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Monday, October 13, 2014

Because inquiring minds want to know!

What do you want to know? Are you interested in how traffic congestion impacts how long it takes you to get from “Point A” to “Point B”? Or, are you more interested in how walkable our schools are, how many people are riding the bus, or how well the region is doing in preserving its existing farmland?

COMPASS has a new tool to help you find the answers to all of these questions and more. Visit the NEW COMPASS online dashboard (www.compassidaho.org/dashboard/) to pick your topic, then drill down into maps, charts, graphs, and more. 

Find regional data relating to the eight planning elements in Communities in Motion 2040, the 17 goals associated with those elements, and performance measures to track progress toward meeting those goals.

When and how can the COMPASS dashboard help you?
  • When making decisions that affect your community…Consider current conditions and how they compare to regional (Communities in Motion) and local goals when making transportation, land use, or other decisions. Will your decision help “move the needle” toward meeting regional goals?
  • When preparing grant applications…Use the information as presented – or access the data behind it – to provide a snapshot of local and regional conditions and trends to help get that funding you need for your project. 
  • When writing articles and reports…Find data and information to provide context or supporting documentation for news articles, professional research, or even school reports. 
  • When tracking issues or areas important to you…Whether you’re a parent who cares about access to parks and schools, a health professional concerned about access to healthy foods, or an interested citizen who just wants to see what things look like in your neighborhood, you’ll find data, maps, graphs, and more that tell the story you care about. 
  • When providing your comments to COMPASS and other agencies…How does the project or plan you are commenting on fit into the larger picture? Consider Communities in Motion goals and use the dashboard to see where we are now and where we want to be. Does the project or plan you are commenting on help fulfill Communities in Motion goals? 

Finally, I encourage you to a look just because it’s interesting. I find myself going in to the dashboard to look for one specific piece of information, then clicking on all sorts of other topics just to see what’s there. The amount of information in the dashboard is mind-boggling and will continue to expand as we are able to gather and track more and more data. Our goal is to provide a tool that is useful to the community as a whole, so if there are data sets you would like to have added, contact COMPASS and let us know. 

While the dashboard is intuitive and user friendly, even for novice users, it also provides many more powerful functions than meet the eye, including allowing the users to download the data for their own use. COMPASS staff will provide training in the near future to assist users in learning how to access and take advantage of these more advanced functions. Watch the COMPASS website (www.compassidaho.org/comm/publicevents.htm) and email blasts for more details.

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Community Planning Association of Southwest Idaho

COMPASS is the designated Metropolitan Planning Organization responsible for transportation planning in Ada and Canyon Counties. The COMPASS Board comprises 39 members representing the cities, counties, highway districts, educational institutions, state agencies, and other entities within the two counties. COMPASS plays an important role in making decisions about future long-range transportation needs in the Treasure Valley, taking into consideration environmental and economic factors that affect the quality of life.