Transportation Task Force Suggests Changes to Springfield

Sep 14, 2016

Credit Transportation Task Force

A new report suggests a number of short and long-term solutions to Springfield’s transportation issues faced by its under-resourced citizens.

The study comes from the Transportation Task Force. The group was created as an extension of the Impacting Poverty Commission, which is working on several initiatives to reduce poverty in the Springfield-Greene County area.

Irwin Cohen is the chair for the Transportation Task Force.

“It was asked for by the poverty commission to try to help the under resourced find ways of navigating Springfield.”

The Task Force created two goal categories, Legislative Priorities and Transportation Champion, noting there’s no “silver bullet” to fix all the transportation problems in the region.

The Legislative Priorities included increasing state funding for public transit, permitting school bus use for public transportation, and allowing transportation network companies to work in the city. As for the Transportation Champion, that goal primarily focuses on finding a leader who will create a sense of urgency, build momentum, and work through politics to create a sustainable method for public transportation.

“By providing a champion, the champion can hopefully solicit the help of the city, the state, and make strides in increasing the public transportation within Springfield and within the State of Missouri.”

There are numerous short-term goals as well in this report to create change in Springfield public transportation. That includes creation of a Transportation Reimbursement and Information Program (TRIP).

Cohen said that this is a “very unique” program, one in which TRIP passengers recruit their own drivers, usually someone they know. Once both the passenger and driver settle the specifics of the trip, they will provide documentation and give it to a sponsor. The passenger will get reimbursement from the sponsor, and give it to the driver as a form of payment.

“I really believe it’s a win-win situation for everybody” says Cohen.

Other suggested changes include implementing a bicycle program within the city, developing intra-city carpool programs, establishing an MSU shuttle service at the new transit station, and improving city infrastructure.

The long-term goals incorporate more broad ideas. These include identifying additional funding to increase transit frequency, developing a land use plan, improving transit bus frequency, and changing the overall attitude towards the culture of transportation.

Cohen’s experience in public transit includes with the New York City Transit Authority.

“I’ve seen the value of public transportation and what it can do for a city, and I would certainly like to bring that here to Springfield.”

View the full Transportation Task Force report here.