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2040 and Beyond

Internal Working Review Draft

May 14, 2018


[DOCUMENT TITLE] | [Document subtitle]

2040 AND BEYOND CONTENTS Executive Summary ........................................................................................................................................ 1 Roadmap to 2040 and Beyond ....................................................................................................................... 2 Transportation – A Means to an End .......................................................................................................... 2 Strategic Statewide Policy .......................................................................................................................... 4 We’re Not Starting from Scratch ................................................................................................................ 6 Managing Growth, Increasing Choice ..................................................................................................... 7 Regional Perspectives ................................................................................................................................. 9 Inclusive, Comprehensive, On-going .................................................................................................... 10 Transportation Funding Mechanisms are Broken ................................................................................ 11 Coordinated Transportation and Land-Use Decision-Making .............................................................. 13 Cross-Cutting Topics Embrace Uncertainty .............................................................................................. 16 Technology and Innovation .................................................................................................................. 17 System Resilience ................................................................................................................................. 18 Paying for Transportation ..................................................................................................................... 19 2040 and Beyond Policy Plan ........................................................................................................................ 20 Vision ........................................................................................................................................................ 20 A.

Economic Vitality ......................................................................................................................... 21


Preservation ................................................................................................................................ 23


Safety .......................................................................................................................................... 25


Mobility ....................................................................................................................................... 27


Health and the Environment ....................................................................................................... 29


Stewardship ................................................................................................................................. 31

Big Ideas in Support of Cross-Cutting Topics ............................................................................................ 33 Big Ideas Regarding Technology and Innovation .................................................................................. 35 Big Ideas Regarding System Resilience ................................................................................................. 36 Big Ideas Regarding Paying for Transportation ..................................................................................... 37 Mobility in the 21st Century .......................................................................................................................... 39 Appendix ....................................................................................................................................................... 39 Definitions / Glossary ................................................................................................................................ 39 Resources .................................................................................................................................................. 39

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Greetings, Advisory Group members – Thank you for helping us with this review of the internal working draft for 2040 and Beyond. It is an unfinished but substantially complete first draft of the policy plan required by RCW 47.01.071. Notable messages and Big Ideas are all here though we still have some gaps in the story line to complete. The document is basically unformatted. Pictures in this draft are intended to convey that there will be visual interest. Know that it will look great when it hits the streets later this summer. This is an internal working draft. We have been challenged by our stakeholders to be bold, push beyond our comfort zones, and put forward Big Ideas. That’s what we’ve tried to do. You’re seeing the very first iteration of that effort. Messages and ideas are derived from the discussions we’ve had with dozens of stakeholders, our meetings across the state with communities and constituencies over the last four years, the plans we’ve reviewed, and current policies and practices. We’ve tried to not censor ourselves too much in order to live up to the requests we’ve heard from so many people to be bold. We’ve been in the planning phase of “no bad ideas” and “cast a big net” but now we’re looking for your feedback. Which of these ideas have merit and should be developed further for the public review draft? What Big Ideas did we miss? Are any too controversial and why or why not? We want to know what you think about the ideas, the tone, and the level of information. It will inform our ideas about what to include as recommendations in a formal review draft later this summer and how to present it. We are asking for your comments by the close of business on June 22nd though we’d appreciate getting them earlier if possible. Our team will compile all the comments and make recommendations to us as to what changes are needed for a public review draft. We’ll review those recommendations and provide direction that will result in a public review draft of this plan for release by the first of August. Even if you’re not interested in providing us with comments on the overall plan we’d appreciate your input on the Big Ideas as it will give us important insights about what ideas to include and why. Again, thank you for your interest and for taking the time to provide us with your feedback and insights.

