Systems Planning


Iowa has nine Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) and 18 Regional Planning Affiliations (RPAs). MPOs conduct transportation planning activities in the urban areas with more than 50,000 population. These include the urban areas of Ames, Cedar Rapids, Council Bluffs, Davenport, Des Moines, Dubuque, Iowa City, Sioux City, and Waterloo. RPAs conduct transportation planning for the non-metropolitan areas of the state and cover all 99 counties.

The planning activities conducted by these agencies are funded through FHWA and FTA sources, as well as local financial support. MPOs and RPAs provide the Iowa DOT with the following required items.

  • Transportation Planning Work Program (TPWP)—outlines the annual transportation planning activities each MPO/RPA will undertake during the next state fiscal year.
  • Public Participation Plan (PPP)—outlines the process each MPO/RPA will follow to adequately involve the public in the their transportation planning activities.
  • Long-Range Transportation Plan (LRTP)—provides direction and guidance for each MPO/RPA to make efficient transportation investment decisions over a 20-year planning horizon.
  • Passenger Transportation Plan (PTP)—promotes joint, coordinated passenger transportation planning programs and provides needs-based justification for passenger transportation projects.
  • Transportation Improvement Program (TIP)—identifies the capital and non-capital transportation projects proposed for federal-aid funding or action for each MPO/RPA over the next four-year period.

The Systems Planning Bureau works on a daily basis with the MPOs and RPAs as these five items are being developed. To improve this coordination and the effectiveness of the planning process, quarterly meetings are held with representatives from both the MPOs and RPAs. All federal transportation planning funds are administered through the Systems Planning Bureau.

The update to the State Transportation Plan is the responsibility of the Systems Planning Bureau. A key element of the State Transportation Plan is the integration of the MPO and RPA long-range plans.

MPO and RPA contact list


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