Survey of Metropolitan Planning Organizations (GAO-09-867SP, September 2009), an E-supplement to GAO-09-868

Read the Full Report Metropolitan Planning Organizations: Options Exist to Enhance Transportation Planning Capacity and Oversight (GAO-09-868)


This e-publication supplements our report GAO-09-868 by presenting the item-by-item results of our Web-based survey of Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPO), which was conducted between February 3 and April 1, 2009. The purpose of the survey was to gather information on the roles and responsibilities of MPOs, the federal oversight of MPOs, and possible ways to improve regional transportation planning. The questionnaire was designed to obtain demographic and financial information from MPOs, as well as MPO staff perceptions of challenges their organization faces in carrying out their current responsibilities. The questionnaire also asked about potential options to address those challenges. Further, the questionnaire included a section requesting respondents’ views on the current federal oversight of MPOs.

The questionnaire was administered to all 381 MPOs as of February 2009. To establish this list of MPOs, we obtained contact information from the Department of Transportation and the Association of Metropolitan Planning Organizations; any inconsistencies between the two lists were reconciled with phone calls to the relevant MPO. We received completed questionnaires from 86 percent of the MPOs, and the nonrespondents were distributed randomly among different states and sizes of MPOs.

Survey results in this e-publication are presented in two ways. For some questions, we present the survey percentages for all respondents. For other questions, where relevant and appropriate, we present the survey percentages for three categories of MPOs. These categories include MPOs with populations less than 200,000 (“small MPOs”), populations between 200,000 and 999,999 (“medium MPOs”), and MPOs with populations above 1 million (“large MPOs”). In all cases, the data are presented in aggregate form so that no individual MPO responses can be viewed. See the report referenced above for a more detailed discussion of our scope and methodology, as well as a discussion of survey results.

We conducted our work from September 2008 to September 2009 in accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards. Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to obtain sufficient, appropriate evidence to provide a reasonable basis for our findings and conclusions based on our audit objectives. We believe that the evidence obtained provides a reasonable basis for our findings and conclusions based on our audit objectives.

Instructions for Viewing this Survey

How to View The Surveys

  • Click on the Table of Contents link located in the lower right of this screen. To read to the bottom of the screen, you may need to use your scroll bar on the right side of this screen.
  • The first screen in the survey is an introduction and general information that was sent to and viewed by survey recipients. There are no survey results to view on the first screen. The screen is for information only and you may bypass it by clicking on Next, located at the lower right corner of the screen.
  • The survey may have links to allow respondents to bypass inapplicable questions (skip patterns). While these were active links during the data collection period, they have now been disabled.

How to View the Responses for Each Question

  • To view the responses to each question, click on the question number (Links to survey questions will look like this: 1., etc.).
  • After viewing the responses to each question, click on the "x" in the upper right corner of your screen to close that window and return to the questionnaire.

How to Return to a Page That You Previously Visited

  • To return to the last screen you viewed, click the Previous button on the lower right corner of the screen.
  • Click the Next button to advance to the next screen.

How to Make the Font Larger on Your Screen

  • You can make the font larger by changing your browser setting. For example, on Internet Explorer you can change the font size by going to View and selecting Text Size.

Contact Information?

  • If you have questions concerning these data, please contact Phillip R. Herr at (202)512-2834 or
Table of Contents
This is a work of the U.S. government and is not subject to copyright protection in the United States. The published product may be reproduced and distributed in its entirety without further permission from GAO. However, because this work may contain copyrighted images or other material, permission from the copyright holder may be necessary if you wish to reproduce this material separately.