MPO Regional Coordination Structure Research and Best Practices

Tampa Bay Area Regional Transportation Authority (TBARTA)

Tampa, FL

TBARTA is requesting through this Request for Proposal the services to perform the MPO Regional Coordination Structure Research and Best Practices for the Tampa Bay Region. The Proposer will perform at minimum, the work required under the Scope of Services, Section 4.2. The required completion date of the MPO Regional Coordination Research and Best Practices for the Tampa Bay Region is by November 27, 2017, 5:00pm, at which time all technical work and public engagement shall be complete.

Overall Project Purpose: There is a history of regional coordination and cooperation related to transportation planning and coordination responsibilities among Citrus, Hernando, Pasco, Pinellas, Hillsborough, Polk, Manatee, and Sarasota counties (hereinafter “Tampa Bay”) - at times conducted by entities with different responsibilities and often very different visions of the geographic area to be embraced, as well as short and long-term goals.

The purpose of the proposed research is to define what successful regional coordination means for Tampa Bay, identify the barriers to its execution through available empirical evidence, and to develop several implementable scenarios based on an examination of nation-wide best practices for regional transportation planning. The overarching goal of the research is to outline the singular, preferred framework for improving regional coordination and responsibility in Tampa Bay, with effective mechanisms for providing consistent, relevant information to elected officials as well as the public. Options identified because of the research must include: merger of the MPOs in Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco into a single MPO; and a no-build option.  In addition, the final “Rule for Metropolitan Planning Organization Coordination and Planning Area Reform” has provisions for strengthened regional alignment and potential merger of MPOs that should be considered.

 Overall Project Approach: A three-pronged approach will be used to identify, evaluate and recommend a singular, preferred framework for the regional transportation planning process: research (to be conducted by the Consultant) and collaborative workshops (to be conducted by the Collaborative Lab at St. Petersburg College). These approaches would be conducted concurrently.

Both research and collaboration are anticipated to occur in three separate, but interrelated phases. In the first phase of research, “Summarize Existing Conditions,” the existing framework in which regional transportation coordination and planning are conducted in Tampa Bay will be examined and outlined. Specificity should be given to adopted policies and places that do not want to combine (no-build option).  Concurrently, the first collaborative workshop (hereinafter “Workshop 1”) will be held and focus on gathering input from Stakeholder Agencies and Entities, as well as select elected officials, on how regional coordination and planning success should be defined, what the (perceived) key issues are, the core values and principles (e.g. environment, social equity, economic development, etc.) in the process, and the top priorities for Tampa Bay.

The findings from Workshop 1 will be available for review by proposers on May 18, and will also be used to inform the second phase of research, “Case Studies and Best Practices.” This phase will consider other urbanized areas of the country that are similar in size and complexity to Tampa Bay, highlighting key findings that align with what participants have defined as “success.” In the second workshop (hereinafter “Workshop 2”), participants will review the second phase research findings, provide feedback on potential opportunities identified, and identify follow-up actions for the various public agencies involved in the regional process, as well as the Bay Area Legislative Delegation (BALD).  The third (optional) workshop would further refine and build consensus on a single preferred framework and outline an agreed-upon implementation plan.

These results of Workshop #1 will be available to interested firms at least five (5) business days prior to the deadline for proposals.

Project Steps 

Workshop 1: Values, Issues and Guiding Principles (to be conducted by the Collaborative Lab at St. Petersburg College on May 12, 2017)

The first collaborative workshop will kick-off with creating the Problem Statement, Project Goals, and reviewing the tentative timeline for research tasks. The initial session will be led by an impartial facilitator with the Collaborative Lab and will bring together people from private and public agencies/organizations who plan, operate, fund and implement transportation facilities and mobility services.

Issues/questions to be discussed in Workshop #1 will include: Approaches to transportation coordination taken by regions with characteristics like Tampa Bay; how to define successful regional coordination; the level of analysis (e.g. focusing at the three-county TMA level [Hillsborough, Pasco, Pinellas], and more general information at TBARTA level); the role of FDOT; Potential funding sources for greater regional transportation coordination; how a multi-county MPO might operate under existing state statutes and governance requirements; structural issues in the MPO and regional planning processes; the role of the Florida Legislature in this process; Federal law requirements that modal authorities be represented on MPOs (Florida law says they “may”) – THEA, TIA, Ports, Transit Agencies, etc.; discussion and descriptions of existing agencies, including roles, responsibilities and legal status under Florida Statutes, etc.

