Transportation & Mobility

Transportation and mobility play a central role in improving the quality of life for individuals, communities and the entire region, increasing economic access and equity. Transportation of goods and people does not follow political boundaries and therefore is multi-jurisdictional in nature, often exceeding community, county, Metropolitan Planning Organization and state boundaries. Centralina leads collaborative efforts to ensure our regional transportation and mobility systems work harmoniously, making the greater Charlotte area more economically competitive.

During CONNECT Our Future, a three-year Centralina-led engagement series aimed at developing regional priorities and a regional growth framework, our region identified transportation as a top priority. Since then, we have led numerous initiatives and programs to help our region achieve our transportation and mobility goals.

OUR WORK

Regional

Regional Transit Plan: CONNECT Beyond

Centralina is leading our region’s first coordinated bi-state transit system planning process that includes multiple modes of transportation. The project officially kicked off in February of 2020 when representatives from across North and South Carolina met to launch the transit plan called CONNECT Beyond. This mobility initiative will continue to unfold through 2021 under the direction of Centralina and the Metropolitan Transit Commission, CATS’ policy board. The project area includes twelve counties in a geographic area covering over 5,000 square miles, a population of roughly 2.5 million people and close to 20 separate transit agencies. The plan aims to:

  • Improve mobility and access
  • Create new transportation efficiencies
  • Identify ways to connect more communities within the region
  • Lead future collaboration and problem-solving

Read the Regional Transit Engagement Series success story below for background information on this project.

Connected and Autonomous Vehicles Road Map

Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CAVs) have the potential to transform our communities, changing how people travel, how our communities grow and how infrastructure is designed and built. CAVs will likely have a significant impact on not only our mobility, but also our energy usage and ultimately our built environment.

To begin to understand the impact of CAVs within our region, Centralina held a workshop series was to raise awareness of these new technologies and their impact on our economy, land use, transportation and equity.

As a result, the CAV Regional Roadmap was developed to guide communities on how to prepare for this new technology through near and long-term priority actions. As an ongoing extension of this work, the Connected and Autonomous Vehicle Task Force, a regional coalition of public and private sector leaders, meets quarterly to advance local knowledge on this issue and determine how to coordinate emerging transportation technologies into local and regional initiatives.

Transportation System Connections, Coordination and Planning

A safe, efficient and reliable transportation system is an essential component of the greater Charlotte region’s vision for the future. Centralina works collaboratively with public, private and community partners across the region, state and nation to improve our region’s transportation planning and infrastructure. We lead, coordinate and partner with others on a variety of transportation initiatives including:

  • Freight mobility planning and private sector coordination
  • Regional transit planning
  • Coordination between transportation planning organizations
  • Statewide rail promotion
  • Planning for electric vehicle deployment

Read the success story below for information on our Regional Freight Mobility Plan

Regional Transportation Systems Management and Operations (TSMO) and Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) Architecture and Strategic Deployment Plan

Centralina is partnering with local, regional, state and federal agencies to explore how technology can be used to improve reliability and increase the capacity and safety of existing and planned transportation corridors through regionally coordinated investments and training. The region’s residents and businesses expect  transportation networks to be seamlessly optimized without regard to jurisdictional boundaries and to use technology to help reduce traffic congestion and improve coordination of transportation services to benefit the traveling public, commercial users and communities.

Centralina Clean Fuels Coalition

Centralina Clean Fuels Coalition is an energy program focused on the transportation sector that works to reduce petroleum dependence and expand alternative fuel use and technology in our region. Learn more on our Natural Resources & Resilience page.

