Transportation Planning Process
The Boston Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), a seventeen-member board of federal, state, regional, and local transportation officials and environmentalists, is responsible for transportation planning in eastern Massachusetts. It risked losing federal highway funds after the federal transportation agencies withheld full certification for Boston MPO because of systemic problems in its planning process.
Podziba Policy Mediation conducted an assessment to identify the goals and dynamics existing among Boston MPO members. All were concerned about losing transportation funds and the stresses resulting from the Central Artery/Tunnel Project, also known as The Big Dig, the largest and most expensive civil works project in the United States.
PPM used a single text negotiating method to develop a written agreement that would lead to full certification. Since the federally required six corrective actions and 33 recommended changes addressed working relationships in addition to technical planning issues, the process design also modeled opportunities to cooperate in ways that built on the strengths of MPO members and its mission. Susan mediated all negotiating sessions, prepared agendas and meeting summaries, and revised versions of the MOU until it met approval of all negotiators.
Upon completion of the MOU, the Federal Highway Administration and the Federal Transit Administration certified the Boston MPO for three years.
Upon completion of the MOU, the Federal Highway Administration and the Federal Transit Administration fully certified the Boston MPO. It changed the transportation planning process and secured federal highway funds.