Workshop: MAFC Outreach Materials

Mid-America Freight Coalition 

On the second day of the 2011 MAFC Annual Meeting, a group of state, academic, and MPO representatives attended a workshop conducted by the MAFC research staff. This workshop was designed to gather feedback and ideas for the MAFC outreach project (MAFC 08), which will conclude shortly.
The workshop began with an overview of feedback that was gathered at the 2010 MAFC Annual Meeting which asked participants to scope the type of information that would be most useful to them as public agency representatives. Namely, attendees were asked who are the users and consumers, and what should the message be?
Results were as shown below:

  • Users
  • State and local transportation planners, state legislators and staff
  • Consumers
  • Policy-makers, businesses, chambers of commerce (Received overwhelming majority)
  • Message
  • Stories, origination/destination of goods, infrastructure investment importance

Based on this feedback the MAFC project team assembled a website aimed at covering each of these points and offering interactive features and the ability to download data and documents. The group was asked to consider the proposed website architecture, shown in the following graphic, and identify any missing elements or provide other thoughts. In the broad sense, the site will provide an overview of freight importance in the MAFC along with a suite of state-specific pages that drill-down to more detail and offer links to freight-related documents and plans. The site will be supported by downloadable data (spreadsheets, and GIS files) along with narrative content (pdf).

Outreach section structure

The group had a lengthy discussion about several aspects of the site, and had several key conclusions

  1. The ‘Grab and Go’ accessibility of the high-level and state maps will be a useful feature for presentations and high-level overviews
  2. NAFTA and trans-border data would be a useful addition given the MAFC states location along the NAFTA corridor.
  3. Additional traffic data—particularly truck traffic counts and congestion points—should be added.
  4. ‘Emerging industry’ content would be beneficial for neighboring states to gauge regional freight needs
  5. State specific industry content could be supplied by DOT staff and would provide useful supplemental material for MAFC members
  6. Major freight generators, such as KC Smartport, could be highlighted to emphasize freight importance in the region.

Next Steps

Based on the discussion the MAFC research team will consider the following steps to finish the website:

  1. The project team will assemble the additional data/information requested (traffic, transborder, etc)
  2. A section on the MAFC website to house all of the materials collected for the outreach project.
  3. An area of the website to solicit feedback and tweak as necessary.
  4. An area for submission from state and MPO representatives to maintain current information.
  5. Periodic contact with state technical representatives to solicit current information, data, and content

The presentation from this workshop is also available as a downloadable PDF.

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