Staffing And Governance of MPOs
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in...5

Staffing And Governance of MPOs



This presentation was made at the 2009 AMPO Annual Meeting. It contains the preliminary results of a study on MPO Staffing and Organizational Structure funded by FHWA.

This presentation was made at the 2009 AMPO Annual Meeting. It contains the preliminary results of a study on MPO Staffing and Organizational Structure funded by FHWA.



Total Views
Views on SlideShare
Embed Views



3 Embeds 14 8 4 2



Upload Details

Uploaded via as Microsoft PowerPoint

Usage Rights

© All Rights Reserved

Report content

Flagged as inappropriate Flag as inappropriate
Flag as inappropriate

Select your reason for flagging this presentation as inappropriate.

  • Full Name Full Name Comment goes here.
    Are you sure you want to
    Your message goes here
Post Comment
Edit your comment
  • 50-100k – 32.6%100-200k – 30.2%200-500k – 38.5%500k-1m – 30.2%1m+ - 52.2%
  • Likely as a result of expansion of the MPO area over time – bringing in new governments
  • Many MPOs reported that if modal agency was part of local government – the agency was considered to be “represented” by elected officials of that local government  
  • Aggregate of all seats in the sample
  • Voting rights becomes an issue when MPO seat availability is constrained or when political dominancy is in play or in question
  • A quarter of MPOs are smaller than 3 people. Three-quarters have less than 11.
  • Some MPOs are so intertwined with the host they are unable to separate who the MPO employees are. Most of the largest MPO staffs in each population class fall into this category
  • 380,000 people in planning area = 8 employees

Staffing And Governance of MPOs Staffing And Governance of MPOs Presentation Transcript

