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October 23, 2018
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Home > Transportation > Planning Activities > TPB Vision

The TPB Vision


The Vision is a short, but influential, policy document that lays out eight broad goals to guide the region’s transportation investments into the 21st century. The Vision was unanimously approved in October 1998 by the Transportation Planning Board after an extensive public outreach effort that lasted three years.

A host of objectives and strategies are included in the Vision to show how its eight primary goals can be reached. For example, Goal 4 in the Vision calls for the use of technology to maximize the effectiveness of the transportation system. A strategy in the Vision, which supports this goal, calls for a unified, technology-based method of payment—something like a “smart card”—for all transit, public parking and toll roads in the region.

The Vision is not a plan with maps or lists of specific projects. It is fundamentally a framework to guide decision making. The various jurisdictions in the region are expected to pursue policies and projects that contribute to specific elements of the Vision. The goals, objectives and strategies in the Vision should be used to buttress arguments for or against new policies and projects.

Amid the diverse needs and opinions in the region, the Vision emphasizes the commonality of our values. It is a symbol of regional consensus. Although the TPB does not directly select projects in most cases, the power of consensus reflected in the Vision can affect the kinds of projects that the states and other jurisdictions choose to pursue. And ultimately, the TPB has to approve those projects through the CLRP and the TIP.

The Vision Statement

In the 21st Century, the Washington metropolitan region remains a vibrant world capital, with a transportation system that provides efficient movement of people and goods. This system promotes the region's economy and environmental quality, and operates in an attractive and safe setting--it is a system that serves everyone. The system is fiscally sustainable, promotes areas of concentrated growth, manages both demand and capacity, employs the best technology, and joins rail, roadway, bus, air, water, pedestrian and bicycle facilities into a fully interconnected network.

Goals, Objectives, and Strategies

Goal 1. The Washington metropolitan region's transportation system will provide reasonable access at reasonable cost to everyone in the region.

  1. A comprehensive range of choices for users of the region's transportation system.
  2. Accurate, up-to-date and understandable transportation system information which is available to everyone in real time, and is user-friendly for first-time visitor and residents, regardless of mode of travel or language of the traveler.
  3. Fair and reasonable opportunities for access and mobility for persons with special accessibility needs.
  4. Convenient bicycle and pedestrian access.
  1. Plan, implement, and maintain a truly integrated, multi-modal regional transportation system.
  2. Plan and implement a tourist-friendly system that encourages the use of transit and provides international signage and information.
  3. Make the region's transportation facilities safer, more accessible, and less intimidating for pedestrians, bicyclists, and persons with special needs.
  4. Plan and implement a uniform fare system for transit and commuter rail.
  5. Adopt a regional transit planning process and plan, with priority to uniformity, connectivity, equity, cost effectiveness and reasonable fares.

Goal 2. The Washington metropolitan region will develop, implement, and maintain an interconnected transportation system that enhances quality of life and promotes a strong and growing economy throughout the entire region, including a healthy regional core and dynamic regional activity centers with a mix of jobs, housing and services in a walkable environment.

  1. Economically strong regional core.
  2. Economically strong regional activity centers with a mix of jobs, housing, services, and recreation in a walkable environment.
  3. A web of multi-modal transportation connections which provide convenient access (including improved mobility with reduced reliance on the automobile) between the regional core and regional activity centers, reinforcing existing transportation connections and creating new connections where appropriate.
  4. Improved internal mobility with reduced reliance on the automobile within the regional core and within regional activity centers.
  5. Efficient and safe movement of people, goods, and information, with minimal adverse impacts on residents and the environment.
  1. Define and identify existing and proposed regional activity centers, taking full advantage of existing infrastructure, for the growth and prosperity of each jurisdiction in the region.
  2. Encourage local jurisdictions to provide incentives for concentrations of residential and commercial development along transportation/transit corridors within and near the regional core and regional activity centers, such as zoning, financial incentives, transfer of development rights, priority infrastructure financing, and other measures.
  3. Encourage the federal government to locate employment in the regional core and in existing and/or planned regional activity centers.
  4. Give high priority to regional planning and funding for transportation facilities that serve the regional core and regional activity centers, including expanded rail service and transit centers where passengers can switch easily from one transportation mode to another.
  5. Identify and develop additional highway and transit circumferential facilities and capacity, including Potomac River crossings where necessary and appropriate, that improve mobility and accessibility between and among regional activity centers and the regional core.
  6. Intercept automotive traffic at key locations, encouraging "park once," and provide excellent alternatives to driving in the regional core and in regional activity centers.
  7. Develop a system of water taxis serving key points along the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers.

Goal 3. The Washington metropolitan region's transportation system will give priority to management, performance, maintenance, and safety of all modes and facilities.

  1. Adequate maintenance, preservation, rehabilitation, and replacement of existing infrastructure.
  2. Enhanced system safety through effective enforcement of all traffic laws and motor carrier safety regulations, achievement of national targets for seatbelt use, and appropriate safety features in facility design
  1. Factor life-cycle costs into the transportation system planning and decision process.
  2. Identify and secure reliable sources of funding to ensure adequate maintenance, preservation, and rehabilitation of the region's transportation system.
  3. Support the implementation of effective safety measures, including red light camera enforcement, skid-resistant pavements, elimination of roadside hazards, and better intersection controls.

Goal 4. The Washington metropolitan region will use the best available technology to maximize system effectiveness.

