Dear Friends and Neighbors,
One Columbus recently announced our new regional economic development vision: to be the most prosperous region in the United States. This is a bold vision signaling a unique, collaborative approach among civic and business leaders who believe economic growth should lead to prosperity for people – – a strategic value shared by COTA.
Under this vision, prosperity is defined as “the process by which more and more people in a region improve their economic and social well-being.” This theme is shared by leaders of our major non-profits and community institutions, who are similarly evaluating “how” and “why” concepts focused on prosperity-driven outcomes. It is a core discussion by COTA’s Board and leadership as well, who jointly articulated a philosophical belief and strategic commitment to prosperous lives for our region in our strategic plan.
COTA will increase our role and efforts in the community to ensure mobility components to prosperity are addressed. It is why we are aggressively launching COTA Plus pilots to fill mobility gaps in communities whose residents and businesses are facing first/last mile challenges; why we are at the table discussing how increased mass transit will support dense development along corridors; and why next month the GO! – A Mobility Lab by COTA will come online to serve as an accelerator for start-up mobility companies and new partnerships.
COTA, as the engine for accessibility and mobility solutions, is committed to being an extension of economic development. Businesses are attracted to regions with low congestion, clean air, accessible transportation options, and a high quality of life for their employees. All of these components are key to attracting and retaining top talent for our expanding employment base as well.
Prosperity is also directly tied to opportunity, another area COTA takes an ownership stake in. How do we provide opportunity? By ensuring the educational aspirations of our community are realized, and that accessibility is not a barrier to a degree. By building out our mobility system by focusing on social determinants of success such as affordable housing, closing food deserts and reducing poverty rates. By ensuring medical treatments and follow-up appointments are not cancelled because “I have no way of getting there.” By helping the aging-in-place population confidently move freely, providing safety and security to them and their families.
Join us as we build a mobility ecosystem that connects people to prosperity, and removes barriers to opportunity. We are up to the task, and look forward to delivering.
Joanna M. Pinkerton
2019 COTA Annual Meeting & Luncheon