Unified Planning Work Program

A regional approach to transportation planning

The 2022 Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP) outlines and documents the transportation-related planning activities in the Twin Cities Metropolitan Area for the year. The Met Council serves as the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) 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 Met 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.

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

Ongoing and Upcoming Plans and Studies

Final 2022 Transportation Unified Planning Work Program (PDF)

2022 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.

In 2022, the Met Council will work with a consultant to develop and initiate an outreach program aimed to improve outreach and engagement activities related to regional transportation planning studies. This effort will focus, in particular, on increasing equity within the region and engaging.

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. In 2022, the Council and its transportation partners will conduct the following  studies:

  • A regional safety study
  • A freight distribution study

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 2022, the Council will conduct the following studies:

  • An assessment of the Transportation Policy Plan’s overall vision, goals, and objectives in preparation for the 2050 Transportation Policy Plan update
  • An evaluation leading to methods that will measure the emissions and greenhouse gas impacts of transportation projects and investment scenarios
  • An examination of public attitudes towards transportation and transportation planning issues

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 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. In 2022, the Council will focus on continuing to develop a detailed CMP handbook that allows local stakeholders to conduct consistent corridors analyses. The Council will also continue to develop a system performance dashboard to display and communicate transportation system performance indicators.


David Burns