 

Local Community

Electric Vehicle Curbside Charging Solutions

Cities can face challenges when trying to integrate electric vehicle charging stations into the existing built environment, creating a hurdle to the widespread adoption of electrified transportation. To explore solutions to this issue, Centralina partnered with UNC Charlotte’s Energy Production Infrastructure Center (EPIC), Eaton and Duke Energy to establish a pilot project that will add electric vehicle charging technology to street light poles at curbside locations. Throughout the project, we will assess current implementation barriers and develop a successful process to design, test and evaluate a solution for curbside electric vehicle charging stations. The solution will hopefully result in a proof of concept for utilizing existing street-lighting infrastructure. At the end of the project, we will prepare a report comparing the policy and implementation process for using this new technology. And, we’ll have a better understanding of the curbside charging market in our region.

Local Coordination: NC 73 Council of Planning

Centralina assists local governments in monitoring and managing a 35-mile section of the NC 73 corridor, which transverses through rapidly developing communities in Cabarrus, Mecklenburg and Lincoln counties. Since 2004, our administrative support has allowed local governments to share land development proposals that will impact the corridor, coordinate on construction activities and anticipate transportation and land use conflicts across the three-county area.

Bike and Walkability Audits

Creating safe and convenient environments for walking and bicycling makes these transportation modes more attractive and more accessible to residents. There are many community benefits to offering bike and pedestrian mobility, including reducing commuting costs, lessening congestion, improving air quality, increasing access to parks, libraries or schools and encouraging a healthier population.

Centralina helps local communities and governments conduct audits to establish baseline data and detailed recommendations that transportation planners and engineers can directly use to develop improvements to the active transportation network. Audits locate the specific hazards and hardships of walking or biking for the general population.

Audits include a tour of the route or location, during which participants identify issues related to walking and biking, followed by a debriefing and brainstorming session to prioritize the concerns and identify potential solutions. An important aspect of conducting an audit is the active involvement of residents throughout the process, not only as data collectors and recommenders but also as users and advocates for walking and biking as realistic transportation options.

Audits can be done separately or as part of an overall bicycle or pedestrian plan.

Success Stories

Regional Transit:

Engagement Series

During CONNECT Our Future, a three-year engagement series led by Centralina, our region identified transportation as a top priority. To continue the dialog about improving our regional transportation, Centralina implemented the Regional Transit Engagement Series. The series offered communities an opportunity to express their aspirations, concerns, values and interests around long-term transit.

By thinking through regional transit topics and soliciting feedback from residents, governments and transit providers, Centralina was able to understand transit needs from different communities and perspectives. This valuable engagement helped obtain the necessary information and data to guide the development CONNECT Beyond: Regional Mobility Initiative, our region’s first coordinated transit system.

Greater Charlotte:

Regional Freight Mobility Plan

To stay economically competitive, our region’s economy must have a dependable, multi-modal freight transportation network to efficiently and reliably move raw materials and finished products that consumers and industries need. This network supports the region’s economic growth, fosters job creation and helps create improved outcomes for individuals as well as the public and private sector.

In 2016, Centralina led the development of the region’s first Freight Mobility Plan. We collaborated with regional partners from 14 counties in two states, including local officials, transportation organizations, economic development organizations, private rail and trucking companies and logistics and distribution firms.

Our region’s freight transportation system is made up of a network of interstates, highways, local roads, railways and pipelines tied together by inter-modal yards, airports and  transportation facilities. The goal of the Regional Freight Mobility Plan is to strengthen the connection between these key freight transportation assets, core industries and land-use development. The plan analyzed existing conditions and forecasted future freight trends, incorporated stakeholder input and national best practices, identified project, program and policy improvements and methods for gauging successful implementation.

As a result, the plan

  • Identified ways to effectively and consistently reduce freight congestion and bottlenecks
  • Identified connections between freight mobility and regional economic goals
  • Prioritized project, program and policy improvements to improve the safety, efficiency and reliability of the freight transportation system.
  • Promoted effective land use to support freight mobility, business development and job growth
  • Mitigated the environmental impacts of freight movements

The Freight Mobility Plan won an award for multi-jurisdictional planning from the North Carolina Chapter of the American Planning Association and the video won a North Carolina Public Information Officer’s Communication Award.

Transportation & Mobility Resources