||August 4, 2015|
Home > Transportation > Planning Activities > Regional Mobility & Accessibility Study
Regional Mobility & Accessibility Study
Study Background - Striving Towards a Vision
The roots of the TPB’s Regional Mobility and Accessibility study can be traced to the “Vision”, a policy framework adopted by the TPB in 1998 that calls for an efficient and accessible transportation system in the 21st century. The document’s goals include increasing transit use and reducing per capita driving. The Vision also emphasizes “reasonable access at reasonable cost for everyone in the region” and promotes transportation linkages among a “healthy regional core and dynamic regional activity centers with a mix of jobs, housing and services.” Ever since it was adopted, leaders have been asking what more the region can do to realize the Vision’s goals.
The TPB’s Constrained Long-Range Plan (CLRP), which contains road and transit projects expected to be completed by the year 2030, has generally fallen short in achieving the goals of the Vision. Forecasts based on the CLRP as updated and amended in recent years indicate that per capita driving will increase and transit use will stagnate or decline. Stop-and-go congestion on our highways will become pervasive. People will be driving longer distances because jobs and housing will be increasingly farther apart.
No one is satisfied with these forecasts of the future, and indeed the explicit purpose of the CLRP is to ensure that we do not entertain an unrealistically rosy picture of the future. Mandated by federal laws and regulations, the CLRP provides a sobering picture of what the future will look like if current trends continue. In particular, federal law says the CLRP must be limited to projects for which funding is “reasonably anticipated to be available.” If funding is not available—and increasingly the money just is not there—new projects must be left out of the CLRP.
A few years ago, TPB leaders decided it was time to start looking outside the constraints of the CLRP and examine some bold changes—including major transportation projects and shifts in land use—that might move the region closer to implementing the Vision. What would happen, they asked, if we looked at scenarios that changed some of the assumptions about future trends? Would people use public transit more if we built more rail lines? Would commuters drive less if they lived closer to their jobs?
To answer these and other questions, the TPB launched its Regional Mobility and Accessibility Study in 2001. A joint technical working group comprised of transportation and land use planning staff and interested citizens from the region’s jurisdictions is overseeing the study.
The region’s official long-range transportation plan—the CLRP— formed the starting point for the scenario study. Before more dramatic scenarios were analyzed, the working group agreed to add some basic enhancements to the CLRP—mainly to public transit. The enhancements include basic projects and programs that everyone agrees are needed and should be implemented as soon as funding becomes available. The CLRP, plus the enhancements, formed the study’s baseline.
For additional information about the study, click on the links below:
Robert Griffiths - (202) 962-3280
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