As Kansas City officials plan to welcome athletes, fans, and media from all over the world for the 2026 World Cup, they are prioritizing sustainable, equitable infrastructure improvements that will serve residents long after the games cease and their guests return home. The FUSE Executive Fellow will create wayfinding infrastructure for bicyclists and pedestrians to travel between World Cup points of interest and will develop additional insights for sustainable, equitable multi-modal transportation.
Fellowship Dates: October 24, 2022 – October 23, 2023
ABOUT THE FUSE EXECUTIVE FELLOWSHIP
FUSE Corps is a national nonprofit working to expand social and economic opportunities, particularly for communities that have been limited by a history of systemic and institutionalized racism. FUSE partners with local governments and communities to more effectively address pressing challenges by placing experienced professionals within city and county agencies. These FUSE Executive Fellows lead strategic projects designed to advance racial equity and accelerate systems change. Since 2012, FUSE has led over 250 projects in 40 governments across 20 states, impacting the lives of 25 million people.
When designing each fellowship project, FUSE works closely with government partners and local stakeholders to define a scope of work that will achieve substantive progress toward regional priorities. FUSE then conducts an individualized search for each project to ensure that the selected candidate has at least 15 years of professional experience, the required competencies for the role, and deep connections to the communities being served. They are data-driven and results-oriented and able to effectively manage complex projects by developing actionable roadmaps and monitoring progress to completion.
Executive Fellows are hired as FUSE employees and embedded in government agencies for at least one year of full-time work. Throughout their fellowships, they receive training, coaching, and professional support from FUSE to help achieve their project goals. FUSE Executive Fellows bring diverse perspectives and new approaches to their projects. They build strong relationships with diverse arrays of stakeholders, foster alignment within and across various layers of government, and build partnerships between governments and communities.
In June 2022, FIFA (the international body that governs professional soccer) announced that Kansas City, MO would host the 2026 World Cup. In 1994, the last time the World Cup was held in the United States, 3.57 million fans attended, setting a record that survives to the present. Kansas City has four years to prepare for a large influx of visitors from around the world. Like other global sporting events (e.g., the Olympics) the World Cup has event-specific needs that require host cities to make major infrastructure changes ahead of the tournament. Historically, these projects have been criticized for exacerbating inequality and for not being useful for host city residents after the tournament ends. A core component of the KC2026 bid was sustainability: they want any World Cup-related infrastructure upgrades to drive permanent improvement for the City’s residents.
An example of that sustainable infrastructure improvement is investing in multi-modal transportation. Currently, Kansas City is a car-centric city, with 81% of commuters driving alone in their car. While it has a streetcar and an extensive pedestrian and bicycle trail network, most residents rely on privately-owned automobiles as their primary mode of transportation. This presents a problem for the World Cup, as most visitors will not own a car, and if they each rented one, it would cause excess stress on existing road and parking infrastructure. It also creates transportation inequality for the 10% of Kansas City residents who do not own a car, as cars are inherently expensive forms of transportation that also cause lasting climate change impacts.
Kansas City will partner with FUSE Corps to develop environmentally sustainable, multi-modal transportation infrastructure plans. The FUSE Executive Fellow will develop bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure that leverages existing trail networks and will generate additional innovative transportation recommendations that advance Kansas City’s World Cup and resident transportation needs. The result of this work will be a foundation for green, equitable, multi-modal transportation systems that serve both World Cup visitors and long-term residents.
PROJECT SUMMARY & POTENTIAL DELIVERABLES
The following provides a general overview of the proposed fellowship project. This project summary and the potential deliverables will be collaboratively revisited by the host agency, the fellow, and FUSE staff during the first few months of the fellowship.
