The Tuscaloosa Area transportation planning process is conducted by the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO). The MPO is composed of four committees. The Policy Committee is the official decision making body of the process. The Policy Committee is served by three advisory committees: the Technical Coordinating Committee (TCC), the Citizens Transportation Advisory Committee (CTAC), and the Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee (BPC). The Policy Committee has the ultimate authority on transportation planning matters, but the work and recommendations from the advisory committees shape all of the outputs of the transportation planning process. The activities of the committees are governed by the MPO Bylaws. 

Metropolitan Planning Organization (Policy Committee)
The MPO Policy Committee serves as the official decision making body for the Tuscaloosa Area transportation planning process. In this capacity the Committee determines how federal transportation funds are spent in the study area. The responsibilities of the Policy Committee include providing overall guidance to the planning process, review and approval of all process plans and programs, and appointing TCC and CTAC members. The MPO usually meets on the last Monday of even-numbered months.

The MPO Policy Committee is composed of eleven members, five voting and six non-voting. The five voting members are the Mayor of Tuscaloosa, the Mayor of Northport, the Tuscaloosa County Commission Chairman, the 5th Division Engineer from the Alabama Department of Transportation, and the Executive Director of the West Alabama Regional Commission. The six non-voting members are a representative from the Federal Highway Administration, a representative from the Bureau of Transportation Planning at the Alabama Department of Transportation, the Chairman of the Technical Coordinating Committee, the Chairman of the Citizens Transportation Advisory Committee, the Chairman of the Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee, and the Chairman of the West Alabama Rural Planning Organization.

Technical Coordinating Committee
The Technical Coordinating Committee (TCC) provides technical support to the MPO in producing the necessary plans and programs. The TCC reviews MPO documents, studies, reports, plans, and programs and provides the MPO with recommendations concerning these items. The TCC members review the planning process products from a technical perspective making certain that all appropriate concerns are addressed, including local planning issues, engineering details, environmental questions, and future growth, among many others. The TCC also has the ability to make alternative recommendations for any of the products.

The TCC coordinates the work of the various departments and agencies involved in the transportation planning process. All of the local governments, the State DOT, and selected other transportation interests are represented on the TCC. The TCC members share information and data that builds and improves the planning processes and products. The TCC members also work together to ensure that all of the transportation projects mesh. The TCC usually meets on the third Thursday of even-numbered months.

Citizens Transportation Advisory Committee
The Citizens Transportation Advisory Committee (CTAC)is made up of 24 citizens from the Tuscaloosa area. The Mayors of Tuscaloosa and Northport and the County Commission Chairman each appoint 8 members to the committee.

The CTAC was established to provide active public participation in the transportation planning process. Prior to the formation of the CTAC the MPO relied primarily on public meetings for citizen input on transportation planning issues. There are a number of problems with public meetings of this nature. The biggest drawback to the public meeting is the lack of participation.

Another shortcoming of the public meeting is the background knowledge that is required to understand the planning process. While the MPO staff tries to make the process easy to understand, transportation planning is not usually taught in school and is not widely understood. People are not familiar with the topic and therefore are not willing to participate. The CTAC provides the MPO with a standing committee of citizens who have a good knowledge of the planning process and can pass on public concerns related to transportation in a structured fashion.

The CTAC reviews MPO documents, studies, reports, plans, and programs and provides the MPO with recommendations concerning these items. The CTAC also informs the MPO of public concerns related to transportation projects and issues. A CTAC member once suggested that the committee members act as antennas in the community gathering opinions and ideas in their everyday life and passing the information on to the MPO. The CTAC usually meets on the third Tuesday of even-numbered months.

In addition to the CTAC, the MPO adopted a public participation policy in 1993 and a Public Involvement Plan (PIP) in 2007. The PIP describes the steps that the MPO will take to encourage public participation in the transportation planning process. The CTAC is included as one of several methods to garner public involvement.

 Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee

The MPO (Policy Committee) authorized the formation of the Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee (BPC)in 1997. The committee assists the MPO in developing plans, programs, and projects related to bicycle and pedestrian activities. The BPC consists of individuals from many areas of the community who share a common interest in improving bicycling and walking in Tuscaloosa County. Membership on the committee ranges from professional planners to avid bicyclists. The MPO left the organization of this committee unstructured in order to encourage participation. There is no set membership list. Anyone who attends the BPC meetings is considered a member and has voting privileges. The BPC only holds meetings in years when the bicycle and pedestrian plan is updated. During those years, the BPC usually meets on the third Monday of even-numbered months.