Business books and business classes at universities focus on the importance of providing value to external customers and clients. Without customer value there is no business. In the transportation planning context providing value means focusing on transportation systems that get people to work, appointments and play. Economists call transportation a “derived demand” meaning that people use transportation to accomplish a primary activity such as showing up to work. In that sense, the transportation system’s ability to provide value to citizens rests in part on the Roanoke Valley continuously improving as a livable and dynamic place to work, do business and enjoy life.
In a separate and complementary planning effort, the Partnership for a Livable Roanoke Valley contracted with Virginia Tech to perform a statistically valid telephone survey of 1,030 citizens of the greater region. “Economic development, job creation and keeping jobs in the area” was the top priority of survey respondents with 92% of the 1030 respondents rating this as a regional top priority. The Livable Roanoke Valley survey a good proxy for estimating what citizens and stakeholders in our region value. In our development of the next regional long-range transportation plan, this means planning for transportation facilities and systems that:
- promote economic development – such as freight facilities improve business logistics and supply chain connections or bicycle and pedestrian facilities that are valued by knowledge workers;
- promote job creation – such at public transit services that expand the available workforce for businesses by providing access to employees who may not have been available without the service; and,
- keep jobs in the area – such as passenger rail facilities and services that expand access to customers outside of the region.
In short, transportation planning should focus on the concept of “Ladders of Opportunity” for individuals to access employment and services.
The Livable Roanoke Valley will have a summit on June 25, 2014 to capstone the multi-year planning process. Please plan on attending, more information can be found here: http://rvarc.org/attend-the-livable-roanoke-valley-summit-on-june-25th/