The Metropolitan Planning Area (MPA) is the boundary in which the transportation planning process must be carried out. The MPA is made up of the census-defined Urbanized Area (UZA), plus the contiguous area expected to become urbanized within the next 20 to 25 years. A census-defined UZA consists of a central core (for the Jackson MPO the central core is the City of Jackson) and the adjacent densely settled area that combined has a population of 50,000 or more citizens.
The Jackson MPA also includes one urban cluster or small urban area. A small urban area is also designated by the census based on population; however, the population thresholds are different. To be designated as “small urban” the population of the area must be at least 2,500 residents but no more than 49,999 and must not be contiguous to a larger UZA. The MPA for the Jackson MPO consists of portions of Hinds, Madison and Rankin Counties and all of the municipal governments within that area. Each county and municipal government within the MPA boundary has representation on the Metropolitan Planning Policy Committee (the governing authority for the Jackson MPO) and is eligible to apply for federal transportation funds available through the Jackson MPO.
For a more detailed and comprehensive explanation about how the Metropolitan Planning Area or Census-defined Urbanized Area boundaries are determined please visit the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) website by clicking here.