Frequenty Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: So the Memphis MPO builds our roads, right?

A: Not exactly.  The Memphis MPO only coordinates the planning and programming of federal funding for road projects.  Once the funding is programmed by the MPO, the road project is the responsibility of the sponsoring jurisdiction (city, county, or state) through its contract with the DOT. After funds are programmed, projects must go through several stages before they can advance to construction — such as the evaluation of potential social, economic, and environmental effects; preparation of engineering studies; functional design; the development of construction specifications; right-of-way acquisition, etc.

Q: So the Memphis MPO runs the buses, right?

A: Actually, the Memphis Area Transit Authority (MATA) is the major provider of public transit in the Greater Memphis Area. However, the Memphis MPO supports public transit in a variety of ways. The MPO works closely with MATA to determine current and future public transportation needs by conducting plans and studies, such as the Coordinated Public Transit-Human Services Transportation Plan and Bus Stop Design and Accessibility Guidelines. The MPO's Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) also incorporates future transit service considerations in the Greater Memphis Area.

For more information on existing MATA services, please visit www.matatransit.com.

Q: I live in Tipton County and I know we are considered part of the Memphis metropolitan area. Why are we not included in the Memphis MPO?

A: The Memphis Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), as defined by the U. S. Office of Management and Budget, consists of nine counties and the municipalities within: Shelby, Fayette, and Tipton counties in Tennessee; Crittenden County in Arkansas; and Benton, DeSoto, Marshall, Tate, and Tunica counties in Mississippi.  However, the Memphis MPO is responsible for transportation planning only in “urbanized areas” of the MSA or areas of the MSA that are expected to become urbanized within the next 20 years. Urbanized areas are geographic regions designated by the U. S. Census Bureau that consist of a core area and adjacent, densely settled, territory that together contain at least 50,000 people— generally with an overall population density of at least 1,000 persons per square mile.  That is why only Shelby County, TN Desoto County, MS and portion of Fayette County, TN and Marshall County, MS are included in the Memphis MPO’s area of jurisdiction.

Q: West Memphis, Arkansas, is part of the Memphis metropolitan area, too, but it is not included in the Memphis MPO’s area of jurisdiction.  Why not?

A: West Memphis is served by its own MPO in cooperation with the Arkansas Department of Transportation (ArDOT) and FHWA and FTA offices in Little Rock. However, the Memphis and West Memphis MPOs work closely together on local transportation issues and the West Memphis MPO Coordinator is an ex-offcio member of the Memphis MPO’s Engineering and Technical Committee and the Transportation Policy Board.

Q: I live west of Millington and I’m worried that Interstate 69 will take part of my property.  May I share my concerns with the Memphis MPO?

A: While the Memphis MPO staff will be glad to accept your comments, the Tennessee Department of Transportation is the agency responsible for right-of-way acquisition for all federal highway projects in Tennessee. You may call them at 1-87-SmartWay (1-877-627-8929) to record your comments. (The Mississippi Department of Transportation is responsible for right-of-way acquisition for I-69 in the Mississippi portion. MDOT may be contacted at 601-359-7001.)

Q: I live on a narrow, two-lane road in a rural part of Shelby County. People are always speeding by. Can the Memphis MPO help me get the speed limit on my road reduced?

A: The Memphis MPO certainly is concerned with the safety of local roads. However, the first agency to contact for problem speeders in unincorporated areas of Shelby County is the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office. The Office of the Shelby County Engineer can help determine if the speed limit on your road needs adjustment.



AQ Air Quality
ATAC Active Transportation Advisory Committee
BIL Bipartisan Infrastructure Law
CMAQ Congestion Mitigation & Air Quality
CPT-HSTP Coordinated Public Transit-Human Services Transportation Plan
DPD Memphis and Shelby County Division of Planning and Development
DRS Memphis and Shelby County Department of Regional Services
EPA U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
ETC Engineering and Technical Committee
FAC Freight Advisory Committee
FAST Act Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act
FHWA Federal Highway Administration
FTA Federal Transit Administration
FY Fiscal Year
GIS Geographic Information Systems
IAC Interagency Consultation Committee
IIJA Infrastructure Investment and Job Act 
ITS Intelligent Transportation Systems
MAP-21 Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century
MATA Memphis Area Transit Authority
MDOT Mississippi Department of Transportation
MSCAA Memphis and Shelby County Airport Authority
MSCHD Memphis and Shelby County Health Department
MSCPA Memphis and Shelby County Port Authority
MPO Metropolitan Planning Organization
PL Planning Funds
PLAC Planning and Land Use Advisory Committee
PPP Public Participation Plan
RPO Rural Planning Organization
RTP Regional Transportation Plan
SAFETEA-LU Safe Accountable Flexible Efficient Transportation Equity Act: a Legacy for Users
SIP State Implementation Plan (for air quality)
SPR State Planning and Research funds
STIP Statewide Transportation Improvement Program
TAZ Traffic Analysis Zone
TDOT Tennessee Department of Transportation
TIP Transportation Improvement Program
Title VI Title VI of the U.S. Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended
TPB Memphis MPO Transportation Policy Board
TPR Transportation Planning Reports
TRIMS Tennessee Roadway Information Management System
UPACS User Profile & Access Control System
UPWP Unified Planning Work Program
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