Introduction

The Rockford Metropolitan Agency for Planning (RMAP) is the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for the Rockford region. What does RMAP do, and what is an MPO? We’ll tell you.

By Federal law, all large urbanized areas (over 50,000 persons) are required to have an organization that plans and coordinates the decisions regarding the area’s transportation systems. All the transportation stakeholders in the area must be participants of this organization and they must agree to cooperate.

The dynamic nature of transportation problems and situations necessitates that these entities conduct their work on a continuing basis; constantly monitoring the changing situations and updating their plans and improvement programs. Collectively, such efforts are simply referred to as ‘the transportation planning process’ and the entities that perform this work are officially called Metropolitan Planning Organizations.

Transitions

Over 40 years ago, when many of these entities were first formed and did their initial comprehensive transportation plans, they referred to the overall effort as a ‘transportation study’. Subsequently, the title ‘Rockford Area Transportation Study’ or ‘RATS’ was retained and extended to refer to the ongoing planning process of the Rockford MPO itself, not just the initial effort.

Between 2006 and 2008, the structure of RATS was reexamined and reorganized into the Rockford Metropolitan Agency for Planning, or RMAP. Please note that in some of our older documents, the legacy term ‘RATS’ may still be used for historical accuracy. The two descriptors, ‘RATS’ and ‘RMAP’ should be thought of as interchangeable.

RMAP is now more than just a simple ‘study’. It is the official MPO comprised of all the major local transportation stakeholders. RMAP continually plans and coordinates decisions regarding the Rockford region’s major transportation systems.

Structure of RMAP

RMAP is empowered and governed by a Cooperative Agreement that was developed and mutually adopted by the Cities of Rockford, Loves Park, and Belvidere; the Counties of Winnebago and Boone; the Village of Machesney Park; and the State of Illinois acting through the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT). The activities of RMAP are directed by a Policy Committee that consists of the top elected officials from the above entities plus the Deputy Director from IDOT Region 2.

The RMAP Policy Committee receives advice and assistance from a 22-member Technical Committee comprised of planners and/or engineers from the above entities plus the Villages of Cherry Valley, Roscoe, Poplar Grove and Winnebago; along with representatives from the Rockford Mass Transit District, the Chicago / Rockford International Airport and various other local partners.

Much of the technical work accomplished by RMAP is done by a professional staff under the direction of the RMAP Executive Director. Some of the technical work RMAP needs to perform is occasionally out-sourced to professional consulting firms.

The RMAP planning process and planning activities are funded by annual planning grants from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) with 20% matching funds from the local RMAP participants.

Rockford Metropolitan Agency For Planning