Transportation to 2040: Officials Review Updates to Region's Long-Range Plan, Consider Future Impact

Sep 16, 2015

WASHINGTON, D.C. – At its September meeting, the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board (TPB) focused on the 2015 amendment to the Constrained Long-Range Transportation Plan (CLRP), and reviewed the plan’s impact on future travel, the environment, and access to jobs.

The CLRP, which is updated by the TPB, includes all regionally significant transportation projects and programs that are planned in metropolitan Washington through 2040. This year’s amendment, to be brought to a vote by the TPB in October, includes the addition of express lanes and bus service on I-66 inside and outside the Capital Beltway, the removal of roadway capacity in the District of Columbia to make room for new bike lanes, and the implementation of a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) line to run in a dedicated transitway between the Huntington Metro station and the Woodbridge VRE station in Virginia.

Additionally, the TPB’s Performance Analysis shows how well the projects and programs in the long-range plan will meet the demands of significant population and job growth between now and 2040. Officials noted a number of positive trends from the analysis that advance regional goals and priorities, including less driving per person, growth in transit use, carpooling, walking, and biking, and the growth of the region’s high density, transit-accessible Activity Centers.

The analysis found that by 2040:

  • Nearly 60 percent of the 1.3 million new residents anticipated in the region are expected to live in Activity Centers, residential and commercial hubs best suited to accommodating growth and leveraging transportation infrastructure.
  • 1.1 million new jobs are expected in the region, three out of four of which will be located in these Activity Centers.
  • Trips by single-occupancy vehicles are expected to make up a smaller share of all commute trips in all parts of the region, from the downtown core to the outer suburbs
  • The average amount of driving per person will decline by 2 percent, reversing a decades-long trend of increasing per capita driving in the region.
  • The average number of jobs accessible within a 45-minute commute by automobile or transit is expected to increase. However, the eastern side of the region will see a decline in accessibility by automobile due to increases in congestion and most job growth occurring in the western side of the region.
  • Vehicle-related emissions of four key air pollutants are expected to drop steadily over the next 25 years and remain well below approved limits. Vehicle-related greenhouse gas emissions are expected to drop by 22 percent from today’s levels. The anticipated improvements are mainly the result of tougher new federal fuel efficiency standards for cars and trucks, though forecast changes in the region’s land use patterns and transportation system will also contribute.

Congestion will continue to be a challenge on the region’s roadways. As much as one-third of all vehicle-miles traveled during the morning commute will occur under congested conditions, compared to just one-quarter today. However, parts of some major highways will see moderate congestion relief, including portions of I-66, I-70 East, and VA-267 East. Without additional capacity, the region’s Metro system will also face more crowding. WMATA estimates that four out of five Metrorail lines passing through the region’s core will become congested or highly congested by 2040.

The analysis of this year’s amendment aims to provide area officials, stakeholders, and residents with the opportunity to review and comment on the amendment and the full plan. Public comment is open until October 10. 

The projects and programs that go into the CLRP are developed cooperatively by governmental bodies and agencies represented on the Transportation Planning Board.

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