Thursday, February 24, 2022 from 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM EST
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This is an online event. Attendance information will be provided day-of the event when registered.


Samantha Schober
WTS Charlotte Metro

The WTS Charlotte Metro Chapter is pleased to host Michelle Nance, Centralina Regional Council, and Jason Lawrence, CATS, on Thursday, February 24, 2022. Michelle and Jason will present an overview of CONNECT Beyond, an 18-month project to develop the greater Charlotte Region's first ever regional transit plan. CONNECT Beyond's plan (https://www.connect-beyond.com/) will serve as the blueprint for a robust, interconnected transportation network combining high-capacity transit lines, enhanced bus service and other innovative mobility solutions. They will discuss the elements of the plan as well as give an update on implementation activities currently happening to move the plan from vision to reality.



Michelle E. Nance, AICP is the Regional Planning Director for the Centralina Regional Council, providing planning services to nine counties in the greater Charlotte region.

Michelle directed the creation of the Charlotte region’s growth framework, CONNECT Our Future, co-founded the Centralina Health Solutions Center, led a team to develop the greater Charlotte region’s freight mobility study, and recently completed the creation of a two state, 12 county regional transit plan, CONNECT Beyond: A Regional Mobility Initiative.

Michelle holds a Master of Public Administration and BS in Urban and Regional Planning from East Carolina University. She is a past president of the NC Chapter of the American Planning Association and was honored as one of the 2017 50 Most Influential Women in the Charlotte region and was named 2017 Woman of the Year by the Mecklenburg Times.



Jason Lawrence joined the Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) in 2000 and for the past 22 years has built a reputation of collaboration across the Charlotte region. Early in his career he oversaw bus service planning, implemented the Sprinter Airport Enhanced Bus Service, and was lead planner on environmental impact statements. 

Beginning in 2015 he led a comprehensive update of CATS 2030 Transit System Plan. Through a proactive public and stakeholder outreach program the update achieved a broad base of regional support that will guide CATS transit efforts over the next 20 years. In 2019 the Metropolitan Transit Commission (MTC) adopted the study recommendations of a 27 mile LYNX Silver Line Light Rail project from Gaston County through the City of Charlotte to the Town of Matthews, a 30-mile Bus Rapid Transit project from the Town of Mooresville to the City of Charlotte, and a 5-mile southern extension of the LYNX Blue Line Light Rail service to the Town of Pineville and the Ballantyne Community. 

In 2020 Jason in partnership with the Centralina Regional Council began the development of a regional transit vision across 12 counties in North and South Carolina through a regional mobility initiative called CONNECT Beyond. The effort was endorsed by the MTC in 2021 and will serve as the foundation for transit mobility across the Charlotte region.

In addition to long range planning efforts he also directs bus route planning and scheduling. Through Jason's strategic leadership his team is conducting a bus priority study that when complete in early 2022 will include a comprehensive capital and operating program to improve bus service speed and reliability, a microtransit strategy, and a framework to expand bus stop amenities. In 2017 Jason was selected as the 2016 City of Charlotte Employee of the Year. Jason has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Earth Science from the University of North Carolina-Charlotte.


If you would like information on becoming a partner of WTS Charlotte Metro, please visit our Corporate Sponsors Program page and reach out to Mariate Echeverry, Corporate Relations/Sponsorship Chair at mariate.echeverry@aesom.com!