Thursday, January 28, 2016

It’s all about the people…even when it’s not

We humans are self-centered by nature. Despite our best intentions to the contrary, we tend to care the most about those things that directly impact us.

This is reflected in our transportation planning – efforts typically focus on planning for a transportation system to move people. However, moving people isn’t the only role of our transportation system. Transporting freight – moving goods – is vital as well.

While at first glance freight may not seem to have the personal impact of making an intersection safer or shortening your commute, it is no less relevant to our daily lives. Without freight transportation, the grocery store shelves would be bare and that item you ordered online would never arrive. 

Freight is one of the four transportation components that will be addressed in Communities in Motion 2040 2.0 (CIM 2040 2.0), the next long-range transportation plan for Ada and Canyon Counties. Much has been done already to kick start this effort. I’m excited to share some of this progress with you: 
  • 2015 Agricultural Freight Study: This study provides an overview of regional and local agricultural freight movement in and around Ada and Canyon Counties. In addition to providing valuable data, the study helped COMPASS cultivate relationships with freight producers and increase our understanding of overall freight issues. Both of these will lay the groundwork for future freight planning.
  • Freight data collection: In late 2015, COMPASS collected data on traffic volume and types of vehicles – classified by number of axels – at over 70 locations in the two counties. These data will feed into the freight component of CIM 2040 2.0.
  • Freight Advisory Workgroup: A Freight Advisory Workgroup has been formed to advise and provide input on freight-related issues and needs, and to help integrate freight into our long-range transportation planning. 
  • The Masters of Public Administration Capstone Class at the Boise State University School of Public Service conducted a Treasure Valley Freight Policy Study on behalf of COMPASS to assess the barriers and opportunities concerning freight transportation within the Treasure Valley.

The progress we’ve already made toward freight planning is just one example of the work we’re doing behind the scenes to ensure the Treasure Valley is ready for the future. We’re doing similar work on all four transportation components – bicycle/pedestrian, public transportation, and roadways, in addition to freight.

In future blogs, watch for “snapshots” of each of the four components of CIM 2040 2.0. Want to learn even more? Our 2016 education series will focus on these components as well – plan now to attend! 

Thursday, January 14, 2016

What’s in your camera?

The holidays are over and I’m willing to bet that you have a camera (or phone) full of photos.

As you sort through them, deciding what to keep, consider what pictures you can submit to the Treasure Valley: On the Go! photo contest:
  • Did you snap a shot of the traffic jam of shoppers on Black Friday? Submit it!
  • What about a walk in the snow? Submit it!
  •  A semi hauling Christmas trees? Submit it!
  •  Valley Regional Transit’s “Stuff the Bus” event? Submit it!

Don’t have any holiday pictures to submit? That’s OK.

COMPASS will take submissions for the Treasure Valley: On the Go! photo contest through July 31. You still have plenty of time to take, and submit, that perfect transportation photo – roadways, public transportation, bicycling or walking, or hauling freight.

In August, the public will be invited to vote on their favorites; the winners will be used in a 2017 Treasure Valley: On the Go! photo calendar and in the next regional long-range transportation plan – Communities in Motion 2040 2.0.

I look forward to seeing your photos!

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.