Transportation in Utah is more than just a way to get from one place to another; in our state transportation is an integral part of our quality of life. Because of past investments in transportation, because of how we work together to plan and build the system, and because we are able to move freely both within and across our communities, transportation helps to deliver Utah’s promise of life elevated.
Change is upon us
Utah is growing…fast. In just a few short decades, we expect our population statewide to double. That works out to nearly 45,000 new people per year well into the future. Our valleys and open spaces, on the other hand, will not double, so where will we put all these people? How will we continue to get around with ease? We’re not just growing, either; we’re diversifying. We are expecting to see large increases in both older and younger segments of our population. How can we meet the variety of transportation needs we’ll face as our population changes and grows?
These are critical questions, but growth and diversity aren’t the only changes coming.
The transportation industry itself is at an inflection point. Technology and innovation are changing the transportation options available, as well as the ways we’ll build, maintain and operate the system. This evolution presents a whole host of questions as well, and possible answers are just emerging.
As Utah changes while the industry also evolves, so, too, must policy makers and transportation officials take different actions now to create a system that can serve us well in the future. That future begins today as we answer questions around where and how to transport people, find different ways to fund and operate the system, and think beyond just the transportation modes to the context within which they operate.
In the future, we must take a more holistic look at transportation as an integrated system. This includes the connection between modes – roads, transit, biking and walking, not to mention connected and autonomous vehicles and drone deliveries – as well as the context around those modes such as land use, economy, housing, wellness and needs of diverse populations.
The good news: Utah is prepared. We have a proven approach to identifying questions like these, working together to create solutions, and implementing those solutions together. Some have even called it our “secret sauce.” Perhaps nowhere is that secret sauce more generously applied than in this plan: Utah’s Unified Transportation Plan.
Partners in the transportation industry, together with stakeholders from the public, business communities, and policy makers at all levels, have come together again to begin identifying big answers to Utah’s big transportation questions. The answers in this plan – both identified and proposed – strive to keep Utah moving while maintaining and even enhancing that quality of life we all prize.
So while change is very much upon us, together we can meet the needs of a changing Utah with big solutions that move us forward, together. Let’s get started.
Utah is one of the fastest growing states in the nation and as we look into the future we see great potential for ‘growing pains’ in the realm of transportation. That is why we are proactively addressing these obstacles by investing in transportation infrastructure, and forward-looking transit options. Utah will remain the ‘Crossroads of the West’ far into the future. – Governor Gary R. Herbert