Office of Planning, Environment, & Realty (HEP)
Volusia County Metropolitan Planning Organization, Daytona Beach Area, Florida
The Volusia County Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) serves Volusia County and part of Flagler County along Florida's eastern coast between Jacksonville and Cape Canaveral. The total land area is approximately 3,885 km2 (1,500 mi2), with a population of 510,000. The rapid growth in Flagler County between 1990 and 2000, when Flagler was the eighth fastest-growing county in the United States, may mean that the MPO jurisdiction will be expanded in coming years.
As part of a greater metropolitan area of East Central Florida, the region is situated at the intersection of two major Interstate highways, providing access to the third largest consumer region in the United States with a population of over 17 million. International airports in Daytona Beach and Orlando, railroads, and nearby port facilities enhance the area's cost-effective and logistically important location. Seasonal traffic is also a factor for the region, particularly for beach vacation periods and auto racing events at the International Speedway in Daytona Beach. The pressures stemming from the popularity of the region's beaches require close attention to beach management and conservation programs to protect habitat for birds, manatees, and five species of sea turtles.
Range of User-Friendly Tools for Communicating Options: The Volusia County MPO has a strong commitment to increasing the citizen involvement in transportation planning. This is reflected in a citizens outreach program that features two "games." The first game, "Strings and Ribbons," was used by the MPO during the development of the plan. This game is a public outreach technique developed and first used for updating the Charlotte County-Punta Gorda (Florida) long-range transportation plan. In the Strings and Ribbons game, teams of players must use their allotted budget to "buy" projects and improvements for specific locations on the map. The game begins with the projects in the five-year capital improvement plan, but players can change the listed projects. Using play money and color-coded materials for types of projects, each team of players produces a map of projects that the budget will cover. The game encourages collaborative discussion of transportation issues, and the choices of projects reveal citizen's priorities for type of project (e.g., roadway, bike, pedestrian, transit, beautification) and level of improvements. This allows new ideas and a full range of perspectives to be included as well as revealing consistencies and inconsistencies between technical level of service analysis and public opinion. This game does more than improve the quality of public input. It also conveys the options and tradeoffs that are necessary in transportation planning.
The second game is the "Virtual Budget Game," played individually on a computer. The Virtual Budget Game allows players to provide input about how they feel their transportation tax dollars should be spent. Each player can compare their results with the results of all those who have played thus far.
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