Date of Award


Degree Type



Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs

First Advisor

Mikelbank, Brian

Subject Headings

Land use -- Ohio -- Cleveland -- Planning, City planning -- Ohio -- Cleveland, Cities and towns -- Ohio -- Cleveland -- Growth -- Management, Urban transportation -- Ohio -- Cleveland, complete streets multi-modal planning bike pedestrian active transportation metropolitan planning organizations MORPC NOACA regional transportation planning project review process


Since the rise of the automobile, urban planners, and traffic engineers were confronted with the question of balancing the different needs of all users of the street. Over the last decades that balance tended to favor car-oriented street designs. Health and air quality concerns, as well as an aging population have started to challenge the old ways of transportation planning. The heavy reliance on the private vehicle in the U.S. is facilitated by local land use decisions and investments in the public street and highway network were made. As most road projects are funded by federal dollars, metropolitan planning organizations are in a crucial position to increase active transportation options as they manage federal funds and facilitate regional decision making. This thesis will provide a comparative analysis of the approach employed bz two Ohio MPOs of comparable size and transportation budget - the Northeast Ohio Area-wide Coordinating Agency (NOACA Cleveland) and Mid-Ohio Regional-Planning-Commission (MORPC Columbus). The thesis will focus on the differences between MORPC's Complete Streets planning approach and NOACA's bicycle and pedestrian planning approach. The thesis analyzes policies and plans through a document review and uses interviews to identify organizational practices and cultures. The cases are described within the four factor categories that impact the implementation of transportation projects: (1) MPO intention and commitment, (2) MPO culture, structures and practices, (3) funding availability, and (4) state and local operating context. One conclusion of this thesis is that while the focus on bike and pedestrian planning tends to create transportation projects that are only focused on one single mode, the focus on users of Complete Streets helps to integrate the needs of different users of the street into every single project. The thesis concludes by outlining different strategies and tools that can be pursued by MPOs to increase the number of Complete Streets and projects that enhanc