Regional leaders discuss Advanced Air Mobility impacts and opportunities

Kansas City is known as the Paris of the Plains, but one day that could change to Paris of the Planes. This month, MARC invited regional stakeholders to hear from Brandon Naylor, legislative director for Rep. Sharice Davids, on the opportunities and impacts Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) may present for the Kansas City region.

This discussion occurred after legislation, co-sponsored by Rep. Davids, was passed by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to establish an interagency working group to more effectively engage and coordinate with industry in the AAM sector. Senator Jerry Moran co-sponsored the Senate version of the legislation that was passed by the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.

Participating stakeholders included representatives of regional jurisdictions, departments of transportation, chambers of commerce, universities and others.

Participants heard legislative updates from Mr. Naylor and discussed regional information, opportunities, or concerns, such as potential transportation, economic or environmental impacts.

What is Advanced Air Mobility?

Emerging technologies in vehicle electrification, connectivity and autonomy are impacting all aspects of the transportation industry. One of the newest developments is the emergence of Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) in the aviation industry. AAM is defined by NASA as “an air transportation system that moves people and cargo between places previously not served or underserved by aviation – local, regional, intraregional, urban – using revolutionary new aircraft that are only just now becoming possible.”

Learn more about AAM from NASA

Share your thoughts on proposed projects for regional long-range plan

Earlier this summer, MARC solicited a call for new and updated projects for consideration in Connected KC 2050, the Kansas City region’s metropolitan transportation plan. This was not an application for specific funding. However, inclusion in the plan helps the region understand local agency priorities and can also be a step in the process to secure future federal funding.

A total of 14 agencies submitted 30 new projects for consideration of inclusion the Connected KC 2050 plan. These are undergoing review by staff and MARC stakeholder technical and policy committees. In the meantime, information submitted in support of each one of these projects is available for public review and comment.

In our role as metropolitan planning organization for Greater Kansas City, MARC maintains Connected KC 2050. This plan establishes regional priorities for future transportation strategies and investments and guides how federal transportation funds are used in our area.

Under current federal planning regulations, the plan must include a financially constrained set of project priorities. The current listing of Connected KC 2050 projects, formally approved in June of 2020, originates from a call for projects conducted in early 2019. Amendments are made to this plan as new projects, funding or programs arise.

The intent of the call for new and updated projects was to:

  • Identify any potential regionally significant new projects not currently included in Connected KC 2050.
  • Provide an opportunity to update project cost information or consider other changes to existing project listings. 

Please reach out to Martin Rivarola at mrivarola@marc.org with any questions or comments about this process.

Share your thoughts on the regional transportation planning process

MARC is the metropolitan planning organization (MPO) for the bistate Kansas City region. Federal statutes require urban areas with more than 50,000 people designate an MPO to receive federal highway or transit funds.

As your MPO, MARC works with federal and local governments, state departments of transportation, transit agencies, area stakeholders and the public to ensure that transportation plans and projects help move the region toward achieving the goals outlined in our current long-range transportation plan — Connected KC 2050.

Every four years, the U.S. Department of Transportation reviews our processes to make sure they adhere to federal statutes and regulations. As part of this certification review process, we’d like to hear what you think about our transportation planning process.

Please take this short survey to share your feedback.

FHWA and FTA host virtual public meeting

In addition to the survey, you are invited to attend a virtual public meeting hosted by FHWA and FTA on Tuesday, Aug. 17 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. where you can share your thoughts on the transportation planning process.

Join the virtual meeting

If you can’t access the meeting at the link above, you can use the audio-only call-in number: 1-509-931-1572. The access code is 760784795. If you are unable to attend the public meeting or wish to provide comments directly, please contact Darla Hugaboom, FHWA – Iowa Division, at (515) 233-7305 or Eva Steinman, FTA- Region VII, at (816) 329-3931. Public comments will be collected through Aug. 19, 2021.

Our transportation planning process

Transportation planning is the process of identifying transportation problems and looking for solutions to those problems. We provide a forum for our stakeholders and the public to come together and ensure that the plans and projects developed — and funded through federal and state dollars — help achieve a rising quality of life for everyone.

MARC’s transportation planning work includes:

  • Evaluating the impact of development and land-use patterns on the region’s transportation system.
  • Working with committees to establish funding priorities and strategies for managing the region’s transportation system.
  • Developing plans for long- and short-term transportation investments.
  • Guiding state and federal transportation dollars to projects that meet regional and local goals.
  • Coordinating technical and policy studies.
  • Promoting transportation choices through supporting public transit, bicycle and pedestrian travel, carpooling and vanpooling.

Please take this short survey to share your feedback.

Celebrate Bike Month with a fun, friendly challenge

Calling all bike riders, walkers and rollers! Join us in celebrating Bike Month this May for our first-ever Bike Month Challenge.

RideshareKC usually celebrates the warm weather with their award-winning Green Commute Challenge. But this spring, they’ll be doing things a little bit differently. You can win fun prizes all month long by logging any bike, walk, or wheelchair trips on the Rideshare KC website.

Joining the challenge is easy!

  1. Visit RideshareKC.org, and sign in or create an account.
  2. Click the Challenges icon on the left menu.
  3. Join the Bike Month Challenge

Prize drawings will be hosted each week with gifts from local KC businesses like Charlie Hustle, SOAP, Made in KC, RAYGUN and more. And at the end of the month, a grand prize will go to the cyclist, walker or roller who logged the most trips.

Get ready to get active and hit the road for the inaugural Bike Month Challenge this May! If you have questions, please reach out to Natalie Phillips at nphillips@marc.org.

Good luck and happy Bike Month!

New site offers information on creating sustainable communities

The newly adopted Kansas City Regional Climate Action Plan aims to transform the metropolitan area into a more resilient, equitable and healthy community. The plan builds from a long track record of success along with shared communitywide goals to create stronger, healthier, more vibrant communities.

To help move toward these goals, MARC created a Sustainable Land Use Resource website that describes sustainability principles and concepts and explores the interrelatedness between those ideas.

Sustainability principles are simple, broad concepts that describe characteristics of a sustainable community. Each principle corresponds to several sustainability concepts, which represent more specific means of achieving the principles.

The seven sustainability principles are:

  • Corridors and Activity Centers — Vibrant corridors and activity centers with housing, employment, and commercial development, improve development opportunities, increase lifestyle choices and allow for efficient public and private investments.
  • Design for Healthier Lifestyles — Places designed for active lifestyles with access to healthy foods can improve the health of residents, reduce health care costs, and contribute to vibrant neighborhoods.
  • Housing Choice — Housing choices for all ages, lifestyles and income levels help support diverse communities and a healthy housing industry.
  • Reinvestment — Reinvesting in existing communities and neighborhoods ensures they remain or become vibrant, connected, green places.
  • Resource Conservation and Energy Efficiency — Sustainable places conserve resources for future generations while simultaneously reducing costs and increasing economic and fiscal efficiency.
  • Transportation Choices — Varied transportation options help reduce family travel costs, reduce air pollution, and connect families to jobs and services.
  • Unique Community Characteristics — Distinctive communities and historical, cultural and natural assets increase the vibrancy of a region and contribute to its overall economic health.

This site revives some content from a previous MARC website, the Sustainable Code Framework. While the new site currently only includes principles and concepts, MARC plans to expand the content into a more expansive land use resource that offers practical applications of the principles and concepts.

View the Sustainable Land Use Resource site