Unified Planning Work Program

A regional approach to transportation planning

The 2024 Unified Planning Work Program outlines and documents the transportation-related planning activities in the Twin Cities Metropolitan Area for the upcoming year. The Metropolitan Council serves as the Metropolitan Planning Organization for the region and facilitates the cooperative, continuing, and comprehensive transportation planning process for the region.

The work program promotes a unified, regional approach to transportation planning in order to achieve regional goals and objectives. The UPWP also documents federal, state, and local transportation planning expenditures for the year. This spending includes staff time dedicated to each work activity as well as funds for consultant transportation planning studies.

The work program includes:

  • A summary of all transportation planning work the Council will lead or be involved in over the year.
  • A schedule for the completion of projects and other major tasks.
  • The proposed budget for each activity.
The Unified Planning Work Program serves as the Metropolitan Council’s application for US Department of Transportation planning funds.

2024 activity summary

The Unified Planning Work Program is organized around six work task categories. Each category has several tasks and proposed studies that will help accomplish that work activity.

1. Planning and programming process

The region’s transportation planning and programming process includes the Transportation Improvement Plan, which describes all regional federally funded transportation projects, and the Regional Solicitation, which allocates federal transportation funds to locally initiated regional projects. This task provides planning and administrative support for this work and for the Transportation Advisory Board, its subcommittees, and other committees involved in regional transportation planning process.

2. Modal system planning

Transportation modes are the different systems that move people or goods within and throughout the region. The Council coordinates and plans for highways, transit, bicycles, pedestrians, freight, and aviation.

3. Long-range system planning

This work relates to planning policies, studies, and federal and state requirements for regional transportation planning that cross all modes. It includes preparing and implementing the region’s long-range plan; informing land use planning activities related to transportation, equity, and environmental justice planning; environmental and air quality planning activities; and transportation finance. The work within this area strongly ties to helping understand and develop strategies for how regional transportation investments can help achieve the goals and objectives of the regional development guide and Transportation Policy Plan.

4. Travel model development and forecasting

These activities provide data and inputs into the Regional Travel Demand Model. The Council uses the Regional Travel Demand Model to estimate future travel behavior and the level of demand placed on future transit and highway systems. This tool is instrumental in prioritizing and planning future transportation network improvements.

5. Short-range planning and performance monitoring

This work includes adopting and reporting regional transportation performance measures and targets, as well as supporting the Congestion Management Process (CMP). The process is a regional, cooperative activity that helps identify the causes of congestion and develops strategies to help mitigate it.  The CMP prioritizes Travel Demand Management strategies in lieu of highway expansion.

Current and previous Unified Planning Work Program


David Burns
[email protected]