Metropolitan Planning Organizations are part of a federal process to conduct local transportation planning in urbanized areas. The federal government requires urbanized areas to establish a planning process that is Comprehensive, Continuing, and Cooperative (the three C's of transportation planning). The MPO process is required in urbanized areas over 50,000 in population in order to receive federal funding for transportation.
The MPO process is a partnership between local and state government to make decisions about transportation planning in urbanized areas and to meet planning requirements established by federal authorizing legislation for transportation funding.
What are the major functions of an MPO?
MPOs conduct transportation planning in cooperation with state and federal government. Cooperatively, the MPO works with North Carolina DOT to develop transportation plans, travel models, thoroughfare plans, transit plans, bicycle and pedestrian plans. Also, the MPO works with the state on funding issues for transportation improvements, on project planning issues, and on issues such as environmental impacts and air quality. The MPO also works with local governments to coordinate land use and transportation planning.
How are MPOs established?
MPOs are established in every urbanized area in the country with a population of over 50,000. Urbanized areas are defined every ten years by the U.S. Census. In North Carolina MPOs are designated by the Governor. MPOs are established by a Memorandum of Understanding that is signed by all participating local governments and by the State of North Carolina.
TAC – The policy-making body made up of elected officials from each of the member governments, and the Board of Transportation.
TCC – Staff level committee that provides recommendations to the TAC regarding transportation decisions.
Where can I find more demographic information about the area?
In addition, you may visit the U.S. Census Bureau for more information that has been released from the 2000 Census.
I am looking into buying a new home. How can I find out if there is road construction planned for my street?
When considering a new home, your real estate agent is obligated to disclose to you any active road projects that the agent either "knows, or should know." To obtain this information, you can view a map of the Thoroughfare Plan, or either you or your agent can contact anyone on the Gaston Urban Area MPO Staff to receive more information regarding the Highway Plan and the current Transportation Improvement Program.
How do I change the name of my street?
To change a street name, or create a new street name, you need to come to the Addressing/Street Naming section of the planning department. You will have to fill out a request for the new street name, and the desired street name will need to be approved. No two streets in the county can be redundant or too similar. All property owners along the street will have to approve of the change for it to take place, even if it is a private drive and only one owner is involved. Not all requests will be acceptable or approved. For more information, please call (910) 678-7665 and request the street naming/addressing section, and someone will be able to assist you.
The Gaston Urban Area MPO Membership
The Gaston Urban Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) is a multi-jurisdictional entity made up of twelve local governments, NCDOT, USDOT, and other providers of transportation services. The Gaston MPO currently comprises the following member governments: Belmont, Bessemer City, Cramerton, Dallas, Gaston County, Gastonia, Lowell, McAdenville, Mount Holly, Ranlo, Spencer Mountain, and Stanley.
Since its inception following the 1970 Census, the Gaston MPO has had the sole task of planning and monitoring transportation systems in areas defined within the Gaston Urban Area. In 1962 Congress enacted federal law that first established MPOs and initiated a requirement that a continuing, cooperative, and comprehensive (3-C) transportation planning process be established for all urban areas over 50,000 in population in order to qualify for federal transportation funds.
How many MPO's are there in North Carolina?
The Gaston MPO is one of 17 urban areas in North Carolina, which participate in the 3-C transportation planning process. Others include Asheville, Burlington, Cabarrus-South Rowan, Mecklenburg-Union, Durham-Chapel Hill-Carrboro, Fayetteville, Goldsboro, Greensboro, Greenville, Hickory-Newton-Conover, High Point, Jacksonville, Raleigh, Rocky Mount, Wilmington, and Winston-Salem.
Charlotte and Raleigh are largest MPO with regard to per capita population and Goldsboro and Jacksonville are the smallest. Gaston falls in the middle population-wise.
What is the Lead Planning Agency?
The City of Gastonia is the Lead Planning Agency for the Gaston MPO. The City’s Transportation Planning Division serves as the MPO staff. Responsibilities of the staff include conducting planning studies, forecasting travel demand and patterns, and preparing meeting materials for and implementing directives of the Transportation Advisory Committee, Technical Coordination Committee, and the Transportation Steering Committee. In addition, Staff provides technical expertise to all of the member MPO jurisdictions.