Strategic Plan for Transition and Expansion
Indianapolis Metropolitan Planning Organization
The Indianapolis Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) plans and programs federal transportation funds for highways, transit, non-motorized transportation, and other means of moving people and goods in the Central Indiana region, which spans eight counties.
Fourth Economy Consulting, in partnership with subcontractors Greenstreet, Ltd and Nelson\\Nygaard, was retained by the Indianapolis MPO to guide a strategic planning process designed to explore two key questions: first, what types of planning and programs does the Indianapolis region need to enhance/ maintain economic competitiveness, and second, what role should the Indianapolis MPO play in the future of the region?
Our team led a planning process that included five key elements:
Regional economic development infrastructure analysis - This analysis informed our understanding of strengths, gaps, and opportunities related to the existing capacity of organizations to address economic development issues.
Benchmarking and leadership team site visits - We identified ‘best in class’ MPO peer organizations in regions demonstrating exceptional economic growth and managed a peer-to-peer learning exchange.
Regional scenario planning - We conducted interviews and analysis that identified topic areas that could create barriers to economic growth. These included workforce housing, land use, water quality and access, transportation, and economic development. We ran a two-session scenario planning process that included teams of regional leaders discussing how they would deal with issues and opportunities. The outcome was to define a series of missing regional leadership tools and roles in these critical areas.
Organizational analysis - As a result of the scenario planning and organizational benchmarking, we developed a set of recommendations around what role the Indianapolis MPO should play in the future. This also included a recommendation that the organization ‘spin out’ of their existing host organization to allow for increased flexibility and autonomy.
Roll-out strategy development - As a final step in the strategic planning process, our team facilitated conversations with the MPO Board and committees and developed materials for the MPO team to share with others involved in the decision-making process.
The engagement process and resulting work product allowed the Indianapolis MPO to build a group of stakeholder advocates that recognized regional needs and supported the organization as a logical lead. The strategic plan recommendations, including the new organizational structure we suggested, received unanimous final approval in August 2018 implementation began.