Lincoln Metropolitan Planning Organization

About the MPO

What is the Lincoln MPO?

The Lincoln Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) is a policy-making board comprised of representatives from local government and transportation authorities that review transportation issues and develop transportation plans and programs for the metropolitan area. This organization is a forum for cooperative decision making and provides for the involvement of principal elected officials of general purpose local government. Although these individuals come to the table with multiple, and sometimes conflicting perspectives, they work together to establish local and regional priorities for the transportation improvements that are eligible for state and federal funding.

To assist them in their decision-making process, the MPO board members rely upon other committees and support staff as well as active participation from interested citizens, concerned business representatives, special action groups and other voices in the community. This web site is intended to help facilitate public participation by providing citizens with an opportunity to review the plans and programs of the MPO and to provide comments regarding these activities.

Background Information

In 1974, the United States Congress amended the Federal Aid Highway Act, which mandated that all urbanized areas having a population of 50,000 or more designate a single agency to administer federal transportation funds. The agencies that were established were called Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPO).

According federal law, the activities of an MPO must provide a continuing, cooperative and comprehensive (3-C) transportation planning process. With regard to geographic scope, the transportation planning process is to, at a minimum, cover the urbanized area and the area likely to be urbanized in the period covered by the long-range element of the transportation plan. As the MPO, the City of Lincoln is responsible for developing the long-range transportation plan and for conducting all long-range transportation planning for both the Lincoln urban area and Lancaster County.

The City of Lincoln has been designated as the MPO for the Lincoln Metropolitan Area by the Governor of the State of Nebraska which includes Lancaster County and is the sole recipient of federal transportation planning funds. The Lincoln MPO was established on March 22, 1974 (updated November 23, 1977) to guide this 3-C planning process in the expanding Lincoln urbanized area as well as in the entire County of Lancaster. The MPO, represented by the Mayor of the City of Lincoln, is responsible for conducting the urban transportation planning process pursuant to federal requirements and is responsible for assigning work as necessary to carry out this process.

Primary Role

The primary roles of the Lincoln MPO include creating a Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP), a shorter range Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) and a Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP). The LRTP extends out over a 20-year horizon and acts as the official guide for the expenditure of federal and state transportation funds that are expected to be available in Lincoln and Lancaster County. The projects listed in this document are intended to reflect the community values and visions for improving the overall transportation system.

The TIP is an intermediate range planning document that reflects the transportation expenditures programmed over the next six years. Project details are provided in the TIP such as the general project description and cost, the funding source and funding year. The TIP contains information on a wide range of transportation projects including pedestrian and bicycle facilities, trails projects, transit improvements and operations, transportation related planning studies, Airport Authority and Railroad Transportation Safety District activities, and state, county and city road improvements.

The UPWP is a short term planning tool that is used to define specific annual goals and projects to be performed or managed by the MPO staff. Most of the planning activities outlined in the UPWP are required by state and federal laws in order to support the MPO process. In addition, the UPWP outlines the annual budget for the planning activities of the MPO.

The MPO generates other planning documents and reports and engages in many other activities such as transportation data collection, safety promotion, and public participation efforts. The primary purpose of many transportation planning activities is to support the monitoring and development of the LRTP and the TIP.