The Saginaw Metropolitan Area Transportation Study (SMATS) is a multi-jurisdictional agency responsible for transportation and transit planning in Saginaw County. The agency is mandated by Federal law to provide a continuing, cooperative and comprehensive transportation planning process, which guides the expenditure of state and federal transportation funds in Saginaw County. SMATS annually establishes project priorities for consideration by the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) when programming transportation funds. In addition, SMATS continually monitors the current condition of the county's transportation system, including roads, bicycle and pedestrian paths, bridges, and public transit.
SMATS has five core functions that it provides to Saginaw County
- Community Assistance- Communities can look to WATS for assistance with a number of services including data collection, map development, plan reviews, grant support, and funding application assistance. WATS also works with stakeholders in locally initiated planning efforts.
- Funds Management - Annually, WATS prioritizes millions of federal transportation dollars to spend on eligible projects that improve access and mobility of all people in Washtenaw County. WATS assists communities to compete for federal and state grant programs.
- Planning Process - WATS and its Technical and Policy Committees, representing communities in Washtenaw County, implement federal and state transportation policies. The committees are charged with evaluating and enacting local transportation policies, and prioritizing projects that impact Washtenaw County.
- Public Forum - Implementing an effective and equitable vision for Washtenaw County's transportation system depends on a well-informed, ongoing discussion with the public. WATS facilities this continuous dialogue to inform decision-makers on county transportation issues.
- Vision for the Future - WATS works with the public and committee members to develop a shared vision for the transportation network and options for its various users. WATS projects traffic volumes and travel patterns using collected data sets.
WATS partners with many different organizations to achieve its goals. As issues develop new stakeholder groups are engaged with. Some of these agencies include:
- City of Saginaw
- Saginaw County Road Commission
- Saginaw Transit Area Regional Services
- Michigan Transportation Planning Association - MTPA
- Michigan Association of Planning - MAP