New Layer of Equity Analysis Considered for Regional Planning in Northeast Ohio

The Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency (NOACA) is considering a new policy that will add considerations about regional economic inequities when evaluating potential highway projects.

July 27, 2020, 6:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

Cleveland i-80

Kenneth Sponsler / Shutterstock

"Recognizing that highways reward some areas and penalize others, [Northeast Ohio’s] top transportation planning agency is drafting a policy to quantify whether adding new interchanges to the system would exacerbate historical patterns of inequity," reports Steven Litt.

The Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency (NOACA) is federally mandated to oversee transportation planning for the region that includes Cuyahoga, Lake, Geauga, Lorain and Medina counties.

"By developing the new policy, NOACA aims to look beyond a traditionally narrow focus on safety and mitigation of traffic congestion to consider broader impacts on regional economic development patterns, transit, and environmental sustainability," according to Litt.

"Criteria under consideration, and reviewed in the most recent meeting of NOACA’s policy committee on July 10, include whether a new interchange would facilitate redevelopment of 'declining and abandoned areas,‘' or encourage transit-oriented development in areas with higher densities of population." NOACA is expected to make a decision about the new policy by December. If approved, the new policy would immediately apply to eight projects in the planning pipeline.

An earlier article by Litt details NOACA's work on eNEO2050, a 20-year vision for the region that promised to focus on social equity, particularly for households without cars. That plan is expected for completion in 2021.

Friday, July 24, 2020 in The Plain Dealer

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