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How data-informed mobility solutions create more equitable communities

November 10, 2022

How can a small town accommodate 40% growth? Our Smart(ER) Mobility team used data and a people-first approach for a more equitable mobility future.

Held in conjunction with the in-person 2022 ITE Annual Meeting and Exhibition in New Orleans, Louisiana, the goal of the ITE Equitable SimCity Sandbox Design Competition was to plan and design a community in a post-pandemic world that balanced the elements of equitable design, considering size, population, demographics, and transit options for the community living in the neighborhood.

Planning for mobility means planning for equity and resilience. Using the Town of Matthews, North Carolina, as a case study, Stantec’s mobility experts created a data-driven plan accounting for residents with a range of incomes, educational backgrounds, races, ethnicities, and ages. The idea being that once a person makes Matthews their home, they should be able to stay for the rest of their lives and raise their families, assured that their community provides the opportunities they need to grow and prosper.

The Town of Matthews may have been the muse for the competition, but the challenges posed here are not unique. To make the insights relevant to other communities, the Stantec team approached the design challenge with adaptability in the foreground. Both land use and mobility recommendations can be adapted to fit communities of any size and makeup.

Communities across the globe struggle to accommodate growth and equitably distribute the burdens and benefits of development. For solutions to be transferable, they should be well-known in their application, simple in their design, and proven in their effectiveness. The mobility solutions outlined in the submission are rooted in introducing market dynamics to communities’ transportation networks. Creating a level playing field starts with infrastructure, and community residents need to have the option to choose their mode(s) of travel that most closely align with their resources and values.

By taking a people-first approach and responding to this challenge with Smart(ER) solutions backed by data (like that of our CDAT tool, powerful in its ability to assess how communities’ strategies will improve connectivity, accessibility, and promote greater equity), the team created a regional framework for cohesive growth that allows for adaptive, flexible implementation.

Congratulations to the authors of the submission: Stephen Oliver, Greg Rodriguez, Kate Jack, Dan Hemme, Amber Lewis, Nathan Arthur, Rory Weilnau, and Steven Reid.

Learn more about Smart(ER) Mobility at Stantec.

  • Stephen Oliver

    An urban planner, project manager, and public engagement specialist, Stephen promotes efficient movement in cities through the design of transit and multimodal projects.

    Contact Stephen
  • Kate Jack

    With a background in telecommunications, energy, and automated technology, Kate leads our global Smart(ER) Mobility team and advocates for the sustainability benefits mobility solutions can have on our environment and communities.

    Contact Kate
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