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ROADMAP TO 2040 AND BEYOND This is a plan for Washington’s future, not our past. We are looking forward, rapidly approaching a 2020 horizon that once seemed distant and realizing that 2040 may be here before we know it. In some ways it seems like 2040 may be here now as the pace of change and transformation all around us accelerates. What’s in front of us may make the last twenty years look easy and at the same time it can make possible things that now seem only aspirational. Few of the 2020 planning horizons any of our plans envisioned in the late 1990s foresaw the kind of changes that we’ve seen in the last 10 years. Smart phones and transportation service apps. Connected and increasingly automated vehicles. Ridesharing companies and Mobility as a Service. Dynamic tolling. Drones. Autonomous delivery vehicles. Driverless vehicles. These aren’t on the horizon – they’re part of our reality today. These transportation disruptions have been accompanied by equally radical disruptions in the retail sector, the gig economy, telecommunications, and energy production. Few anticipated in the late 1990s the magnitude of interest in urban lifestyles and the changing attitudes towards personal mobility that we’ve seen so far in this century. Similarly, few projected the magnitude and extent of disruptions to weather patterns that communities now experience regularly. We can’t look at transportation as a topic somehow separate from all the other forces shaping our state and the reasons why we need to travel. TRANSPORTATION – A MEANS TO AN END 2040 and Beyond may be Washington’s statewide transportation policy plan but it’s about so much more than transportation. It’s about people, places, and prosperity. This is a plan about the opportunities Washington affords to its residents and businesses, the health of our environment and stability of our communities, and economic vitality all across the state. That’s because transportation is a means to achieving overarching statewide objectives; rarely is transportation the objective itself. This plan is inspired by the things that are made possible by transportation at least as much as it’s about transportation itself.

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Let’s be clear - when we talk about transportation we are talking about the whole system, not just highways or streets and roads. We’re talking about all the ways that people, goods, and services get around, not just driving or motor vehicles. Throughout we make reference to specific elements of the transportation system but unless otherwise indicated know that when we talk about transportation we’re talking about the multimodal system of streets, roads and highways, transit and ferry systems, transit hubs and park-and-ride lots, rail roads, strategic waterways, marine terminals and airports, bridges, sidewalks, bike lanes, and trails. We’re interested in the management of those systems, from operational efficiency to life cycle maintenance costs. In short, we’re interested in mobility. One of the things we set out to do with this update is break down some silos that keep us from thinking about transportation as the mechanism that it is – a means of achieving near- and long-term statewide objectives, objectives that are about the people who live here, the places where they live and work and play, and the economic opportunity that supports a good quality of life for all. Those are the reasons why we work to maintain an efficient and reliable transportation system that gets people, goods, and services where they need to be when they need to be there. It’s why we all work to build and operate a transportation system that affords people an array of travel choices to meet an array of travel needs, choices that include healthier and more affordable options for more people in more places. It’s why we require fuel mixtures that reduce air pollution and encourage ever higher fuel efficiency and conversion to clean electric energy. It’s why we dedicate resources to retrofitting old road culverts that block our state’s iconic salmon from their spawning grounds and why we invest in facilities that make it safer for kids to walk and bike to school. It’s why we work so hard to ensure seamless connections will continue to support our economic engines – connections between truck, rail, and ship; connections between passengers, ferries, and transit; connections between distribution centers, airports, and customer doorsteps. We know there isn’t enough money for either public or private sector to waste on inefficiency or avoidable repairs and replacements. That is why we work so hard to manage demand to get the most out of our existing system and take care of that system in the most cost effective ways we can.

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STRATEGIC STATEWIDE POLICY This is a plan for Washington and all of the diversity and complexity of our communities, regions, economies, and lifestyles from one end of the state to the other. As such it builds on the work that has gone before and helps ensure that the countless individual decisions and investments made at every level of government continue to advance our statewide aims. We have a long history of coordinated transportation planning in Washington State. There are hundreds of transportation plans in place right now or under development, each with its own role in making transportation work for Washington. The majority of those plans are part of a more comprehensive plan for community or regional growth, or to support specific economic, social, or environmental initiatives. From long-range policy and modal plans to short-range implementation plans, multi-agency corridor and sub-area plans to intersection plans and paving programs, from six-year improvement programs to congestion management tolling plans, and industry leading research and sector studies on every aspect of mobility, there is a plan for every part of Washington’s transportation system. 2040 and Beyond is a part of that coordinated planning process. It does not duplicate the plans and recommendations of local, regional, and state implementation plans and it does not make project funding recommendations. Instead it provides the overarching guidance needed to ensure that the countless decisions and actions generated by all of those other plans help Washington to meet its statewide policy objectives defined by the Legislature. As we look at updated regional transportation plans, WSDOT modal plans, benchmark studies and annual reports, as we talk with industry leaders and transportation managers and regional directors, we come away with a sense of … optimism. Yes, we have seemingly intractable problems and yes, we can do better in dealing with some thorny issues. Despite the challenges it is easy to understand why states across the country turn to Washington for industry-leading ideas about transportation and statewide coordination. In reviewing plans and policies it is clear to us that Washington’s many transportation partners are pulling in the same direction consistent with statewide policy objectives, each in ways that make sense for that part of the system or process for which they’re responsible. There are different constraints and opportunities in different parts of the state. That’s reflected in the various plans, investment strategies, partnerships, and decision-making processes across the state. Local jurisdictions, transit agencies, port districts, tribes, and state agencies are each doing the best they can with the resources they have

