LinkUS seeks to provide a complete mobility system along key regional corridors, including high capacity and advanced rapid transit, technology solutions, bicycle and pedestrian improvements, and land use changes. The initiative is a response to the challenges facing a growing region, including managing traffic congestion, ensuring equitable access to jobs and housing, promoting economic vitality, and improved sustainability. It builds on numerous previous regional planning efforts, including COTA’s NextGen plan and the MORPC Insight 2050 Corridor Concepts study. Ongoing collaboration with other growth management efforts will be essential to its success.
LinkUS is the mobility corridors initiative for Central Ohio
Why is this work so important?
The region must plan for growth
Central Ohio is expected to grow to a region of three million by 2050. Providing people with more ways to get where they need to go is necessary to attract and retain business growth, to promote sustainability, and ensure quality of life for Columbus residents.
Innovative solutions are needed
Strategies for high capacity transit, enhanced bicycle and pedestrian connections, and new technology will be foundations for the initiative. It will combine technical analysis with local knowledge to find ways to make transportation more efficient and to support community needs. These solutions will lead to direct action.
Opportunity and equity are top priorities
All who use, live by, or work near our region's mobility corridors should stand to benefit. Of paramount importance will be how to leverage the initiative to make affordable housing, employment, education and healthcare more accessible to a greater number of people, especially those in greatest need.
This initiative will help make the region more sustainable
LinkUS recognizes the important connection between our growth patterns and transportation systems. Combining more walkable and transit-oriented development with enhanced mobility options will allow for a more efficient use of land and infrastructure and greater returns on our public investments.
How will we succeed?
Collaboration is essential to success
LinkUS is a partnership co-sponsored by the Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA), Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC), and the City of Columbus. As individual corridor implementation efforts proceed, many other jurisdictions will play an important role. Multiple public and private partnerships will be needed to successfully achieve the goals of LinkUS.
Community input is critical
Stakeholder and public engagement are central to this process. At important moments, the public will be invited to provide input to help ensure solutions address their needs. A variety of forums (including in person, virtual and other creative outlets) will be used to make participation a choice for all who care about the future of Central Ohio's mobility corridors.
Neighborhoods will be respected and enhanced
The physical environment of surrounding communities should benefit from any changes that derive from the initiative. Actions taken must contribute positively to high quality places along the corridors, while helping to improve the conditions in places that are more challenged.
Each corridor initiative is part of a broader strategy
LinkUS is a strategy to develop an interconnected system of mobility corridors with coordinated growth patterns. This is truly an instance where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. While each corridor will have its own implementation process and will likely be developed at different times, they must be viewed as part of a long-term regional system to benefit Central Ohio’s vitality and livability.
What led to this work?
Central Ohio has engaged in a number of regional studies and initiatives to identify strategies to manage anticipated growth. All contemplate the advancement of high-capacity transit. These efforts have been building towards the creation of a regional corridor system, with the Insight 2050 Corridor Concepts Study being the prime catalyst. The LinkUS initiative is the next step in advancing these efforts through a coordinated implementation program. This means that the emerging technical work is about taking action and making real change that benefits peoples’ everyday lives.
Led by the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC) and in partnership with member communities and other agencies, this effort considered various alternative growth patterns for the region. The outcome was a focused growth strategy that aimed to balance and accommodate growth in a cost-effective, efficient, and sustainable manner.
The Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) undertook the NextGen planning process to consider and evaluate 26 potential transit corridors. These were narrowed down to 14 corridors, which were studied more closely using themes of connectivity, equity, building on current successes, and sustainability.
Insight2050 Corridor Concepts built on the NextGen work by taking a more detailed look at five specific corridors. The goal was to provide a demonstration of how more transportation choice and strategic development along each corridor could create more efficient and affordable options for working, commuting and living in the region.
The Corridor Concepts Study Report builds from findings in Insight2050 by focusing on new tools and modeling capacity for decisions about where and how to grow, where to invest transit resources and how to balance community goals. The report measures the impact of varying approaches of planning with the expected growth. Additionally, the report provides an implementation toolkit and identifies strategies on how the region can advance transit development to best serve the community.