In July 1958, a steering committee organized the Boise Transportation Planning Organization (BTPO) to review transportation planning activities in the Boise Metropolitan Area. Elected officials and appointed representatives of city, county and transportation agencies served on the steering committee. They collected data to assess future transportation needs.
In 1964, the group became the Boise Metropolitan Transportation Study (BMTS) and offered the general public a transportation plan for the Boise region.
In the early 1970s, the governor designated BMTS, in cooperation with the newly formed Ada Council of Governments (ACOG), as the MPO for the Boise Urbanized Area. In March 1977, the policy committee of BMTS approved the consolidation of the organization under the Ada Planning Association (APA, previously ACOG). In April 1977, Governor Evans designated APA as the MPO for the Boise Metropolitan Area, and by September 1, 1977, APA entered into contracts and agreements for urban transportation planning in accordance with the Urban Mass Transportation Act of 1964.
In the 1990s, APA considered the feasibility and desirability of extending its planning boundaries to include Canyon County . The organization changed its name to the Community Planning Association of Southwest Idaho (COMPASS) in 1999 to assist with transportation planning in Canyon County , and amended the Joint Powers Agreement to authorize the agency to work with any public agency in Southwest Idaho – not just Ada County – for the purpose of regional planning. In March 2000, COMPASS included dues-paying, voting members from the various Canyon County governmental entities. As a result of the 2000 Census, Canyon County became an urbanized area with Nampa as the central city; COMPASS formally became the MPO for the Nampa Urbanized Area in May 2003.
The Census 2000 also brought a change for the Boise Urbanized Area, which became a Transportation Management Area (TMA) because the population exceeded 200,000. The designation added the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) as a voting member of the Board and required COMPASS to develop a Congestion Management System (CMS). The designation also increased the stature of the MPO regarding on-going collaboration with ITD.
A Brief History of Metropolitan Planning Organizations