2015 AMPO Award Winners

National Award for Outstanding Overall Achievement for a TMA MPO

The Award for Outstanding Overall Achievement for a TMA MPO was awarded to the Metropolitan Transportation Commission located in the San Francisco Bay area for its One Bay Area Grant (OBAG) Program and The Bay Area Transit-Oriented Affordable Housing (TOAH) Fund.

MTC’s long list of accomplishments speak to their commitment and skill to able to address the Bay area’s continued growth and sustainability requirements by incentivizing housing production and fostering infill-type development, while at the same time funding transportation improvements.

Hands-on coordination skills drive MTC’s notable accomplishments and serve as a hallmark of the four-year, $327 million One Bay Area Grant Program. Funded primarily by flexible federal funds, OBAG grants are allocated to jurisdictions through a formula based on population, past housing production, and future housing commitments, with weight given to efforts to produce low-income housing. MTC works with county congestion management agencies who are responsible for local project solicitation, evaluation, and selection.

The housing-transportation link is further strengthened with the Bay Area Transit-Oriented Affordable Housing Fund, made possible through a $10 million anchor commitment from the MTC. A notable beneficiary of TOAH funding is the Eddy & Taylor Family Housing project, in San Francisco. The project site, formerly a parking lot, is now a 14-story high rise that provides 153 studios, one-, two-, and three-bedroom housing units for low-income households. The project not only provides affordable housing but also ground-floor retail space planned to attract a grocery store to this underserved community. The site is located just two blocks from the Powell Street BART station, a major transit hub.

Outstanding Overall Achievement for a non-TMA MPO

The Award for Outstanding Overall Achievement for a non-TMA MPO was awarded to the Indian River County Metropolitan Planning Organization for several notable initiatives in the areas of performance measurement and monitoring, public outreach, travel demand modeling, transit planning and performance, and perhaps most notably, bicycle and pedestrian safety.

Whether it’s developing innovative tools such as a Transit Cost and Service Effectiveness indicator that reconciles system utilization with system efficiency and is scalable to all systems or a GIS-Based Land Use Model to populate travel demand forecast model with accurate date, Vacant Land Development Assessment Tool, Indian River County continues to be at the forefront of the planning field.

In 2015, Indian River County was designated the only Bicycle Friendly County in the State of Florida by the League of American Bicyclists.  This designation came about as a result of important public outreach efforts, such as MPO staff training 13,931 children at hands-on bicycle safety and distributing over 5,000 bicycle helmets at 100 events. Additionally, critical partnership efforts occurred between the MPO and local cycling groups.

In 2014 and 2015, MPO staff undertook the Gifford Community Neighborhood Plan and facilitated Community Workshops in the Gifford neighborhood, a historically low-income and transportation disadvantaged community. The MPO successfully wrote grant applications totaling approximately $2 Million for the Martin Luther King Boulevard complete street redevelopment and MLK Historic Trail construction.   Indian River County spearheaded design and implementation of improvements currently under construction and the project is scheduled for opening at the Martin Luther King parade in January of 2016.

As a result of Indian River County’s efforts, they have achieved the lowest bicycle/pedestrian crash and fatality rates in South Florida. We applaud Indian River County’s implementation of these complex projects and their exemplary coordination between state, regional, and local partners.

Outstanding Elected Official Leadership

Angela Connolly won the Award for Outstanding Elected Official Leadership. Angela is actively involved in important planning initiatives for the Greater Des Moines area. Angela has been a highly visible elected official since her election in 1998 as a Polk County Supervisor and serves on the Executive and Policy Committees of the Des Moines Area Metropolitan Planning Organization. Angela has played an integral role in the development and implementation of three of the most significant planning efforts in the entire region by serving as Co-chair of The Tomorrow Plan, a long-range, government-driven plan for the sustainable development of the Greater Des Moines metropolitan region over the next 40 years and winner of the 2013 Daniel Burnham Award for a Comprehensive Plan; serving as a Tri-chair of Capital Crossroads, business-driven plan for improving the central Iowa region, including a 50-mile radius around the State Capitol, over the next five years; and serving as a Commissioner of DART Forward 2035 Transit Services Plan, an ambitious long-range plan for improving the transit service provided by the Des Moines Area Regional Transit Authority (DART).

The Ronald F. Kirby National Award for Outstanding Individual Leadership

The Outstanding Individual Leadership award is given to professionals that can be counted on to continue Ron Kirby’s legacy in his tradition of professionalism and commitment to excellence.  Todd Ashby from the Des Moines Area MPO, exemplifies the characteristics this award represents – innovation, implementation, coordination, and overall impact on the profession.

Todd is a trusted member of several professional organizations and a long-time member and current Board Member of AMPO.

Mr. Ashby brings two decades of transportation planning, design, and programming experience to the Greater Des Moines region. He is currently guiding the effort to open the Transload Facility, which will serve businesses within an estimated 150-mile radius of Greater Des Moines by connecting the trucking network to the rail network. The Transload Facility will improve the region’s freight capacity, add rail options for existing businesses, help attract new industries and economic development, and significantly lower importing and exporting costs for industries doing business in central Iowa. Mr. Ashby has been an early and steady champion of the project. Besides playing the critical, early role of recognizing the potential for a Transload Facility, he exhibited the leadership to see that possibility through to an actionable plan that is being actively implemented.

Under his guidance, the MPO successfully sought grant funding from the Iowa Department of Transportation to conduct a Rail Market Analysis, followed by a Des Moines Rail Transload Feasibility Study. Though these planning processes, Mr. Ashby effectively assembled the team of stakeholders needed to execute this complex project and identified the action steps to make the vision a reality.