What is a Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO)?

In every urbanized area in the United States, a Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) is designated to conduct regional transportation planning and to select federally funded projects. This MPO system was established by the federal government to give people who are affected by transportation decisions a say in how those decisions are made.

Although the State Department of Transportation has the primary role of administering the expenditure of these funds, all federally funded transportation projects in the Region must be approved by the MPO.

The Capitol Region Council of Governments (CRCOG) is the designated MPO for the Capitol Region. Every year, CRCOG makes decisions that influence the improvement of the Region’s transportation system. As members of the CRCOG Policy Board, chief elected officials from each community vote on transportation decisions.

The general public has significant opportunity to comment on these decisions before a vote is taken, and CRCOG undertakes special public outreach efforts for major projects and planning studies. We also conduct special outreach efforts to include people who are traditionally not involved in the decision-making process: minorities, low-income, and persons who do not speak English well.

Types of Projects the MPO Approves

Federal transportation funds can be used for many different types of transportation projects. Examples include:

  • Bus purchases
  • Bike and pedestrian improvements
  • Road construction projects
  • Intersection improvements
  • Bridge repairs and replacements
  • Railroad crossing safety projects

How the MPO Plans for the Capitol Region – and How You Can Become Involved

CRCOG conducts many planning studies and approves the expenditure of millions of transportation dollars. Some of the key planning and funding activities CRCOG conducts include:

  • Metropolitan Transportation Plan (MTP)

The Capitol Region MTP provides a twenty-five year overview of the major transportation investments in the Region and addresses long-range solutions to meet the Region’s greatest transportation needs. This plan must be updated every 4 years.

  • Transportation Improvement Program (TIP)

The TIP is a list of all federally funded projects that will be undertaken in the Capitol Region over a four-year period. This list can be amended at any time, but a full update must be undertaken at least every four years.

Amendments to the TIP are considered at the Transportation Committee and Policy Board meetings each month. A copy of amendments to be considered are available with the agenda for those meetings.

  • Corridor Planning

CRCOG occasionally conducts specialized studies for transportation corridors and other subregions.  Traffic conditions and land use are analyzed, and a strategic plan is developed to address any problems identified.

Corridor studies are conducted with the input of town-appointed Local Advisory Groups (LACs) and the general public.

  • Transit Planning

CRCOG is instrumental in transit planning and transit-oriented development. CRCOG works with the Connecticut Department of Transportation, CTtransit, and the Greater Hartford Transit District to foster the development of sound public policy for the Region’s public transportation systems. This includes the following activities: evaluating new and existing transit routes and services; implementing programs that provide transit amenities, such as bus shelters and signs; prioritizing projects that provide transit services to people with mobility challenges; encouraging development around transit services; and maintaining the Regional Transit Strategy.

  • Bicycle and Pedestrian Planning 

CRCOG is responsible for both bicycle and pedestrian planning in the Region.

CRCOG staff have helped move the recommendations in bicycle and pedestrian plans forward to implementation and continue to work with the towns to make the Region more bike and pedestrian friendly.  Information about the Bicycle and Pedestrian Planning Subcommittee activities is available on the Bicycle & Pedestrian page of the CRCOG website.

  • Current Projects

Current studies and updated plans can be found on our studies and plans pages.

If you would like to receive notification about meetings associated with special projects currently underway, or about to get underway, please contact us at info@crcog.org and we will add your name to the appropriate mailing list.

What is CRCOG?

The Capitol Region Council of Governments is an association of municipalities in the greater Hartford area. As a council of governments, CRCOG is guided by the mayors, first selectmen, and town council chairs of its member municipalities. They make up the governing Policy Board that establishes policy, and sets the CRCOG work agenda.

The Policy Board functions as the MPO on transportation issues, but they also address a much broader range of issues than just transportation.

Become Involved

CRCOG’s Policy Board and Transportation Committee meetings are held monthly. Agendas are available through the local town clerk’s offices and posted on our website.  By contacting CRCOG, you can be added to our MPO mailing list and be kept informed of our meeting activities, as well as the implementation of our transportation programs.

There are other ways to get involved in CRCOG’s planning activities. Contact us if you would like to be added to special study mailing lists. Visit our website often to learn about new and on-going projects, and engage with us on social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter). If you have a special interest, such as the involvement of under-represented groups like minorities or the disabled, let us know and we may be able to provide you with information about advocacy groups. Get involved, stay involved!