|Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) Signatories|
|Bill Carpenter, Mayor, City of Brockton|
|Kenneth Tavares, Chairman, Board of Selectmen, Plymouth|
|Eldon Moreira, Member, Board of Selectmen, West Bridgewater|
|Daniel Salvucci, Vice Chairman, Board of Selectmen, Whitman|
|Stephanie Pollack, MassDOT Secretary and Chief Executive Officer|
|Jonathan Gulliver, MassDOT Administrator, Highway Division|
|Reinald Ledoux, Jr., Administrator, BAT|
|Frank Staffier, President, OCPC|
The Old Colony Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) serves the Old Colony region and is advised by the Joint Transportation Committee (JTC). The MPO is the region's policy-making organization responsible for prioritizing transportation initiatives and producing the Transportation Improvement Plan. Members include the communities of Brockton, Plymouth, West Bridgewater and Whitman, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT), Brockton Area Transit (BAT), and the Old Colony Planning Council.
The Old Colony Metropolitan Planning Organization operates under the following three Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs): the Comprehensive, Continuing, and Cooperative Transportation Planning and Programming Process MOU, the Conduct of Transportation - Air Quality MOU, and the Urbanized Area Designation MOU.
The Old Colony Metropolitan Planning Organization has endorsed the new Memorandum of Understanding on March 15, 2011.
What is a Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO)?
An MPO is a regional transportation policy-making organization consisting of representatives from local government, regional transit operators, and state transportation agencies. Federal legislation passed in the early 1970s required the formation of an MPO for any urbanized area with a population greater than 50,000. MPOs were created to ensure that existing and future expenditures for transportation projects and programs were based on a "3-C planning process":
- Continuing: Planning must be maintained as an ongoing activity and should address both short-term needs and the long-term vision for the region;
- Cooperative: The process must involve a wide variety of interested parties through a public participation process; and
- Comprehensive: The process must cover all transportation modes and be consistent with regional and local land-use and economic-development plans.
What do MPOs do?
MPOs create a fair and impartial setting for effective regional decision making in the metropolitan area with inclusionary approaches to effectively engage communities and stakeholders. MPOs achieve this by producing three principal planning documents:
Transportation Planning Certification Review Report – August 2016
The activities of the MPO are reviewed by the Federal Highway Administration and Federal Transit Administration. The most recent Transportation Planning Certification Review Report was issued in August 2016. The report is available here.
The Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) is the policy and visioning document of the MPO. This document results from regional and statewide collaboration and consensus on a region's transportation system and serves as the defining vision for the region. The document also contains a financial plan or budget which guides and shapes the actions an MPO undertakes as they fulfill the region's visions and objectives. This 20-year transportation vision document is updated every four years by the MPO.
Every year, the MPO must prepare and update its Transportation Improvement Program, a staged four-year program of capital improvements that reflect the needs of the regional transportation system. Under federal regulations, the TIP must be constrained to available funding, consistent with the long-range Regional Transportation Plan, and include an annual element, or listing, of projects to be advertised in the first year of the TIP. The TIP has a roadway component and a transit component. The State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) is a compilation of the 13 regional Transportation Improvement Programs prepared annually by the MPOs. The STIP is compiled annually by MassDOT/Highway, MassDOT/Rail & Transit Division, the regional planning agencies (RPAs), the regional transit agencies (RTAs), the Office of Transportation Planning (OTP) and the Federal Aid Expenditure and Programming Office (FAPO), and, is reviewed and approved by state and federal transportation and environmental agencies.
To initiate a project into the TIP, communities follow a Project Initiation and Project Review Process. MassDOT has released new 2013 versions of the Project Need Form (PNF) and Project Initiation Form (PIF). These new forms replace the versions that are in the current MassDOT Project Development and Design Guide, and should be used by all project proponents to initiate a MassDOT construction project.
When a project need has been identified, a project proponent should first complete the new Project Need Form and submit it to the MassDOT Highway District Five (5) Office. Detailed information about the proposed project is not required to complete the Project Need Form: only information related to identifying and defining the project need or opportunity - i.e., traffic congestion, safety concerns, poor pavement condition, etc. - is needed.
After it receives the Project Need Form, the District Office may contact the proponent to clarify information and arrange a field visit to the proposed project site. The District will then notify the proponent of its recommendations for continuing the project initiation process. Possible outcomes may include a recommendation to proceed with the completion of the Project Initiation Form, suggestions for additional planning, or a determination that a project is not warranted at this time.
If the proponent elects to continue with project initiation, the proponent should complete the Project Initiation Form and submit it to the District Office. The Project Initiation Form contains more detailed information describing the project proposed to address the need or opportunity identified in the Project Need Form. Again, after District Office receives the Project Initiation Form, it may contact the proponent to clarify information and discuss issues.
After that, MassDOT Highway's Project Review Committee will meet to review, evaluate, and discuss the proposed project and determine if it warrants approval. The project proponent will then be notified of the Project Review Committee's decision by the District Office.
Unified Planning Work Program
The Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP) is a description of the continuing, cooperative and comprehensive transportation planning process of the Old Colony Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO). Annually, the MPO staff, under the direction of the MPO, prepares a work program of tasks to be completed by the MPO staff. This work program lists the transportation studies and tasks to be performed during this one year period. Transportation studies identified and completed through the UPWP lead to recommended actions that MPOs use to guide future transportation policy and project investment decisions. These regional MPO UPWP tasks and activities are funded with federal funds.
In an effort to ensure that public agencies, private enterprises, non-profit organizations, and concerned citizens are kept informed of local transportation plans, the UPWP mandates the creation of the Public Participation Plan. This plan provides opportunities for the public to interact with the metropolitan planning process. OCPC has engaged the public with newsletters, an Annual Report, Visioning Workshops to discuss current issues in transportation planning, and Open Houses and Table Events at various regional public venues. One of the primary goals of the Public Participation Plan is outreach to the region's environmental justice communities to ensure that low-income, minority, foreign-born, or non-English speaking persons have equal access to the planning process.