Meeting Your Transportation Needs No Matter Where You Live: A CONNECT Beyond Advisory Committee Update
Centralina, and its transportation partners across twelve counties, are committed to providing simple and equitable transportation options for rural, suburban, and urban communities across the region. Whether you are running an errand within your own community or traveling from county to county, CONNECT Beyond is building mobility strategies that will work for current and future residents, businesses and visitors. In the latest CONNECT Beyond advisory committee meeting, held on April 28, seasoned community builders and transportation professionals shared their vision for how a holistic and integrated transportation system can improve the lives of everyone in the Centralina region.
As part of an effort to ensure a complete approach to transit for the region, CONNECT Beyond has focused on improving transportation choices and reducing the demands on our existing transportation network. The most recent meeting highlighted Transportation Demand Management (TDM) strategies such as telecommuting, vanpools, employer-based transit incentives and coordinated transit marketing with emerging mobility and technology trends. The marriage of these ideas can help make the case for a regional approach to a TDM that benefits everyone. Best practice sharing is essential in providing the best recommendations for this region, and CONNECT was thrilled to have representatives from GO Triangle, Wilson NC, and Via Transportation share how their success stories can be used as a model for the Centralina region.
Simple and relatively low-cost transportation options were the focus of the panelist’s discussions. From cost-effective on-demand transportation, such as Via, to utilization of new transportation technology trends, such as autonomous shuttles and short-haul rental transportation (bike shares, scooters, etc.), the conversation centered on how all types of communities can benefit with little to no obtrusive construction projects. In other words, building and expanding roads, light-rail lines, and other infrastructure can be expensive and politically challenging, whereas adoption of new technologies can more quickly get efficient transportation options directly to the people.
Emerging transportation trends can influence better mobility. In addition to biking, walking, driving, and taking transit, more communities are incorporating on-demand services and carsharing. New business models have increased the role of the private sector in transportation around the country. New technology has allowed for trip-planning services that have changed the way people make decisions about routes and costs-to-travel – saving money for individuals and for the community. Together, these trends are helping commuters find new and cost-effective ways to more quickly get to their destination than ever before, and Centralina is studying these trends as part of their upcoming recommendations for regional transit.
The benefit of formalized, funded regional partnerships was also shared by the panelists, noting that input from major businesses, universities, hospitals, and other organizations have been instrumental in resolving transportation pain-points and finding solutions to make sure regional transportation serves the full community and not just specific groups. The focus on partnerships helps with the future adoption of expanded transit options and better connects rural, suburban, and urban environments more seamlessly.
Together, the panelists shared best practices that culminate in the goal of reducing traffic and congestion on the roads, increasing regional economic competitiveness, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Moreover, working together opens doors to more resources. A comprehensive transportation strategy for the Centralina region means more funding for transit and reduced costs to riders and highlights how even those opting for driving on their own will benefit from policies that have helped reduce traffic and congestion and provide for a cleaner community.
Over the next several months, CONNECT Beyond is hosting targeted listening sessions within the community to help support, refine, and add to the concepts being considered for recommendations to the CONNECT Beyond advisory committees. We invite you to join our future advisory committee meetings and explore other options to provide your input as we build out a comprehensive transportation strategy. Due to public health concerns, these meetings will be held virtually until further notice:
- May 26, 2021, 10:00am – 12:00pm >>View
- June 9, 2021, 10:00am - 12:00pm >>View
- July 22, 2021, 10:00am – 12:00pm >>View
In addition, we invite you to be a CONNECT Beyond Champion! Are you excited for what the future of transportation means for the Centralina region? Do you have an idea or unique perspective to add? We want you as a champion for this project. Some engagement opportunities include:
- Share CONNECT Beyond information fromour Social Media channels (@WeAreCentralina).
- Add CONNECT Beyond to your website.
- Include us in your organization’s newsletter.
- Share media and public speaking opportunities.
- Identify participants for a targeted listening session.