Over 1000 residents of Weber, Davis, Salt Lake and Utah Counties attended 14 community workshops in 2005 as part of the Wasatch Choices 2040 effort. Through Wasatch Choices 2040, residents helped shaped the future roads and transit in their communities, and examined the relationship of the transportation system to neighborhoods, jobs, farms and open lands.
With the assistance of Envision Utah, public comments were carefully noted to form the basis for scenarios to explore new ideas in transportation and land-use that will influence the long-range transportation plans created by the Mountainland Association of Governments (MAG) and Wasatch Front Regional Council (WFRC).
MAG and WFRC are composed of mayors and county officials and are required to update the regional transportation plan every three years. This collaborative effort has been funded by MAG, WFRC, Utah Department of Transportation, Utah Transit Authority and Envision Utah. Staker Parsons sponsored the process's five open houses.
Wasatch Choices 2040 recognized that it is futile to project patterns of growth without thinking about the transportation investments we make. For example, freeways and boulevards support different forms of commerce, while transit supports walkable forms of development.
Two of the products to come out of this process are Growth Principles and a Vision Scenario. The elected officials of WFRC and MAG unanimously adopted the Growth Principles in late 2005.
The Vision Scenario provides one plausible illustration of how the region could grow if the Growth Principles are adopted. The Vision results in 18% less congestion, 12% more transit use, and 23 fewer square miles of land consumption relative to the fully built-out 2030 long-range transportation plan.
"We are one of the first places in the nation to use a publicly created vision to guide the long-range transportation plan, and the Wasatch Choices 2040 approach is a national model," said Ted Knowlton, Envision Utah's Planning Director. In developing the next long-range transportation plan, the two MPOs will look at how regional transportation choices affect broader issues, such as housing, critical lands, air quality, and more.