The Integration of the MPO Program into the Greater Nashville Regional Council

An Integrated Regional Council

On October 1, 2017, the Greater Nashville Regional Council (GNRC) became responsible for carrying out the staffing and administrative functions of the federally-designated MPO in accordance with the Transportation Planning and Policy Agreement adopted on September 20, 2017.

The agreement designates the GNRC as the administrative and fiscal agent for the MPO governing body (known as the Transportation Policy Board), a responsibility previously held by the Metropolitan Planning Commission (MPC) of Nashville-Davidson County. This change was made to account for the steady expansion of the MPO planning area outside of Davidson County that has occurred over the last three decades, and to better position the region to respond to challenges resulting from rapid economic growth and development.

The integration of the MPO program into GNRC will streamline and improve regional coordination among local governments across Middle Tennessee, align infrastructure planning with economic development initiatives, and bring Middle Tennessee in line with the state of practice in peer regions across the nation. Nearly 70 percent of metro areas across the U.S. with a population of one million or more people have the federally-required MPO function integrated into their regional council or its GNRC equivalent.

Timeline and Archived Material

In August 2016, the executive boards of the Nashville Area MPO and the Greater Nashville Regional Council (GNRC) entered into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) that established a framework for the two organizations to explore ways to enhance coordination among local communities and between regional organizations in Middle Tennessee. As part of that agreement, a joint committee was created to develop recommendations for improving the efficiency and effectiveness of regional decision-making and to better align transportation planning programs with other regional activities related to economic development, infrastructure investment, and quality of life.

The Joint Committee included appointments by GNRC Chairman Mayor Ken Moore (City of Franklin) and MPO Chairman Mayor Hutto (Wilson County) and is co-chaired by Mayor Kim McMillian (City of Clarksville) and Mayor Mary Esther Reed (Town of Smyrna). The committee included representation from the GNRC, the Nashville Area MPO, the Clarksville Urbanized Area MPO, the Middle Tennessee RPO, and the largest cities located within each Census-defined urbanized area of the region. The purpose of the Joint Committee was to lead the study of options and develop recommendations for improving coordination and decision-making across Middle Tennessee according to a set of shared goals. Members serve on the committee to find opportunities that are mutually beneficial to both organizations and their respective local community.

In September 2017, following a year of meetings and study the Joint Committee recommended that the Nashville Area MPO program be integrated into the GNRC. Their recommendation was enacted by the governing bodies of the MPO and GNRC in September and became effective October 1, 2018.

Documents and Handouts

Agreements and Board Resolutions

Meeting Agenda & Notes

U.S. Department of Transportation Livable Communities Initiative

In 2009, the U.S. DOT, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency joined forces to create a Livable Communities Initiative aimed at encouraging better integration of transportation, land use, housing, environmental protection, and other quality of life issues through federal programs and local and regional planning.

The Transportation Planning Process - A Briefing Book for Transportation Decisionmakers

This publication of the Transportation Planning Capacity Building Program, a partnership of the Federal Highway Administration and Federal Transportation Administration, provides an overview of the federally-required metropolitan planning process to decision makers, officials, and staff.

Federal Highway Administration INVEST Tool

This is a tool created by FHWA to encourage states and regions to approach transportation planning and system development in a way that would appropriate consider the economic, social, and environmental impacts of transportation decisions. The System Planning for Regions (SPR) module provides criteria to self-evaluate system-level planning and programming policies, processes, procedures and practices. The SPR module is geared towards Metropolitan Planning Organizations, Council of Governments, or other planning organizations that perform landscape-scale planning for a regional area (and that typically do not own infrastructure). The Nashville Area MPO assisted FHWA with the piloting of the tool before large-scale, national rollout.

National Association of Regional Councils

NARC is an association of Regional Councils or Councils of Governments across the U.S. It serves as a forum for peer exchange of best practices around transportation, land use, economic and community development, and other issues that are addressed by regional councils.

The Third Wave: Trends in Regional Governance



For more information about the work of the Joint Committee on Regional Coordination:

Michael Skipper

Michelle Lacewell


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