Transportation & Communities

Transportation & Communities

Transportation Choices that Promote a High Quality of Life

We all hate sitting in traffic. We have better things to do with our time. We also hate spending a lot of money to get around. We spend this money in our personal budgets, but we also spend it in the form of tax dollars that are used to build new roads and other infrastructure. There are also a lot people in our community who can't drive a car or who can't afford a car, and they need mobility options.

In the late 1990s, when Envision Utah did its first large visioning effort, the average person in the Greater Wasatch Area drove 25 miles per day, and this was projected to increase to 29 miles, leading to average trip times of 23 minutes. Since that time, we've not only stopped the increase in automobile travel, but we've actually dropped our per-person driving to 24 miles a day. If we hadn't reduced our driving per person, we would have had to spend more money to build and maintain more roads, and our air quality and congestion would be far worse.

How did we achieve this? First, we've added more public transportation options, like TRAX, as well as better walking and biking facilities. Second, we've been designing our communities better, so that the places we want to go are closer to home and closer together. This requires more compact and better growth patterns.

As we add another 2.5 million people by 2050, we will need even more transportation choices and even better growth patterns. We need to work together to figure out how to maintain the kind of mobility that we all want. We will need more roads, but we will also need to decide whether we will add other transportation options, and whether we can find ways to ensure people don't need to drive as much, and that those who can't drive can still get around. How much time are we willing to spend in our cars? How much money do we want to spend on cars, gas, roads, and other infrastructure? Are we willing to settle for worse air quality and fewer jobs as people and goods can't get around, or will we find solutions?

Here are some examples of ways we can ensure we remain mobile:

  • Continued investment in public transportation
  • More houses, stores, and jobs close to public transportation and key road corridors
  • More of our new growth in "centers" where jobs, shopping, and recreation is close to home
  • Better design for pedestrians and bicycles
  • Continued investment in roads to serve our growing population
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