The Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP) is the instrument by which the Urban Area describes to the federal and state grant agencies how it plans to carry out the federally mandated “continuing, cooperative and comprehensive” (3-C) planning process. By law, Congress has determined that “It is in the national interest to encourage and promote the development of transportation systems embracing various modes of transportation in a manner which will efficiently maximize mobility of people and goods within and through urbanized areas and minimize transportation-related fuel consumption and air pollution. To accomplish this objective, metropolitan planning organizations, in cooperation with the State, shall develop transportation plans and programs for urbanized areas of the State. Such plans and programs shall provide for the development of transportation facilities (including pedestrian walkways and bicycle transportation facilities), which will function as an intermodal transportation system for the State, the metropolitan areas, and the Nation. The process for developing such plans and programs shall provide for consideration of all modes of transportation and shall be continuing, cooperative, and comprehensive to the degree appropriate, based on the complexity of the transportation problems.” (§134, Title 23, US Code)

Each year the planning staff of the Gaston-Cleveland-Lincoln Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) reviews the planning goals and objectives and identifies new projects for the coming year. This is done in coordination with the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) Transportation Planning Branch. Some of these tasks are ongoing, such as a traffic count program or the collection of socioeconomic data. Others have a more defined scope such as the Transportation Planning process, a transit ridership survey, or a corridor study. After considering the amount of work necessary to complete the task, an estimate of funding is developed for each task code.