Michigan Livable Communities Demonstration Project

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Current Transportation Solutions worked with Smart Growth America and a variety of local partners to develop mobility management strategies in Marquette County, the Grand Traverse region, and the Lansing Tri-County area. The Marquette project focused on Marquette’s city core and the goal of making transit an integral part of a mixed-use corridor linking downtown, the regional hospital, and other large employers with Northern Michigan University (NMU) and the surrounding neighborhoods. The Grand Traverse project focused on integration and collaboration between the region’s five transit agencies, with a focus on improving transportation service for commuters and tourists. The Lansing Tri-County project focused on developing coordination strategies to improve non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) and coordination with Medicaid.

These projects leveraged relationships and planning efforts that these communities and regions have built through grants received from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for regional sustainable communities planning. Current Transportation was contracted by Smart Growth America, which led this initiative in partnership with stakeholders in each region, and the three lead agencies of the Governor’s Economic Development Executive Group (the Department of Transportation, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation Executive and the Michigan State Housing Development Authority). Partners we worked with included the City of Marquette, Northwest Michigan Council of Governments, Tri-County Regional Planning Commission, nine transit agencies, Michigan Department of Transportation, and other stakeholders within human services, public transportation, and the private sector.

The project objectives were to:

  • Assess public transportation needs in each region, the extent to which each region’s transportation service providers are successfully meeting those needs, and potential opportunities for improving service to address unmet needs.
  • Identify best practice models for greater alignment and targeting of public transportation resources to support local and regional efforts to build stronger Michigan communities. 
  • Tailor recommended solutions for state and individual regions
  • Identify measureable performance outcomes for both transit services and institutional operations

Project reports are posted on the Smart Growth America website. These include final reports and supplements for Marquette, Traverse City, and Lansing, as well as a report on the state of the practice in Mobility Management, and a report summarizing all work conducted as part of this initiative.

For a small town and rural county this project has been a golden opportunity. We now have a clear path forward to improve transit services for the City of Marquette, something that without help would have otherwise taken years to accomplish. The help came at a time when our demographics, public preferences and public funding are changing. I’m sure other communities across Michigan are facing similar challenges, and these resources could really help.

-  Dave Stensaas, Marquette City Planner

The partnership between area transit providers, NWMCOG, MDOT, MSHDA and Smart Growth America helped us identify ways to better meet the mobility needs of our residents and further support our region’s economy. This program has helped us take the next step toward a coordinated regional transit network—a key goal of the Grand Vision, our region’s long-term plan.

- Matt Skeels, a Regional Planner with the Northwest Michigan Council of Governments.