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AMATS’ 2012 Annual Report now available

May 16, 2013 in AMATS, News

Annual Report 2012The 2012 Annual Report from AMATS is now available.  The report details the agency’s accomplishments during the year that marked AMATS’ 50th Anniversary as a metropolitan planning organization.

Readers can find out why agency leaders agreed that preservation of the Greater Akron area’s existing transportation system should be a priority over costly expansions.

There are also summaries regarding the development of several items integral to the release of Transportation Outlook 2035, the area’s upcoming long-range regional transportation plan.  There’s also information about the agency’s ongoing efforts to promote regional connectivity and sustainability through its various cycling initiatives.

To view the report, please click the graphic above.

Vibrant NEO 2040 and Scenario Planning

March 7, 2013 in Engagement, News, Scenario Planning

SCENARIOS are stories about the future.  They summarize likely future outcomes based on what we know about the present and what we know about how the world works.  Every weather forecast, for example, presents a scenario for the future, based on what meteorologists know about the current weather and what they know about how weather patterns develop. 

VibrantNEO 2040’s scenarios will tell stories about our possible futures, based on where Northeast Ohio is today and the choices we might make about how we use our land and how we invest our resources.  Once we create these scenarios, we will be able to compare how successful they are at achieving our common goals for the region, judge which choices would be best for Northeast Ohio’s future, and create a shared vision and framework for the future around those choices.

VibrantNEO 2040’s Scenario Planning 

Step 1: Where is Northeast Ohio today?

Every VibrantNEO 2040 scenario will start with measuring where we are now and identifying trends that may affect our future: These include what is happening with our population, how are we using land, what policies are we pursuing and enacting, what are we investing in, and many more factors. 

Step 2: What if we keep doing what we are doing now?

The first scenario VibrantNEO 2040 will develop is called “Business-As-Usual.” It outlines what Northeast Ohio’s future will look like if we keep doing what we are currently doing – what will our communities look like, how successful will our economy be, and how much will it likely cost us, if we keep our current policies and approaches to land use, transportation and development in place?

Step 3: What if we pursue different priorities?

Once we know what will happen if we keep doing what we are currently doing, we can begin to ask how the future might change if we start doing things differently.  What if we decide to protect certain types of land use or choose to make broadening the different types of housing options available to Northeast Ohioans our number one goal? Each of these choices could lead to a different scenario.

To know which scenarios to create, VibrantNEO 2040 is asking people from all across Northeast Ohio to participate in scenario-building exercises that will help make sure we are focused on the things Northeast Ohioans think are most important.  Working with the information gathered through these exercises and the other ways the public can participate, we will develop a small set of ALTERNATIVE scenarios about Northeast Ohio’s future to go along with the Business-As-Usual scenario.

 

Step 4: What scenarios lead to the best outcomes?

To judge the choices we make in the Business-As-Usual scenario and the other scenarios we develop, we will need to identify Scenario Indicators, which allow us to measure and compare trends and likely outcomes in the different scenarios.  These indicators will reflect Northeast Ohio’s priorities, will be easy to understand, will work across all the scenarios being reviewed, and will help show our region’s long-term health.  The indicators that we settle on will serve as a scorecard to rate the different scenarios.  Based on this scorecard we will be able to judge the results of the choices we might make.

Step 5: How should we prioritize our choices for Northeast Ohio?

In addition to knowing the likely results of the choices we make, we also need to know what our choices will cost, and how they might pay off.  For this, VibrantNEO 2040 will develop a detailed Fiscal Impact Analysis, which will allow us to explore the financial trade-offs we might have to make to achieve our goals for the region.  With our scenarios, indicators, and fiscal impact analysis in hand, VibrantNEO 2040 will challenge Northeast Ohioans to have a thoughtful, region-wide conversation about what we really value about our region and what we are willing to invest in those values.

Step 6: What does our preferred vision of Northeast Ohio’s future look like?

Knowing what we as Northeast Ohioans value and how we prefer to prioritize our region’s choices and investments, VibrantNEO 2040 will take what we have learned from its different scenarios – what worked best in each scenario in pursuing Northeast Ohio’s goals and priorities – and build a new scenario for the region that maximizes our outcomes.  This will be the final product of VibrantNEO’s Scenario Planning: Our region’s Preferred Scenario for its future.

WHAT’S NEXT?

VibrantNEO’s Preferred Scenario will represent the best path that Northeast Ohio can take to create the kind of future it wants for this region.  Once the Preferred Scenario is complete, VibrantNEO 2040 will turn to its next step of moving Northeast Ohio down this path: IMPLEMENTATION.