Beginning in October 2022, the FUSE Executive Fellow will develop relationships with a range of stakeholders, including government officials (e.g., Parks and Recreation, Aviation, Water, and Public Works), private custodians of trails on public land (e.g., Homeowners’ Associations), environmental justice and transit-focused community groups, and members of the public (with an emphasis on BIPOC neighborhoods and communities with low transportation security). The Executive Fellow will gain understanding of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and aspirations stakeholders have regarding non-car transportation in Kansas City. In addition, the Executive Fellow will conduct extensive research to understand best practices to promote green, equitable transportation in cities similar to Kansas City. The review should include lessons learned from World Cup and similar event hosts on effective long-term infrastructure investments as well as identifying other innovative transit options that could benefit KCMO (ex. Vegas Loop).
Next, the Executive Fellow will develop a map of existing public bicycle and pedestrian trails that connect World Cup points of interest (e.g., Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City International Airport, and Downtown). This will require extensive research of the City’s trail infrastructure, including in-person exploration. The digital map will be the basis for a pedestrian- bicycle- scooter- specific wayfinding tool that identifies safe, practical routes for World Cup visitors and long-term residents to use while attending a match or on their daily commute. The wayfinder should also integrate services along the routes to meet the specific needs of visitors and for longer-term family and commercial use, accommodating cargo bikes to facilitate visitor luggage transport as well as water and food stations.
In addition, the Executive Fellow will manage the development of accessible signage (ADA standards, multiple languages, digital, etc.) at the airport and other landmarks to inform visitors and residents of how to take advantage of the varying non-car transportation infrastructure. Signage should include information on the wayfinder, e-bike and scooter rentals, and anything commuters need to use non-car transportation.
Finally, the Executive Fellow will develop a suite of additional recommendations to promote sustainable, equitable forms of transportation that will be functional for the 2026 World Cup and for all Kansas City residents long after the games subside. This could include expanding the wayfinder network or other innovative transit options to encourage non-traditional commutes between key nodes throughout the city.
By October 2023, the Executive Fellow will have overseen the following:
- Conduct a Stakeholder Listening Tour – Develop relationships with stakeholders in Kansas City government, the private sector, community advocacy groups, and members of the public; review models for equitable, multi-modal transportation and sustainable event infrastructure investment
- Create the Wayfinder Map – Compile a comprehensive map of protected, public, off-road trails suitable for bicycles (both regular, electric, and cargo), scooter (regular and electric), and pedestrians; mine data sources including existing maps from public and private sector actors and GIS; develop a final map and include necessary information to help visitors and residents identify appropriate routes and services between various key points of interest
- Create Public Information Signage – Manage the creation of signs for the airport and other key hubs to guide visitors’ and residents’ use of new infrastructure
- Inform Future Work – Develop recommendations for additional investments in innovative transportation infrastructure and transit options that improve transportation sustainability and equity in the short-, medium-, and long-term
- Executive Sponsor – Brian Platt, City Manager; City Manager’s Office
- Project Supervisor – Melissa Kozakiewicz, Chief Innovation Officer; City Manager’s Office
- Project Support – Erika Taylor, Assistant to the City Manager; Bailey Waters, Transportation Planner; Wes Minder, Assistant City Manager
In addition to the qualifications listed below, a background in stakeholder management, investigative research, mapping, and sustainable transportation is strongly preferred for this project.
- Synthesizes complex information into clear and concise recommendations and action-oriented implementation plans.
- Develops and effectively implements both strategic and operational project management plans.
- Generates innovative, data-driven, and result-oriented solutions to difficult challenges.
- Responds quickly to changing ideas, responsibilities, expectations, trends, strategies and other processes.
- Communicates effectively both verbally and in writing, and excels in both active listening and conversing.
- Fosters collaboration across multiple constituencies in order to support more effective decision making.
- Establishes and maintains strong relationships with a diverse array of stakeholders, both inside and outside of government, and particularly including community-based relationships.
- Embraces differing viewpoints and implements strategies to find common ground.
- Demonstrates confidence and professional diplomacy, while effectively interacting with individuals at all levels of various organizations.
FUSE Corps is an equal opportunity employer with core values of diversity, equity, and inclusion. We encourage candidates from all backgrounds to apply for this position.