For many years AMPO has hosted and managed the Air Quality Work Group, with funding and technical support provided by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). Participants include AMPO member and non-member MPOs from across the country. It offers a mechanism for MPO engagement, communications, outreach and capacity building in addressing air quality and climate change issues, policies, emphasis areas, guidance and regulations, and state-of-the-practice analytic tools and techniques.
With enactment of the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 followed by the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA), MPOs have had significant technical responsibilities for assessing air quality considerations in transportation planning, including demonstrating conformity of transportation plans, programs and projects with air quality emission reduction goals. Since that time the tools, analytic techniques and planning requirements for addressing air quality and climate change issues as part of the transportation planning and investment decision making process have become increasingly sophisticated and complex. With the enactment in 2012 of Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21), the transportation planning process was transformed with requirements for performance-based planning and programming. The Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act enacted in 2015 reinforced the focus on transportation performance management. Today, performance of the transportation system with respect to environmental implications, including air quality and climate change is a key component of the performance-based planning and investment decision making process.
The objectives of the working group include:
- Providing a forum for metropolitan transportation planning practitioners to identify policy and technical research, training and technical support needs;
- Continued building of MPO technical capacity through peer-to-peer sharing, documentation and dissemination of innovative tools and planning practices;
- Continued collaboration with FHWA to address issues, strategies, policies and tools leading to better health, environmental, social and economic outcomes in the context of transportation and air quality and climate change;
- Continued advances in the state-of-the-practice through an ongoing forum and community of practice to share information and ideas on innovative tools, processes and investment decision making strategies that yield positive environmental, air quality and climate change outcomes.