To a significant extent, quality of life and economic prosperity are shaped by how well the region moves people and goods. GO TO 2040 takes a strategic approach to coordinating investments and maximizing the benefits of our transportation system. Below are key aspects of improving regional mobility:
Reducing Congestion and Its Costs
Congestion is expensive for residents, businesses, and governments. By limiting our ability to get around, it restricts people's choices of where to live and work. It limits businesses' access to skilled labor and reduces the reliability of truck and train shipments. Congestion wastes fuel and causes air pollution. It even reduces safety and security by delaying rapid response to emergencies.
Increasing Transportation Options
Sustainable prosperity depends on our region's success in reducing congestion by promoting transportation options other than driving. While cars will continue to be the primary mode of transportation for many of us, other modes — like walking, bicycling, and transit — need to make up a greater share of trips in the future. Despite recent increases in riders, fewer people are using public transportation than 20 years ago. Compared to driving alone, transit is far cheaper, reduces congestion, raises the value of nearby land, and is better for the environment.
Changing How Transportation is Funded
Transportation requires new funding from innovative sources. By tying revenue to how individuals and businesses actually use the system, our region can provide incentives for more efficient use while generating revenue for needed improvements. Just as important, we need to make careful investment decisions to maximize benefits, which should include stimulating economic productivity and reducing congestion.
Setting Strategic Priorities
Transportation investments have a profound impact on our economy and quality of life, influencing where residents can live and work and how they can travel. Safety and security must be paramount when the region invests in transportation. Because access to transportation helps shape growth and construction affects the natural environment, it's also essential to consider how transportation investments will drive land use and development.
Our region is the truck and rail freight center of North America, with major distribution centers and intermodal hubs that integrate trucking and rail, contributing to our economy and its strong industrial base. But freight traffic is forecast to grow, straining our infrastructure and negatively affecting some communities with delays at crossings, and higher levels of truck traffic, noise, and pollution. Our region needs infrastructure and policies to enhance freight's benefits to the economy while reducing its negative impacts on our quality of life.