Mobility and Access Funder Collaborative
The Summit Foundation is playing a leadership role in convening funders for climate, health, equity and community around the banner of sustainable transportation.
The Mobility and Access Funder Collaborative, an initiative of The Funders’ Network, is now led by a core group of regional, place-based and national funders known as the Design Committee. They shape and guide the work plan and fund the effort. Members include the Houston Endowment, TransitCenter and the Barr, Bullitt, George Gund, Joyce and Summit foundations. The broader Collaborative now includes 110 funders who take part in our learning calls and webinars.
Our work plan for the next year is to:
Support local advocacy: The Design Committee understands that local advocacy is key to systems change in mobility. We are launching the Mobility Fund in August 2020 designed to support local advocacy groups. This grant program pairs national foundation funds with local foundation funds at a 1:1 match, to support community-based advocacy around mobility. The goal is to support the urgent need for safe, sustainable transportation as Americans travel in a pandemic. Due to the limited amount of funding at the time of launch, this initial round is invitation-only, but once the Mobility Fund is established the future rounds will be an open application process.
Engage in the development of federal policy: After being off the agenda for the last few years, federal policy has jumped back into view with the response to coronavirus. We are working with Transportation for America and others to help educate funders about opportunities to advance mobility goals in coronavirus packages and the reauthorization of the surface transportation bill (work that focuses on education, not lobbying). Local advocates will play a key role in watchdogging and directing federal funds to impactful projects as the money flows into states and regions.
Advancing quick builds to accelerate project implementation: Collaborative members are exploring how we can help local advocates advance projects using the tools of tactical urbanism to quickly build out networks of bike lanes and reallocate street space for transit. The pandemic has triggered a wave of tactical urbanism to reduce through traffic on neighborhood streets and repurpose travel lanes for biking and walking. The recovery path of transit is likely to be slow, so we will explore the idea of pairing temporary networks of bike lanes and pedestrian pathways to relieve pressure on transit for short trips on key corridors.
Advance big picture work on mobility choices: The Collaborative has been tracking the emerging efforts to develop 2030 goals for equitable and livable mobility, using vehicle miles travelled (VMT) as a metric. VMT reductions can translate directly into estimates of greenhouse gas emissions. New modeling work funded by Bloomberg’s American Cities Climate Challenge is showing the VMT reduction potential of specific policy interventions—like adding more bus service or implementing roadway pricing—allowing for the development of scenarios that show a credible path to significant VMT reduction to stand alongside efforts to electrify vehicles as a combined strategy to addressing transportation emissions.
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