A neighbor from Atlanta region shares insights on planning in uncertain times

August 2017 – On June 1 and 2, Plan Hillsborough was delighted to host John Orr, manager of the transportation and mobility division of the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC). Over his two-day visit, Mr. Orr addressed the Tampa Bay Transportation Management Area Leadership Group, the Florida MPO Advisory Council – whose quarterly meeting of MPO directors was hosted by Hillsborough MPO in June – and a casual gathering of Future Leaders in Planning students and local professionals at the Planning Commission’s Info BBQ (Brown Bag Quarterly). 

John shared the Atlanta Regional Commission’s recent work in thinking through how current trends could interact with each other to create unexpected outcomes. For example, will the aging of the population, as the Baby Boomers retire, speed or slow the adoption of automated vehicle technology? Will senior citizens be skeptical of self-driving cars, or will they embrace them as a way to maintain their independence? Will automated vehicle technology steal customers from conventional transit systems, or will expanding on-demand services actually increase confidence in getting around without a car?

The Atlanta Regional Commission also created an interactive game to let citizens explore these “drivers of change” on their own, and weigh in on the likelihood of four “what-if” scenarios that explore futures focused on technology, environmental sensitivity, and other issues.

ARC serves as the MPO for twenty counties’ transportation planning, and also is responsible for planning for workforce development, aging services, emergency management, water supply resources, and livable communities across the region.

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