Greenville-Pickens Area Transportation Study (GPATS)
The Greenville-Pickens Area Transportation Study (GPATS) is the Metropolitan Planning Organization, or MPO, for the Greenville Urbanized Area. MPOs were created in the 1960s and required for any Census-defined Urbanized Area with a population of 50,000 or more. MPOs were created to ensure that transportation planning is carried out on the regional scale, in order to allocate federal and other transportation funding most efficiently.
There are 11 MPOs in the state of South Carolina, and GPATS is one of the largest in terms of funding and population. GPATS covers a significant portion of Greenville County and Pickens County, and smaller portions of Anderson, Laurens, and Spartanburg counties. It contains the municipalities of Central, Clemson, Easley, Fountain Inn, Greenville, Greer, Liberty, Mauldin, Norris, Pelzer, Pendleton, Pickens, Simpsonville, Travelers Rest, West Pelzer, and Williamston. It covers an area of 777 square miles and is home to more than 500,000 residents. GPATS is a separate entity from the South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT), which maintains and manages a large percentage of the roads within the state. Additionally, many of the municipalities and counties within GPATS manage their own transportation projects within their boundaries.
The primary role of GPATS is to be the designated recipient of all state and federal funds for transportation projects. The GPATS Policy Coordinating Committee approves the scheduling of projects, the allocation of funds, and helps to guide the development of the region’s transportation infrastructure. This includes, but is not exclusive to, roads and highways, mass transit, bicycle and pedestrian facilities, and freight.