Unified Planning Work Program

A regional approach to transportation planning

The Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP) outlines and documents the transportation-related planning activities in the Twin Cities Metropolitan Area for the year. 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-led transportation planning studies.

The 2021 UPWP (PDF) was recently approved by the Metropolitan Council.

The work program includes:

  • A summary of all transportation planning work the Council will lead or be involved in over the next year.
  • A schedule for the completion of projects and other major tasks.
  • The proposed budget for each activity.

Ongoing and Upcoming Plans and Studies

The Unified Planning Work Program serves as the Metropolitan Council’s application for US Department of Transportation planning funds.

2020 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 and other committees involved in regional transportation planning process.

There are no consultant studies proposed for this task in 2020.

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, freight, transit, bicycles, pedestrians, and aviation. In 2020, the Council and its transportation partners will conduct the following consultant-led studies:

  • Financial cost of keeping traffic congestion at various levels over the next 25 years
  • Congestion on the minor arterial network and strategies to manage congestion
  • Regional transit service geographic coverage and ridership trends that examines options for allocating resources
  • Spacing review and recommendations for planned Regional Bicycle Transportation Network (RBTN) corridors and alignments and spacing recommendations/li>
  • A regional pedestrian safety action plan that examines crash data to determine pedestrian risk factors and recommendations for improving safety.

3. Long-Range System Planning

The Transportation Policy Plan is the region’s long-range transportation plan. It includes land-use planning activities that align with the region’s development goals; equity priorities that apply to the transportation planning process; and air quality planning activities. In 2020, the Council will conduct the following consultant-led studies:

  • Peer research and literature scan to understand how other regions are planning for the arrival of electric vehicle fleets and how this may potentially impact on land use; and

  • Best practices from other metropolitan regions for planning and investing in the regional transportation system.

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.

These research activities, surveys, data purchases, and software upgrades are necessary to maintain and ensure the accuracy of the Regional Travel Demand Model.

5. Short-Range Planning and Performance Monitoring

This work includes the adoption and reporting of regional transportation performance measures and targets as well as support for the Congestion Management Process. The process is a regional, cooperative activity that helps identify the causes of congestion and develops strategies to help mitigate regional congestion. In 2020, the Council will focus on the following consultant-led activities:

  • Development of a detailed congestion management process corridor analysis methodology, which will allow local stakeholders to conduct consistent congestion corridor analyses in a consistent manner

  • Development of a transportation system performance dashboard to display and communicate key system performance indicators.