DSATS Functions

In the U.S., urbanized areas with populations over 50,000, are required to create a Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO). The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) defines Metropolitan Transportation Planning as the process of examining travel and transportation issues and needs in metropolitan areas. It includes a demographic analysis of the community in question, as well as an examination of travel patterns and trends. The planning process includes an analysis of alternatives to meet projected future demands, and for providing a safe and efficient transportation system that meets mobility while not creating adverse impacts to the environment. In metropolitan areas over 50,000 population, the responsibility for transportation planning lies with designated Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPO).

Urbanized Area

The Census Bureau designates a new list of Urbanized Areas (UZAs) every 10 years, following the conclusion of each decennial census. The designation of UZAs by the U.S. Census Bureau has significant implications for the metropolitan planning process. Most significantly, current Federal law requires that every UZA be represented by a metropolitan planning organization (MPO) which carries out the metropolitan transportation planning process for the UZA and surrounding areas.  In 2000 the US Census designated the DeKalb metropolitan region as a UZA.  This region includes the:

Planning Area

The US Census defines the Urbanized Areas across the United States.  These boundaries are generally based on population densities in a region.  The metropolitan area of influence, however, usually exceeds further out into the region where population densities are less than what is defined by the US Census.  The FHWA allows MPO's to define  their own Planning Area, which is a larger regional area whose transportation systems are influenced by the metropolitan region.  DSATS has defined our regional planning areas on the following boundaries:
  • Eastern Boundary: East County Line Road. This is the boundary between DeKalb and Kane Counties.  Kane County is part of the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) MPO.  The Village of Malta is split by this boundary and is therefore part of both DSATS and CMAP.
  • Northern Boundary: Base Line Road is a major east-west roadway which extends the length of DeKalb County.  This provides a logical termini for the north extent of the DSATS Planning Region.  If the City of Sycamore and the City of Genoa continue to grow towards each other, the northern boundary may be extended to include Genoa in the future.
  • Western Boundary: Glidden Road to Rich Road to Nelson Road.  The western boundary is less well defined.  Glidden Road and Nelson Road are major roadways which provide a logical termini to the Western Boundary.  Malta to the west is the home to Kishwaukee College, which is a major educational facility that serves many residents in the DSATS region.  In the future, as growth continues, DSATS may consider extending the planning area to include Malta.
  • Southern Boundary: Keslinger Road is a major East-West Road the extends through almost all of DeKalb County.  To the east in Kane County, Keslinger becomes a major roadway and serves both the Elburn and LaFox Metra Train Stations.  This road is seen is a logical termini for the southern boundary of the DSATS planning area.


DSATS holds monthly meetings of the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) and the Policy Committee (Policy). Please contact the DSATS Office at 815-748-2367 to check if a meeting you wish to attend is scheduled as posted. Meetings are occasionally canceled when there are no agenda items to consider.

Current Functions

In urbanized areas with populations over 50,000, a Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) must coordinate all transportation projects and programs in the urbanized area which receive federal funds. DSATS is the MPO which coordinates the funding for the DeKalb-Sycamore-Cortland urbanized area. DSATS Policies and goals are developed by staff and the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) and officially enacted by the Policy Committee. Functions of DSATS include:

Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP)

The Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP) looks at the transportation projects and goals for the next 20 to 25 years. This plan looks at all forms of transportation including highway, public transit, carpooling, biking, and pedestrian transportation. DSATS staff is currently working on the Update of the 2030 LRTP which is due in June 2010.

Transportation Improvement Program (TIP)

The Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) is a list and report prioritizing the transportation projects the MPO has approved to receive federal funding for next 4 fiscal years. The TIP is made up of the Highway TIP which includes all the roadway projects scheduled over the next 4 year, and the Transit TIP which lists all transit projects scheduled.

Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP)

The Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP) is the report which lists the projects and goals the MPO wishes to achieve in the next fiscal year. Each MPO is required to develop a UPWP before they are allowed to receive funding for the next fiscal year.

DSATS Annual Report

The DSATS Annual Report provides an overview of the DSATS annual list of accomplishments. This includes the Federal List of Annually Obligated Project which is required in the SAFETEA-LU Transportation program.

Other Transportation Plans

  • Alternative Transportation Plan (i.e. Bike, Pedestrian, etc.): Plan identifying resources and goals for alternative transportation in the region (Bike, Pedestrian, Carpooling, etc.)
  • Public Involvement Plan: Plan identifying how the MPO will conduct public outreach and involvement in the transportation planning process
  • Human Services Transportation Plan: Plan identifying Transit and Human Services resources in the region and how these services shall improve coordination.
  • Intelligent Transportation Systems Plan: Plan identifying how the region intends to use ITS systems to better coordinate the area transportation system

Transit Plans

DSATS staff works with the local transit providers to administer various transit grants and provide transit planning services. The DSATS Transit Plan details the transit system operating in the DeKalb area, and identifies possible improvements to the system.

Other Studies & Activities

When possible, DSATS performs various transit and transportation studies, performing area traffic and truck counts, administers various grants, compile demographic and transportation data, provide information, and work with regional, state, and federal officials when needed.

Other studies identify the other types of studies and grants DSATS is implementing currently or in the past.