An MPO is designated by agreement between the governor and local governments representing 75 percent of the affected metropolitan population. This agreement outlines the membership of its policy-making body, standing committees, and the geographic area served by the MPO.
The voting membership of the MPO's policy body is outlined in federal regulations. Membership must include representation by local elected officials, officials of agencies that administer or operate major modes or systems of transportation, and appropriate state officials.
At a minimum, the MPO's planning area must cover the urbanized and contiguous geographic areas likely to become urbanized within the next 20 years.
Areas designated as a non-attainment (not meeting the Environmental Protection Agency standard for certain pollutants) under the Clean Air Act, must be included in the MPO boundary, unless there is an agreement between the MPO and Governor.
The MPO boundary should foster effective planning, enhance connections between transportation modes, improve access to the region's transportation systems, and promote effective use of transportation funds.
SAFETEA-LU outlines the metropolitan planning process which the MPO must follow. This process includes the development of a long-range metropolitan transportation plan (MTP), a transportation improvement program (TIP), and an annual unified planning work program (UPWP). All of these products must be developed with the consideration of seven factors specified in SAFETEA-LU. These factors emphasize maximizing the use of existing transportation systems, promoting intermodal passenger and freight transportation, conserving natural resources, coordinating land-use and transportation planning, and promoting economic growth.
The Federal Government requires that areas with populations greater than 50,000 establish an MPO. In 1970, the Bryan/College Station urbanized area exceeded the requirement and transportation plans and programs for the region began to be developed using the metropolitan planning process.
In accordance with federal regulation, the members of the MPO who sign the MPO agreements are: Brazos County, the cities of Bryan and College Station, Texas A&M University, and the Texas Department of Transportation.
The Bryan/College Station MPO has two active bodies: the Policy Committee and the Technical Advisory Committee.
The planning area for the BCSMPO is co-terminus with the boundaries of Brazos County.