  • MPO Staffing and Governance structures
    2009 AMPO Annual Conference, Savannah, GA
    Alex Bond & Jeff KramerCenter for Urban Transportation ResearchUniversity of South Florida
  • Research Problem
    MPO role is complex and responsibility is broad
    MPO role and work load have expanded over time
    MPO staffing and organizational capacity is critical to meeting responsibilities and expectations
    Few materials comparing strategies are available
    MPO resources are relatively limited
    To date, national research on MPO organizational structure and staffing is limited
  • Project Scope
    MPO organizational structures
    Staffing profiles and practices
    Case studies
    Sample staffing plan for new MPOs
    Project completion – March 2010
    Funded through the FHWA Surface Transportation and Environment Research Program (STEP)
  • Methodology and Data Collection
    Administer on-line survey using custom built tool (
    Beta-tested survey instrument (design, content, terminology)
    Survey in field for 3 months (March-May 2009)
    61-72 questions, depending on MPO characteristics
    Ability to save and return
    Participant recruitment
    Timely AMPO email blasts
    State association and notable MPO leader solicitation
    Targeted direct contact
  • Special Thanks
    Beta Test Group
    Jane Hayse – Atlanta Regional Commission
    Rich Perrin – Genesee Transportation Council
    Harold Barley – METROPLAN Orlando
    Craig Casper – Pikes Peak Area COG
    Thera Black – Thurston RPC
  • Eligible MPOs and Participation
    374 MPOs were eligible to take the survey
    11 MPOs ineligible to participate
    Single staff for more than one MPO board
    133 MPOs responded to the survey
    35% participation rate
    Statistically significant sample
    Margin of error: +/- 6.83%
    Very high participation in FL, WA, NY, GA
    Likely due to good promotion
    Unlikely to affect results
  • Participation Rates
  • 8
    Map of Participants
  • 9
  • Hosting and Administration
  • Definitions
    An independent MPO provides all of its organizational needs in-house or through contractors
    A hosted MPO meets its organizational needs through another agency which acts as the fiscal agent
    There are a variety of dependency levels between MPOs and their hosts
    Some MPOs are so intertwined with the host that MPO employees cannot be identified
    In other cases, the MPO operates in a segregated fashion, but receives goods and services from the host
  • Hosted vs. Independent
    69% of all MPOs are hosted
    More likely to be hosted if the MPO is a non-TMA
    Very large MPOs (1 million +) were the most likely to be independent
  • Types of Hosting
    There is a wide varietyof MPO organizationalstructures
    Regional Council ismost common host
    Combined, localgovernments host 40% of all MPOs
  • Other Hosting Observations
    Municipally-hosted MPOs tended to be in small regions (under 200,000)
    County-hosted MPOs were tightly focused in the 200-500,000 range
    RC-hosted MPOs were common across all ranges, but were slightly more common at non-TMAs
    Air quality attainment appears to have little impact on hosting status or host type
    Other hosting types can be found, but are rare
  • Advantages/Disadvantages – Hosted
    Lower overall cost
    Office space
    Sharing of expertise
    Coordinated programs
    Capital float
    Responsibilities blurred
    MPO subject to host rules, budget and oversight
    Managerial authority and autonomy
    Policy interference
    Unfamiliarity with MPO work
  • Advantages/Disadvantages – Independent
    Political and administrative autonomy
    Clarity in chain of command
    Agency identity
    Cleaner finances
    Cash flow problems
    Federal reimbursements
    Matching funds
    High cost of operation
    Administrative burdens
    Staff and administrative versatility is required
  • 17
  • Board Size, Composition and Voting
  • Laws/Rules Governing MPO Boards
    Federal law
    Local elected officials
    Representatives of agencies that operate other modes
    Relevant state officials
    Silent on:
    Voting rights
    Advisory committees
    Some states regulate aspects of board composition
  • Board Size – Voting Seats
    2,142 voting board seats in our sample
    Wide range of MPO Board sizes
    5 to 73 voting members
    Measures of central tendency
    Median: 14
    Bottom quarter – 8 or fewer
    Top quarter – 19 or more
    High outliers tend to be RCs
    Mean: 16.1
    Mode: 9
    Max: 73
    Third Q: 19
    Mean: 16
    Median: 14
    Voting Board Seats
    Mode: 9
    First Q: 8
    Min: 5
  • Board Size – By Population
    Board size seems to be related to population
  • Board Composition – Seat Types
  • Board Composition – Percent of All Seats
  • Board Composition – Voting Rights
    One person-one vote is the prevailing voting structure
    Common for larger jurisdictions to have more than one seat
    Weighted voting
    13.5% of MPOs in the sample
    Most commonly weighted by population
    Many MPOs with weighted voting have never used it
    “Rotating” voting seats
    27% of MPOs in the sample have a “rotating” voting seat
    Typically between smaller local governments
    More common among larger MPOs
  • Board Composition – Non-Voting
    Board representation for those without a voting seat
    63% (84 of 133) have non-voting board members
    Mean of 5 seats at MPOs providing non-voting seats
    Examples include:
    • Small local govtswithin MPO boundary
    • Neighboring local govts/MPOs
    • Federal agencies
    • Chairs of MPO committees
    • Private sector
    • State legislators
    • Business groups
    • RTPOs
    • Modal authorities
    • School boards
    • State agencies
  • Advisory Committees
  • 27
  • The MPO Workforce
  • Number of Employees
    Ranged from 121 to less than one employee
    Part time employees are found at 73% of MPOs
    Mean MPO: 11.7 full-time and 2.2 part-time employees
  • Number of Employees
    A dozen high outliers skew the mean higher. Median is more instructive.
    Median MPO: 5 full-time and 1 part-time employees (6 total)
    Three-quarters of MPOs have less than 11 total staff
    A quarter of MPOs have 3 or fewer total staff
    Max: 121
    Third Q: 11
    Median: 6
    Total Employees
    First Q: 3
    Min: 1
  • Median Staff Size by Population Class
  • Staff Size Metrics
    Analysis shows staff size is correlated to population and planning area square mileage
    One employee per 47,963 people
    One employee per 665 square miles
    Approximately 4,200 MPO employees nationwide
    About 860 (20%) work at non-TMAs
    51% of MPOs are non-TMAs
    Large MPOs employ a large majority of MPO workers
  • Specialties on Staff
    MPOs were asked if any staff member spent more than half of his/her time in a specialized area
    *Only selected results are shown*
  • General Tasks
    Time spent on general agency administration
    Hosted MPOs: 21.3%
    Independent: 28.1%
    More than 20 employees: 12.5%
    Less than 3 employees: 29.6%
    Time spent on public involvement- 15.3%
    Time spent on committee management- 21.7%
  • Consultants
    Consultants are an important source of MPO labor
    All but one MPO reported using consultants
    25% of all UPWP funds are spent on contractors
    $1 spent internally : 40¢ to contractors
    Non-attainment areas spend more money on consultants
    MPOs over 500,000 population spend more money on consultants than smaller MPOs
    The LRTP/MTP is the only “core” document that frequently is authored by consultants
  • Consultant Tasks
  • Position Creation
    Over the period 2007-2008,a third of MPOs created positions
    Some MPOs reported:
    Technology tasks were moved in-house
    Increased emphasis on certain planning areaslike bike/ped, transit, or safety
  • Employee Turnover
    MPOs with smaller staffs experienced higher rates of employee turnover
    MPOs in smaller regions experienced higher turnover rates
    MPO universe experiences 12.5% turnover/year
    Twenty or more employees: 4.1%
    Less than three: 20.1%
  • Is MPO Pay Competitive?
    • Most say yes
    • All sizes of MPOs respondwith similar answers
    • Narrative responses indicate:
    • MPO competitive interms of total compensationpackage
    • Competitive with other transportation agencies
    • Unable to match offers due to fixed pay scales
  • Where Employees Go
    188 professional staffdepartures 2007-2008
    40% left transportationsector
    Just over a quarterwent to consulting firms
  • New Employers of Specialists
    Engineers and modelers tend to stay in transportation
    Engineers and modelers are more often hired by consultants
    Planners tend to land at other transportation agencies
    Other professionals often leave transportation entirely
  • Other Topics in the Survey
    Salary Scales
    Employee Benefits
    Organization Funding
    State Governance
    MPO Directors
    Aging Workforce
    Intergovernmental Efforts
    Indirect Rate
    Employee Tenure
  • 43
  • Contact Us
    Report due for release around March 2010
    Alex Bond Jeff Kramer
    (813) 974-9779 (813) 974-1397