Come Together, Right Now, Over… Data

In a recent editorial for The Baltimore SunNicholas Finio and Casey Dawkins of the University of Maryland’s National Center for Smart Growth take this election season opportunity to opine on an issue at the forefront of transportation wonks’ minds since the beginning of the current gubernatorial term: regional transportation planning.

Not surprisingly, they do not believe we are where we need to be. They point to lack of multi-jurisdictional government collaboration, or political consensus, as the culprit of worsening traffic congestion and inequitable access to jobs, education and housing.

The Center for Smart Growth participated in the “Opportunity Collaborative” three years ago, which was a consortium of local governments, state agencies, universities, businesses, non-profits, and others that banded together to develop a plan to connect housing, transportation, and workforce plans for the greater Baltimore region. Together, they developed the Regional Plan for Sustainable Development (RPSD).


From the op-ed: 

The goal of the planning effort was to develop coordinated strategies to address the growing economic and social disparities that pose a challenge to the long-term sustainability and health of the greater Baltimore region.  …

The RPSD planning process showed the strength of local networks in addressing issues like housing, transit and equity, but the experience after the plan highlighted the region’s main gap: the lack of coordination among local governments. …

The main obstacle to implementation of policy choices suggested by the RPSD is a lack of political buy-in.

To address these concerns, the University of Maryland National Center for Smart Growth collaborated with the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) to mine underutilized data for presentation to local governments, to guide economic development and transportation planning decisions. By presenting the “dark data” resources available from various state and federal agencies and showing how these can be used to provide insights on policy questions at the local level, the team hopes to make the case for better intergovernmental communication and cooperation – stressing the opportunities realized between partners.

MDOT’s Cory Stottlemyer, Senior Policy Analyst, for the Office of Planning & Capital Programming plans to present on these points on the MACo Summer Conference panel, Still Waters Run Deep: Dive Into Your Dark Data Potential.

He will be joined by Benjamin Birge, CountyStat Manager, Office of the County Executive, Prince George’s County, who will show how counties are currently using data sets to guide their plans.

Regional Policy Advisors President Gary Hodge, former Executive Director of the Tri-County Council for Southern Maryland and Charles County Commissioner, will weigh in on the theme: is data the master, or the servant, of policy?

The presentation takes place on Wednesday, August 15, 2018, from 3:15 pm – 4:15 pm. The Honorable Jeff Ghrist of the Maryland House of Delegates moderates the session.

The Conference will be held August 15-18 at the Roland Powell Convention Center in Ocean City, Maryland. This year’s theme is “Water, Water Everywhere.”

Learn more about MACo’s Summer Conference: