Boston Region MPO Administration & Finance Committee

Operations Plan Development

Worksheet for Standing and Ad Hoc Committees – November 17, 2022


Operation Plan Memo - Relevant Sections from Operations Plan Memo

Standing and Ad Hoc Committees

       Identify the purpose and responsibilities of committee meetings and their attendees relative to the MPO board meetings

       Confirm or adjust number, role, and officers of standing committees based on the expectations for both committee and board meetings.

       Define the trigger and process for establishing ad hoc committees and their officers


2011 MOU - Relevant Sections pertaining to Standing and Ad Hoc Committees Requirements/Actions

Functions and Roles of the Boston Region MPO and its Committees


     In the resolution of basic regional transportation policy, the Boston Region MPO shall seek and consider the advice of the Advisory Council.  In so doing, the Boston Region MPO shall provide the Advisory Council with information and analysis in the form of reports, briefings, and discussion concerning their plans, programs, and priorities so that the Advisory Council can carry out its functions in a timely fashion.


     In addition to the advice of the Advisory Council, the MPO shall seek the involvement of members of the public and the many entities and organizations with interests and views relative to the Boston Region’s planning and programming. To facilitate this, the Boston Region MPO will post on its website, at least 48 hours in advance of meetings, all materials related to meeting action items, unless waived by unanimous consent of the Boston Region MPO. The Boston Region MPO will also meet quarterly at locations outside of the City of Boston.


     Establishment of Committees and Task Forces

     The Boston Region MPO shall appoint committees it determines necessary and task forces to accomplish its business and assign duties to them.


Considerations from the 2019 Certification Review

     The BRMPO should develop an operations plan, as called for in its MOU. … Additionally, [the BRMPO should] define officer roles for sub-committees.


MPO Peer Examples, including “Technical Advisory Committees”

Innovative MPO Report

     MPOs use planning or technical advisory committees (PAC or TAC) and subcommittees to provide technical analysis, recommendations and specialized knowledge to the board on specific planning strategies, projects, or issues. The TAC is made up of local government technical staff with expertise in specific planning or engineering areas.


2017 USDOT report: MPO Staffing and Organizational Structures

     The vast majority of advisory committee members do not participate directly in governing board meetings. Instead, MPO advisory committees typically transmit recommendations to the MPO governing board through votes at their own separate meetings.

     Nearly all (92%) of MPOs responding to this part of the survey (249 out of 271) maintain a technical advisory committee (TAC), which is usually comprised of professional and technical staff from member local governments and modal agencies. A TAC and its members typically help board members understand complex engineering and planning concepts and provide input on how MPO decisions are likely to impact local constituencies. An effective TAC facilitates the movement of information between local agencies and MPO staff and can provide important direction and insight for MPO staff.


From Analysis of the Governance of Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) in the United States for Potential Application to North Carolina

     Most MPOs with policy boards have the majority of the policy board filled with elected officials. However, 4 MPOs have policy boards where greater than half of the body is composed of non-elected members.


Questions for Discussion

     Partially discussed: Are the existing MPO committees enough to complete the MPO’s work in the region?

     Partially discussed: Should any of the work or discussion currently carried out by board members be shifted into committees or should any work currently carried out in committees shift to board members?

     What expectations might there be for committee members in terms of ongoing education around best practices of MPOs and committee members? What training opportunities would benefit committee members?

     Should there be requirements/guidance around committee meeting attendance, preparation (reviewing materials), and participation?

     New: Should there be requirements or restrictions on board members’ participation on committees (requirement to serve, eligible members, eligible officers, alternative representation)?


Draft Operations Plan Elements: Standing and Ad Hoc Committees

A)   Existing MPO Committees and processes

1.    Current standing MPO committees are the Administration and Finance Committee, UPWP Committee, Congestion Management Committee

2.    Each committee is charged with the following:

a.    The Administration and Finance (A&F) Committee reviews the operating budget of the Central Transportation Planning Staff (the staff to the MPO).

b.    The Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP) Committee oversees the development of the UPWP and monitors the progress of projects and programs funded through the UPWP.

c.    The Congestion Management Committee facilitates the development and implementation of the MPO’s Congestion Management Process (CMP). and recommends projects and programs that reduce congestion and improve mobility, safety, and efficiency.

3.    Committee meetings are generally on an as needed basis.

4.    Committee meetings are typically held before or after an MPO meeting.

5.    Staff sends/posts agenda and materials one week in advance when possible and at a minimum 48 hours in advance of a meeting as defined by the Open Meeting Law.

6.    Meeting minutes are presented according to Massachusetts Open Meeting Law requirements: within three meetings or thirty days, whichever is later.

7.    Audio and video recordings are posted to the MPO website ASAP after the meeting.

8.    TIP Screening and Readiness Committee

This new committee would be charged with the following:

a.    Reviewing and discussing additional information needed for the TIP Universe of Projects for each annual TIP development cycle before staff select projects for scoring and evaluation in December.

b.    Reviewing information received from MassDOT, the MBTA and the region’s RTAs for project readiness for programming in the TIP before the February TIP readiness day

c.    Invite all project proponents and MassDOT project managers associated with projects to present to the committee regarding project readiness and latest cost estimates in advance of recommendations made to the board.

d.    Reviewing project selection criteria results for projects that have the potential for programming in detail, requesting additional information and communication as needed before presenting results to the full board

e.    Reviewing project scenarios for potential TIP programming before summarizing those scenarios to the board and recommending a preferred alternative to programming in the multi-year elements of the TIP

f.     Reviewing and providing feedback on the TIP development process for the prior cycle to invite process improvements.


B) Committee Membership

1)    Selecting Board Members to Serve on Committees

a)    Within 30 days of the start of a board member’s term, new board members and recurring board members shall join at least one MPO Committee.

b)    Committee members will be selected by whomever volunteers to serve on a committee.

c)    Committee members and officers shall be selected from all Board members and there will be no requirement to have a specific “split” of state, regional or municipal members.

2)    Quorum

a)    A quorum consists of ⅔ of the committee members present at all meetings.


3)    Committee Member Terms

a)    Committee members serve a one-year term.

b)    Committee members shall be either renewed or join a committee following the MPO’s annual election of Board members.

4)    Officers of Committees

a)    Upon the first committee meeting after the annual election of Board members, a chair of the committee shall be elected by the membership of the committee.

b)    Chairs of committees are responsible for:

                                                     i)        Coordinating with staff on agenda setting for each meeting

                                                    ii)        Coordinating with staff to ensure that information needed for informed decision making is available for each meeting

                                                   iii)        Facilitating presentations, discussions, and voting according to Robert’s Rules of Order

5)    Onboarding of Committee Members

a)    Within 90 days of the start of a committee member’s term, new board members and recurring committee members shall be invited to an overview orientation meeting with MPO staff to review the purpose of the committee and the committee’s role. New committee members must work with staff to find a date within the 90 days - the orientation or reorientation is optional for returning committee members.

b)    Prior to the orientation of new committee members, existing committee members shall be contacted by staff to ask for volunteers to meet with and assist in orienting and mentoring new committee members, also within the first 90 days.

c)    At times, committee members may also be invited to additional training modules organized by staff. These modules would focus more deeply on particular and timely topics, such as one of the primary 3c documents (the UPWP, TIP, and LRTP).


C) Committee Member Expectations - refer to Board Member Expectations, section 3, with the additional expectations:

a)    To ensure that a committee is able to reach quorum, committee members are asked to make every effort to attend each committee meeting. If a committee member is not able to attend a meeting, that member shall inform staff and the chair of the committee.

b)    If a Board member or their designee cannot attend a committee meeting, that meeting may be attended by the assigned alternate designee