Tuesday, January 10, 2017

DOT Releases A 30 Year Plan and Discusses Seattle Transportation Issues

The United States Department of Transportation is responsible for reporting on both the current and the anticipated future conditions of our nation’s transportation system. Beyond Traffic 2045 is this report and has recently been released. It includes separate reports on 'megaregions,' networks of urban clusters connected by economic and social relationships that will grow in importance as our nation’s population in metropolitan regions grows. A map of these items is below (click on it to view full size).

Residents and businesses in these megaregions often depend on the same infrastructure—airports, ports, rail lines, and freight corridors. Yet the planning and operation of our transportation system is rarely coordinated across these regions.

Beyond Traffic 2045 says that, to plan and operate the transportation system of the future, we need to build collaborative relationships and institutions that reflect the growing interdependence of megaregions. So, transportation stakeholders from each megaregion were brought together in the development of the plan, including from Seattle.

The top issues there were how to better plan and incorporate the expected increases in freight traffic while managing congestion and reducing sprawl. Participants talked about the need to examine the freight system holistically because the movement of freight involves all modes of transportation. Land use, workforce issues, safety, and existing congestion were all recognized as factors that need to be incorporated into any regional freight plan moving forward.

There was the sentiment that freight was underrepresented when compared to other transportation-related issues. Participants noted a variety of solutions, including designated freight corridors, promoting modal shifts, and congestion pricing, but much of this conversation was tied into reducing sprawl.

You can read the entire report here. The section discussing Seattle issues starts on page 218.

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About SRTC

SRTC is the federally designated Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for Spokane County. Urbanized areas with populations exceeding 50,000 people are required to have an MPO. SRTC was formed to address the county's transportation planning needs. It provides coordination in planning between the public, cities, small towns, the county, the state, transit providers, and tribes.

SRTC offers services including transportation monitoring, transportation modeling, census information analysis, travel demand forecasting, historical traffic count analysis, geographic information systems, and trip generation rates.