It doesn’t take rocket science to figure out why Ohio metros lag behind peer cities in the Midwest building the bike lanes, walkable streets, and new transit service that are the hallmarks of Millennial talent attraction.
It just takes about five minutes of using the new, U.S. Department of Transportation Transportation and Health Tool. It is online, so anyone can access the metrics that matter when comparing states. We used it to trace why, for example, Minneapolis is approaching 5% of its population biking to work? Why is 14% of Pittsburgh’s population using transit (more than Seattle)? Heck, why is Detroit the fastest growing bike city?
The answer is pretty clear: State policy and funding. It is a virtuous cycle. The states that have either Complete Streets policies (Minnesota and Michigan) or that rank near the top nationally in funding low-carbon forms of transportation (Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Indiana) are attracting young people to live in their cities. Ohio’s state elected officials have made choices not to be included in either category. It is a big cause of Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati’s low rank among their peers in rankings like Best Biking Cities. Here’s the tale of the tape.