In the coming decades, current forecasts call for more people to be driving and traveling longer distances. Significant highway needs remain unfunded, while road usage is expected to increase steadily.
The following maps show the expected changes in morning peak-hour highway congestion between 2014 and 2040 based on improvements included in the CLRP as well as population and employment changes.
Severe stop-and-go congestion is expected to be prevalent throughout the entire region in 2040, not just in isolated areas. However, the HOT lane projects included in the 2012 CLRP are projected to relieve some of the congestion along I-495 in Virginia.
Outer suburban jurisdictions in the region will experience the greatest increase in congestion, while the already congested inner suburban jurisdictions will experience the worst overall congestion. Making matters worse, congestion will increasingly extend beyond rush-hour periods and affect off-peak weekday periods and weekends.
Due to a lack of funding for capacity enhancement projects to accommodate all of the projected transit ridership growth in the region, the Metrorail system will likely reach capacity on trips to and through the regional core. According to a WMATA study (shown below), without additional railcars beyond those currently funded, four out of five lines entering the core will become congested or highly congested by 2040, and the Orange/Dulles, Yellow and Green lines are forecast to be highly congested.