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available and the specific challenges they face. We see innovation. We see rational, data-driven decisions. We see partnerships and leveraged opportunities. We are comfortable reporting that regional plans and policies are consistent with and supportive of statewide legislative priorities. WSDOT implementation and modal plans continue to advance statewide objectives. While we see new and innovative approaches emerging, we do see barriers that stifle innovation. That can and will improve in time. We find that there are at times differences in opinion about how to get from “here” to “there” in terms of managing a 21st century transportation system but we also see that there is generally good communication and coordination among stakeholders to resolve those differences. It takes a light touch today at the statewide policy level to ensure consistency and coordination among Washington’s many transportation partners. The real opportunity comes from putting forward big ideas that can help boost those efforts and address stubborn challenges that lack easy solutions. 2040 and Beyond builds on the progress that has been made in the last 25 years and takes this opportunity to challenge our thinking about the next 25 years. It sets the table for policy discussions on emerging, cross-cutting topics that have implications all across the state – how to better accommodate transformative technologies and other innovations in the ways we plan for and provide a highly functioning transportation system, and what resiliency means in an era of climate change, extreme weather events, and natural disasters. It builds on the Commission’s recent work about how to pay for transportation and poses core questions that will inform the evolution of transportation funding in Washington State for the next few decades. Importantly, it deliberately sets out to break down some of the silos in our thinking about statewide transportation policy and other community goals, similar to the way transportation works in the real world. This plan recognizes that the State’s many transportation partners are trying to find the right balance between the cost and convenience of the transportation system for those who use it with the efficient use of limited resources; we know that the popular approach is rarely the most effective. We have some hard things in front of us that need to be tackled but we’re off to a good start.

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WE’RE NOT STARTING F ROM SCRATCH This is a refresh of the 2035 Washington Transportation Plan (WTP) adopted by the Commission in January 2015. We’re starting from a solid planning foundation rooted in this state’s long-standing commitment to growth management and coordinated transportation - land use decision-making. The 2035 WTP underscored the State’s interest in planning and delivering multimodal transportation service and infrastructure. It emphasized the important role of public transportation as a part of the strategy to improve mobility in key corridors, connect rural communities to urban services, and ensure equitable access regardless of income or ability. The 2035 WTP reiterated the critical relationship between reliable and efficient freight movement and Washington’s long-term economy prosperity. Notably, it advanced the statewide conversation about the need for sustainable funding. Subsequent actions by the Legislature resulted in the Road Usage Charge pilot study currently underway and the $16 billion Connecting Washington investment package approved in 2015 that enhances the statewide transportation system and maintains critical infrastructure. The 2035 WTP also acknowledged that looming uncertainties are changing the way we think about travel and how our transportation system can respond to best meet our future needs.

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MANAGING GROWTH, INCREASING CHOICE One of the things that sets Washington apart from most other states in the nation is our coordinated approach to managing growth. We’ve been at it now for a quarter century. For all of the challenges that confront us in our efforts to provide safe and reliable mobility options, much has improved in that time. 

Our communities offer more opportunities for people to reduce their travel costs while increasing their travel choices, from major metropolitan areas to small suburbs and rural towns. More people have access to more travel choices – driving, transit, walking, biking, share ride, and virtual access – than ever in our history. Transit productivity and efficiency in urban areas is going up as communities grow in more transit-supportive ways, with higher density, mixed-use lifestyle options near transit to round out the predominant auto-oriented single-family suburban options that dominated development patterns for the better part of the 20th century. Old land use patterns don’t go away overnight, or even over a quarter of a century. It takes time for the market forces that drive private property development and consumer lifestyle preferences to change; regulations alone are not enough. Those changes are increasingly evident, particularly in areas with high land values where transportation-efficient development makes market sense.  We’re managing demand for services more effectively, using an array of technologies and practices like dynamic tolling to help balance peak demand in the same way utilities do during those times when demand exceeds capacity. Our approach to system performance means that we’re able to move more people and goods with our existing system so we can target our capacity investments more strategically.  New streets and roads are being built that accommodate all travel modes safely and conveniently, not just drivers. More miles of sidewalks, bike lanes, and trails have been built since passage of the Growth Management Act than in all of Washington’s history before then. It’s undeniable that many miles of outdated infrastructure still require upgrades but that work is happening as fast as scarce resources allow. Transportation doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Coordinating transportation and land use decision-making means thinking about transportation in the context of statewide growth and economic opportunity.

