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Mary Ebeling and Satya Rhodes-Conway | Dec 04, 2013
Category: Transportation
Across the country, urban freeways are at the end of their design lives, and cities are wrestling with the question of how to deal with them. Cities have the opportunity to rethink, remove, or repurpose urban freeway space, which can address environmental and social justice harm and result in significant local economic and social benefits.
Re-Thinking the Urban Freeway provides cities with best practices and solutions from across the country, to help cities mitigate negative freeway impacts and secure a healthy and more prosperous future.

This brief was written by Mary Ebeling, Transportation Policy Analyst with the State Smart Transportation Initiative and Satya Rhodes-Conway, the managing director of the Mayors Innovation Project and a former councilmember in Madison, Wisconsin.  
Joel Rogers | Dec 01, 2013
Category: State & Local Policy
Nov 25, 2013
Category: COWS
Since our founding more than twenty years ago, COWS has promoted “high road” solutions to social problems. These treat equity, sustainability, and capable democratic organization as necessary and achievable complements in human development, not tragic tradeoffs. They use better democratic organization to increase the productivity of places and to capture and share the benefits of doing so, treating democracy not only as a source of voice and equity, but wealth generation. 

COWS’ commitment to building the high road now, and feeding the movement to build it everywhere, is what unites what might otherwise seem disconnected projects — from designing innovative energy-efficiency programs for neighborhoods and cities; to promoting industry partnerships in metropolitan regions; to convening public and private stakeholders on solving energy, transportation, or water issues; to working with state and local elected officials and public interest advocates on a range of other problems and opportunities. In this program overview, we summarize essential elements of this work. 
Jody Knauss, COWS | Nov 19, 2013
Category: COWS, State & Local Policy, Jobs & Skills: Job Quality & Industry Studies

Living wage ordinances are enacted by local governments to raise job standards for workers at firms that do business with a city or county, or that benefit from taxpayer assistance. At least 140 communities in the U.S. have passed such laws over the past two decades, and there is now a significant body of research on their effect. The evidence shows that living wage ordinances raise wages for low-income workers, often by a significant amount, with few if any measurable negative effects on either employment or taxes. Any government considering a living wage ordinance of its own should consider the track record of living wage laws in other communities in order to implement the best living wage law possible. This white paper provides these details. 

Bill Holloway and Chris Spahr, State Smart Transportation Initiative | Oct 31, 2013
Category: Transportation

This project, funded by SSTI with a matching grant from the Center for Freight Infrastructure Research and Education (CFIRE),  identifies and evaluates freight transportation demand management (TDM) strategies to improve transportation efficiency by reducing the social costs associated with goods movement in urban areas.


Information about various freight transportation demand management (TDM) strategies was gathered through a review of literature, an online survey, and interviews with implementers. Strategies are compared based on their costs, benefits, and implementation difficulty. Case studies of six US cities using innovative freight TDM strategies are also included.


Learn more>>

COWS and CLASP | Sep 27, 2013
Category: Jobs & Skills: Workforce Development & Industry Partnerships, COWS, High Road

To gain a better understanding of the post-secondary education needs in each state, we - together with CLASP - developed profiles of adult workers in every state who are in need of better skills and wages. Click below to learn more about your state.


Michele Mackey and Jessa Lewis Valentine | Sep 24, 2013
Category: Jobs & Skills: Workforce Development & Industry Partnerships, COWS, High Road, Wisconsin, Jobs & Skills: Job Quality & Industry Studies

This report synthesizes key information on the health care workforce in South Central/Southwest Wisconsin. We provide a snapshot of the current workforce in 40 selected health care occupations based on a representative subset of area employers surveyed in Spring 2013. We also project near-term changes in that workforce based on future retirements and employers’ anticipated staffing needs. Comparing the 2013 results to those of a nearly identical employer survey in 2008 allows us to assess key changes and continuities in the region’s health care workforce over the last five years, and to gauge the accuracy of the 2008 predictions.

Across all occupations considered, the health care workforce in the region has expanded considerably over the last five years. This expansion was perhaps expected given the region’s aging population and their associated health care needs. Less expected was the precision of the 2008 projections across all occupations, given the economic turbulence of the last five years: employers predicted an overall workforce growth of eight percent between 2008 and 2013, and this is precisely what happened. Workers in 2013 were also slightly older than in 2008, a trend that may be driven in part by the Great Recession and the need by some workers to postpone retirement.

Sep 12, 2013
Category: Jobs & Skills, Wisconsin, Jobs & Skills: Job Quality & Industry Studies, Jobs & Skills: Wisconsin Economy, Workers & Policy
2013 Healthcare Staffing Assessment - Nursing and Pharmacy
Satya Rhodes-Conway and James Irwin | Sep 11, 2013
Category: State & Local Policy, Energy

The health, wealth, infrastructure and ability to maintain basic services of cities will increasingly be degraded as our planet warms and our weather worsens. Yet local governments are currently sharing in the profits made by the fossil fuel industry – investing in the very companies that are directly responsible for this threat.


The Mayors Innovation Project, a COWS project, is working to support the local government fossil fuel divestment movement. Building on the example set by Mayor McGinn of Seattle, we’re working with cities to remove municipal funds from fossil fuel investments, and working with pension funds to do the same. Divestment can have a serious impact and send an important message, and this guide offers the tools to help you get started on a divestment campaign in your community.

Mary Ebeling | Sep 03, 2013
Category: State & Local Policy, Transportation

Wilmington functions as the hub of DART (Delaware's bus system) in New Castle County, providing over 10 million passenger trips a year—including us and demand response paratransit. Thirty-eight of DART’s 60 routes serve Wilmington. Within the City of Wilmington, DART ridership continues to grow, resulting in bus congestion in the city’s central business district (CBD), particularly around and adjacent to Rodney Square. This success illustrates DTC’s role as an increasingly important part of the economic engine of the city. DTC contributes positively to the overall economic vibrancy of Wilmington through the movement of people, increased accessibility to the transportation system, improvements in air quality, and provision of access to jobs, medical care, and commercial centers.


But, the success of Wilmington’s transit service has brought challenges. As DART added more service to respond to the increasing demand, the additional buses started stacking around the square—sometimes two or three buses deep along the King Street side of the square. The situation began to negatively impact traffic movement and presented a clear safety concern as bus riders scrambled to find their buses. Parallel developments around Rodney Square included the growth of the high-end condominium market as well as an increasing number of financial firms locating offices along or adjacent to the square. For these neighbors, the transit activity created challenges of congestion, cleanliness, and safety.


This study from the State Smart Transportation Initiative - a COWS project - seeks to make recommendations for improving current system operations and to point out directions that can help position DART to function as an integral part of the city’s and region’s transportation system.