Which MPOs are most efficient?

I have been working on a project to measure the efficiency of Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs). MPOs are one of the levels of government often forgotten. When we think of government we usually think of federal, state and local government. MPOs lay between local and state government. My local MPO for example, the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) for example covers all of the southern Californian counties except for San Diego. Other MPOs, such as the Delaware Valley Region Planning Commission, cross over several states. Nominally MPOs are concerned with setting transportation policy, but in effect they have broad powers over many areas of regional economic development.

Most MPOs have no elected leadership and instead either appoint their own heads or draw from their constituent members. By no means am I a little ‘d’ democrat; I do not see much value in democracy to decide public policy. It is however concerning that these form of government have little oversight over them of any sort. My hope is that my work will provide much needed information on how well (or badly) these MPOs are doing their jobs.

I am attempt to rank MPOs on two basis: transportation services and air quality. Below is a ranking of the top 77 largest metro regions by their adjusted cost efficiency for providing transit services. I used metropolitan level data from 1991 to 2011 to construct these figures. By adjusted I mean that I attempted to take into account for factors that affect their cost efficiency, namely level of federal funding which is negatively associated with cost efficiency. I hope to be able to better calculate these figures in the future taking into account spatial factors that affect efficiency, but I have to start somewhere right?

1. Raleigh
2. Virginia Beach
3. Honolulu
4. El Paso
5. Orlando
6. Wichita
7. Memphis
8. Baton Rogue
9. Cincinnati
10. Indianapolis


70. Bridgeport
71. Akron
72. Seattle
73. Albuquerque
74. Knoxville
75. Worcester
75. Dallas
76. San Jose
77. McAllen

The full ranking can be found here: Efficiency Residual.