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Washington is growing. It’s no secret that this is a great place to live and work. Washington has the 8th fastest growth rate in the country. We’ve grown by about a million people each decade since 1990. Net migration continues to account for the majority of our growth as it has for the last few decades. People move here for work, school, and other opportunities. Most of that growth is locating in our cities, towns, and urban growth areas where services like schools, water, sewer, police, and fire are most cost-effective to provide. Today over three-quarters of Washington’s 7.3 million residents live in a city, town, or unincorporated urban growth area while the rest live in Washington’s long-term rural unincorporated areas. Consistent with state Growth Management Act (GMA) objectives, an estimated 86 percent of people moving to Washington since 2010 have located in our cities and towns. Economic opportunity drives much of that growth. Average wages in Washington rank 9th in the nation. Sector-leading opportunities in aerospace, information and communication technology, health sciences, clean technology, agriculture and food production, forest products, and military and defense attract investors and the best minds from across the country to work and grow more jobs in Washington. Washington’s $80 billion international export trade ranked third in the nation in 2016 behind California and Texas. Aerospace makes up the bulk of that international trade, accounting for 58 percent of export value in 2016. Rural Washington’s agriculture makes up the second largest share of our export economy, accounting for over 19 percent of the value of Washington’s international export trade export in that same year. Washington’s export economy imports income back into the state, creating more economic opportunities. Opportunities are not distributed evenly. Unfortunately, economic opportunity is not distributed evenly across the state. Twenty-one of Washington’s 39 counties are economically distressed, meaning that their unemployment rates are consistently at least 20 percent higher than the statewide average. These counties account for 17 percent of our state’s total population, counties where state goals for economic vitality and the opportunities it provides remain elusive for too many people. As traditional industries decline, efforts to recruit new employers and industries are hampered by gaps in broadband infrastructure, availability of skilled labor force and housing, and gaps in infrastructure. We want to see sustainable economic growth in our urban areas and in other parts of the state, too, where communities are working hard to attract investments and provide a stable economy for area residents and businesses.

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The past is no prediction of the future. At every level of government, throughout the private sector, and even for households and individuals, the decisions we face in the future are going to be different than those we faced in the past. We start from a good foundation and a quarter-century of concerted coordination and collaboration but we face an uncertain future where many of the drivers of change are outside the control of any government agency or community. We’re going to be challenged to ask different questions and think differently about possibilities and choices than we have in the past. For example,  

What does coordinated decision-making mean in an era of ridesharing and Mobility as a Service? How do we harness data, technology, and the emerging paradigm shifts around personal mobility to achieve broader societal, environmental, and economic goals all across Washington and not just in selected pockets or populations? How do we adapt our decision-making processes and funding structures to better participate and effectively engage in these transformative processes and maximize public benefit from the changes?

For the foreseeable future we need to continuously evaluate the adequacy of our tools and assumptions, and work to become more nimble in our decision-making processes to keep up with the pace of evolution. If we don’t, government will be left behind. REGIONAL PERSPECTIVES When we want a comprehensive overview of what’s happening on the ground in every region in the state and the changes that are underway, there’s no better resource than RTPOs and their urban MPO counterparts. Created at the same time as the Growth Management Act, Washington’s RTPOs have been at the forefront of coordinated transportation and land use decision-making for a quarter century. Many RTPOs and their local, state, tribal, and other partners have been working together in a regional way even longer. This means that RTPOs and MPOs are well positioned to provide useful insights on funding priorities, program effectiveness, and strategic opportunities. They’re particularly well positioned to provide insights on how transportation intersects with land use and economic development goals, and how well the multimodal system of local and state facilities and services works together to support those goals.

