Minnesota Department of Transportation

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Transportation Planning Partners

Metropolitan Planning Organizations

Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPO) are entities designated by law with the lead responsibility for the development of a metropolitan area's transportation plans and to coordinate the transportation planning process. All urban areas over 50,000 in population are required to have an MPO if the agencies spend Federal funds on transportation improvements.

There are eight Metropolitan Planning Organizations in Minnesota:

The following are some primary functions of an MPO:

  • Maintain a Long Range Transportation Plan
  • Develop a Transportation Improvement Program
  • Develop a Unified Planning Work Program

For more information on how MnDOT and MPOs work together, please contact Bobbi Retzlaff, Planning Program Coordinator.

Regional Development Organizations

Minnesota's twelve (12) Regional Development Organizations (RDOs) are key partners in statewide transportation planning and programming. Each RDO works with MnDOT through an annual work program framework. This framework helps ensure statewide consistency while allowing for unique differences in regional transportation issues around Minnesota.

Minnesota's twelve regional development organizations include the following:

The following are some primary roles of an RDO:

  • Area Transportation Partnership (ATP) Coordination and Technical Assistance
  • Assistance with statewide planning efforts
  • Assistance with regional planning efforts
  • SRTS planning

For more information on RDOs, contact Siri Simons.

Area Transportation Partnerships

An ATP is a group of traditional and non-traditional transportation partners including representatives from MnDOT, Metropolitan Planning Organizations, Regional Development Commissions, counties, cities, tribal governments, special interests, and the public that have the responsibility of developing a regional transportation improvement program for their area of the state.

The ATP process was introduced in the early 1990’s to ensure stakeholder participation in the investment of federal transportation funding. The ATP process provides for early and continuous involvement in the development of the State Transportation Improvement Plan a four year list of projects that are expected to be done within that timeframe.

The ATP solicits for projects that are eligible for federal funding. The resulting project lists are reviewed and integrated into the Area Transportation Improvement Program which is then sent to MnDOT’s Office of Transportation System Management to be included in the State Transportation Improvement Program. The final STIP is forwarded to the Federal Highway Administration/Federal Transit Administration for approval. No federal projects can be started until this approval is received.

Links to the eight ATPs in Minnesota can be found below. ATP sites typically host meeting notes, agendas, and other relevant documents.

Federal Partner Agencies

Educational Partners