In December and January, the TPB endorsed seven initiatives for a better transportation future. This spring, the TPB began a conversation in the region to get people talking about their opinions on the initiatives and how they might imagine the future with them. To get this conversation started, we held 12 public forums reaching almost 300 people throughout the region and online.
Where did the seven initiatives come from?
The TPB endorsed these seven ideas after working through a year-long process with its Long-Range Plan Task Force. The task force deliberated and considered 80 ideas before coming to consensus around five initiatives. The TPB endorsed those five in December for future concerted action. In January, the TPB endorsed two other initiatives focused on bicycle and pedestrian travel and access to transit.
Together these seven ideas will be included in the aspirational or unfunded element of Visualize 2045, the TPB’s new long-range transportation plan.
Though some of these ideas are being implemented now—like Bus Rapid Transit or express toll lanes—most are concepts that could be expanded throughout the region. They can only come to fruition when local jurisdictions decide how they plan to implement projects, programs, or policies that will support these ideas. At the public forums, the region’s residents started shaping those conversations.
What happened at the forums?
We held 12 public forums—nine at locations across the region, two with the TPB Citizens Advisory Committee and Access for All committee, and one online. At all the forums, participants were provided with background information about the TPB and regional planning. This helped set the stage for folks to think regionally. Next, TPB staff walked participants through an interactive presentation explaining each of the seven initiatives.
Once participants had the background information, they had their first chance to weigh in. To get the conversation started, forum participants answered some simple questions using their mobile phones or, in the case of online participants, on their computers.
The most important part of the forums was when participants split up into small groups with facilitators to discuss the initiatives. People could choose which initiatives they were most interested in discussing and then would switch tables for three rounds.
Overall, people were most interested in weighing in on bringing jobs and housing closer together, expanding bus rapid transit regionwide, and improving walk and bike access to transit.
Facilitators asked each group what they liked about a specific initiative and their concerns about it. The group was encouraged to visualize the future and discuss how the initiative might change the transportation system. This discussion was recorded by a scribe at each table and will be the basis for a report.
The online forum was a little different in one respect. Since it wasn’t possible for participants to break into groups, online participants each filled out a form where they could record their comments on the initiatives that were most important to them.
If you missed the online forum, you can still watch the presentations and weigh in by filling out the survey at the end.
Other chances to have your say
If you missed these forums, there are still opportunities to weigh in. You may watch the recorded online forum and fill out the question form until June 22. You may also explore the interactive presentation and submit comments. Those comments received by June 22 will be included in the public forum report.
These seven initiatives are only one small part of Visualize 2045. In the fall we will be hosting open houses at three locations around the region for anyone to come, learn about the plan, and weigh-in.