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INCLUSIVE, COMPREHEN SIVE, ON-GOING The state’s 18i RTPOs and 12 MPOs include all of Washington except for San Juan County – every county, town and city, every transit district and WSDOT region, most ports and many special purpose districts like school districts and economic development districts are part of an RTPO. Their plans and processes provide a finer, more granular level of detail than can be accomplished in any state plan, each reflecting the unique character and composition of their region. The authors of the Growth Management Act realized the value in this regional role of coordination and collaboration and delegated RTPOs with responsibilities and authorities in this regard. The Commission values this unique role of RTPOs and MPOs, our shared mandates, and our productive history of teamwork and cooperation. As a part of this update we reviewed the current plans and priorities of each RTPO and MPO, looking for consistency with the legislative priorities established in RCW 47.04.280 and around which 2040 and Beyond is built. We found that statewide goals are carried forward in RTPO plans and priorities, somewhat more matured in some cases than when they were first rolled out a decade ago and tailored to the specific needs and opportunities of each region. These same plans are compliant with Growth Management Act requirements and in the case of MPOs, with federal planning requirements. We noticed something else. Consistent with the intent of 2040 and Beyond we found many regions are integrating local, regional, and state transportation considerations into an array of other community objectives: increasing housing affordability; improving access to health care; supporting walkable communities; addressing obesity and other public health concerns; supporting community safety; attracting infill and economic redevelopment; encouraging job stability and growth; maximizing mobility independence; supporting childhood learning; reducing per capita costs of public services like police, fire, and water; reducing school transportation costs; improving air quality; reducing storm water runoff; and more. RTPOs and MPOs are in the vanguard of breaking down silos between transportation considerations and other community objectives. We value our partnership with RTPOs in developing and implementing statewide policy; they are our boots on the ground, at the intersection of local, regional, and state policies and objectives. Working together we can target investments where they generate the most benefit.

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TRANSPORTATION FUNDI NG MECHANISMS ARE BR OKEN RTPOs and MPOs have unique perspectives about their regions and issues their local partners face. For example, they know the challenges local agencies face in trying to maintain transportation assets and keep life cycle costs as low as possible. RTPOs and MPOs have seen the impacts that the 1% cap on property taxes has had over the last 20 years on the ability of local government to fund essential government services – not just transportation but police, fire, public health, and parks. They’ve watched transit agencies work to replace revenues traditionally used for on-going operations and maintenance that were eliminated with repeal of the Motor Vehicle Excise Tax, the former state property tax on motor vehicles. They work with county agencies who are seeing more of their annual road maintenance funds diverted to sheriffs’ departments to offset the loss of their MVET revenue and counter the cap on property taxes. Increasing fuel efficiency and adoption of electric vehicle technology – both of which are good things – have negative impacts on gas tax revenues as does the federal government’s refusal to increase the federal gas tax from its 1993 level. The vast majority of new state gas tax revenues are directed to big projects, debt financing, and competitive programs; little goes back to local agencies directly in the form of discretionary revenues. Funding for many local projects comes from competitive sources, making it hard for local agencies to predict available revenues and develop rational multi-year budgets to meet their near- and long-term funding targets as called for in their adopted plans. Transportation Improvement Board, County Road Administration Board, and Freight Mobility and Strategic Investment Board programs are vital funding sources for local projects and these agencies work to ensure funding awards are consistent with regional plans and priorities. There’s just not enough money to address the backlog of need. There are some new local revenue sources which afford local decision-making authority and contribute to regional improvements. Transportation Benefit Districts are an increasingly popular mechanism across the state through which to raise local revenues. Special purpose districts like that for Sound Transit turn to voter-approved tax measures that aren’t available elsewhere, to support system expansion.

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It would be hard, though, to find many RTPOs in Washington that find our system for paying for transportation to be very effective. It’s not, and not just because the funds available to support infrastructure investments and on-going system operations are inadequate. Funds are inadequate but the funds that are available don’t always align with the need. Here are some issues we heard. 

We hear of misalignments between buckets of existing money and what they’re to be used for compared to what needs to be funded. For example, if preservation is a funding priority why does so much revenue from tax increases go to capital expansion projects?

There can be disconnects between the way projects needs are planned in a coordinated fashion in accordance with GMA requirements and the way projects are selected for funding.

So much revenue for the next decade is already programmed it leaves little opportunity to pursue innovative projects and partnerships. This at a time when we most need to have resources dedicated to innovation and technological improvements.

Federal funding funneled through the MPO and RTPO program to local projects results in higher project delivery costs and longer project delivery time frames than if those same projects were de-federalized and built with state funds, such as is done in Oregon. Federalizing so many projects requires more overhead and administration than if those projects were paid for with state funds. De-federalizing projects would free up more project delivery funds by reducing administration and overhead, and streamline project delivery. It would also level the playing field for smaller and more rural jurisdictions to participate in these regional funding programs.

