Supporting community-driven transportation system transformation in Rochester, New York - and beyond
Like many American cities, Rochester offers easy commutes for drivers, while low-income households without cars suffer from poorer access to jobs and air quality. To achieve their climate, health, and equity goals, cities must establish new norms of sub-20-minute trips by foot, bike, transit, micro-mobility or, when necessary, electric vehicles. These transportation solutions can't be successful if imposed top-down with marginalized residents asked for too little input, too late. Our team will instead work in equal partnership with disadvantaged communities, offering facilitation, technical support, and business model development, to guide the planning and implementation of transformational clean mobility solutions.
Community-designed projects will draw on a menu of zero-emission technologies, supporting programs, and infrastructure, including:
- mobility hubs that pair zero-emission options with other amenities;
- placemaking that brings destinations within reach of mobility alternatives; and
- street redesign that prioritizes those alternatives.
Our team will track changes to access, emissions, and community-identified indicators.
Using a human-centric and equity-focused design process, the proposal team will produce Community Transportation Needs Assessments in four neighborhoods (i.e., EMMA-Beechwood; adjacent El Camino; and two as yet undetermined). These assessments will identify and prioritize current barriers to equitable clean mobility and draw on experiences from California's Clean Mobility Options program. Based on the information gathered in the assessments and working with the communities, the project team will provide education and technical assistance in developing and implementing targeted solutions, which may include:
- equitable expansion of existing Rochester electric mobility services like electric-bike/scooter/carshare;
- introduction of new zero-emission or shared use services like vanpools, school shuttles, or on-demand micro-transit;
- mobility hubs that pair zero-emission programs and infrastructure with other amenities designed to provide safe, seamless, accessible transportation options;
- placemaking that brings destinations within reach of mobility alternatives; and - street redesign that prioritizes those alternatives.
From planning through implementation, RMI, CALSTART, and Nelson\Nygaard will provide economic and spatial analysis, business plan development, budget facilitation, international best-practices, and other key technical support to:
- inform community decision-making;
- assess how solutions are meeting community needs, course correcting as needed; and
- develop clear pathways to sustain, replicate, and scale solutions in other disadvantaged neighborhoods.
The proposal team will track progress across a range of climate and equity dimensions (e.g., access, emissions) using a Mobility Equity Framework developed led by Nelson\Nygaard in close consultation with community-based organizations (CBOs). We will widely and systematically share the systems, tools, and lessons-learned throughout the project with cities and communities across the country - and beyond.