The intended outputs of the first collaborative workshop are to define guiding principles that will serve to help frame the evaluation of other regional mechanisms in place in various parts of the country, and their applicability to Tampa Bay; develop a greater understanding of factors driving exploration of greater regional transportation coordination, and; identify the most important outcomes desired from potential greater regional transportation coordination

Following the workshop, a summary report on the stakeholders’ recommended guiding principles for the research will be made available by May 18 to all proposers via the Procurement page on, located at

Resulting Deliverable: Memorandum #1 – Key Issues, Values, and Guiding Principles (Due on May 18, 2017)

Research Phase 1: Existing Conditions (to be conducted by Consultant)

The Consultant will research the way transportation planning is currently conducted within the Tampa Bay Region, with a emphasis on the entities currently involved with regional transportation planning. The research will examine such factors and processes as:

  • Socioeconomic, geographic and other demographic characteristics of the area,
  • Travel markets within the Tampa Bay Region as related to travel characteristics of the area, including travel sheds, commuter sheds, etc.
  • The existing urbanized area (UZA) structure within the Tampa Bay Region, including:
    • Size/character
    • Proximity to other UZAs
    • Potential growth, based on available information in LRTPs, including the areas expected to become urbanized within 20 years (MPA area)
  • Existing Coordination - document existing regional planning processes, including formal and informal structures, products and other outcomes.
  • Identify a comprehensive list of key participants in the Tampa Bay Region:
    • Public sector - including agencies, citizen/advocacy groups, etc.
    • Private sector - including industry groups/associations, private nonprofits, etc.
  • Analysis of existing and future projected cross-county commuting patterns for jobs, including both percentage of work force and actual numbers commuting between counties for all purposes.  Identification of sub regions within the larger Tampa Bay Region that have unique issues that need to be addressed on a more local level and how they fit into a regional planning model.
  • The governance structure of selected states MPOs operate in, such as the relative strength of counties, cities, and MPOs within the states in comparison to Florida. This research will help measure the success of models, identify their strengths and weaknesses, and develop an understanding of the lessons learned. The structure of local governments has also had a profound effect on the way governments function and the type of services provided.
  • Existing funding sources and uses of each county and MPO, with details on the benefits and drawbacks of unique strategies, how those revenue mechanisms may behave or be received in different regional settings, and any additional local revenue mechanisms in place (e.g. motor fuel taxes, mobility fees, sales taxes, dues, etc.). 

Resulting Deliverable: Memorandum #2 – Existing Conditions (Due July 24, 2017)

Research Phase 2 – Case Studies and Best Practices in Regional Transportation Planning (to be conducted by Consultant)

Once existing conditions have been identified, the Consultant will conduct research on best practices in regional transportation coordination nationwide, with a specific focus on regions that have generated more discretionary revenues than their peers, such as through federal New Starts or TIGER Grants, and new funding sources.  This will provide a baseline for comparing coordination efforts and outcomes in Tampa Bay. Additionally, other areas that have similar characteristics, such as population density, land area, and governance structure should be identified and analyzed in a set of selective case studies. Taken together, the case studies and best practices should form the basis for discussion of opportunities and an application of lessons learned in Workshop 2.

Case Studies should include:

  • Research on the creation of each MPO process and whether regional planning issues are handled within an MPO or through some other organization. Areas that are suggested to consider would be Chicago, Dallas-Ft. Worth, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Puget Sound, the San Francisco Bay area, and Orlando,
  • Consideration of the feedback gathered on values, issues and principles (Memorandum #1), as well as the mission, roles and responsibilities of regional planning entities in the areas being compared, including the role of the MPO in the regional planning process relative to related subject areas such as regional economic development, a regional land use vision, and their relationship to the design, construction and operations of transportation facilities and services,
  • Examination of Florida law regarding MPOs and how a structure might fit in with those laws or require changes,
  • Identify and assess information on regional participation and travel between regional activity centers such as employment centers; professional sports; airports; retail centers; other regional attractors to determine traffic flows and related issues within the region; and,
  • Information on regional MPO structures, including:
    • Concept diagram
    • Responsibilities
    • Background on how and why it was formed
    • Governmental roles
    • Funding strategies and issues, including the costs associated with merging organizations, as well as the ratio of and relationship between federal, state or local appropriations and grant funds attained.

Resulting Deliverable: Memorandum #3 – Best Practices Findings and Case Studies (Due August 21, 2017)

Workshop 2 – Conducted jointly by the Consultant and the Collaborative Lab at St. Petersburg College

A second Collaborative Workshop will be conducted to present and review the research findings, draw responses from stakeholders, and begin to build consensus on a singular preferred framework for a regional coordination framework or structure, as well as the mechanisms needed for implementation, such as letters of support from each county and each MPO. The three memoranda described below will form the basis of the review:

Memorandum – Values, Issues and Guiding Principles

Memorandum – Existing Conditions

Memorandum – Best Practices Findings and Case Studies

Resulting Deliverable: Memorandum #4 – Results and Stakeholder Feedback (Due Date TBD)

 Workshop 3 (Optional) – Consensus on Framework and Action Plan

A third and final Collaborative Workshop will be conducted to provide the opportunity for stakeholders, with participation and input from the public, to further refine and build consensus on a single preferred framework out of the options identified in the final report, and to outline an agreed upon Implementation Plan, including responsibilities for each applicable agency and governing body as well as any necessary technical and working groups.

Resulting Deliverable: Memorandum #5 – Preferred Option and Implementation Plan Outline (Due Date TBD)

Final Report and Executive Summary (to be conducted by Consultant)

Upon completion of all tasks and steps, the Consultant will assemble a final report containing the findings contained in Deliverables 1 through 3, as well as the findings (Memorandum #4) from Workshop 2 and Workshop 3, if conducted. 

Resulting Deliverable: Final Report, including Opportunities and Recommendations (Due November 27, 2017)

Request Type
Monday, May 22, 2017

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