Our region is forecasted to have more than a million new people and a million new jobs by 2045. How will they all get around? What are the plans to provide for their mobility and what might we expect from the plans?
What is the performance analysis?
The performance analysis takes the inputs—the forecasts for jobs and population in the region—and the projects planned with the funding we believe to have to improve the transportation system and models how well people would get around in 2045 if those inputs came to be. That analysis is then compared to how things are today to assess the planned investments and transportation projects.
The financially constrained element also includes a financial plan to show how the region expects to pay for these projects. The financial plan covers the revenues and expenditures for building new transit and road projects and continuing to maintain the existing system. The air quality analysis is also included in the financially constrained element. A series of tests are performed with computer models that predict how much air pollution could be generated over the next 25 years if all of the projects in plan were constructed, and how much the air could be improved by cleaner gasoline and engine standards and many other factors
If the plan is found by the TPB to meet regional air quality goals, federal agencies certify that the plan is “in conformity.” In other words, the TPB ensures that it “conforms” to air quality improvement goals.
More than 600 projects including roads, transit, and bike lanes
The financially constrained element contains more than 600 highway and transit projects. The region plans to add about 1,400 new lane miles of roadway with around 460 of them as toll lanes. Metrorail will be expanded with more rail cars on all trains and all lines and commuter rail will also be expanded. There will be five new Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) systems, and light rail systems throughout the region. More people will live and work closer to high capacity transit and more bicycle and pedestrian facilities. These changes will help make it easier and convenient for people to use all transportation modes, especially riding transit, walking, biking, and carpooling.
More than 3 million more trips per day on a multi-modal system
Although driving will still be the most used mode of transportation. Transit use, and walking and biking show greater increases.
25 years from now, there will be less driving compared to today, but since there will be so many more people and jobs, congestion will still be a problem. More people will be using more modes of transportation including transit and biking and walking. Fewer people will be driving alone in 2045. More people will ride together and carpool to get around, increasing high occupancy vehicle (HOV) trips.
The region’s population will grow more than vehicle miles travelled (VMT), which means that on average, a person is forecast to drive 3% fewer miles in 2045. This continues a decline in VMT per capita forecast from the 2016 long-range plan. Projected land-use patterns, travel patterns, and mode choice on non-auto modes are likely behind this trend.
Growth is expected to be concentrated in Activity Centers
Activity Centers are places COG planners have identified as areas where people can live, work, shop, and play. These areas have good access to transit, and it has been a regional policy to focus development in these areas. Forecasts for the region show that 2/3 of new housing and3/4 of new jobs will be concentrated in Activity Centers in the future.
The new growth will be coupled with new transportation connections as well. By 2045 Activity Centers will have more access to high capacity transit, increasing access to jobs and housing. In 2045, 38% of the region’s population is forecast to live within walking distance of high capacity transit, compared to 29% today. Further, 59% of jobs will accessible on foot to high-capacity transit, compared to 51% today.
What will happen with highway congestion?
Highway congestion is forecast to get worse in the future, although the number of congested roads will remain a relatively small fraction of total lane miles. Today, during the morning peak hour, 11% of lane miles in the region are congested. In 2045, that number will grow to 14% under the financially constrained element (the “2045 Build”) of Visualize 2045. This means approximately 800 more lane miles will be congested in the morning—an increase of 43% between today and 2045.
While congestion will remain a growing challenge, the projects in the constrained element of Visualize 2045 will moderate the anticipated increase in congestion. To illustrate this point, TPB staff analyzed what would happen if nothing was built in the future. If we do not build the transportation improvements of the plan’s financially constrained element (2045 No Build), forecasts show that 20% of the region’s lane miles will be congested.
The performance analysis is one way planners can test out how all the inputs (projects and growth forecasts) might play out in the future. Visualize 2045 shows some significant progress compared to today.
To learn more about Visualize 2045 visit visualize2045.org.