Today the 2030 Group released a new study that was conducted jointly by SMTA and the Northern Virginia Transportation Alliance, to explore how the region sets transportation priorities and what leading experts in the field feel those priorities should be. The survey was conducted over the past several months through telephone surveys and focus groups with over 40 top transportation professionals from Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia.
1. The nation’s most congested region lacks a well-defined short-list of transportation investments that would have the greatest potential to reduce congestion/improve mobility over the next 20 years.
2. Among transportation professionals, significant consensus exists as to highway and public transit investments that would be the most productive.
3. The top-ten projects are listed in the report, including continued investment in Metro System Maintenance and Operations, New Potomac Bridges, and multi-modal projects to add capacity in several key transportation corridors.
4. The prioritization process should focus heavily on highway and transit investments that do the most to reduce travel times/delays, reduce congestion, and improve transportation network safety and reliability.
5. Meeting the region’s transportation challenges requires not only selecting/advancing the right priorities, but a new process that is more regional and professional and less parochial, political and ideologically driven.
The number-one priority identified by regional experts: Invest in current Metro system operations, core capacity and maintenance. Multi-modal investments to area highways, bridges and new transit lines to better connect regional activity centers and key economic corridors together throughout the region rounded out most of the remaining top-10 priorities, along with better land-use policies to encourage more transit-oriented development.
This independent study was sponsored by the 2030 Group, an association of business and community leaders working towards greater regional cooperation on long-term planning and economic issues.