RTPOs and MPOs are uniquely positioned to help Washington make the kind of adaptive, nimble investment decisions we need to make in the coming years. They have in place already the mechanisms for regional coordination and collaboration among relevant stakeholders, they maintain the strategic long-range strategy for their regions and facilitate regionallycoordinated project reviews and prioritization. RTPOs and MPOs ensure consistency between local and regional objectives as well as between regional and statewide objectives. We can and should lean on them more to participate in state-level funding decisions.

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COORDINATED TRANSPOR TATION AND LAND-USE DECISION -MAKING The success of many of our statewide transportation objectives hinges on the ability to integrate transportation and land use decision-making. It is one thing to talk about the importance of that integration and where it falls short of expectations. RTPOs and MPOs have insightful, real-world experience with what that actually entails. 

They have practical knowledge of the challenges local agencies face in trying to meet what are at times competing objectives related to mobility, congestion, land use and housing affordability, equitable access, financial constraint, and other growth management objectives. They’re aware of the challenges their local partners face when trying to manage the use of private property in an effort to ensure coordination between transportation and land use decision-making. Some regions and communities have the financial clout to tip the scales and catalyze an opportunity, but most don’t. Too many are familiar with the hurdles local agencies and economic development organizations face when trying to attract private investors to build in communities where the demand for growth is chronically low. Regions work with local agencies that understand the value of compact, easy to serve development but cannot afford the sewer or water systems necessary to start transitioning from large lot single-family residential to higher density, transportation-efficient development. The inability to do so undermines transportation grant competitiveness, further exacerbating already challenging conditions.

The Growth Management Act put a lot of responsibility on local jurisdictions to manage growth, as it should. They’re the ones with land use authority. What RTPOs and MPOs tell us, though, is that having land use authority is not the same as controlling market-driven development decisions. There is a delicate balance between the regulatory framework of growth management and the economic reality that drives private property development. Local and regional plans control some of the levers that affect that balance but they do not control all of them. The vast majority of Washington’s 281 cities and towns do not have the economic clout to directly influence the private real estate market in meaningful ways. It’s a problem for us as a state when economic disparities between communities get too pronounced. At the same time that communities in central Puget Sound are experiencing one of the hottest real estate markets in the country and grappling with excessive congestion, soaring housing costs, and encroachment

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on marine terminals and airports, communities elsewhere on the I-5 corridor and throughout Washington are doing everything they can to attract some of that economic opportunity. In places like the Vancouver metropolitan area, Spokane, Bellingham, Tri-Cities, and the Olympia metropolitan area there is growth to actually manage. In many other places, though, a bit of peak period traffic congestion and the need to model intersection operations would be welcomed. Washington’s wealth is not spread evenly across the state, and that is a problem for transportation and the broader statewide goals it is meant to support. What role is there for statewide transportation policy to shift the balance of that equation a little bit, to relieve some of the excess demand on one part of the state by encouraging investment in another? That raises deep philosophical questions about the role of government in influencing economic outcomes, as it should. In reality, though, we do it all the time with the investments we make. How we think about that question and the potential role of transportation investments may inform how we approach concurrency in the future. CONCURRENCY REVISITED Concurrency is deceptively simple on its surface. Ensure that public facilities are in place to accommodate growth without diminishing adopted levels of service. If service levels cannot be maintained then development should be denied until satisfactory infrastructure or services are in place. It’s one of the 14 GMA goals, and when we think about it in the context of sewer or water infrastructure it’s a fairly straight forward concept. It is remarkably complicated, though, when it comes to the fluid and interconnected relationship between transportation and land use. It is compounded when we put it in the context of overarching statewide objectives to increase the intensity of urban land uses and viable travel choices while minimizing growth in rural and resource areas where driving is the only practical option. Unlike sewer or water utility capacity that is directly tied to localized land development patterns, transportation concurrency has to account for the fact that people have a constitutional right to live and work where they will, and that they travel where and when they choose regardless of jurisdiction boundary or system ownership. Infrastructure, travel choices, pricing policies, and other measures aim to inform those choices but they don’t control them.

