Carnegie Mellon University

Map of Appalachia

ARISE Planning Grant "POWER"

With funding from the Appalachian Regional Commission, the ARISE planning grant, "POWER (Pennsylvania Ohio West virginia Economic Revitalization network)" will help us better understand the mobility challenges of the selected Appalachian communities in OH, PA and WV and better inform implementation projects to address these issues and improve the economic mobility of the region and its people. There is a critical and immediate need for improved transportation and mobility in the region. Geographic isolation and inaccessibility have been long-standing barriers to OH, PA, and WV Appalachia growth and innovation. While those with access to transportation, employment and training/education have reaped significant benefits, it has left numerous communities behind. Thus, our project aims to achieve the following objectives through development of an integrated plan for regional economic stability by addressing our region’s geographic isolation and inaccessibility:

  1. Identify current in/accessibility to jobs and training/education centers in the Appalachian region by both driving and mobility services (including traditional public transportation and emerging on-demand flex-route services), particularly on the reliability of existing mobility services and on the population group of interest.
  2. Research and study the needs of different groups of population and underserved communities and validate the accessibility metrics derived from real-world data and stakeholder engagement.
  3. Research and estimate the improvement offered by introduction of an integrated on-demand flex-route service and fixed-route mobility service in the Appalachian region. Those integrated services will be optimized for population groups to access jobs, opportunity employment, local businesses, training/education centers and healthcare facilities.
  4. Plan a pathway moving forward with detailed implementation plans in regard to the following criteria: spatial and temporal coverage, cost-benefit analysis, stakeholder engagement, pilot plans, mobility.

Project Team

Karen Lightman 
Team Lead, Carnegie Mellon University 

Sean Qian, Ph.D. 
Faculty, Civil & Environmental Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University 

Project Team

Jay Wilhelm, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Mechanical Engineering, Ohio University 

Brent Lane, M.B.A. 
Executive in Residence, Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Service

David Martinelli, Ph.D. 
Professor, Civil Engineering, West Virginia University 

Tony Michael, JD 
Professor & Director, WVU Extension's Institute for Labor Studies and Research

Stacey Brodak 
Consultant, Stakeholder Strategy, LLC