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Transit Space Race 2013

February 6, 2013 in News, Transportation

At Reconnecting America’s Transit Space Race page you’ll find a map of all the under construction and planned fixed guideway transit projects in the United States.  These projects were gathered in 2012 from local sources including but not limited to, long range plans, discussions with local officials, and newspaper coverage.   We understand that these projects are fluid and the estimates of cost as well as the projects themselves are subject to change frequently.  This list should be seen as a snapshot in time and not a definitive source on the subject matter.

Projects listed within the Transit Space Race are fixed guideway projects including heavy rail, commuter rail, LRT, streetcars, various technologies such as cog railways, and Bus Rapid Transit lines that have more than 50% of their right of way dedicated to the bus alone.  Rapid buses without dedicated lanes are an important part of any transit network however the inclusion of them in this project would have made the list hard to create.   Additionally, this catalog is not a list of projects we would like to see built or an endorsement of any project.  It is simply a list of what regions around the country have listed as potential projects.

Check out Reconnecting America’s page to learn more!

Sustainable Communities Across the Country

December 13, 2012 in News, Sustainability

HUD Logo

The Northeast Ohio Sustainable Communities Consortium is only one of a number of Sustainable Communities grantees. Recently, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development published profiles describing some of the work other recipients are doing.

 

  • “Every now and then you’ve got to ask the hard questions.  The one we choose to ask is: How will the Southeast Florida Region evolve over time to ensure that the development of the knowledge-based economy of the 21st   century provides opportunity for the inclusive participation of all of the region’s residents?”  – Dr. Mark B. Rosenberg, President, Florida International University.
  • Flint, MI is using a HUD Community Challenge grant to complete its first master plan since 1960, charting a new course for the community’s future.
  • The Tomorrow Plan, Des Moines, IA’s three-year planning effort funded by a HUD Regional Planning grant, fulfills Central Iowa’s need for a unifying vision that addresses how future growth will affect the region. In the words of project manager Bethany Wilcoxon, the goal of The Tomorrow Plan is to avoid “losing what makes us special.”
  • Equipped with a Regional Planning Grant, the Metropolitan Area Planning Council is implementing their groundbreaking blueprint for regional reinvestment in the cities, towns, and suburbs of Metropolitan Boston.
  • At the northernmost tip of Maine, the Counties of Washington and Aroostook are coming together to chart a course for mutual economic success with an integrated plan that addresses housing, transportation, water infrastructure, environmental planning, as well as economic opportunity and workforce development.
  • “Imagine a riverfront destination that you can easily walk to, bike to, and take public transportation to – and you can easily envision a place that sustains and attracts new residents and businesses.”- Pittsburgh Mayor Ravenstahl.  The Allegheny Riverfront Green Boulevard Planning project, funded by HUD Sustainable Community and DOT TIGER grants, will help convert a six-mile freight line into a green riverfront rail and trail corridor extending from downtown Pittsburgh to the city’s eastern edge.
  • A new hub of innovation is brewing in the Heartland, where Greater Kansas City is knitting together its neighborhoods and localities to implement sustained and coordinated economic growth.
  • HUD’s Sustainable Communities Initiative is assisting several communities within Washington State, including the fast-growing Puget Sound region and the Spokane Tribe of Indians.
  • The James Campbell Corridor in Columbia, TN, has attracted $7.5 million in new investment since Columbia was awarded its Sustainable Communities grant.

Click to visit the original article at HUD.gov. 

What Can I Do Today?

Engaging MPO’s in our Conditions and Trends

November 9, 2012 in Communications, Conditions and Trends, Engagement, MPOS, News


The image above is part of the  Vibrant NEO 2040 presentation that will be presented today at the first in a series of meetings with Northeast Ohio’s Metropolitan Planning Organizations/Council of Governments Board of Directors.  This morning at the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency (NOACA), we will be discussing the overall status of the project, the upcoming scenario planning process, project outcomes/products and engagement.

This conversation will be followed by brief roundtable discussions on four of our work streams:  Economic Development, Environment, Connections and Housing and Communities.   Utilizing the findings from the Conditions and Trends Platform, we hope to engage local leaders in exploring the following:

  • What do these findings mean to you and your community?
  • What do these findings mean to the region?
  • What else do you need to know about your community?
  • What else do you need to know about Northeast Ohio?

Over the course of the next month, we will be holding similar meetings with the other MPO’s and COG’s as well as leadership meetings within each of the 12 counties.  All of this is in preparation for the scenario planning process which we will be launching in 2013.

You can access a copy of the presentation at our NEO 101 page.

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Learn and Create: AMATS Connecting Communities Grants

October 30, 2012 in AMATS, Communications, MPOS, Portage, Summit

AMATS, the Akron Metropolitan Area Transportation Study, is one of the four Metropolitan Planning Organizations involved in Vibrant NEO 2040 that we discussed in our post last week.  One of their many initiatives is the Connecting Communities program which “is designed to provide communities with funding to develop transportation plans that will lead to the identification of projects eligible for AMATS funds.”

The Connecting Communities grant program was a recommendation from  AMATS’s Connecting Communities Planning Initiative (link is to a large pdf file) in 2010.

 

The purpose of Connecting Communities – A Guide to Integrating Land Use and Transportation is to promote a region that balances environmental, social and economic concerns by improving coordination between land use and transportation. Connecting Communities utilizes a regional planning process to explore strategies to increase transportation choices and accessibility, help communities make collaborative, informed decisions to coordinate development, reduce environmental impacts and improve regional connectivity.

The intent of this initiative is to create more vibrant livable communities though coordinating resources, partners and stakeholders to integrate transportation and land use planning and decisions in the greater Akron area. It looks at how transportation funding, project selection and planning can better complement land use planning that encourages investment and revitalization of established neighborhoods and regional collaboration.

AMATS has announced another round for the grant process for those in its planning area (Portage and Summit County) will open on November 1, 2012:

From AMATS website…

The purpose of these plans will focus on the concept of livability. Plans should enhance neighborhoods by improving transportation connections and promoting alternative modes of transportation like walking, biking, and transit. Grant funding will be used to hire a consultant to study a general area of a community. The funds will not be used for preliminary engineering, but instead will be used to develop a plan containing analysis and recommendations. Recommended projects will then be eligible for inclusion in the Regional Transportation Plan.

The program makes $100,000 available with awards being limited to $50,000 per grant. No local funding match is required for this grant.

Grant Schedule

Notice of Funding Availability: November 1, 2012

Application: November 30, 2012

Applications Due: January 15, 2013

Award Announcement: March 2013 Policy Committee Meeting

Questions may be directed to Heather Davis Reidl at 330.375.2436 or hreidl@akronohio.gov.

 

 
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Act: Add your voice to transportation projects!

October 26, 2012 in ACT, Communications, MPOS

A significant component of NEOSCC’s leadership are the four Metropolitan Planning Organizations in Northeast Ohio.

What is a Metropolitan Planning Organization? You can find out in the following presentation - NEOSCC_Overview_101_What is an MPO.  Here is some quick background:

 

NEOSCC and the Vibrant NEO 2040 planning process includes the following MPO’s and their county jurisdictions:

The two other counties Ashtabula and Wayne County that are part of the Vibrant NEO 2040 effort are covered through Councils of Governments.  This is a topic that will be covered soon in the Vibrant Daily.

As part of their planning process, the MPO’s each reach out to the public and stakeholders to participate and contribute their opinions.  This range of participation opportunities includes Civic Involvement Committees, public forums and meetings on different transportation issues and public comment periods on proposed projects and plans. Check out their websites for information on adding your voice to their planning processes.

Here are two opportunities to act on today!  The first is for those that fall into the counties within the NOACA MPO.  The second is an engagement opportunity through ODOT for anyone is the state.

NOACA 

NOACA is currently seeking public feed back on transportation projects in Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake, Lorain, and Medina Counties.

The following proposed transportation improvements are available for public review and comment. Staff will present these projects for information at the October 19, 2012 meeting of the Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC). The TAC will take action on the projects at their November 16, 2012 meeting. The Governing Board will consider adding them to the region’s long-range transportation plan and Transportation Improvement Program on December 14, 2012.

Each project page contains a comment link for local government representatives, and the general public. The public can comment on any of these projects through Thursday, December 13, 2012.

Cuyahoga County:

Geauga County:

Lake County:

Lorain County:

Medina County:

Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT)

ODOT is currently seeking input for the Access Ohio 2040, Ohio’s Long-Range Statewide Transportation Plan. This is an opportunity for you to provide input into the Plan.

ODOT is updating Ohio’s Statewide Transportation Plan, Access Ohio 2040.  This plan is important to Ohio’s future, as it will set the stage for ODOT’s transportation policies and investment strategies for the coming years.  This is an update to the previous plan, Access Ohio 2030, which was released in 2004.   ODOT will be finalizing the plan update in the summer of 2013.  Access Ohio 2040 will help to ensure that we meet our mission, “to provide easy movement of people and goods from place to place.”

The State is using a technology called MindMixer to gather insight and opinions on transportation issues.

Access the interactive platform.

What Can I Do Today?