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Helping Des Moines get more from its transportation money

Through the support of the Kresge Foundation, T4America is helping the Des Moines Area MPO better measure and assess their transportation spending to bring the greatest return possible for citizens.

When it comes to decisions about what transportation projects to build and where, the general public’s perception is that those decisions are made in a murky, mysterious, political process that has little to do with tangible, measurable benefits. Performance measurement is a way to start to change this perception and make spending more focused on and accountable to accomplishing tangible goals.

As the survey we released earlier this year shows, the vast majority of MPOs want to find ways to do more with performance measurement, but they’re eager for some help — which the Kresge Foundation has enabled T4America to provide for six regions across the country. And in our first day-long workshop with staff from the Des Moines Area MPO in Iowa, stakeholders from member communities, and elected officials — including Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie — our team keyed in on helping everyone agree on what’s working and what’s not working as the MPO decides how to select and fund transportation projects in the future. 

What did we learn? These stakeholders in Des Moines want to put more of an emphasis on maintaining the transportation system that’s already moving people within and through the region. The group is also interested in finding ways to emphasize improving equity and access for people of different means and needs as they make decisions about what to build and where.

Ultimately, Des Moines would like to put more tools in their toolbox to build and maintain a transportation system that’s transparent, accessible, and cost-effective. T4America is excited to continue working with Des Moines and we look forward to reporting on their progress throughout the year. 

Are you interested in similar technical assistance on performance measures? Inquire here.