Before OahuMPO, there was the Oahu Transportation Planning Program (OTPP). This entity was responsible for carrying out the federally mandated 3-C (continuing, cooperative, and comprehensive) planning process for Oahu. During the mid-1970′s, the OTPP was unable to satisfy federal requirements for a 3-C planning process, which led to the dissolution of the OTPP and the establishment of the OahuMPO on December 3, 1975.

When the OahuMPO Policy Committee was first established, it included all nine members of the Honolulu City Council and ten members of the Hawaii Legislature. During subsequent years, the Policy Committee’s composition changed and now consists of its current 14 members.

A metropolitan planning organization (MPO) is required to be designated for each urbanized area with a population of more than 50,000 individuals. An urbanized area with a population of over 200,000 individuals is designated a transportation management area (TMA) and given additional responsibilities and authority. On Oahu, there are currently only two urbanized areas. They are the Honolulu urbanized area, which is also a TMA, and the Kailua-Kaneohe urbanized area. The OahuMPO serves as the MPO for both the Honolulu urbanized area and the Kailua-Kaneohe urbanized area, which achieved the 50,000 population threshold during the 1980 census. In 1992, by agreement between the OahuMPO Policy Committee and the Governor, the OahuMPO planning boundary was expanded to include the entire island of Oahu. In 2016, the Maui MPO was formed to facilitate comprehensive planning for federally funded or regionally significant transportation systems on the island of Maui.

During the mid-1970′s, the 3-C planning process was required to produce a long-range transportation plan, a short-range development plan which was a derivative from the long-range plan, and a Unified Work Program. Today, we call the long-range plan the Regional Transportation Plan; the Unified Work Program is called the Overall Work Program; and the short-range development plan has morphed into the Transportation Improvement Program. During this 30-plus-year period, additional federal requirements have been imposed upon the 3-C planning process. The OahuMPO is also required to now produce a Congestion Management Process (CMP) program, a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program, an Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) regional architecture, a Title VI and Environmental Justice (EJ) program, a transportation alternatives program (TAP), and a public participation plan.