The MPO Council is an organization of the fourteen Indiana MPOs and was founded in 1984. The group holds monthly meetings in Indianapolis that are attended by the executive director of each MPO or a representative designated by the executive director. The Council functions as a forum for MPOs to discuss issues and share solutions, as well as the representative voice for MPOs in state legislative, executive, and judicial matters. This "voice" allows the MPOs to better work with the state to improve community solutions to transportation and planning issues.
The MPO Council holds a conference each year in a different Indiana city. The conference allows the extended MPO staffs, as well as representatives from other state and local agencies, to share topics in current transportation planning practice.
Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) were created by Congress in 1962 through the Federal Aid Highway Act. This legislation focused on planning for urban areas, rather than cities. The act requires that transportation projects be supported and coordinated with long range plans. MPOs were created in order to carry out the planning process with the cooperation of the states and local jurisdictions. MPOs are required in every urbanized area as a condition for receiving certain highway and mass transit funds.
In 1983 the U. S. Department of Transportation issued revised regulations that reduced the role of the federal government in urban transportation planning. Ensuring that the process is in conformance with all requirements is currently primarily the responsibility of the MPO and the State.
MPOs develop and implement a 20-year Transportation Plan (TP, a listing of all the transportation projects planned for the next 20 years), a three to five year Transportation Improvement Program (TIP, a listing of all transportation projects planned and funded for the next three to five years), and a yearly Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP, a list of what activities the MPO will complete over the period of a year). MPOs are further charged with the responsibility of planning activities which promote an efficient and effective intermodal transportation system. These planning topics include, but are not limited to transit, rail, highways, air quality, livable communities, and bicycle and pedestrian issues.
There are fourteen MPOs in Indiana representing thirteen Indiana Urbanized Areas. Two of these MPOs have bi-state agreements which reach into Kentucky and Ohio.
The laws and funding requirements of transportation planning have been important factors in the formation of Indiana's MPOs. However, all Indiana MPOs have significant responsibilities in other planning areas as well. In fact, MPOs are the primary entities responsible for coordinating the development and implementation of comprehensive planning in Indiana metropolitan areas.
Click on the links below to view more in-depth descriptions of an MPO's role and responsibilities with planning for its local public agencies and coordination with the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT).