Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Connecting Communities: Improving Transportation Connections in Small and Mid-sized Cities

According to the Center for Transit Oriented Development, nine percent of U.S. households do not own a car, and among households earning less than $35,000 a year, this figure rises to 18 percent. Clearly, it is essential for neighborhoods with low- and moderate-income households to have easy access to a wide breadth of transportation choices. And connected communities that offer residents housing that provides transportation options such as walking, biking, and public transportation, can also connect community members to better job opportunities, facilitate upward mobility, and can benefit residents by promoting health and safety.

Small and mid-sized cities often find themselves with a number of challenges in creating accessible transportation options that their larger counterparts don’t face. For example, small to mid-sized cities often have fewer transit options, limited to regional bus systems and on-demand shuttles, and their financial resources are often spread thin. Recognizing the need for guidance and strategies tailored specifically to smaller cities, the Center for Transit Oriented Development created a guidebook for these cities on behalf of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The guidebook offers case studies from mid-size and small cities across the country, including cities ranging from small cities like Gonzales, California, to larger regional hubs like Portland, Maine.
One of the key takeaways is that communities must work with system leaders and policy makers at the local and regional level to influence policy in a way that opens up opportunities for new transit options in neighborhoods that are often underserved and overlooked. The guidebook points to a numbe rof strategies for connecting communities, many of which fall under the category or goal of convening decision makers. The following strategies are some ways that the guide identifies to bring transportation connections to your communities:
  • Align city departments around the shared goal of linking transportation and housing policy, planning, and investment decisions
  • Make housing and transportation integration “business as usual
  • Convene community, local, state, regional, and federal partners

For more guidance and tools related to influencing policy decisions around public transportation and other changes relevant to your community’s agenda, visit the Policy Influence section under "Tools and Templates" on our Building Neighborhood Capacity Program’s Resource Center.

No comments:

Post a Comment