Technical Assistance Program

According to the insight2050 Scenario Results Report, Central Ohio’s population is expected to be a region of 3 million people by 2050. As the region grows rapidly, these changes will have a significant impact on the region’s housing, transportation, and economic development. National trends point toward increased preferences for walkable, vibrant communities where daily needs are within close proximity to homes and jobs. To help the region better prepare for growth and meet the needs and demands of current and future residents, the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC) is offering technical assistance.

The insight2050 Technical Assistance Program (TA Program) provides MORPC staff assistance to Central Ohio communities within the boundary of the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) or Central Ohio Regional Planning Organization (CORPO) for the planning of sustainable transportation and community development efforts related to the findings of insight2050 Scenario Results report. TA Program services are intended to help communities:

  • Increase multimodal transportation options within their community
  • Enhance quality of life by improving mobility, accessibility, safety, and reducing the negative public health impacts of transportation
  • Improve connectivity to community assets and support reinvestment in underutilized properties through infill and redevelopment planning
  • Prepare for emerging transportation by leveraging technology and infrastructure to maximize safety, sustainability, affordability, equity, and quality of life for all residents

The MORPC insight2050 TA Program awards technical assistance services via a competitive application process. For more information about the services offered, see the project descriptions below and the 2019 insight2050 TA Program guidelines.

Important Dates:

  1. Application Opens: July 1, 2019
  2. Informational Webinar: July 24, 2019
  3. Application Closes: September 27, 2019
  4. Projects Selection Announcement: December 2020
  5. Anticipated Project Development Commencement: January 2020

Pre-determined Project Types:

Complete Streets: Complete Streets provide safe, comfortable, and convenient access for all roadway users regardless of mode, age, or ability. Roadways designed for all users and all modes reduce crashes, offer increased connectivity, improve public health, reduce harmful emissions, and reduce the overall demand on communities’ roadways by providing safe and reliable transportation options. Adopting a Complete Streets Policy formalizes a community’s intent to plan, design, develop, redevelop, and maintain roads that work for all residents. This project type will provide communities with the best practices, design guidance, and planning tools necessary to write and implement a Complete Streets Policy. This project emphasizes both policy and infrastructure and will be conducted in partnership with relevant regional stakeholders.

First-Last Mile: For those who ride public transportation, the bus doesn’t often stop right in front of their home or final destination. Without the proper infrastructure, the “first and last mile” of a trip can often be the most challenging. As a result, pedestrians and cyclists who must traverse high stress corridors to access transit may experience unsafe conditions that can discourage use and exacerbate transportation inequalities. Planning for the First-Last Mile is intended to address these gaps and enhance connectivity for all modes between people and their destinations. This project type will provide communities with the best practices and planning resources necessary to develop an informed internal strategy for First-Last Mile considerations that support accessibility and active transportation. This project has an emphasis on infrastructure and will be conducted in partnership with relevant regional stakeholders.

Low-Impact Transportation: Low Impact Transportation refers to transportation options that are small, light-weight, and either human or electric-powered. This includes modes like bicycles, e-bikes, scooters, e-scooters, or other similar vehicles that travel at equivalent speeds. In most cases, these vehicles are required to operate in the street, but most streets lack the infrastructure to safely accommodate them. Ensuring that the infrastructure is designed as part of a holistic, low-impact, low-stress, and connected network is a critical aspect of accommodating these modes of transportation. This project type will provide communities with the best practices, design guidance, and planning resources necessary to develop an informed internal strategy for developing a Low-Impact Transportation network that is accessible to users of all ages and abilities. This project has an emphasis on infrastructure and will be conducted in partnership with relevant regional stakeholders.

Curbside Management: The curb is where mobility meets accessibility. With increased demand for walkability, bikeability, and transit along with the emergence of new mobility options (e.g. e-scooters and ride-sharing), many cities are responding to the challenge of accommodating all of these competing needs by establishing curbside management policies. The concept of curbside management is based on flexible use of the curb space that could serve many different uses throughout the course of a day – for example, a loading zone in the early hours of the day, a dedicated transit lane at peak times, and a parklet or food-truck space at mid-day.  This project type will provide communities with the best practices and planning resources necessary to develop a holistic approach to Curbside Management. Communities will have the option of pursuing an external policy or internal strategy that identifies key principles by which decisions about Curbside Management will be made as demand for space at the curb increases. This project has an emphasis on policy and will be conducted in partnership with relevant regional stakeholders.

Shared Mobility: Emerging shared mobility options such as scooters, dock-less bikeshare, carshare, and other services have created new challenges for communities to address. Shared Mobility strategies are intended to help communities develop a thoughtful approach to addressing these emerging mobility options that responds to the challenges and opportunities specific to each community, while considering larger scale connectivity needs. This project type will provide communities with the best practices, planning resources, and community input necessary to develop an informed internal strategy for managing existing and future Shared Mobility transportation options within their community. This project type has an emphasis on policy and will be conducted in partnership with relevant regional stakeholders.

