What's WATS? 

The Washtenaw Area Transportation Study (WATS) is a multi-jurisdictional agency responsible for transportation planning in Washtenaw 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 Washtenaw County. WATS annually establishes project priorities for consideration by the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) when programming transportation funds. In addition, WATS continually monitors the current condition of the county's transportation system, including roads, bicycle and pedestrian paths, bridges, and public transit.

WATS has five core functions that it provides to Washtenaw County

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
To learn more about WATS' role in transportation funding, and how federal transportation funding works, read our funding brochures.
Need help deciphering planning jargon and acronyms?  Read our acronyms and definitions guide.

Benefits of WATS Membership

WATS is made up of elected officials that work together to shape the future of the transportation in the County. They make decisions that include funding road widening, new roads, transit routes and services, the location of sidewalks or trails, and policies regarding landscaping of roadways or other enhancements to the transportation system. Assistance is also provided to local agencies for obtaining project funding.

WATS Policy Committee members

Partner Agencies

WATS partners with many different organizations to achieve its goals. As issues develop new stakeholder groups are engaged with. Some of these agencies include: