The St. Joseph Area Transportation Study Organization (SJATSO) is the federally designated Metropolitan Planning Organization for the region. A Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) is a regional decision making body composed of a variety of stakeholders from a metropolitan area and is responsible for creating a Metropolitan Transportation Plan as well as related policy and programming documents. A MPO is essentially an organization of representatives from the surrounding local governments that collectively discuss transportation issues and opportunities for the entire metro area. In the case of SJATSO, the MPO is comprised of representatives from Buchanan County, Andrew County, Doniphan County, The City of St. Joseph, the City of Elwood, the City of Savannah, the City of Wathena and the Country Club Village. Representatives from the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT), Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT), as well as other federal agencies are also represented. Overall, the MPO acts as a steward of federal transportation funds while ensuring regional transportation planning is continuing, cooperative and comprehensive.
A MPO is comprised of:
- A Policy Board composed of mostly elected officials (sometimes referred to as a Coordinating Committee)
- A Technical Committee composed of transportation planning and engineering professionals
- MPO Staff
- Various other advisory committees that the MPO may form to advise on specific subjects or projects
To ensure that the region’s transportation networks are safe, efficient and working together as a larger system the MPO considers all modes of transportation including: bicycling, pedestrian traffic (sidewalks and trails), freight (by truck, river and rail), transit (such as public buses) and roadways for personal cars. SJATSO considers how people get from one place to another, and the infrastructure in place that allows them to move safely and efficiently around the MPO region.