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
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.
The St. Joseph Area Transportation Study Organization (SJATSO) is responsible for developing transportation plans and programs for the St. Joseph, Missouri metropolitan area. SJATSO member governments include the counties of Buchanan and Andrew, the Cities of St. Joseph and Savannah, and the Village of Country Club in the State of Missouri; and the County of Doniphan, and the Cities of Wathena and Elwood in the State of Kansas. As the region’s designated Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), SJATSO is responsible for:
- Encouraging and promoting the development of a transportation system that embraces all modes of transportation in a manner which will efficiently maximize the mobility of people and goods within and through the urbanized area, while minimizing transportation-related fuel consumption and air pollution;
- Plans and programs that provide for the development of transportation facilities (including non-motorized facilities) that will function as an inter-modal transportation system for the St. Joseph Metropolitan Area, and the nation;
- Identifying low-income and minority populations so that their needs can be identified and addressed to ensure that plans comply with Title VI and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements; and
- The process for developing such plans and programs, which shall provide for consideration of all transportation modes and shall be continuing, cooperative, and comprehensive to the degree appropriate, based on the complexity of the transportation problems.
MPOs are agencies that administer the federal required transportation planning process in urbanized areas with a population greater than 50,000. The plans and programs developed by MPOS provide for the development of an integrated, intermodal transportation system that facilitates the efficient movement of people and goods, considers all modes of transportation, and supports community development and social goals. SJATSO does this in conjunction with its member governments including the Counties of Buchanan & Andrew, Missouri, the Cities of St. Joseph & Savannah, Missouri, the Village of Country Club, Missouri and the County of Doniphan, Kansas, and the Cities of Wathena & Elwood, Kansas.
Any project funded by federal U.S. Department of Transportation and within the boundaries of the MPO must be consistent with MPO plans and policies. As such, SJATSO administers these federally funded transportation projects to ensure regional coordination, collaboration and consistency.