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If we all lived and worked in one jurisdiction things would be a little easier but of course, people cross jurisdictional boundaries all the time. This has presented a conundrum for years as local, regional, and state agencies grapple with effects of local development patterns on infrastructure in other jurisdictions but especially on state-owned infrastructure. That’s because highways of statewide significance – the backbone for statewide mobility – are exempt from concurrency requirements and in some places they are terribly congested and unreliable. In 2006 WSDOT conducted a detailed evaluation of this situation, building on previous studies in an effort to better address local land use impacts on the state highway system. A number of measures related to planning, funding, and governance were explored. Additional studies were conducted by the Puget Sound Regional Council and the Spokane Regional Transportation Council. While there is a wider embrace today of multimodal service standards and performance metrics, concurrency on state facilities remains a thorny issue. We heard of interest from RTPOs and WSDOT in a strategic assessment of the ways that concurrency might play out on state highways, including Highways of Statewide Significance. That interest was coupled with a note of caution, though: concurrency on state highways is more complicated than it sounds. From what we heard we think there’s value in a coordinated, in-depth assessment reminiscent of the late 1990s Blue Ribbon Commission on transportation finance to do a deep dive on how we might address this question of concurrency. The potential for good and for unintended negative consequences is great when it comes to deploying some kind of concurrency on state highways. How capacity and throughput is measured, between what points covering what areas, and the kinds of measures that rise to the top for addressing concurrency issues – these can be tricky questions whose answers have wideranging ramifications. A thorough, inclusive, objective inquiry by a multidisciplinary, multi-sector team could provide critical insights into a mechanism that succeeds in rebalancing travel demand in peak periods, improving system performance, and relieving congestion in target corridors.

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CROSS-CUTTING TOPICS EMBRACE UNCERTAINTY The further we look into the future the more likely we have blind spots that prevent us from knowing what is on the horizon. Our crystal ball is murky at best when looking twenty or more years out. This is especially true when considering the rapid and transformative nature of transportation technology on the way we think about and provide transportation facilities and services. It is also true when we think about the potential effects that climate change, extreme weather events, and natural disasters will have on our infrastructure and the best ways to increase system resiliency. Instead of relying on our past as an indicator of what the future holds in terms of technology and resilience, 2040 and Beyond embraces the uncertainty associated with these two great unknowns. These were identified in our 2035 WTP and advanced by WSDOT in its Phase 2 implementation plan. 2040 and Beyond seeks to move that dialogue forward in the statewide policy arena. We’ve identified these uncertainties as cross-cutting topics with implications across the board for how we understand, plan for, design, and deliver transportation infrastructure and services in the future. We also advance ideas emerging from our on-going work about how we pay for transportation. 2040 and Beyond poses some Big Ideas that can advance our understanding, preparedness, and ownership of the new horizons these uncertainties foretell and the next steps to advance that understanding. [Advisory Group note: those ‘next steps’ will be fleshed out for the ideas that move forward in the public review draft. We’ve included an example related to technology so that you can better understand how we intend to treat these topics.]

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TECHNOLOGY AND INNOVATION Technology has already changed how we think about transportation – how we travel, how we get things, how we pay to get from here to there and back again. Technology is making our system safer, more efficient, more reliable, cleaner, and more accessible. At the same time it raises questions we have to answer and creates opportunities that we are still figuring out how to harness. We’re in new territory. Government was on the sidelines for much of the last decade while transformative technologies and private data-driven information centers were developed and deployed. A generation of Washingtonians is now coming of age having grown up with Mobility as a Service and considers that a traditional travel option. Connected and autonomous vehicle technology holds out promise for greater safety and system efficiency but it’s too soon to tell whether it will generate a net benefit for mobility, the environment, and community livability or whether unintended consequences will undermine broad societal objectives. What’s our game plan? What does a policy framework for cooperative automated transportation look like for Washington State? We need a collaborative framework that helps us to make the best decisions in the face of rapid change to meet our evolving mobility needs. We want to harness technology and innovation to close the gaps in access and services, enhancing our multimodal transportation system and the livability of our communities while making mobility as efficient and safe as possible. We are pleased to facilitate the Governor’s autonomous vehicle working group and look forward to collaborating with WSDOT and other stakeholders in defining a strategy that is consistent with our values and helps us to achieve broader statewide objectives. We will be challenged to adapt our decision-making processes to best respond to these 21st century decisions and expand our thinking about traditional roles and opportunities for public-private partnerships. “Nimble” is not often used to describe the way transportation decisions are made but that is an imperative going forward. We don’t have all the answers we want but it’s time to get in the game. The time to act is now. RTPOs around the state tell us that without deliberate actions now, rural Washington will be left behind in this new era of mobility. Urban initiatives are already underway in central Puget Sound. State, regional, and local governments, transit agencies, ports, and business leaders have a shared interest in ensuring that technological advances in mobility contribute to a safer and more efficient transportation system that supports our economic, social, and environmental objectives.

