Planning our Transportation Future
In the face of tremendous growth and as the transportation industry evolves rapidly, we must think differently about how we plan for and deliver Utah’s transportation system while educating the public about the challenges and opportunities associated with our transportation future.
In planning for the future, it is important for us to improve all transportation options.
With the right investments and land use choices, public transit can become an increasingly attractive transportation choice for Utahns. More and more residents will look to riding public transit to meet their transportation needs if it is:
- Convenient: Provide frequent, reliable service that is available when you need it, including weekends, early mornings, and late into the evening
- Connected: Provide a high-frequency network that connects people to where they need to go
- Easy to Use: Make the transit network easy to access and comfortable
- Supported by land use: Invest in job sites and housing that can be efficiently supported by transit to ensure that the travel market demand is high
- Reliable: Provide consistent service and infrastructure that facilitates faster and more efficient travel that can be relied on now and in the future
As mayor Michelle Kaufusi (Provo) says about Utah Valley eXpress UVX make it Fast, Free and Frequent and we will ride it.
The presence of reliable, convenient public transit, along with transit supportive land uses can allow people to make lifestyle choices around the availability of transit. Eliminating the need for a household to own a car, or allowing them to downsize to a single car, expands a household budget and a family’s buying power.
Further, active transportation must occupy a more useful and attractive space in our transportation system. Leaders and residents throughout Utah have embraced active transportation as integral to improving air quality, reducing congestion, lowering travel costs, and increasing the health of individuals and communities. While great strides have been made to improve access and safety for pedestrians and bicyclists, we should accelerate our efforts to build out the planned system.
Active Transportation has great potential to serve not only those desiring a more active lifestyle, but also those who cannot drive or do not have access to a vehicle; in particular the young, the elderly, and lower-income residents whose transportation costs are quite high in relation to income.
Better use of the system through a balanced approach
Continued investment in overall system capacity, meaning expanding roads, transit and active transportation facilities
Making the best use of the capacity we have through enhanced operations, leveraging the use of innovative technologies such as integrated signal timing, freeway ramp metering, real-time transit information and systems communications
Helping Utahns become part of the solution, through demand management, encouraging individuals to travel differently and use all our transportation capacity across modes
Improving mobility and accessibility is accomplished when transportation and land use are coordinated. Transportation planning affects how and where we build homes and businesses, how we get from one place to another and where we recreate. Where we place jobs, housing, recreation and educational facilities relative to transportation options makes a big difference in the type and cost of trips people make.
For example, when we place housing and jobs near each other and near schools or other gathering places it reduces the burden on the transportation system. People who live in these areas can walk, bike or take a short transit trip to get to work or school rather than drive a long distance to meet the same need.
This approach not only benefits those who can and want to live in a centered location – improving their transportation choices and accommodating a lifestyle they may desire – but it also benefits those not living in the center – reducing congestion on the roadways and allowing for larger-lot developments elsewhere by absorbing some of the population growth in a more intense housing location.