This month's issue includes stories on the TAQA tool that can be used to query and access travel time and traffic counts data, a report that looks at the benefits of the Albuquerque Rapid Transit Project on the rest of the transit system, the latest state population estimates, new and departing staff, and an upcoming app for New Mexico Rail Runner Express mobile ticketing. 
Monthly Transportation News From and For the Region 
Updated Data Tool Makes it Easy to Research Transportation Conditions

MRMPO recently released an updated version of the Transportation Analysis Querying Application (TAQA). TAQA is a publicly-available interactive tool that allows users to query and access travel time and traffic counts data across the Albuquerque Metropolitan Planning Area. MRMPO has updated the tool to include more recent data and now features interactive mapping and data selection features. TAQA can be found at http://taqa.mrcog-nm.gov/ .
 
TAQA data contents:

  • Travel time data from 2011 to 2014
  • Traffic counts data from 2012 to 2015
  • Archive of Average Weekday Daily Traffic from 2000 to 2014
The image here contains a query for traffic volumes along NM 528 for the year 2014. Data can also be exported into CSV files for use in Excel.
New Report Assesses Regional Impacts of Albuquerque Rapid Transit

A new report by the Mid-Region Council of Governments analyzes the regional benefits associated with the Albuquerque Rapid Transit (ART) project along Central Avenue in Albuquerque. A common criticism of the ART project is that it provides additional investment in a transit corridor that is already well-served rather than improving service in other locations. One under-evaluated component of the ART project, therefore, is the impact transportation investments on Central Ave will have across the rest of the system. As a planning agency concerned with issues across the entire Albuquerque metropolitan area, the Mid-Region Council of Governments chose to pursue such analysis.

The analysis found that the combined effect of increased service frequency, reduced transit travel times, and greater reliability results in substantial improvements in access to common destinations by public transit across Bernalillo County. Some key findings are that nearly 150,000 additional residents could access the University of New Mexico and Nob Hill areas respectively within 45 minutes by public transit as a result of ART than at present. Similarly, a transit user departing from Coors Blvd and Central Ave could access more than 50,000 additional jobs within 45 minutes  once ART is implemented than they could today.

A full copy of report can be found here.

State Population Estimates Released; New Mexico Population Shrinks Once Again

The Census Bureau recently released state population estimates for 2015. New Mexico's population totals 2,085,109, which is just 458 persons shy of 2014 and represents the second year in a row of population loss for the state. The driver behind the loss is migration, which was responsible for a net loss of 9,721 people. Out-migrants are headed to other states within the country, and if trends resemble 2014, the top recipients are Texas, Arizona, and Colorado. These states also contribute the most incoming population to New Mexico.

In 2015, only seven states and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico lost population. After New Mexico, the westernmost state exhibiting population loss is Illinois. On a positive note, New Mexico's international migration has risen steadily throughout the first half of the decade, contributing to an increase of 3,631 persons in 2015.

A Washington Post article provides a national perspective on migration trends and demonstrates that domestic migration is picking back up after a slowdown that followed the Great Recession. Specifically, the long term pattern of movement of residents from the Northeast and Midwest to areas in the southeast and western regions has resumed.

The 2015 county population estimates will be released in March 2016.
Staff Changes at MRMPO

MRMPO welcomes two new employees at the start of the new year-- Sarah Ijadi   and  Jonathan "Jon" Blaich.

Sarah will be working on the Healthy Here initiative with a focus on active transportation, the built environment and public health in the International District and the South Valley.  Sarah's experience in regional and community planning includes over 12 years of managing land use and transportation planning projects for public agency clients in urban and rural communities throughout New Mexico and Southern Colorado.  Sarah completed her masters of community and regional planning at UNM with an emphasis in the built environment and eventually became a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners.  She was born and grew up in Los Alamos, fled to other parts of the world but kept returning to New Mexico over and over again. She recently returned to Albuquerque, after living in Santa Fe, and looks forward to slipping back into Burqueño lifestyle.
 
Jon will perform research and quantitative analysis related to social demography and the economy with an emphasis on transportation and land use planning issues. Jon grew up in Albuquerque, where he attended La Cueva High School and earned a bachelor's degree at the University of New Mexico. Jon started his career at Sandia National Laboratories and later earned an MBA with a concentration in Finance at Arizona State University. He moved into roles as a Research Specialist and a Transit Route Analyst at the City of Albuquerque after graduate school and recently was an Economist at the State of New Mexico. Jon's professional interests include financial analysis, ArcGIS mapping of demographic data, and forecasting transit ridership based on retail gasoline prices and population growth.  

MRMPO is pleased to add Sarah and Jon to its transportation planning team!  They can be reached by email at sijadi@mrcog-nm.gov  and jblaich@mrcog-nm.gov  or by phone at  505-724-3603 (Sarah) and  505-247-1750 (Jon).

In other staffing news, Senior Planner Aaron Sussman will be moving on to a new job at a local engineering and planning consulting firm. Aaron has been a huge asset to MRMPO during the past seven years, accomplishing many tasks during his time here. He ran the Congestion 
Management Process, developed the Project Prioritization Process for evaluating projects eligible for federal funding, and project managed the Futures 2040 MTP and Central New Mexico Climate Change Scenario Planning Project--to name just a few of the feathers under his cap. Needless to say, he will be sorely missed. We wish Aaron all the best in his new role as a planning consultant!

Coming Soon! NMRX Mobile Ticketing App
The Rio Metro Regional Transit District is working with a private contractor to develop a new mobile ticketing app for the New Mexico Rail Runner Express. Soon, passengers will be able to use this app to purchase tickets, check the status of the train and more. In addition to the new app, the Rail Runner will also introduce a new, easy to use, online ticketing system. 
 
The new mobile app will be available for both iPhone and Android. Those passengers making a bus connection will still be able to show their e-tickets to the bus driver for a seamless transfer.

January Calendar

WHAT
WHEN
WHERE
Transportation Analysis Querying Application (TAQA) Brown Bag Friday, January 8 (12:30pm) MRCOG Board Room
Transportation Coordinating Committee Meeting and TPTG Meeting
Friday, January 8 (1:30pm) MRCOG Board Room
Metropolitan Transportation Board Meeting

January meeting canceled


Rio Metro Board Meeting

Friday, January 15 (noon)

MRCOG Board Room

Mid-Region Metropolitan Planning Organization | 505.247.1750 |  www.mrcog-nm.gov
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