ND Moves seeking public comments on proposal

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BISMARCK, N.D. - The possibility of autonomous cars and connected cities would change how North Dakotans get around every day.

As part of the ND Moves campaign, the Department of Transportation is looking for more information on how to improve transportation around the state.

Tuesday’s meeting gave residents the opportunity to tell the DOT what changes they feel are most needed.

Development and growth in North Dakota have led to a fundamental change in how we live according to Dickinson City Administrator Shawn Kessel.

"We are in a connected society, whether you want to look at that like electronically or physically, that's just the way things are,” said Kessel.

The changing needs of society require changes in transportation. The Department of Transportation is putting together a 20-year plan to improve transportation within communities, and connect cities across the state. This map shows what transit systems are currently in place across the state, but the DOT says a comprehensive plan is needed.

"It's a matter of initially proposing a statewide plan and letting the local jurisdictions grab onto that, tie into that system. It's not all going to be done immediately,” said Steven Mullen with the Department of Transportation.

Cities like Dickinson have already started looking at improving all methods of transportation.

"We had a DOT intern, about three years ago, identify all the gaps in our sidewalks in town and our plan is to fill those gaps in because those gaps create safety issues for those that want to use sidewalks,” said Kessel.

Dickinson becoming a more walkable community, could also benefit community health. The DOT is still gathering public comments. There will be meetings in Jamestown and Devil's Lake this week. The DOT will then take that information and come up with recommendations for the next round of public meetings in April.