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Mobility & Transportation

Getting from point A to point B sounds simple, connects us to so many things, and yet can be challenging. From work to play, parties to faith, our transportation systems and options are vital to our way of life. To travel the Flint Hills, one is taken deep into the heart of America, through nationally-designated scenic byways and meandering country roads that are beautiful but not always easy to reach.

morrisctytransportCan I get from here to there?

Covering 19 counties in Kansas and Oklahoma, the Flint Hills Frontiers area spans lively college communities, a national military defense base ​and beautiful scenic byways, reaching into endless tallgrass prairies. The daily commuting patterns of Flint Hills residents continue to grow longer, taking in counties from Missouri to Nebraska. Workers are drawn to the booming Manhattan metropolitan area and the Frontiers area migration patterns indicate a young and transient workforce growing from in-migration from in state, out of state, and the world.

What are my transportation options?

The 1-70 corridor grows from Kansas City to Salina and regional improvement projects along the K-18 and US-24 corridors will add to the east-west growth radiating from the Manhattan Metro area. The steady growth of the Manhattan Regional Airport (MHK) air service, fueled by BRAC, has expanded air service to daily non-stop flights to Dallas and Chicago. Area Transit service in the Manhattan Metro area recently instituted the region's first fixed-route system, while throughout the Flint Hills demand-response service continues to expand. The demographic dynamics of an aging population, much like the rest of the nation, will challenge notions of mobility and service in the coming years. With an aging infrastructure and dwindling state and federal funding, the Manhattan Metropolitan Planning Organization and the rest of the Frontiers project area must face the challenges of a mobile future, with coordinated and innovative transportation and communication planning.

Goals for the Future

These goals were established to improve the accessibility of the region and mobility of residents from all socio-economic and demographic backgrounds while maintaining the principles of sustainability:

  1. Multi-Modal Transportation: Pursue innovative multi-modal transportation system opportunities, including transit, carpooling, bikes, pedestrians, waterways, trails, and cars throughout the Flint Hills.
  2. Technology/Modernization: Improve transportation systems through technology and modernization.
  3. Movement of Goods: Increase the efficiency of the movement of goods and freight throughout the region.
  4. Economic, Environmental, and Social Interdependencies: Plan responsibly for the transportation system’s economic, environmental, and social impacts and interdependencies.


Achieving Our Goals

Our diverse and context sensitive list of strategies developed by our devoted planning staff and committed citizens will help the Flint Hills Region be a sustainable and prosperous place to live, work, play, do business and raise families.


Key Strategies


Transit Oriented Design: Incentivize transit oriented design by offering property tax breaks for workforce housing units, businesses and industries who build in targeted growth areas. Those developers and owners that build to certain community driven standards receive tax incentives to build in appropriate places, utilizing appropriate practices.

Incorporate Rideshare Technologies: Utilize latest technologies to connect transit to riders locally and regionally.

Regional Recreation Map: As part of the asset mapping of tourism destinations, local producers and cultural resources, the Flint Hills should develop a mobile app that links its regional recreation offerings.

Walk-In Adventure Programs: Much like the Walk in Hunting program developed by Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism , a Kansas Walk in Adventures program could allow hikers and even bikers on certain private land, under specified times and conditions to open new avenues for commerce, tourism and adventure. With new technologies at the ready, an app could link or record, registered users to access lands and give property owners assurance of accountability and responsibility in practice.

Add Scenic Bike-Ways to By-Ways Program: The Flint Hills is home to beautiful Scenic By-Ways that act as conduits of commerce and culture to our region. The growth of experiential tourism and adventure tourism demands that states and local governments plan for a more embedded experience in transportation, welcoming hikers, bikers and new modes of travel.

Aging In Place: Develop a Kansas certification program for Aging in Place housing units, where public policy could reward targeted development of aging friendly development within TOD areas.


Other Strategies


Logistics Study that Shows the Flint Hills Connection to Markets: America's Animal Health Corridor stretches from Manhattan to Columbia, MO and account for nearly 32% of total sales in the $19 billion global animal health market. Building on this, the region should leverage healthy beef, healthy wheat, healthy America not only as a brand but as an opportunity to show the reach of this strategically logistic corridor as the Heart of Healthy America.

Transit Oriented Design Regional Access Zones: Innovative State Initiative to reward local comprehensive plans that incorporate regional transportation plans that reduce vehicle miles travelled per person.

Future Links:Just as America has seen the benefits in investing in Safe Routes to School, America's communities must also face the growing challenges of equipping America's transportation systems with age appropriate solutions. Building complete streets that prepare communities for the impending 'grey tsunami' should be empowered by federal and state led planning initiatives.

Kansas Rural Broadband Congress: As the American workforce ages, and employment landscape shifts to a more entrepreneurial culture, rural America will be faced with a growing digital divide. Kansas rural communities should form a rural congress to devise rural plans and platforms for developing solutions for the future.

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