The Rise of Multi-Modal

Monday, June 10, 2013
by: Vanassa Fry - District 4 Mobility Manager

As part of the US Department of Transportation’s Strategic Plan 2012-2016 former DOT Secretary Ray LaHood steered the nation towards a course of multimodal transportation that supports livable communities.  Not only does multimodal transportation offer safer, more convenient travel it also will help the US move away from our reliance on foreign oil.  Sounds like a good plan, right?  Well, it’s not as easy as it sounds.

For decades transportation modes have acted independently of one another in the way they’ve been managed and funded. Main Street could have a state highway bisecting it with only a few safe places to cross for the entire stretch through town.  A county’s road and bridge department rarely communicated with local public transportation entities and vice versa.  Now, with funding getting tighter for everyone and funders requesting collaboration on projects we’re seeing unusual partnerships form with successful outcomes.

Hailey, Idaho is one such success.  When the federal government released TIGER II funding Hailey partnered with Idaho Transportation Department, Mountain Rides Transportation Authority, Blaine County Recreation District, College of Southern Idaho and others to garner $3.5M in funds for the Woodside Boulevard Complete Streets Initiative.  Prior to the project, Woodside Boulevard, the thoroughfare through the densest part of town, offered little in the way of pedestrian and bicycle amenities, exposing riders and walkers to fast-moving traffic on the narrow street.  Drivers were challenged by the lack of traffic signals enabling access to the state highway.

Now sidewalks line both sides of the street, bike lanes allow riders to safely maneuver through the neighborhood, and cars and buses are able to make protected turns onto the state highway. This project and others across Idaho prove that Complete Streets projects are safer, promote economic vitality, are more convenient and offer transportation choices by not singling out one mode as more important than others.

Interested in learning more about how you can form collaborative relationships and pursue a Complete Streets project?  Contact your local mobility manager.  To learn more about other transportation options in Idaho visit I-way.org.  I-way can help you find an accessible and efficient transportation option to get you to your destination.

AASHTO's Future of Transportation for 2012: CTAI's Take

Thursday, January 05, 2012

The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) identified its list of top ten transportation topics for 2012. Below is our take on those that apply to CTAI’s members and Idaho:

1. Enacting a long-term transportation bill: CTAI will continue to work with Idaho’s congressional delegation and staff to push for the enactment of a long-term transportation bill.

2. Managing in lean times – addressing the problem of the nation’s aging bridges, highways, and transit systems with stagnant or reduced funding: As one of two states without a dedicated source of transportation funding, and given the current economic times, CTAI is working to educate Idahoans in support of transportation funding. We received a grant to develop the I’M4CTAI campaign in which we sign up at least 1,000 transportation supporters to advocate on behalf of Idaho’s transportation needs and sources of funding.

3. Responding to and planning for natural disasters: CTAI has been working with the Idaho Department of Homeland Security and is now working with the Idaho Department of Water Resources to identify Idaho’s transportation resources for recovery and rebuilding – in the event of a natural disaster in our state. Our partnerships with these agencies will help mobilize the vehicles needed to help get Idahoans out of danger and to help transportation providers rebuild after the disaster.

4. Reducing traffic deaths: CTAI supports safer roads and reduced deaths on Idaho roads and highways. CTAI will provide support for any legislation that improves traffic safety for Idahoans.

5. Increasing the visibility of transportation as an issue in the upcoming presidential campaign: CTAI will work through national agencies in the education of long term transportation needs for our politicians.

6. Generating new ways to fund transportation: As part of the I’M4CTAI campaign, CTAI will work to mobilize advocates and partner agencies in support of a local option tax authority to help cities and counties fund transportation needs in Idaho.

7. Advancing intercity passenger rail

8. Engaging the business community in support of transportation: CTAI mobility managers and staff will continue to educate Idaho Businesses on the benefits of improving transportation options such as public transportation, carpooling, vanpooling, and ridematching.

9. Serving a growing elderly population, both rural and urban: CTAI mobility managers and staff will continue to partner with senior centers and agencies that serve the elderly population in identifying opportunities and partnerships that will lead to improved transportation options for seniors.

10. Responding to new stormwater reforms and other environmental regulations.

Federal Transportation Spending Plan

Thursday, February 17, 2011

On Monday, President Barack Obama proposed an ambitious long-term transportation spending plan in his 2012 budget as a way to boost U.S. economic competitiveness and spur job growth. The Obama Administration’s plan is a bold, $556 billion, six-year reauthorization of America’s transportation programs. It proposes four broad goals: (I) strengthen our infrastructure (II) spurring innovation, (III) ensuring safety, and (IV) reforming government and exercising responsibility. The spending plan includes a significant investment in programs which can assist improving public transportation and mobility in Idaho. For example:

  • 127 percent increase – to $119 billion over six years – in funding for transit;
  • $32 billion for a “race-to-the-top” style incentive program, called the Transportation Leadership Awards, to encourage fundamental reforms in the planning, building and management of transportation system;
  • Innovative policy solutions will ensure that people in small towns and rural communities can more easily connect with regional and local transit options – and from one mode of transportation to another;
  • Promote regional planning; and,
  • Merge five transit programs into one state of good repair program and one specialized transportation program.

To move this plan through Congress, there will need to be a lot of dialogue. Please take a moment to contact your respective Congressman to inform them of how this plan will benefit Idahoans. Click here for contact information for the Idaho Congressional Delegation or to see the Dept of Transportation's Summary of the FY 2012 Budget.

I-way’s Grassroots Model Gets National Recognition

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Idaho is often recognized nationally as a great place to live, to work, to raise a family – with people from around the country moving here to enjoy the quality-of-life our beautiful state offers. This week, the CTAA recognized Idaho for something we’ve not typically been known for – innovation in how we are approaching our pubic transportation and mobility issues – as a result of I-way’s local coordination process.

The article, Mirror Images of Mobility appeared in the November 10 digital issue of CTAA’s Community Transportation Magazine. Rich Sampson highlights the similarities between the way Idaho and our “mirror image” (geographically speaking) sister-state, New Hampshire, are addressing the timeworn challenges of mobility and transportation in states of our size, population and geography – through locally driven decision making.

Sampson also notes that while the boundaries of Idaho and New Hampshire reflect one another, “they’re fundamentally similar to every other state in that each is a collection of neighborhoods, communities and regions, each with their own important nuances, challenges and attributes.” What does that mean? It means that other states are watching what we’re doing here in Idaho, through I-way. We’re paving the path for other states to follow and create their own models for improving mobility and public transportation services and efficiencies for the people living in their communities.

That’s very exciting! It demonstrates that through all of the work and trial and error, we are on the right path. It’s not easy work – and we’re a long way from realizing I-way’s vision of a truly multi-modal system that connects virtually the entire state. But, together, through I-way’s local coordination process, we are having an impact.

I’m extremely proud of the work we’ve done so far. I’m excited about what the future holds for mobility in Idaho. And, I hope that all of you will continue with us along the journey.

- Heather Wheeler, Executive Director, CTAI