The City of Jackson’s ONELINE project is our first step to address our urban mobility challenges.
It’s becoming evident that how we move around our cities is an indicator of our economic, education, and equity divide. Every day we get up and take various trips to fulfill our needs; we commute to work, school, run errands, attend events and so on.
What happens when you don’t own a private vehicle or can’t rely on a dependable transportation system?
The ONELINE project focuses on the central 20 square miles of Jackson, which holds Mississippi’s highest density of urban infrastructure, major institutions, residential population, and jobs. ONELINE is the first step to connect all of these things together, hence the name.
The mode of transportation we use for these trips impact our ability to fulfill our daily needs. Owning, driving and parking our own car remains central to our mobility experience, and not having multi-modal choices to get from A to B can significantly limit our access to institutions, opportunities, and experiences.
In Jackson, this has significantly impacted our economy, public health, and population density.
In a recent study, Jackson was named the 10th most dangerous city for pedestrians. In another study we see that the Jackson metro area has one of the highest concentrations of people that drive alone to work.
What is the connection here and how do we address our wide range of mobility issues?
In the ONELINE project’s 20 square miles, there are 8,000 people that work at UMMC and 20,000 people coming to work downtown every day. Most of these people commute to work the exact same way, using their privately owned automobile. Our car-oriented urbanism leaves marks on our roads with potholes and create highly trafficked highways that we struggle to maintain.
On January 22, 2019, the Mississippi Transportation Commission announced funding for 163 Emergency Road and Bridge Repair Fund (ERBRF) projects totaling $250 million. City and county governments received $213 million for projects on local roads. The Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) received $37 million for projects on the state highway network.
If that same kind of investment was considered for public transportation, multi-modal forms of transportation, and complete-street infrastructure, residents would see a significant shift in their quality of life.
According to the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), for every $1 invested in public transportation, approximately $4 in economic returns are generated; for every $1 billion in public transportation investment, 50,000 jobs are created; for every $10 million invested in operating public transportation operating, $32 million in business sales is generated. Home values performed 42% better when located near high-frequency public transit.
The City of Jackson’s recent grant from the Federal Transit Authority is the first step in developing our urban mobility system. The ONELINE project was awarded a $1 million grant for Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) Planning. This federal funding assists communities that are developing new mass transmit systems or expanding existing systems.
The funds from ONELINE will be used for the planning and development of the corridor, where we’ll redesign our streets to provide better public transportation and pedestrian-friendly infrastructure. We’ll also get professional consulting on how to address our storm-water infrastructure, and we’ll take steps to address our current zoning regulations in the corridor to include high density and affordable housing.
This comprehensive approach will allow the Department of Planning and Development to apply for future construction funding for the corridor.
One aspect of the ONELINE project that residents will be able to see develop in the near future is the redesign of our transit shelters. We have specifically called them “transit shelters” and not “bus shelters” to rethink what mobility means today.
By naming them “transit shelters” we are thinking of amenities that are linked to public transit that increases an individual’s likeliness to utilize urban mobility options. These amenities include bike and scooter stations, wifi, real-time map kiosk, and secure shelters that are universally accessible to all people. By striving to be more inclusive we hope that the residents of Jackson will utilize ONELINE on a daily basis to meet their mobility needs.
Salam Rida is an Urban Designer for the City of Jackson Department of Planning and Development. A Detroit native, Salam received her Master of Architecture degree from the University of Michigan Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning. In 2016, Salam and her partner Travis started an interdisciplinary design practice called Carbon Office and moved to Jackson for an entrepreneurial venture in 2017. Salam’s multidisciplinary approach to design intersects tactical urbanism, nutriment, environmental sustainability, and economic development.