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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Comparative Study of U.S. Metropolitan Transportation Planning


We compare Metropolitan Planning Organization(MPO) Regional Transportation Plans (RTP) and planning processes in California with selected regions. Seventeen MPOs were included to provide a balance of geographic location, growth rate, transit orientation, size, density, and air quality conformity status. The MPOs’ planning processes and documentation were compared in terms of the history and current progress in regional transportation planning; approaches toward addressing the transportation impacts of land use decisions; methods and degree of citizen participation in the process; the project evaluation process used; and the databases available in each MPO to support evaluation. Based on oral and written surveys and the examination of planning documents, we present conclusions and recommendations about public involvement in the regional planning process; coordination with other planning institutions at various levels of governance; the frequency of updates; scoring criteria for projects; the use of planning data in the RTP; and the evolving role of MPOs with regard to plan preparation.

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