Bloomberg and Nacto help city transport respond to Covid-19

  • April 14, 2020
  • imc

Bloomberg Philanthropies and the National Association of City Transportation Officials (Nacto) have launched a transportation-focused online resource hub to give US mayors, city officials and other practitioners real-time information on the transportation strategies cities are deploying to adapt to the rapidly evolving international health emergency.
The Transportation Response Center is the latest support from the Bloomberg Philanthropies Covid-19 Local Response Initiative to help mayors confront the pandemic.
“The coronavirus has disrupted transportation across the nation, but it’s imperative that we keep emergency personnel and supply chains moving, residents safe and transit workers protected,” said Michael Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies and former mayor of New York city. “As mayors and other officials work to do all of that, this new resource will help get effective strategies into the hands of transportation leaders nationwide when they need them most.”
Transportation agencies suddenly face new challenges, even as workplaces shift to working from home and overall travel demand drops across the USA. From innovative measures to enhance social distancing while retaining critical transportation to hospitals and healthcare facilities and essential services such as grocery stores, to the need to keep front-line employees safe, transportation agencies across the USA are mobilising rapidly to respond to changing needs.
The Transportation Response Center is a clearing house for actionable, adaptable practices already implemented in many cities, such as: Seattle and Austin converting parking spaces into restaurant food pick-up zones; New York, Seattle, Detroit and other cities allowing rear-door bus boarding or waiving transit fares; and cities such as Philadelphia and Minneapolis opening former vehicular traffic roads exclusively for pedestrians and bike riders to allow citizens to exercise outside while maintaining healthy social distancing.
“Transportation systems play a key role in responding to emergencies and need to be nimble,” said Janette Sadik-Khan, Nacto chair and principal, Bloomberg Associates. “The Covid Transportation Response Center has the new rules of engagement cities need to keep people moving and support the local and national response to this unprecedented pandemic.”
The site, found at, will be continually updated with the latest practices and programmes. Other topic areas include: protocols transportation agencies can enact to keep workers safe; how to keep deliveries moving to where they’re needed through improved parking management; how to provide citizens with safe rides to Covid-19 testing facilities, including homeless and populations without cars; and how to communicate new transportation policies effectively to the public.
“In an incredibly challenging and uncertain environment, cities are taking rapid action to ensure that healthcare, grocery and other essential workers can get where they need to go and residents can safely access needed goods and services,” said Corinne Kisner, executive director of Nacto. “Across the globe and across the country, cities are learning from each other so that they can respond quickly and effectively to this fast-changing emergency.”
The Covid-19 pandemic represents the USA’s first 50 state disaster that will spare no community. Bloomberg Philanthropies launched the Covid-19 Local Response Initiative last month to help cities combat the devastating impact of coronavirus on the wellbeing of residents and local economies. By tapping into a wide range of partners, the organisation is generating a set of supports and resources to help local leaders respond to the pandemic.
These offerings include a programme launched in partnership with the US Conference of Mayors that will help cities apply for, receive and deploy federal aid, and monitor expenses while ensuring proper accounting, and the Covid-19 Local Action Tracker, created in collaboration with the National League of Cities, which gathers, analyses and shares the hundreds of policies and actions cities have taken to protect residents.
In addition, Bloomberg Philanthropies has joined forces with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, as well as additional researchers and clinicians from across Johns Hopkins University, and the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative, to provide mayors with the most up-to-date information on the virus from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. The goal is to help these city leaders understand how to act on the most critical public health intelligence quickly, efficiently and reliably for the benefit of their citizens.
New York-based Bloomberg Philanthropies invests in more than 570 cities and over 160 countries around the world to ensure better, longer lives for the greatest number of people. The organisation focuses on five key areas for creating lasting change – the arts, education, environment, government innovation, and public health. In 2019, Bloomberg Philanthropies distributed $3.3bn.
Nacto is an association of 83 major North American cities and transit agencies formed to exchange transportation ideas, insights and practices, and cooperatively approach national transportation issues. The organisation’s mission is to build cities as places for people, with safe, sustainable, accessible and equitable transportation choices that support a strong economy and vibrant quality of life.