Twenty-six engineers, elected and appointed officials, and advocates are immersed in the changing mobility landscape through the insight2050 Spring 2019 Academy. They’re learning the role of electric scooters in the transportation system, how to design complete streets, and what “curbside management” will mean as ride-hailing and autonomous shuttles become more common and private car ownership declines.

This edition of the insight2050 Academy is the first to have a transportation focus – but certainly not the last. The academy is forging a link with another one of MORPC’s insight2050 projects – the Technical Assistance Program (TAP).

“The main reason we want to link the Academy to TAP is that we also want to link TAP to funding,” said Stephen Patchan, assistant director of MORPC’s Planning & Sustainability Department.

“The Academy is a great place where communities with a need can get onto a path for funding opportunities. Not just the monetary value of the expertise MORPC provides through TAP, but also other funding sources – including access to MORPC’s attributable funds, which require communities to have complete-streets policies.

“What better way to do this than going through a learning experience like the insight2050 Academy?” he said. “It’s a great starting point for communities to learn about sustainable development and transportation.”

The Technical Assistance Program began in September 2017, when MORPC selected applications from four Central Ohio communities. Two projects focused on complete-streets policies, and two were related to development.

For the time being, TAP will be aimed at complete streets and other mobility-related challenges – but the Academy won’t be restricted to transportation topics.

“It helps communities in many ways if they go through the Academy,” Patchan said.

He noted, however, that TAP is available only to communities within MORPC’s Metropolitan Planning Organization area – Franklin and Delaware counties, and portions of Licking, Fairfield and Union counties.

The academy, however, is open to people from communities throughout the 15 counties in MORPC’s reach. It has also attracted interest beyond those boundaries. While those places aren’t eligible for federal transportation dollars through MORPC, Patchan said, they can still go after implementation funding from other sources – and MORPC can assist in aligning projects to funding.