Northeast Ohio’s top transportation planning agency is preparing a new, 20-year vision for the region that will focus on improving social equity, particularly for households without cars.
Among other things, the new long-range plan of the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency will address the reality that transportation spending in recent decades, mainly on suburban highways, has privileged the automobile over mass transit and other modes of getting around.
As a result, the region’s transportation system has disadvantaged people who don’t have access to cars, especially in low-income households in the poorest sections of cities such as Cleveland. 83 percent of Cuyahoga County’s 1.28 million residents have access to transit, but only 49 percent of the county’s 730,000 jobs are accessible by transit.
“We have created a region that is not necessarily equitable in terms of how people can participate in the regional economy and the regional assets and regional attributes,” Grace Gallucci, NOACA’s executive director, said in a recent interview.
Gallucci said she wants NOACA’s new long-range plan not to be simply a technical document, but one with a sense of ethics and social equity at its core.
“I’d like to ensure that the plan speaks to the American values of freedom and choice,” she said.