New Oregon Public Transportation Plan highlights Equity, Health & Environment

Thursday, October 11, 2018

The Oregon Transportation Commission adopted the new Oregon Public Transportation Plan (OPTP) on September 20, 2018. This is the first update to the OPTP since 1997. The OPTP provides a statewide vision for the public transportation system and establishes a policy foundation to assist transportation agencies in making planning and investment decisions.

New OPTP Vision Statement: "In 2045, public transportation is an integral, interconnected component of Oregon’s transportation system that makes Oregon’s diverse cities, towns, and communities work. Because public transportation is convenient, affordable, and efficient, it helps further the state’s quality of life and economic vitality and contributes to the health and safety of all residents, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Since 2016, ODOT has been convening open houses and meeting with stakeholders and members of the public, to help shape the updated Plan. Earlier this summer, the Safe Routes Partnership submitted a comment letter asking for several changes to the Plan. We’re excited to share several updates since the last draft that address our concerns. A few key changes to celebrate:

  • In Goal 4: Equity, we suggested that the Plan call on transit agencies to include communities who have been marginalized and disadvantaged, in leadership roles and advisory committees. Policy 4.1 has been updated to support inclusion of disadvantaged populations on project committees and other roles.
  • In Goal 4: Equity, we asked for a discussion on housing, gentrification and displacement when identifying disparities, barriers, and needs that impact people’s ability to access and use public transportation. Policy 4.3 has been updated to include housing affordability as a disparity.
  • In Goal 5: Health, we pushed for strengthened transit access to parks and nature, which is now reflected in Policy 5.1.

While we're pleased to see these important changes, we would have liked to see concrete steps that agencies can take to meet low-fare needs of youth and low-income communities. We had also suggested the OPTP incorporate language to facilitate the state working more closely with ODE and Pupil Transportation to address student needs, but this was not included. 

A final draft of the new OPTP is available online for your review. What do you think about the new vision and plan?

 

Related files:

-          Review our earlier coverage of the Oregon Public Transportation Plan Update, including our full comment letter.

-          Link to Final Oregon Public Transportation Plan

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