- With congestion on roads in the Washington, DC area set to increase 46% by 2045, regional planners proposed a long-term plan exploring how people will get around, dubbed Visualize 2045.
- The plan by the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board (TPB) at the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) has more than 600 highway and transit projects worth $291 billion. Many of those projects are already in various stages of planning, although the plan proposes new projects too, such as adding toll lanes, widening some major thoroughfares, adding bus rapid transit (BRT), improving bike lanes and adding capacity to the Metrorail mass transit system.
- In a statement, TPB Chair Charles Allen described it as "a long-range plan that aims to provide affordable, sustainable, and multi-modal transportation options for the residents and businesses of this region."
The plan paints a tough picture of how the DC region might look in 2045, as it expects 1 million new people and 1 million new jobs, but very little capacity for the city and its suburbs in Virginia and Maryland to expand its space. Instead, TPB set out a bold vision, including speeding up the number of high-occupancy toll (HOT) lanes on the Capital Beltway, an oft-clogged highway that TPB said needs to be used more wisely while mitigating impacts on local communities.
Also of note, the long-range plan has several "aspirational initiatives," which do not point to specific projects but instead are overall goals to address the region’s transportation needs. That includes goals like putting housing closer to job sites, increasing telecommuting and moving more people on Metrorail. The latter goal may prove tricky, as the system has been beset by reliability and safety issues while its board of directors appears reluctant to add more trains while ridership continues to fall.
Cities across the country are battling with balancing the needs of their residents as populations skyrocket and roads and public transportation struggle to keep up with the higher demand. This plan, which Allen said goes “above and beyond” by featuring previously unfunded projects, could be a good model for other cities and regions as they look ahead to the future.