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In 1973, WMSRDC organized the Muskegon Area Transportation Planning Program as the Metropolitan Transportation Planning Organization (MPO) Policy Committee. In 2003, when the U.S. Census Bureau expanded the Muskegon Urbanized Area to include northern Ottawa County, WMSRDC, working with the Michigan Department of Transportation, realigned the Metropolitan Area Boundary (MAB) of the MPO and organized the West Michigan Metropolitan Transportation Planning Program (WestPlan/Metro). WMSRDC has staffed the MPO since 1973.

WMSRDC undertakes a comprehensive transportation planning program to maintain the eligibility of local governments in the area to receive federal and state transportation funds for street and road improvements, as well as subsidies for mass transit.

The MPO consists of a Policy Committee and a Technical Committee. The Technical Committee reports directly to the Policy Committee. The Policy Committee is responsible for all final decisions regarding transportation. All meetings, with the exception of special meetings, are held during normal business hours.

In addition to the MPO program, there are three other distinct transportation planning programs/activities that WMSRDC is involved in: Rural Transportation Planning, Regional Transportation Planning, and the Asset Management Program.

MPO Transportation Planning

The MPO program addresses a multitude of transportation projects such as safety projects like widening lanes, bridge repairs and improvements, air quality projects like traffic signal synchronization, and enhancement projects like bike paths. Two important planning documents that are produced through this process are the Long Range Transportation Plan and the Transportation Improvement Program.

The MPO program also assists in transit planning for the Muskegon Area Transit System and Harbor Transit in Northern Ottawa County. Planning activities include the compilation of rider and route statistics and collaborating on services related to seniors and individuals with disabilities.

Activities undertaken by WMSRDC include long-range transportation planning, data collection, highway planning, street inventory, and coordination of state and local transportation planning.

WMSRDC maintains a list of the annual average daily traffic on roads in the MPO area as well as rural areas. Traffic counts are an important aspect of metropolitan transportation planning.

Rural Transportation Task Force Planning

In 2012, WMSRDC established the West Michigan Rural Transportation Planning Program (WestPlan/Rural) at the request of the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT). WMSRDC now administers the nearly $1.5 million in rural federal transportation funding allocated to the region. Through this program, WMSRDC works with the local road agencies to administer individual county task forces, as well as the regional task force, to plan for the most efficient and cost effective use of these funds. The current rural task force has been realigned to include all five counties within the region which are Lake, Mason, Muskegon, Newaygo, and Oceana.

Regional Transportation Planning

The Regional Transportation Program addresses a number of transportation issues in the rural areas of the five-county region.  Planning undertaken in the Regional Transportation Program include Technical Assistance to MDOT, Public Involvement, and Local Technical Assistance Planning.  These items include activities such as regional transportation workshops, assistance in updating the Statewide Transportation Improvement Plan (STIP), and assisting MDOT in public involvement with officials and citizens in the rural areas of the Region.

Additional Regional Transportation Planning Program elements include Highway Performance Management System (HPMS) and Non-Motorized Planning.  The HPMS provides data that reflects the extent, condition, performance, use, and operating characteristics of the nation's highways. The Non-Motorized planning item examines aspects of non-motorized investment planning to identify needed projects and promote the consideration of bicycle and pedestrian options in the overall transportation planning activities.

Asset Management Program
WMSRDC also participates, in partnership with the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) and local road agencies, in the Transportation Asset Management Program. The program involves the development of an annual data base of road conditions of all 39,000 federal aid eligible roads in Michigan.
For more information regarding metropolitan transportation planning, please contact:
Brian Mulnix, Program Manager
(231) 722-7878 ext. 20
For more information regarding regional and rural transportation planning and asset management, please contact:
Joel Fitzpatrick, Program Manager
(231) 722-7878 ext. 16
For more information regarding public involvement in metropolitan and rural transportation planning, please contact:
Amy Haack, Program Manager
(231) 722-7878 ext. 19
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