Since this past July, The State and Local Policy Program, in conjunction with Humphrey institute Professor Yingling Fan and Center for Transportation Studies Assistant Director for Education and Outreach Gina Baas, have been working on study evaluating the cost and ease of implementing a variety of options for people to travel within and outside Itasca County, Minnesota.
The county presents a challenge to transportation planners, as it is the 3rd largest in the state by land area, but one of the smallest in terms of population. To gain an understanding of the key transportation needs, we held a series of focus groups, listening sessions, and one-on-one interviews, and developed a number of recommendations that fall into five functional categories:
• Policy and Administrative changes
• Communications, Education and Outreach changes
• Opportunities for Coordination and Cooperation
• Operations, Maintenance and/or Service Improvements
• Cost Sharing or Saving Opportunities
Substantively, the recommendations range from bike routes and use of public transportation, to raising awareness of bus service linking Itasca County to Duluth and launching an online carpool service.
The study was funded by the Blandin Foundation, which is seeking comments on these draft recommendations. The draft recommendations and a comment form can be found on the Foundation's web site
We plan to finalize our study and recommendations in December, but welcome comments in the meantime.