News

Future of Central Ohio Transportation Discussed at Luncheon

December 3, 2015

How to plan an efficient and effective transportation system while significant change looms on the horizon was the chief topic of discussion at a recent Columbus Metropolitan Club luncheon.

MORPC Executive Director William Murdock joined Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) President and CEO Curtis Stitt and Ohio State University Assistant Vice President for Mobility Research Carla Bailo on the panel for the event titled “Rerouting Transit: Modes that Move Us.” The forum was moderated by Elissa Schneider, chair of Transit Columbus.

Following an interactive activity related to how MORPC funds various multi-modal transportation activities, those in attendance heard from the panel about Central Ohio’s expected growth of 500,000 people in the next 35 years – a statistic often cited from MORPC’s collaborative initiative known as insight2050.

As the region grows and residents choose to live in multi-use neighborhoods, they are also seeking multi-modal transportation options. And the mix of changing demographics and personal preferences, along with new technologies, is creating more options than ever before. While a highway network filled with single-occupancy vehicles might have its limits, there are other options, including higher capacity corridors that can help solve the problem.

“People want choices. This is an all-of-the-above strategy that we’re hearing from people,” Murdock told those in the room at the Columbus Athletic Club. “They want every mode. They want every connectivity. They want it to be easy. But there are also needs that we have to meet within our community.”

Having a positive return on investment remains a key factor as the region moves forward with its transportation system, and recognizing the long-term benefits of new projects is essential.

“[Transportation] is not about point A to B anymore,” Murdock said. “It’s an economic development tool. It’s a workforce tool. It’s an equity tool. It’s an environmental tool. Having sensitivity and nuance on modes and the different types of effects they have on our ability to compete as a region and individuals’ ability to succeed and get around… that’s really where we see leading regions going, and we think that Central Ohio is headed that way.”

MORPC and COTA are continuing to move forward with their long-range transportation plans. More information on MORPC’s 2016-2040 Metropolitan Transportation Plan can be accessed at morpc.org/mtp2040. To view video of the Columbus Metropolitan Club luncheon panel in its entirety, click here.