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KC Chamber Announces Transportation as New 'Big 5' Goal for KC Region and New Google Partnership

“Building KC’s innovative regional transportation solutions” is the KC Chamber’s new Big 5 goal for the region, announced at tonight’s Chamber Annual Dinner by outgoing Chair Karen Daniel. 
“While our core is well-connected to public transit, an analysis by Brookings found that only 18 percent of all jobs in the region are reachable by transit. That’s not acceptable,” Daniel says. “The solution to that challenge will be solved through innovation and emerging technology.”

The two priorities of the new Big 5 goal:  to develop an integrated transit system that results in improved job access, and to become a national leader in multimodal transportation innovation.

As part of the new Big 5, Chamber President and CEO Joe Reardon announced a new partnership with Google on a new Urban Mobility Platform. Kansas City, he said, was one of a handful of global cities chosen by Google for the pilot project. “This is an amazing opportunity for our region to be working with Google around workforce, urban mobility, and transportation insights,” Reardon told the Annual Dinner crowd. “The platform is still being developed, and we’ll have more details in January.”

The transportation goal joins the other current Big 5 initiatives, including:
  • Making Kansas City America’s most entrepreneurial city.
  • Revitalizing our urban neighborhoods through the Urban Neighborhood Initiative.
  • Moving UMKC’s world class arts programs to a new downtown location.
  • Building Kansas City’s workforce of tomorrow through kindergarten-readiness, and
The Chamber is retiring the Big 5 goal for life sciences, “Growing Kansas City’s medical research from discovery to cure.” The first part of that goal, helping the University of Kansas Cancer Center achieve National Cancer Institute designation, has been accomplished. In addition, life science efforts in the Kansas City region are progressing well.

The Big 5 were originally announced in September 2011 by then-Chamber Chair Greg Graves. The Chamber’s Big 5 are regional initiatives intended to make Greater Kansas City the best place to live, work, start a business and grow a business.

To accomplish the new goal for transportation, the Chamber is already collaborating with strategic partners, leveraging and aligning with existing expertise, and calling on the expertise of KC’s engineering firms and startup community.

Kansas City’s history shows the importance of transportation to the community. “Transportation made Kansas City what it is today,” Daniel said, “beginning with the French fur trappers and steamboats making their way up the Missouri River, to the Hannibal Bridge and the rail system we enjoy today, to our four major interstate highways and our soon-to-be-brand new KCI.”
The Chamber’s Annual Dinner honored Daniel as outgoing Chair and entrepreneur Matt Condon (the youngest Chair in the Chamber’s 130-year history) as the incoming Chair. In addition, Dr. Roy Jensen, head of the K.U. Cancer Center, was named Kansas Citian of the Year.