Transportation Planning Roles & Responsibilities

The Metropolitan Council is responsible for regional transportation planning, including aviation, highway, and transit systems and operations. The Council – along with its Transportation Advisory Board (TAB) – is the federally-designated Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for the seven-county Twin Cities metro area. This means the Council must provide a continuing, coordinated, comprehensive transportation planning process in order to obtain federal transportation funds.

The Council must prepare a long-range (20-year) Transportation Policy Plan for the region every 4 years. It also selects projects for federal funding and prepares a four-year Transportation Improvement Program (TIP), through the Transportation Advisory Board (TAB), made up of local elected officials, and TAB's Technical Advisory Committee. The TIP includes all federally funded transportation projects, and development of the TIP includes significant input from citizens and interested groups.

Transit planning

The Council works with Metro Transit and other regional transit operators, MnDOT, and county regional railroad authorities on planning, environmental and engineering studies for transitway corridors. The Council works to implement the policies and values outlined in Thrive MSP 2040 and the Transportation Policy Plan.  Service planning for specific transit routes is completed by the transit operators.

Highway planning

The Council works with MnDOT and the counties in highway planning activities to ensure regional policies are implemented. Staff participate in interagency corridor studies and administering the Right-of-Way Acquisition Loan Fund (RALF).  More about Highway Planning.

Bicycle and pedestrian planning 

The Council also works with MnDOT and local units of government on bicycle and pedestrian planning efforts in the region. Council staff provide technical assistance to local units of government, and information to the public on bicycle and pedestrian issues. More about bicycle and pedestrian planning.

Travel forecasting

The Council maintains and uses future year travel forecast models to support planning for new transportation facilities. Every 10 years the Council conducts a Travel Behavior Inventory to validate the models used to forecast regional demands. More about travel forecasting.

Allocating federal funds 
In odd numbered years, the Council and TAB select projects to receive federal transportation funding through the Regional Solicitation process.The two-year selection process involves soliciting projects from MnDOT, cities, counties, and transit providers. TAB and its Technical Advisory Committee then evaluate and rank the projects, and select the final approved projects. 

Air quality planning

The Council's long-term planning incorporates congestion management, transportation, land use and air quality planning, as required by the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendment (CAAA). 

Aviation planning 

The Council is responsible for preparing and maintaining the Twin Cities regional aviation system plan. It also coordinates aviation planning and development activities with local, state, and federal governmental units, airport users and citizens. More about aviation planning.

More information

For more information about any of these planning activities, see a list of transportation planning staff with expertise in specific areas.