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Finding inspiration in another city’s successful expansion of public transportation

This week, 21 local leaders from three different regions with ambitious plans to invest in public transportation will be traveling to Denver to hear about how that region built an economic development strategy around investing in new public transportation.

Transportation Innovation Academy with logos

There’s an old proverb that says “A teacher is better than two books,” and the local leaders from Raleigh, Indianapolis and Nashville participating in the first yearlong Transportation Innovation Academy — organized by T4America and TransitCenter — will get the opportunity be taught firsthand about the returns that Denver is reaping from their incredibly ambitious FasTracks transit expansion plan.

Through workshops, site visits, and discussions with key leaders in the Denver region this week, academy participants will get an in-person look at one specific story of how scores of local communities across the country are casting a vision and often putting their own skin in the game first with local funding while hoping for a strong federal partner to make those plans a reality. While the three regions all have different transportation needs and plans for the future, Denver’s story broadly represents the kind of success that these leaders would certainly love to replicate.

We covered Denver’s story at length in one of our can-do regional profiles:

Denver Regional Profile featured

Denver: Betting on the future and seeing early returns

Faced with potential employers suggesting that the lack of transit connections were preventing Denver from realizing their economic development goals, the region’s leaders banded together and made a bold bet on an ambitious and comprehensive plan to expand their transportation network a decade ago.

Read the full Denver story here.

Key business leaders are part of each regional contingent, along with mayors and city/county council members, real estate pros, housing industry experts and local advocates. The Academy is intended to share knowledge and best practices, visit cities (like Denver) that have inspiring success stories, and help develop and catalyze the local leadership necessary to turn these ambitious visions into reality.

We’re looking forward to hearing the Denver story in great depth this week and know that these 21 leaders will find inspiration and practical lessons to take back home to help them take the next step on their journeys toward improving and expanding transit service.

Follow along and hear some of the great insights that participants are picking up in this week’s workshop, surely with some great photos of what’s happening in Denver. Follow @t4america, @TransitCenter and the hashtag #TranspoAcademy on Wednesday and Thursday this week (September 16-17).