Transportation - FAQs
Frequently Asked Questions
- What is a Metropolitan Planning Organization?
- What does the MPO do?
- What is Transportation Planning and why is it important?
A Metropolitan Planning Organization or MPO is a regional planning organization responsible for transportation planning and programming of federal transportation funding for the region. Urban areas over 50,000 area required to have an MPO.
The purpose of an MPO is to provide comprehensive, coordinated and continuous (“3C”) transportation planning for the safe and efficient movement of people and goods consistent with the region's overall economic, social and environmental goals. Special emphasis is placed on providing equal access to a variety of transportation choices and effective public involvement in the transportation planning process.
Missoula's MPO is the Transportation Policy Coordinating Committee.
In Missoula the Transportation Division of the Office of Planning and Grants acts at the Staff for the MPO.
MPO Study Area Boundary:
Legend: Green Outline - 2007 City Limits, Red Outline - Current MPO Boundary
The MPO is responsible for transportation planning and programming. This is accomplished through three (3) activities:
- The Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP)
- The Transportation Improvement Program (TIP)
- The Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP)
The transportation planning process involves the development of a vision for the transportation system over the next 30 years. The vision is supported by the creation goals and objectives to obtain that vision. The next step is to find out what impact each of the transportation projects will have on the region, and what community's priorities are.
In an effort to ensure the plan reflects the values and principles of the community Transportation Planners use seven planning factors (established in the SAFTEA-LU Legislation):
- Support economic vitality
- Increase safety and security for all users
- Increase accessibility and mobility of people and freight
- Protect the environment and improve quality of life
- Enhance system integration and connectivity
- Promote efficient system management and operation
- Emphasize system preservation
Transportation planning provides decision makers with the information they need to make decisions about which projects to fund to make our transportation system function in the most efficient, and sustainable manner. With limited funds it is essential the policy makers receive this information.
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