SIDNEY – A statewide initiative could lead to expanded transportation options throughout Ohio and cut down on gaps in coverage.
The Ohio Department of Transportation has created a pilot program that aims to bring together federal, state and local transportation resources. The goal is to cut down on duplication of services while expanding transportation offerings to Ohioans.
“Once projects actually start to be implemented, people will be very happy with the new mobility that they’re being able to take advantage of,” said Elizabeth Baxter, transportation coordination planner for the Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission.
As part of the program, the state’s 88 counties are divided into 10 regions. The regions were created based on county-to-county movement, demographic conditions, employment-related travel, economic conditions and the boundaries of regional entities that fund or provide transportation services including the Area Agency on Aging.
The Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission is helping to coordinate the plan for Region 2, which includes Champaign, Clark, Darke, Greene, Miami, Montgomery, Preble and Shelby counties.
With the new regional structure, county officials no longer will have to develop and update coordination plans that are submitted to ODOT. Rather, they will work with regional officials to update a larger regional plan.
County committees will remain active to engage with local residents and work with partners to solve issues unique to their communities.
“They really can be that advocate for those transportation users, and they can bring that voice to the regional level as well as at the state level,” Baxter said.
The first goals of the new regional coordination plan include the coordination of county line transfers, exploration of options for employment transportation, exploration of opportunities for non-medical transportation and coordination of professional driver standards.
“Most likely it’s going to be a little bit before people start noticing a substantial change,” Baxter said.
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