You may have seen this headline recently: Columbus will ‘leap-frog’ light rail as transit option after Smart City Challenge win. We’re here to tell you being a smart city means more than embracing driverless cars, it means investing in making Columbus a city focused on moving people.

Light Rail, Bus Rapid Transit, and other high capacity transit initiatives are investments that will be mutually beneficial in creating a transportation system that will help move Columbus forward as it adds another million people by 2050. Being a smart city means building a city that is walkable and embracing a future that is people focused, not one that embraces a new era of sprawl and congestion. Transit Columbus supports the Smart City challenge and all the new technologies and possibilities it can bring. But it will not solve all our transit problems. It is a beginning, not an end. To think so is limiting to the future of Columbus. The people of Columbus want transportation options, and we will need public options that will create and honor the dense, walkable future Columbus residents want.    

Columbus has an opportunity to leapfrog its peers by investing in a holistic transportation system that is driven by data, not by abandoning high capacity transit. We know that no one transportation solution will help us accommodate the coming growth in population, it must be an “all in” solution. The future of our city is riding in the choices we make now. Will we succumb to a new era of non-sustainable sprawl or will we pick a new direction, one of people friendly, walkable development that is anchored by a multimodal transportation system that embraces the best technologies of every mode. 

We know the type of city that residents of Columbus want in the future. Thats why we’re launching a petition to the City of Columbus and COTA for a future that includes Light Rail, Bus Rapid Transit and Streetcars: https://www.change.org/p/cota-we-want-light-rail-in-columbus. Join us in creating a better future for Columbus. 

Joshua Lapp

Vice-Chair, Transit Columbus