Focus Areas

Metropolitan Transportation Planning


The Metropolitan Planning focus area page is a one-stop shop for resources about the metropolitan transportation planning process on the TPCB website. It includes links to publications, legislation and guidance, recent peer events, upcoming calendar events, and related websites.

Resources and Publications

  • Better Plans for Better Places: How the Sustainable Communities Initiative changed the way the country plans for a prosperous future   NEW!
    The Sustainable Communities Initiative (SCI) represents the most comprehensive federal support for community and regional planning in recent history. Never before has the federal government provided funding for planning that spans the environmental, social and economic challenges facing our communities. This investment enabled people and organizations in 143 places, representing nearly 40 percent of the US population, to work together--across jurisdictions, sectors, all manner of old divides--in broad and deep coalitions toward ambitious goals of vibrant, healthy, livable communities. These diverse places--urban and rural, regions and neighborhoods, thriving and more challenged--were supported by a team of experienced organizations using innovative techniques to build community capacity in myriad ways. Their results will have lasting impacts for the 145 million residents living in grantee communities and beyond.
  • A Guide to Transportation Decisionmaking   NEW!
    Have you ever wondered how decisions are made about the transportation projects that affect your life? How do government officials decide where to put a bus stop, road, or bridge? How are these and other transportation projects planned? And how can you make sure your opinions are heard and considered by residents, planners, designers, and elected officials? The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and Federal Transit Administration (FTA) created this guide to answer these and other transportation project-related questions. We hope this guide will help you understand how transportation decisions are made at the local, State, and national levels; and that you will take advantage of the opportunities provided to contribute your ideas. We believe that the better the public understands the transportation decisionmaking process, the more certain it is that the transportation system will be safe and efficient, and that the planning process will be responsive to public needs and concerns about their communities and the natural environment. A revised version of this guide was published in April 2015.
  • Review of State DOT Approaches to Distribute Federal Metropolitan Planning (PL) Funds to MPOs   NEW!
    Metropolitan Planning Funds (PL funds) are provided from the Federal Highway Trust Fund and distributed by State Departments of Transportation (DOTs) to Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) to conduct the planning activities required by Title 23 of the U.S. Code 134. Each MPO is responsible for planning to meet the transportation needs within its metropolitan planning area. PL funds are distributed to States based on a ratio of urbanized-area population in individual States to the total nationwide urbanized-area population. State DOTs then distribute this funding to the MPOs in their State based on a formula, agreed to by the MPOs, and approved by their FHWA Division Office. This report describes a range of different approaches to distribution formulas, and provides observations drawn from the DOT and MPO contacts and the study team's analysis of the merits of the different approaches. FHWA is providing this information as a resource for DOTs and MPOs nationwide to use in self-assessment of current distribution approaches and to consider alternative approaches.
  • Best Planning Practices: Metropolitan Transportation Plans
  • Federal Aid Essentials for Local Agencies - A web-based resource to help local agency professionals navigate the Federal-aid Highway Program
  • Search to the MPO DatabaseMetropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) Database - This database contains the names, locations, and key contact information for all 384 MPOs and all 155 Transportation Management Associations (TMAs) in the nation, current with the 2000 Decennial Census.
  • Staffing and Administrative Capacity of Metropolitan Planning Organizations
  • The Transportation Planning Process: Key Issues (the "Briefing Book") - The "Briefing Book" is a primer to help you better understand Federal transportation planning regulations and requirements at the statewide and metropolitan planning levels.

Click here to access a full list of Legislation, Regulations, and Guidance related to metropolitan planning on the TPCB website.

Calendar of Events

Check the calendar

Peer Event Reports

The TPCB peer program is a free resource for agencies in need of transportation planning assistance. Visit the peer program page to learn more or apply for a peer event.

Related Websites and Organizations

For more information about the TPCB program, contact Michelle Noch at FHWA (202-366-9206) or Tonya Holland at FTA (202-493-0283).

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