Conceptual Development Framework: As we prepare for the growth projected by insight2050, many Central Ohio communities are figuring out how to increase compact development, housing options, and active/low impact transportation infrastructure in order to meet shifts in market demand that have already begun. In order to prepare for these shifts, communities must develop a clear vision for the strategic locations that can help accommodate the projected growth and demographic changes.  A Conceptual Development Framework report is intended as a preliminary planning resource to develop the vision for a special district, infill development site, Opportunity Zone, or other strategic location within a community. This project will have an emphasis on active transportation and visioning, and be conducted in partnership with relevant regional stakeholders.

Other: In some cases, an applicant may have a compelling need for a project that does not fit into the one of the categories above. Applicants requesting this project type must adhere to additional requirements, such as submitting an Intent to Apply form that includes the proposed scope of work and budget, before submitting the Competitive Application.  MORPC will review these applications on an individual basis and make determinations based on scope of services requested, estimated budget, availability of staff time and expertise, and anticipated in-kind match requirements.

2019 insight2050 TA Program Guidelines

Eligible MORPC members interested in the TA Program are encouraged to attend an interactive webinar before submitting the Competitive Application. MORPC staff will review the TA Program Guidelines, Competitive Application Criteria, evaluation process, and will be available to answer any questions.

Frequently Asked Questions:

  1. What is the insight2050 Technical Assistance Program (TA Program)?

The insight2050 TA Program is a competitive program, which awards MORPC staff assistance to local government members within the boundary of the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO). The MPO boundary includes Delaware and Franklin counties, Bloom and Violet townships in Fairfield County, New Albany, Pataskala and Etna Township in Licking County, and Jerome Township in Union County. The TA Program provides assistance for the planning of transportation and community development efforts related to the findings of insight2050 and the goals of the Metropolitan Transportation Plan.

In the 2019 application cycle, the following services will be offered:

  • Develop a Complete Streets Policy
  • Develop internal guidance for First-Last Mile considerations
  • Develop internal guidance for Low-Impact Transportation Network implementation
  • Develop internal guidance or a policy for Curbside Management
  • Develop internal guidance to plan for new Shared-Use Mobility modes
  • Develop a Conceptual Development Framework through preliminary planning for infill development sites or Opportunity Zones

Participating communities must provide in-kind assistance and demonstrate how the projects will be implemented within the community. Projects must demonstrate a strong connection to transportation.

  1. How is the TA Program funded?

The TA Program is funded through MORPC’s Federal Surface Transportation Program (STP) and is not to exceed $200,000 dollars per year in total. By setting aside a portion of STP dollars toward the TA Program, MORPC members are indicating that they recognize the benefits of planning with a Focused Growth approach and the need for more walkable, bikeable, and transit accessible neighborhoods.

  1. Who is eligible to participate in the TA Program?

MORPC members located within the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) boundary are eligible to participate in the TA Program.

  1. How may eligible communities participate in the insight2050 TA Program?

Participation in the TA Program requires selection through a competitive process. Competitive selection criteria will ask applicants to answer questions about the proposed project’s connection to insight2050 principles, regional collaboration, local commitment, leveraging investment, and equity. Eligible MORPC members will be invited to submit a Competitive Application between July 1, 2019 and September 27, 2019.  Applicant communities must also submit a resolution or letter of support signed by Council, Board of Trustees, or County Commissions as part of the Competitive Application.

  1. How are eligible communities selected to receive awards of technical assistance?

An evaluation committee, comprised of MORPC staff and external subject matter experts, evaluates complete applications against a set of competitive criteria with a minimum threshold score; applications must exceed the threshold score to be eligible for services through the TA Program. Among applications that meet eligibility criteria, the highest-scoring application will be the first selected to receive technical assistance; the next highest-scoring eligible application will be the second selected to receive technical assistance; and so on until budget is exhausted or until all eligible applications have been awarded.

  1. What do selected communities receive?

Communities which have been selected to receive technical assistance will receive MORPC staff assistance toward their proposed projects. A pre-determined number of staff hours will be available to each community, and a scope of work will be established prior to commencement of services.

  1. How many communities will be awarded?

This may vary as funds and staff availability permit. In its 2017 pilot, the insight2050 TA Program had the capacity to award technical assistance to four communities.

  1. I would like to apply for technical assistance. When can I submit my application?

The Competitive Application will be open for eligible MORPC members to submit an application between July 1, 2019 and September 27, 2019.

TA Program Pilot Projects:

For the 2017 insight2050 TA Program Pilot, MORPC awarded technical assistance to four communities for the following projects:

  1. City of Delaware – to develop a comprehensive Complete Streets Policy
  2. Violet Township – to create a master plan for the Refugee/Pickerington Road Corridor
  3. City of Westerville – to create a redevelopment plan for the Brooksedge Office Park
  4. City of Worthington – to develop a formal Complete Streets Policy

MORPC TA Program Pilot Press Release

For more information, please contact Tobi Otulana at [email protected].