There were several interesting articles this week about policy work in other states.
Governing has an article highlighting a recent study lauding the three-decade-old Transportation Operations Coordinating Committee (TRANSCOM), the 16-agency coalition overseeing transportation and public safety in the New York City region. TRANSCOM is noteworthy for its size and complexity, not to mention its relative success at coordinating massive infrastructure policy goals. The study is organized around five lessons for sustainable coalitions:
- Stick to a clear and focused mission
- Provide clear benefits to its members
- Do not impinge on members’ autonomy
- No one has to be “in charge” for an effective coalition
- Let others get the credit
Governing also covered a program in Washington, D.C. that uses the cities vast taxi network to provide “Vehicles on Demand” for city workers. Initial analysis suggests three clear advantages: (1) taxis are more cost efficient than agency-owned cars, (2) taxis are faster modes of transportation for workers, and (3) the program provides a new, institutional client base for taxis that are losing market share to companies like Uber and Lyft.
Politico highlighted a program in Houston, Texas that is providing housing for homeless residents. The city justifies the program citing the public health savings garnered when residents have stable, safe environments. This type of program has been batted around for more than a decade, but Houston seems to have demonstrated an effective model.
For Your Consideration
The John Rex Endowment commissioned an assessment by the UNC School of Global Public Health and the NC Institute for Public Health to assess the social determinants of health in Wake County. The assessment comes with an easy-to-skim report and a link to GIS data. Typically, the utility of GIS links is limited data wonks. In this case, however, the “Story Map” GIS tool is used to tell the story and is perhaps even easier to consume than the actual report. A few highlighted themes:
- Affordable housing in Wake County is at a tipping point. This is not a new narrative in Wake County, but the assessment provides useful data points that illustrate it.
- Access to housing, food, transportation, employment and childcare is intertwined. Families that struggle with one of these issues often struggle with multiple issues.
- There is a need to better coordinate and integrate social services and referrals.