Marilyn Sword, Interagency Working Group (IWG) Committee Chair, reported the progress of the IWG (Interagency Working Group) and Public Transportation Advisory Council (PTAC) to the Senate and House Transportation Committees on Feb. 16. She provided an update for legislators on activities that have taken place to improve mobility in Idaho the past year.
“In 2007 the IWG realized that we were going about things backwards,” said Sword. “With the leadership of the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD), we acknowledged that the end user is our customer, not the provider. When we realized that, it allowed us to turn the system on its head and take the planning and decision-making processes to the local level.”
Sword’s presentation explained that since the shift in 2007, both groups have been working tirelessly to change the way people in Idaho think about public transportation – and open minds to the concept of “mobility”.
“Communities have come together to address their unique needs around bike and walking paths, sidewalk improvement, park-and-ride areas, and increased bus service,” said Sword. “In a number of cases local coordination has eliminated duplication of services and new partnership opportunities have emerged.”
This grassroots movement has begun to pave the way for fulfilling the vision of a truly multi-modal system to connect virtually every corner of Idaho. Over the past year, the movement has brought to light the importance of having a name that people can identify with, having online tools available for providers, other mobility stakeholders, and the general public. The effort to improve mobility in Idaho, I-way, is being supported by the Community Transportation Association of Idaho (CTAI), in partnership with the IWG, PTAC, ITD, and local citizens.
Sword urged legislators to be involved in the process. “Legislators and community leaders are important players to improving mobility options for Idahoans. We encourage you to engage in the conversation and understand the needs and strategies that have been outlined in your part of the state.”