Transportation@100%: Innovation 10
Developing the City Dept of Transportation
The projects presented in the ten innovations areas are all designed to address barriers to vital services. Action teams should review all projects and prioritize those that have the best chance of addressing the barriers identified in the 100% New Mexico countywide survey. Your collaborative and result-focused local work is nothing less than heroic.
Project 1: The “county/city partnership that funds the department of transport” project
Elevator pitch: When Eric’s mom scans city hall’s website to find a bus to get her son to a weekly counseling appointment, she should be able to see a clearly defined menu item called “Transportation” right next to the Departments of Police, Fire and Parks. It should not be buried deep in the bowels of the website. It’s a vital, stand-alone department (or should be) and deserves to be treated as such.
Why is this so important? After all, local transit is often taken care of by county entities, or multi-county coalitions. In some rural areas, even senior centers run the transit system. Here’s why. Even if the transportation department doesn’t put buses on the road, it should at the very least regularly evaluate the transportation needs of its constituents, determine if they are adequate and regularly research innovations.
This job will look very different depending on the town, for example, it may just take a part-time city manager a few hours per year in the smallest of hamlets. But it’s important work, and it needs to be done by someone who reports to someone who regularly stands for election.
Potential partners: mayors, city councilors, county commissioners, advocates for public transport, transport leadership and socially-engaged businesses.
Project 2: The “convene your fellow transport advocates and enhance your skills in public speaking, committee briefing and how to get to a lawmaker” project
This project is a crash course that you develop with local experts about how to contact local and state leaders, give an elevator pitch on your projects and the protocol for committee hearings that can lead to support and funding.
Project 3: The “know your stuff before you meet the mayor” project
Innovation #10, in some ways, is putting it all together. By this we mean that, by the time your action team becomes familiar with all ten innovation areas and their projects, you will be prepared to meet with elected officials and stakeholders to discuss a city strengthening its support of public transport.
Project 4: The “create a bold vision and strategic plan” project
This project is focused on creating a new or improved Department of Transportation. With previous projects, you will have learned its strengths and weaknesses, potential funding sources and who the players are. You’ll be in a strong position to document what’s great, and needs to be kept as it is or expanded, and what needs to change.