The 1962 Federal Aid Highway Act introduced the vision of cooperative, comprehensive, and continuing (3-C) multimodal planning for urbanized areas. By the mid-1970s, federal statutes and associated rulemaking resulted in the formation of metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs). While much has changed since then, limited work has been undertaken, to date, to (1) conduct a comprehensive or critical review of the strengths and weaknesses of MPOs in light of 21st-century transportation issues and (2) position MPOs throughout the United States for future success. 

The objective of this research is to develop a comprehensive resource to inform and guide the evolving roles and functions of MPOs in partnership with their key stakeholders for the 21st century. The resource should take into account the diversity among MPOs, such as population served, complexity of the region (e.g., number of jurisdictions), scope of responsibilities, governance structure, staff and financial resources, technical capacity, and level of interaction with stakeholders.