves to connect all communities, workers, and households benefits each jurisdiction within that region. But this can be easier said than done.

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The Innovative MPO Guidebook provides inspiration and real-world examples of how large, small and medium-size MPOs are using their existing authority and funding resources to meet a myriad of challenges that can threaten regional economic competiveness, quality of life, and cost of living. They are using data to make smarter investments; engaging community voices in new and more inclusive ways; leveraging existing resources; and recognizing the linkages between transportation, public health, economic development, affordable housing and the environment in ways that achieve multiple benefits from a single public investment.

Over the coming year, Transportation for America will be hosting webinars and spotlighting the many examples included in the Guidebook. You can sign up to receive their updates, and download the FREE Innovative MPO Guidebook through their website. Among the resources included in the Guidebook:

  • Foreword by Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard.
  • All 30 tools across seven different areas of focus.
  • Nearly 100 real-world examples from 50 different MPOs.
  • 20 detailed case studies of innovation in action from MPOs in regions large and small.
  • MPO 101 appendix with a simple, clear explanation of what MPOs are and what they do.

Here's what others are saying about the Innovative MPO Guidebook:

5 Techniques That Guide the Best Regional Planning Agencies (by Angie Schmidt of Streetsblog)

Metro areas on the cutting edge of transportation planning: Introducing The Innovative MPO (by David Goldberg of Transportation for America)