On Friday, March 31st, our third IForum of the 2017 season, First/Last Mile: Ensuring Transit Opportunities are Shared by All, attracted many new faces to the Lyceum. The discussion surrounding ensuring safe, affordable links to and from public transportation attracted state and municipal leaders, planners, transportation experts, civil rights advocates, and others.
Dr. Lyle Wray, Executive Director of the Capitol Region Council of Governments, delivered opening remarks and introduced the keynote speaker. Dr. Wray highlighted the vast opportunity public transportation such as CTfastrak provides, and how changing technology may shape the way we approach the First/Last Mile.
The keynote speaker, Christof Spieler, shared insights on the busline reimagining project he spearheaded in Houston Texas, as a member of the Houston METRO Board of Directors. Mr. Spieler led the audience through the process of identifying key priorities, including equity, frequency, and convenience, and discussed how essential it is to ensure that those who do not own a car are not treated as second class citizens. Mr. Spieler described a system that works for the people it is serving, rather than depending on infrastructure that already exists.
Following the keynote presentation, the Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology (CCAT) demonstrated their JobTraCT tool, which can be used to map out job opportunities and transit links along transportation corridors.
Next, the panel was moderated by the Partnership’s Charles Patton. Joining Mr. Patton on stage were:
- Michael Sanders, Transportation Administrator, Office of Transit and Ridesharing, Connecticut Department of Transportation;
- Tanya Barrett, Senior Vice President, 2-1-1 Health and Human Services, United Way of Connecticut;
- Doug Hausladen, Director, Department of Transportation, Traffic and Parking City of New Haven; and
- Matt Powers, General Manager, Uber
The panelists shared their experiences helping to close the First/Last Mile gap, and discussed the need to approach transportation inclusively, with a focus on equity. The panel also discussed how their organizations are seeking to accomplish this, including through bikeshare programs, contracts with transportation network companies, and improved streetscapes.
Throughout the event, members from the audience posed very meaningful and timely questions, demonstrating an interest to further explore this conversation and the strategies presented.