Member briefing: July 2, 2021

Here is a brief weekly update from the RTA business coalition – the voice of the regional business community on transportation.

RTA member survey results
Thank you to the more than 40 members that responded to last week’s member briefing survey. With results received from all membership levels, we received a great snapshot of our members’ views as of late June 2021. Some examples:  more than 50% of respondents characterize commuter rail as an “essential transit service for the region –  build it ASAP”, with more than 25% of our respondents stating that their workforce was likely to use it for work or other purposes; an additional 25% of respondents noted that they were concerned about the costs and/or potential ridership to justify the investment.

About 2/3 of our respondents said that they expect most of their associates to be back in the office most/all days by the end of the year, while 1/3 of respondents said they are in a hybrid or remote work environment and expect that to continue until early 2022. As evidence of the “post-pandemic” nature of our current life, more than 2/3 of respondents said work/office/hybrid (etc.) issues are not currently significantly impacting the importance of transportation, congestion, transit options for their company. Around half of our respondents stated that they would be open to participating in a focus group as a follow-up; we will be reaching out directly in the next two weeks.

Commuter rail mobility, connectivity, and housing affordability
This region is actively studying the potential for regional commuter rail in the existing North Carolina Railroad Company corridor through Durham, Raleigh, Clayton, and points in between. Our partners at GoTriangle and the NC Railroad company both longtime members of the RTA Regional Leadership Team are focused on the opportunity for activating commuter rail this decade; an opportunity made possible by the successful local transit referenda in our core counties. RTA supports commuter rail for our growing market, we support the ongoing study of the corridor, and we look forward to supporting the recommendations when they are released later this year or in early 2022. More in this week’s blog.

On behalf of the Regional Transportation Alliance business coalition, I wish everyone a happy Independence Day. Together with the Juneteenth celebrations from two weeks ago, America’s 16-day celebration of freedom for all continues this weekend. Let’s celebrate where we have come, and let’s prepare for the ongoing journey ahead together.

Let’s get moving,

Joe Milazzo II, PE
RTA Executive Director

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