By Sue Schneider, Board Chair, Ten at the Top
Over the past year, leaders from across the region have recognized the need for a shared and clear vision for transportation and mobility in the Upstate. We are guided by a basic question: How can we work together to create a vibrant and connected region, where transportation policy and investments promote innovation, sustainable development, and economic prosperity for all residents and businesses?
In our quest for answer, we are guided by a new initiative: Connecting Our Future.
This is more than a series of meetings and presentations: It’s an opportunity to view the future through a shared lens—one that allows us to see the many challenges and opportunities on the horizon. As this region continues to grow together, we all recognize the importance of how we embrace new develop in the context of transportation and mobility.
Connecting Our Future is resulting in the creation of a regional vision for transportation, mobility, and connectivity the Upstate. An advisory committee comprised of stakeholders representing education, transit systems, local governments, economic development organizations, health care, conservation groups and businesses have been working to develop the regional vision and actionable strategies for how we can work collaboratively to advance transportation, mobility and connectivity in the region.
I’ve said many times that transportation is an equalizer and levels the playing ground for everyone; it can also mean the delivery of an economic advantage that provides us lift-off—the rocket fuel to propel more jobs and us to new investment. This will help us create a region that can move people, goods and services while maintaining—and enhancing—our collective quality of life.
Connecting Our Future is allowing us to look at six themes of mobility:
- Travel Options: Invest in and incentivize active transportation and mobility networks to prepare for continued growth and maintain regional competitiveness.
- Access to Opportunity: Connect people to opportunity—including jobs, resources, education, and healthcare—to improve economic mobility.
- Sustainable Growth: Promote land use decisions that support greater mobility and is environmentally sensitive, economically viable, community-oriented, and sustainable over time.
- Enhanced Livability: Protect the individual identities of communities through improvements to the built environment, more transportation options, and attractive business investment.
- Economic Vitality: Maximize the efficient movement of people and freight within and through the region to grow the Upstate’s economy.
- Health and Safety: Promote mobility choices that position future generations for a safe environment and healthy lifestyles.
These themes emerged during an early meeting of the Connecting Our Future Advisory Team and will help communicate the need for a regional mobility and connectivity strategy as well as help organize performance measures that assess the overall progress toward achieving the vision. We also had an Idea Exchange, with more than 100 stakeholders working together to brainstorm ways to enhance mobility. In total, attendees identified more than 300 actions and 70 priorities through small group discussion. Those actions will continue to be refined throughout the process and leading up to the public rollout.
Certainly, vision is important. But we must act upon what we see, and recognize that a strategy is only the beginning step in a long—and exciting—journey that we’ll all take together. It is absolutely critical that we work together as a region to enable the development of structures, policies and investments that can help us move from vision to reality.
But what’s the bottom line? We need you on board, so please consider attending the public rollout of Connecting Our Future.
August 7th 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
TD Convention Center
1 Exposition Drive
Greenville, SC 29607
Thank you for going on this journey with us. The destination will be a future that we can all say we had a hand in shaping. Together.