Some of CM2’s principal researchers presented their work to students at our monthly brownbag event on Thursday, September 26. Dr. Sandi Rosenbloom presented her research and efforts to create a Safe and Healthy Aging Lab within CM2.
More specifically, she is working with agencies in the Texas Triangle to better meet seniors’ mobility needs. Dr. Rosenbloom used data to dispel some of the misconceptions about older drivers and discussed reasons why older drivers might continue to drive, despite some losses in coordination and mobility. She referenced how seniors tend to live in suburbs, which have limited transportation alternatives to driving. Finally, she discussed how we need to work to safely retain older drivers, create meaningful alternatives to driving and walking and create move active transportation options within suburbs.
Dr. Gian Claudia Sciara and doctoral student Mashrur Rahman discussed their research on the representation of public transportation providers in Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) and the impact that representation has on regional funding decisions concerning transit. Dr. Sciara contextualized the work, describing the important role MPOs play as planning bodies that determine how much of the federal and state transportation funding gets spent. Dr. Sciara and Mr. Rahman explained MPOs’ governance structure, organized around a board of elected officials within their region who approve programs of projects for spending. Dr. Sciara and Mr. Rahman explained how some public transit operators have direct representation and voting power within the MPOs while others do not. Dr. Sciara and Mr. Rahman’s research is studying how the boards allocate “flexible funding” and whether MPO boards are more likely to use flexible funds for transit when a transit operator is a voting member of the MPO board. They found that overall states generally flex only small share of flexible funds to transit. Furthermore, a few states with substantial public transit systems—including California, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania–dominate in the area of flexible spending on public transit. Moving forward, they are examining whether boards with direct transit representation allocate more flexible spending for public transit.
We are excited to see how these researchers’ projects unfold and we will keep you informed on our website and social media!
Check the video of the presentation here.