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Economic Development Research Group Blog

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AMPO 2018: Planning for an Uncertain Future

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Uncertainty was a common theme at at AMPO’s annual conference, held in September in San Antonio, Texas. It was an opportunity to share strategies for dealing with an uncertain transportation future, ranging from scenario planning to collaboration and data-driven and technical solutions.

I presented on cross-agency information sharing in the context of project prioritization, sharing lessons learned from EDR Group’s work with MassDOT on evaluating economic impact. My take home message was that information sharing across agencies makes planning and prioritization more effective and efficient.  In the Boston region, CTPS (the Boston region MPO) and the MBTA (the transit agency) each develop metrics and data products around accessibility that can be used for data-driven evaluation of potential projects. Rather than re-inventing the wheel, agencies can use interactive platforms to consolidate data products and make them usable across agencies.

Throughout the conference, I learned about other planning efforts across the United States. For example, the Texas Innovation Alliance is another example of collaboration for shared success. The alliance unites leaders from across the state to discuss common problems and explore innovative strategies to address these problems, with pilots including advanced and connected vehicles, electrification, and real-time data. In other sessions, discussions focused around scenario planning, resilience, and complete streets and how each of these are keys to successful planning in an era of rapid changes in demographics and mobility.

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