  1. Reduction in regional congestion and congestion-related incidents.
  2. A user-friendly, seamless system with on-demand, timely travel information to users, and a simplified method of payment.
  3. Improved management of weather emergencies and major incidents.
  4. Improved reliability and predictability of operating conditions on the region's transportation facilities.
  5. Full utilization of future advancements in transportation technology.
Metro's SmarTrip card allows travelers to pay for fares and parking, supporting Stragety 4.

  1. Deploy technologically advanced systems to monitor and manage traffic, and to control and coordinate traffic control devices, such as traffic signals, including providing priority to transit vehicles where appropriate.
  2. Improve incident management capabilities in the region through enhanced detection technologies and improved incident response.
  3. Improve highway lighting, lane markings, and other roadway delineation through the use of advanced and emerging technologies.
  4. Establish a unified, technology-based method of payment for all transit fares, public parking fees, and toll roads in the region.
  5. Utilize public/private partnerships to provide travelers with comprehensive, timely, and accurate information on traffic and transit conditions and available alternatives.
  6. Use technology to manage and coordinate snow plowing, road salting operations, and other responses to extreme weather conditions, and to share with the public assessments of road conditions and how much time it will take to clear roadways.
  7. Use advanced communications and real-time scheduling methods to improve time transfers between transit services.
  8. Develop operating strategies and supporting systems to smooth the flow of traffic and transit vehicles, reduce variances in traffic speed, and balance capacity and demand.
  9. Maintain international leadership in taking advantage of new technologies for transportation, such as automated highway systems and personal rapid transit.

Goal 5. The Washington metropolitan region will plan and develop a transportation system that enhances and protects the region's natural environmental quality, cultural and historic resources, and communities.

  1. The Washington region becomes a model for protection and enhancement of natural, cultural, and historical resources.
  2. Reduction in reliance on the single-occupant vehicle (SOV) by offering attractive, efficient and affordable alternatives.
  3. Increased transit, ridesharing, bicycling and walking mode shares.
  4. Compliance with federal clean air, clean water and energy conservation requirements, including reductions in 1999 levels of mobile source pollutants.
  5. Reduction of per capita vehicle miles traveled (VMT).
  6. Protection of sensitive environmental, cultural, historical and neighborhood locations from negative traffic and developmental impacts through focusing of development in selected areas consistent with adopted jurisdictional plans.
  1. Implement a regional congestion management program, including coordinated regional bus service, traffic operations improvements, transit, ridesharing, and telecommuting incentives, and pricing strategies.
  2. Develop a transportation system supportive of multiple use and higher density (commercial and residential) in the regional core and regional activity centers as a means of preserving land; natural, cultural and historic resources; and existing communities.
  3. Support regional, state and federal programs which promote a cost-effective combination of technological improvements and transportation strategies to reduce air pollution, including promoting use of transit options, financial incentives, and voluntary emissions reduction measures.
  4. Develop a regional tourism initiative to encourage air and train arrival in the region, and additional transit access and automobile parking at the termini of Metrorail/rail services.
  5. Provide equivalent employer subsidies to employees with the intent of "leveling the playing field" between automobile and transit/ridesharing.
  6. Plan and implement transportation and related facilities that are aesthetically pleasing.
  7. Implement a regional bicycle/trail/pedestrian plan and include bicycle and pedestrian facilities in new transportation projects and improvements.
  8. Reduce energy consumption per unit of travel, taking maximum advantage of technology options.

Goal 6. The Washington metropolitan region will achieve better inter-jurisdictional coordination of transportation and land use planning.

  1. A composite general land use and transportation map of the region that identifies the key elements needed for regional transportation planning--regional activity centers, principal transportation corridors and facilities, and designated "green space."
  2. Region-wide coordination of land use and transportation planning in accordance with the recommendations of the Partnership for Regional Excellence report approved by the COG Board of Directors in 1993.
  1. Develop a regional process to notify local governments formally of regional growth and transportation policy issues, and encourage local governments to specifically address such issues in their comprehensive plans.
  2. Identify an agreed-upon set of definitions and assumptions to facilitate regional cooperation.
  3. Ensure that major corridor studies include options that serve the regional core and regional activity centers shown on the regional map.
  4. Develop, in cooperation with local governments, model zoning and land use guidelines that encourage multiple use development patterns and reduce non-work automobile dependency.
  5. Plan for development to be located where it can be served by existing or planned infrastructure.

Goal 7. The Washington metropolitan region will achieve an enhanced funding mechanism(s) for regional and local transportation system priorities that cannot be implemented with current and forecasted federal, state, and local funding.

  1. Consensus on a set of critical transportation projects and a funding mechanism(s) to address the region's growing mobility and accessibility needs.
  2. A fiscally sustainable transportation system.
  3. Users of all modes pay an equitable share of costs.
  1. Conduct outreach and education activities to promote public participation.
  2. Develop public support and approval for a specific set of regional and local transportation priorities and a funding mechanism(s) to supplement (and not supplant) priorities to be implemented with current and forecasted federal, state, and local funding.

Goal 8. The Washington metropolitan region will support options for international and inter-regional travel and commerce.

  1. The Washington region will be among the most accessible in the nation for international and inter-regional passenger and goods movements.
  2. Continued growth in passenger and goods movements between the Washington region and other nearby regions in the mid-Atlantic area.
  3. Connectivity to and between Washington Dulles International, National, and Baltimore-Washington International airports.
  1. Maintain convenient access to all of the region's major airports for both people and goods.
  2. Support efficient, fast, cost-effective operation of inter-regional passenger and freight rail services.
  3. Support the development of a seamless regional transportation system.
  4. Support coordinated ticketing and scheduling among Amtrak, MARC, VRE, WMATA, local bus and inter-city bus service.
  5. Develop a regional plan for freight movement.

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