The MRCOG 2040 MTP: Telling a New Story

-Dan Majewski

This past Thursday, I attended the Mid-Region Council of Governments 2040 Metropolitan Transportation Planning Public Meeting.

It was not as boring at it sounds.

The meeting included a short presentation about the plan, what it means for the region and why we should care.  For more detailed information, click on the following link: 2040 MTP Update & Scenario Plan.

The primary reason I am writing about the meeting is the graphic below:

See the right side of the image?  VMT has been steadily declining and this trend began before the Great (Neverending) Recession.
See the right side of the image? VMT has been steadily declining and this trend began before the Great (Neverending) Recession.

This graphic should be the primary guide to future transportation planning in the region.  

The graphic has two lines.  One line is a “trend line” and it represents a prediction about the future.  It is the solid line and it shows a steady increase of vehicle miles traveled per capita.  Historically, this trend has held true.  However, if you look on the right side of the image (I know it’s blurry and I apologize) you can see the growing gap between the trend line and the actual regional VMT per capita, the other line on the chart.

This, coupled with a doubling of regional transit ridership since the beginning of the century, tells a very compelling story.  It is a story which is being told in metro areas across America: the car is no longer king.  People no longer want to be enslaved to a three ton money-eating obesity-creating community-killing machine.  When other options exist, people use them.  When they don’t, people demand and crave them.

Meeting Significance


What Can I Do?   

This is where you, the citizen, come in.

I asked Aaron Sussman, one of the two great presenters, a loaded question about the “implementation process” regarding the plan.  It was a loaded question because there is no implementation process.  The MRCOG is not an agency which can enact policy.

However, they have the ability to guide policy.  They funnel federal money into local agencies.  MRCOG has the ability to affect local policy making through the backdoor using data and local connections.

Therefore, I encourage you to fill out the short survey which goes along with this plan.  The topic is personal travel habits and the survey is quick and easy.

Click the link below and happy bubble filling!

Help Make Transportation Work for You in the Future! Take the Futures 2040 Public Questionnaire