October 24, 2022

Story originally published in KSHB 41.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City, Missouri, has hired a fellow to help develop and promote “sustainable, equitable forms of transportation,” which can be in place for the 2026 FIFA World Cup but also benefit the city long-term.

Andrew Ngui will work with Chief Innovation Officer Melissa Kozakiewicz, an assistant city manager who has been tapped as KCMO’s infrastructure czar, as the city works to streamline and improve its non-car transportation systems ahead of the World Cup.

Ngui, who comes to Kansas City after nearly four years as the director of the Greater Peoria Economic Development Council’s Office of Innovation and Startups in Illinois, is a FUSE Executive Fellow.

Mayor Quinton Lucas announced plans to hire a fellow to research possible improvements to the city’s infrastructure in July.

His work will focus on the corridors from Kansas City International Airport to downtown and downtown to the Truman Sports Complex, “specifically prioritizing innovations in transportation which could include multi-modal options,” Kozakiewicz said.

Ngui will work with city officials and other community stakeholders — specifically private custodians of trails on public land, environmental justice groups and transit-focused community groups as well as the general public — to help chart a path forward for green transportation in Kansas City, according to a contract between KCMO and FUSE.

Among other duties, Ngui will spearhead the effort to:

  • Research best green-infrastructure practices in similar cities, including those that have hosted big events, and specifically cited the Vegas Loop project
  • Create a digital Wayfinder Map of existing trails suitable for pedestrian, bicycle and scooter traffic that connect KCI, downtown and the stadiums;
  • Manage the creation of accessible signage at the airport and other landmarks, in compliance with the ADA and available in multiple languages, that directors visitors and residents how to use non-car transportation options;
  • Develop recommendations for investment in sustainable and innovative transportation and transit options for the short-, medium- and long-term.

Ngui’s first day will be Oct. 31.

KCMO will pay an $80,000 program fee to FUSE for Ngui’s services during the next 12 months. The contract includes a mutual option to extend the fellowship beyond October 2023.

The money for Ngui’s hiring — $40,000, which was due Monday, and another $40,000 due in April — comes from the City Manager’s Office budget.

Transit was widely considered a weakness in Kansas City’s successful bid to host World Cup games in 2026.