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Urban and Regional Planning, Graduate Program
668 N. Riverpoint Blvd, Suite A
Spokane, WA 99202
phone: 509.828.1230
fax: 509.828.1275

Small Urban Rural and TRIBAL Center on Mobility (SURTCOM)

Eastern Washington University's Tribal Planning Programs are very pleased to join the effort for research and scholarly support as part of SURTCOM, within the Montana State University Western Transportation Institute, and to focus on research related to tribal transportation and Native American mobility. Our tribal programs are part of the Department of Urban Planning and Public Administration, and carried out in conjunction with the EWU Tribal Planning Programs, led by Margo Hill, JD, EWU Assistant Professor of Planning. These efforts were initially led by Dr. Dick Winchell, FAICP, Professor of Planning, and supported by the Chair of Planning and Public Administration, Dr. Kerry Brooks, Dr. Jason Scully, Assistant Professor of Planning, Dr. Ning Li, Director of the Public Administration Program, Rowena Yeahquo, past director of NWTTAP, and associated faculty, scholars and consultants.

The Urban and Regional Planning Programs at EWU have a long history of support and active engagement with Native American planning efforts and with tribal elected leaders, staff, and community members of federally recognized American Indian reservations and Native Americans across the nation. We have established a Summer Institute in Tribal Planning in 1987 that continues today, as well as a Tribal Planning specialization, and graduates of our program are tribal planners and tribal staff and elected leaders across the nation. We are very pleased to expand this effort and join the SURTCOM Program.

Mission Statement

The mission of the Small Urban, Rural and Tribal Center on Mobility is to conduct research and provide leadership, education, workforce development and technology transfer in all transportation related aspects of mobility for people and goods, focusing specifically on small urban, rural and tribal areas.  

SURTCOM combines the talents of the Western Transportation Institute at Montana State University, Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute at North Dakota State University, and Tribal Planning Programs at Eastern Washington University into an organization that can enhance mobility in small urban, rural and tribal communities and areas.

SURTCOM is working on improving the mobility of people and goods, while also addressing focus areas such as:

  • Increasing access to opportunities that promote equity in connecting regions and communities, including urban, rural and tribal communities
  • Innovations to improve multi-modal connections, system integration and security
  • Modal shifts
  • Ridesharing and alternative forms of transportation
  • Increasing active transportation modes, including walking and cycling
  • Land use and transportation planning
  • Smart cities
  • Link between health and transportation
  • Workforce development and capacity building   

Definitions: Mobility and Accessibility in terms of Investments

Mobility: Mobility investments help us travel freely wherever we might want to go. Mobility investments are mainly capital facilities like an added highway lane, a rail extension, or a bicycle path. Mobility investments may also include measures that make the transportation system more efficient and productive, such as synchronizing traffic lights or improving transit speed, reliability, or frequency.

Accessibility: Accessibility investments help us get the things we want and need. Rather than focusing on movement, accessibility may bring the product closer to the consumer. Locating a school and a retail main street in the middle of a neighborhood improves accessibility, reducing the need for people to move long distances and improving their choices. Accessibility investments include mixed-use zoning, delivery services, and high-speed Internet services that reduce the need for movement.  

(Source: Tumlin, J.(2012). Sustainable Transportation Planning. Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley and Sons, pg. 9)


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Updated 12/7/2017

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