Transportation is critical to any region. It enhances the quality of life of residents by providing greater access to education, healthcare and recreational activities. Additionally, it impacts economic development and the availability of goods and services. Regions that are seamlessly interconnected by a variety of transportation methods are far more likely to attract people, business and new opportunities.
Our region collectively identified transportation as a top priority during CONNECT our Future, an initiative focused on developing a comprehensive regional growth framework across 14 counties in North Carolina and South Carolina. With 1.8 million additional residents projected to arrive by 2050, regional and community leaders realized that a variety of mobility options are needed to support all travelers. To compete on the global stage, our region needs to offer a safe, reliable transportation system that connects all our cities, towns and counties using a variety of transportation modes.
CONNECT Beyond is the first regional effort to create a single, coordinated transit system that includes multiple transit modes. This mobility initiative is about envisioning how individuals will move from place to place across arbitrary boundaries to get to work, school, medical appointments and other daily services by public transportation – or transit.
The Path to a Regional Transit Plan
Prior to launching CONNECT Beyond, Centralina led a two-year community engagement process to understand our region’s greatest transportation challenges and opportunities. Centralina engaged elected officials, planners, medical and educational institutions, transportation agencies, economic developers, employers and workforce leaders, asking what mobility needs and transit-focused outcomes could be enhanced through regional coordination and what local interests could be addressed through improved transit mobility.
Through this process, Centralina gained meaningful insights from a diverse set of perspectives and range of communities. Our resulting understanding of mobility needs at the regional and individual community levels allowed us to move forward with a targeted transit visioning and implementation initiative, CONNECT Beyond.
Want to know how Centralina helps to advance local community and multi-jurisdictional transportation initiatives? Learn More about Transportation & Mobility
The Path to Implementation
CONNECT Beyond’s Advancing the Plan Committee, an official ad-hoc advisory committee of Centralina’s Executive Board, was established to steward regional conversation and action that advances implementation of the CONNECT Beyond Regional Mobility Plan. The Committee convenes elected officials, city and county managers and members of the business community to accomplish three key goals over the next year:
- (a) Advise on short-term opportunities for regional collaboration and (b) determine feasible options for a regional mobility governance approach
- Endorse a regional communications
framework for CONNECT Beyond and support its implementation
- Collaborate to educate state lawmakers on CONNECT Beyond and advocate for local funding initiatives in the region
- Improve overall mobility and access to ensure transit is working for the broadest cross-section of our region’s population,
- Coordinate region-wide transit planning efforts to create new efficiencies,
- Identify high capacity transit corridors that build upon and complement the Charlotte Area Transit System 2030 Transit Corridor System Plan and other local transportation plans to connect more communities within the region, and
- Address new topics stemming from the transit plan that will require additional collaboration and problem-solving.
To date, the process of creating the regional transit plan has helped our region build consensus around the need for a more coordinated transit system. We are working with other transportation agencies and community leaders to develop a comprehensive approach to transit, leveraging our collective resources and expertise.