The Spring 2019 insight2050 Academy focused on mobility options, and the attendees themselves were mobile – on a “walk audit” of the Brewery District and a brief walking tour of complete streets features in Upper Arlington.

A near-record 26 people went through the five-session academy, which wrapped up on March 29. They learned about major shifts in transportation and mobility that are already under way through such options as Lyft, Uber, electric scooters, autonomous shuttles, and local trips that use multiple modes of transportation.

A mix of elected and appointed officials, public and private-sector engineers, transportation advocates, and others learned about how Smart Columbus, the Central Ohio Transit Authority, and the City of Columbus are using technology to ensure the shift from mode to mode is as seamless as possible. They also heard presentations on such strategies and innovations as:

  • Complete Streets policies by showcasing examples in Central Ohio.
  • “Rapid build, low-stress” bicycle networks and other models.
  • The role of bicycles, e-bikes, scooters, and other “micro-mobility” modes that – along with ride-hailing, autonomous vehicles, and shuttles – communities will need to plan for.
  • “Curbside management” as bikes, scooters, Uber, buses, and delivery vehicles begin vying for use of what used to be parking spaces.

More than half of the academy class members were from Franklin County. Seven other counties were represented – and urban members were able to clearly see the connection with their rural neighbors.

Greg Fraunfelter, mayor of Logan, in Hocking County, said bike trails and bike lanes are fine, but the transportation his constituents need is something that will get them to warehouse jobs in the Rickenbacker area. Conor Willis of EmpowerBus took note. The social enterprise he works for provides employer-funded transportation for workers who lack easy access to jobs. It remains to be seen whether Willis and Fraunfelter will find a solution soon, but the importance of thinking regionally has given them a starting point.

During the final academy session, Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission Executive Director William Murdock presented each participant with a certificate of achievement. The Spring 2019 insight2050 Academy graduates are:

  1. Alex Aryeh, Franklin Township
  2. Jennifer Alford, City of Westerville
  3. Lynda Berge, Lancaster
  4. Joy Davis, Hocking County CIC
  5. Sara Dennis, Moody Engineering
  6. Dana Dorsey, Columbus Public Health
  7. Caitlyn Dunn, Short North Arts District
  8. Ava Eisele, Age-Friendly Columbus
  9. Greg Fraunfelter, Mayor of Logan
  10. Phil Hanson, Columbus Public Health
  11. Bill Hebble, Franklin County Engineer’s Office
  12. Zach Hounshell, Village of Plain City
  13. Brian Lorenz, Powell City Council
  14. Grayson McCaig, American StructurePoint
  15. Josh Miller, i.c. stars / Transit Columbus
  16. Jason Poindexter, Yay Bikes!
  17. Bruce Rickerd, Pickaway County Community Action Organization
  18. David Scheffler, Mayor of Lancaster
  19. Monika Sajja, Franklin County Engineer’s Office
  20. Joanne Shelly, City of Dublin
  21. Alex Slaymaker, Smart Columbus
  22. Shannon Sorrell, City of Whitehall
  23. Steve Stolte, Union County Commissioner
  24. Mike Tharp, City of Lancaster
  25. Shannon Werner, City of Whitehall
  26. Conor Willis, EmpowerBus