Not whether — just where, what, and when

This week RTA finished up “Day 3” of our annual planning retreat. We held a total of 4 in-person, small group “pods” at RTA Leadership Team member The Umstead Hotel and Spa, with around two dozen RTA members participating.

While each pod conversation had a different feel to it, one common theme emerged:

The Triangle region will to continue to grow, regardless of the pandemic and the economic downturn.

In fact, with the current situation facing our nation — and given our region’s spatial layout, economic underpinnings and inherent quality of life — our market is likely to grow even faster, and wider, as smart people look for smart places to live.

Where will we grow? From the stories and information people shared during the pods, it sounds like the answer is “everywhere” — both our core counties of Wake, Durham, and Orange, as well as nearby counties including Johnston, Franklin, Chatham, Harnett, Nash, Wilson, Alamance, and more.

The growth is accelerating, it is happening and will continue to happen in multiple locations, and what we will likely see is the emergence of a larger ring of prosperity and opportunity in central North Carolina.

Here was another point of common understanding among all pod groups:  while our growth will continue, when and how we travel — or what methods we take for commuting and commerce — will change, or more accurately, will continue to be different than they were prior to March 1st.

My sense is that this creates new opportunities, and requires new thinking and new priorities. We will need to take a careful look at new mobility opportunities to accelerate recovery for the entire, extended market. Getting 540 underway was essential in the past year; transforming many of our roadways into multimodal freeways and streets has become even more important, and urgent.

One last thought:  our retreat pod participants were in agreement that our themes for the coming year — equity, recovery, and opportunity — were the right themes, and that they were in the correct order. We will continue to expand upon those themes, and use those as a frame for our advocacy going forward.

Let’s get moving,


Joe Milazzo II, PE
RTA Executive Director

RTA is the voice of the regional business community on transportation


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