Nearly 100 community members gathered on Thursday, Oct. 18 at Benco Dental in Pittston for the NEPA Moves quarterly meeting where keynote speaker, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s (PennDOT) Secretary of Transportation Leslie S. Richards, delivered remarks on innovation in the transportation industry across the Commonwealth and addressed new traffic challenges facing the region.
Transportation barriers limit access to affordable housing, job opportunities, educational and cultural opportunities and quality health care. NEPA Moves, spearheaded by the Scranton Area Community Foundation and the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, launched in 2017 as a way to address transportation concerns, improve access and foster greater opportunity for all people and communities across the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazelton regions. Comprised of more than 90 key regional stakeholders, NEPA Moves works through a collective model to gain a better understanding of the specific barriers of current transit systems and focuses on solving the transportation challenges through a strategy that promotes equity and encourages economic growth in NEPA.
Secretary Richards praised NEPA Moves for its phenomenal work to date, calling it a unique collaborative model not only for the state of Pennsylvania, but nationally for cross-sector partnerships advancing transit equity.
NEPA Moves is already making strides within the community in the fields of workforce development, mass transportation and health and social services. Some of the latest accomplishments include a geographic information system (GIS) mapping tool that identifies the medical institutions and social service providers that are accessible via the public transportation network; the pilot of a new online platform through Geisinger Health System that uses technology for ride coordination, connecting residents to the public transportation network and private rideshare alternatives in the Scranton and Danville areas; and a public transit toolkit for NEPA employers is expected to reach employers across the region later this year.