TMACOG’s System Performance and Monitoring Committee (SPAM) has been working with area transportation stakeholders to finalize the boundaries of the Toledo and Bowling Green urbanized areas. These maps determine how some roadways are classified and thereby funded. This project is done every 10 years in concert with the U.S. Census.
The initial boundary map made by the U.S. Census is computer-generated based on population. Their delineation looks only at Census tracts and does not consider land-use issues, municipal boundaries, or roadways. The map created by the Census is next smoothed by ODOT in Ohio and by SEMCOG (Southeast Michigan Council of Governments) in Michigan. The SPAM Committee creates the final maps in consultation with road commissioners, planners, and city and county engineers. This finishing work considers land use, road classification, and municipal boundaries. A well-designed map will outline similar land uses such as primarily industrial areas. It’s also preferable if state and federal highways corridors are maintained within the same section rather than broken up across boundaries.
The TMACOG Transportation Council and the Executive Committee have reviewed and approved the maps. They will now go to ODOT, MDOT, and the Federal Highway Administration for final approval. TMACOG Planner and Data Analyst Lisa Householder said, “This urban area determination process is a precursor to the update of the functional classification of the road network. There are only so many dollars that can be spent on urbanized roadway versus rural so we have to be mindful of that when we draw the boundaries.”