With an eye to bringing affordable, reliable internet access throughout a 10-county region, including Indiana, the Southwestern Pennsylvania Connected initiative is asking community members to take a brief survey online or by phone to provide information about their current internet access and experience.

The initiative said eligible participants can win a $50 Visa gift card for completing the survey.

SWPA Connected is a regional consortium that includes the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission, Carnegie Mellon University, Allies for Children, and a diverse group of regional partners to develop an equitable Connectivity Improvement Plan to provide affordable, reliable broadband internet access across the region.

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President Joe Biden’s signature on the $1.2 trillion infrastructure act will put money in a pipeline that will help communities across Western Pennsylvania in dealing with needs that have been building for years.

“This is the biggest investment that the federal government has made in infrastructure in over half a century. So some of us haven’t seen anything like this investment that we’re going to see in the coming years,” Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald told Pittsburgh’s Action News 4. “Number one, it’s going to put a lot of people to work over the next couple of years as these projects get built out. But the other thing, when it’s all done, it’s going to improve transportation and access and broadband, not just for Allegheny County but for the entire region.”

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The Southwestern Pennsylvania (SWPA) Connected initiative is asking community members to take a brief survey online or by phone to provide information about their current internet access and experience.

Eligible participants can win a $50 Visa gift card for completing the survey.

SWPA Connected is a regional consortium that includes the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission (SPC), Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), Allies for Children, and a diverse group of regional partners to develop an equitable Connectivity Improvement Plan to provide affordable, reliable broadband internet access across the region. This initiative is not affiliated with any internet provider and is not intended to sell any internet services. Rather, it seeks to guide the region’s future internet investments that can be made now that the historic infrastructure bill has passed, which includes $65 billion for broadband.

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National Roundabouts Week

The Federal Highway Administration is celebrating National Roundabouts Week this week!

Did you know that roundabouts can improve safety and mobility?

Learn more at safety.fhwa.dot.gov/NRW/ !

There are over 7000 completed roundabouts in the US with 72 in Pennsylvania and 15 in the SPC region. More are being planned. SPC is currently working on a Regional Roundabout Screening Study to help identify more candidate locations for roundabouts.

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The Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement (CMAQ) Program provides funds for transportation projects and programs that will contribute to attainment or maintenance of the national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) for ozone, carbon monoxide (CO), and particulate matter (PM).

The CMAQ program supports two important goals of the federal Department of Transportation: improving air quality and relieving congestion. These goals were strengthened in provisions added to the CMAQ Program by the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP‑21; Pub. L. 112-141) and continued in the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act; Pub. L. 114-94). These provisions emphasize cost-effective emission reduction and congestion mitigation activities when using CMAQ funding.

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SPC has developed a series of online mapping tools to assess the regional broadband-related coverage, speeds, resources, gaps and needs in relation to the region’s demographic and socioeconomic conditions. It also examines connectivity and resources in relation to the region’s businesses, and educational and medical facilities.

These tools will be used as a baseline to further build upon SPC’s Strategic Plan of developing a Connectivity Roadmap (SWPA Connected) for the 10-county SWPA region. This future strategic plan will examine the current and true state of the region’s broadband connectivity in relation to the region’s demographic and socioeconomic composition. It will deploy connectivity programs and projects to enable the region’s communities that lack adequate high-speed internet access to be better connected to jobs, education, and health care.

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SPC and PennDOT staff are hosting a virtual workshop to assist local sponsors in the SPC region in understanding their roles, responsibilities, and requirements in delivering a transportation project.

If you are considering applying to any programs in the future, this workshop will introduce you to funding programs and the regulatory requirements sponsors must meet to use federal or state transportation funds. This workshop will provide details regarding the SPC Transportation Alternatives Set-Aside (TA) Program and the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program (CMAQ), both of which have open/upcoming application periods.

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With SmartMoves Connections, SPC presents a new approach to regional transit planning—one based on locating the Transit Supportive Land Uses already present in our region. Using a Machine Learning analysis of aerial photography and travel data, SmartMoves Connections maps the clusters of land with multimodal potential. These are put into six categories where Multimodal Hubs and Multimodal Corridors could be good mobility options.

A Multimodal Hub is a facility where mobility services can connect together—such as Park-and-Ride, bike lockers, scooter-share or paratransit—along with public transit service. These Hubs allow seamless connections between the parts of a person’s trip and enable new kinds of trips, even across county borders or on multiple transit services.

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2020 was a challenging year for everyone, and SPC was no exception. But still, In the midst of collective uncertainly, bright spots surfaced. This short video showcases the both the obstacles we faced and the successes that SPC delivered in transportation planning, economic development and small business assistance, GIS, communications and finance. From assisting several small businesses with crucial grants and loans, to developing the TIP virtually, and helping our partners move forward, we delivered.

the countermove – spc 2020 annual report

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As of Monday June 28th, the 2021 SPC Transportation Alternatives Funding Program is open to qualified applicants. The Transportation Alternatives Set-Aside (TA) Program provides funding for programs and projects defined as transportation alternatives, including on- and off-road pedestrian and bicycle facilities; infrastructure projects for improving non-driver access to public transportation and enhanced mobility; environmental mitigation; recreational trail program projects; and, safe routes to school projects. The SPC region receives a yearly sub-allocation of approximately $1.8 million to award to eligible projects.

Prospective project sponsors should submit a short pre-application by August 16, 2021. The full application will be due on October 15, 2021. The SPC TA program pre-application, application, and program guidance (which includes submission instructions) is available on the SPC website at https://www.spcregion.org/funding-programs/ . The site also includes a link to the concurrent but separate PennDOT administered statewide TA program. Any questions can be directed to Lillian Gabreski at lgabreski@spcregion.org.