MPO Mini-Workshops


The Des Moines Area Metropolitan Planning Organization offers 30-minute mini-workshops in the areas of transportation, land-use, and sustainable development to improve regional understanding of the impact and process of design for the built environment. The mini-workshops are an implementation of The Tomorrow Plan, a sustainable development plan for the Greater Des Moines region through 2050.

To request a workshop, please complete the form below.


MPO Mini-Workshops are available on the following topics. Click here for a printable PDF version of the MPO Mini-Workshop Menu.

Des Moines Metropolitan Planning Organization: Who are we and what do we do

Learn more about the Des Moines Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), which acts as a regional forum to ensure coordination between the public and local, state, and federal agencies in regards to transportation plans and programs. The MPO develops both long- and short-range multimodal transportation plans, selects and approves projects for federal funding based upon regional priorities, and develops methods to reduce traffic congestion. Learn more about the governance structure of the MPO and the process selecting projects for federal funding.

Economic Impact of Street Design

Thoughtful street design has been found to support increased employment, net new businesses, higher property values, new private investment and decreased accidents.  Learn what strategies of land use and transportation can create prosperous, safer, healthier communities.

Return on Investment: Connection between building design and tax production

Discover analytic tools recently created by the MPO to help your community make better decisions through data and design. The MPO will illustrate how to visualize property value to clearly display market trends and development opportunities.

We passed a Complete Streets Policy; now what?  Moving to implementation

Implementation of the policy is where the work truly begins. MPO staff will discuss how to assess current procedures, documents, codes and ordinances used in transportation decision-making to ensure full implementation of the complete streets policy.

Capacity of the Transportation Network

The Des Moines region is expected to grow to be 750,000 people by the year 2050.  MPO staff will discuss what changes will be necessary so our transportation network can support this increase in population.

How we get around is changing: Transportation networks impact your city’s livability

From changing demographics to aging infrastructure to falling revenue, there are different demands and needs of the transportation network that affect city attractiveness and livability. Learn how your city compares with regional trends in demographic changes, pavement and bridge conditions, and funding for maintenance and construction. What members of your community want and what your community may provide is changing.

Beyond sidewalks: How to develop a walkable community

There is a surge in demand from many sectors to develop more walkable communities – from advocates of public health and affordable housing, to developers and fiscal conservatives – but few understand what it means to implement a pedestrian friendly community, business district, roadway or neighborhood design.  Learn about the increased demand for walkable cities and what communities can do through planning, design, city code, construction and maintenance to promote walkability.

Code updates: Best practices

Learn how to take the vision of a comprehensive plan and develop an integrated approach to codes and regulations that foster predicable built results and high-quality public realm.

A Road Construction Project: From design to completion

Constructing a road or rehabbing an existing roadway can take years and often requires many changes from the original design. Learn about this multi-step process including design, funding, change-orders, bidding and construction.

30 minutes workshops on the specifics of any following:

Benefits and challenges of the following street elements (each one of the following will be a 30 minute workshop, choose one or more)

  • Roundabouts
  • On-street bike facility types and appropriate application of each type
  • Street Trees
  • Design elements that increase use of transit
  • Parking Minimums vs. Parking Maximums
  • Lane width and speed

High Performance, Cost Effective Roads: Strategies for a congested roadway

Staff will help analyze an area identified by your community with a high traffic volume, define how well it is serving roadway users and identify the most cost effective strategies to achieve improved traffic flow through management strategies and technological advances.

State of the Transportation System

Learn how your community compares with others in the region when it comes to pavement conditions, crash rates, bike and pedestrian amenities and bridge conditions. Learn about future growth scenarios given demographic changes and future growth predictions.

Basics of Street Design: What is a Complete Street?

There is no singular design prescription for Complete Streets; each one is unique and responds to its community context. Learn how to evaluate whether or not a street has been designed to respond to a variety of users including seniors, children and those with disabilities.

Emerging Technologies in Transportation

MPO staff will discuss emerging technologies for smart cities including Uber, driverless vehicles and electric vehicle infrastructure. Learn what your community can do to be nimble in order to support evolving innovations.

Funding of Transportation

MPO staff will provide an overview of regional and local transportation revenues and expenses including a history of the Highway Trust Fund, the percent of roadway funding provided from local verses direct user fees, the rate of subsidy for public streets and transit, and how pedestrians and bicyclist pay their share for transportation infrastructure.

The Tomorrow Plan: Overview

The Tomorrow Plan, a voluntary plan for the sustainable development of the region for the next 40 years, outlines goals and strategies to improve the regional economy, improve the region’s environmental health, further the health and well-being of residents, and increase regional cooperation. Learn about the plan and what has been accomplished since the plan’s adoption in 2013.

Des Moines Regional Water Trails & Greenways Plan

The MPO, on behalf of the Department of Natural Resources, developed a regional plan for a shared vision for the region’s 150 miles of rivers, creeks and greenways. Learn about the variety of recommendations to increase recreation and conservation in the state’s first regional water trails plan.

Watershed Management Authorities: Regional planning for improved water quality and decreased flooding

The MPO supports local efforts to develop watershed management authorities (WMA) and watershed plans to identify projects and policies that local governments can enact to improve water quality and mitigate impacts of flooding. Learn about the recent efforts of area WMAs and the benefits of belonging to one.

Eligible Organizations

The MPPO Mini-Workshops are offered to MPO member governments, city and county boards and committees, civic organizations, and other community partners whose service to the community helps fulfill the vision laid out in The Tomorrow Plan. These groups include:

  • MPO Member Governments and affiliated boards and committees
    • City Councils
    • Planning and Zoning Commissioners
    • Parks and Recreation Boards
  • Community Partners

For more information on the MPO Mini-Workshops, please call MPO Assistant Director Dylan Mullenix at 515-334-0075 or email him at

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