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SYSTEM RESILIENCE As we work to find ways of increasing system efficiency, reducing congestion, and improving mobility it is easy to put off planning for the more uncertain, unpredictable things that can disrupt our best plans. Planning how to respond to increasing extreme weather events like floods and wildfires, how to adapt to changing sea levels, or how to respond to the devastation of a 9.0 earthquake helps us to be better prepared for these and other disasters. This increases our resilience. Resilience is the ability of our communities and businesses to adapt and bounce back in the face of extreme adversity. Transportation is central to that ability. Transportation provides critical infrastructure needed to help communities, regions, industry, and the state to bounce back from emergencies and natural disasters. It is easy to forget that this means more than just hardening our bridges and other infrastructure. Technological redundancy and backup resources are critical for system resiliency and our ability to maintain Continuity of Operations in a disaster. Technology is what enables monitoring and communications about route conditions, coordinating emergency response while stabilizing and communicating system operational impacts. It enables us to provide essential communications to the public and industry about evacuation and the state of recovery and repair. In addition we need to plan for and prepare to evacuate vulnerable populations. This entails coordination between transit agencies and paratransit service providers, social service agencies, first responders, and others. Disruptions associated with floods, wildfires, natural disasters like earthquakes and volcanoes can devastate local and state economies. That economic devastation in turn undermines the ability of communities and residents to begin their own recoveries after the initial event. This has cascading effects on the long-term stability of communities. It is critical that governments have plans in place for restoring their own continuity of service and then, strategies for quickly restoring business continuity.

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PAYING FOR TRANSPORTATION The single message we hear over and over – from RTPOs and MPOs, modal directors in WSDOT responsible for projects and programs, from local agencies and intergovernmental associations to transit agencies and not-for-profit service providers – is that there isn’t enough money to cover the basics, much less the aspirational investments we want to make in transportation. The hard reality is that there has never been enough revenue to do everything we need and want our transportation system to do; we’ve always had to make hard choices. The choices just seem to be getting harder at a time when we most need to make targeted, coordinated investments. We’re hearing something else when we talk with stakeholders, though. It’s not just that there isn’t enough money but there’s a sense that the resources we do have can be allocated better. At the same time that we embrace the tenets of Practical Solutions and double down on efforts to increase system efficiency and expand multimodal travel options we’re relying on funding mechanisms that don’t flex in the same ways. Our buckets of money are earmarked for specific purposes but those are not necessarily the priority needs we face. That is why this plan reiterates the long-standing message that more revenue for transportation is needed but we think the time is right to reevaluate the funding programs we do have and ensure they align as closely as possible with our practical approach to project evaluation and selection. Recent WSDOT initiatives that fund local system improvements to benefit state system operations is an example of innovative ways we can get more public benefit from our transportation investments. How well suited are our 20th century buckets for the investment needs of our 21st century transportation system? How about the processes by which projects are selected for funding – do they reflect the more inclusive, collaborative practical solutions approach to evaluating system needs and improvements? Do we have the right balance between project-specific funding and programmatic funding, and is there sufficient flexibility to incorporate emerging innovative processes into project implementation? How can we think about public-private partnerships in this new era of mobility and innovation? Our pilot program for the Road Usage Charge will give us good insights as to the implications of a user-fee based system on different parts of the state and for different users. That is a good start. Regardless of whether we turn in the future to a user-fee based system or rely on a new carbon tax or turn to tolls or some other mechanism, we need to be sure that our existing funding processes reflect our priorities and practical approaches to improving mobility. New revenues alone aren’t the answer.

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2040 AND BEYOND POLICY PLAN 2040 and Beyond is based on the Legislature’s six statewide goals related to economic vitality, system preservation, system safety, mobility, environmental health, and stewardship. These goals are integrated into RTPO and MPO policy plans, local Comprehensive Plans, and WSDOT implementation plans and provide a good foundation for ensuring consistency between statewide policy objectives and the day-today decisions and investments carried out by local, regional, and state partners. The overall intent is to:    

Make the best use of existing infrastructure and services. Increase safety and efficiency while keeping life cycle costs as low as possible. Increase travel choices, system reliability, and person throughput. Align transportation policies and investments to support statewide economic, societal, and environmental objectives.

VISION Washington’s transportation system connects people and communities with safe, efficient travel choices that support economic vitality across the state. It operates reliably and seamlessly across sectors and between modes without regard for jurisdictional boundaries. We add multimodal capacity strategically as part of a systemic, practical approach to system management. Transportation treads lightly on the environment and reduces its historic impacts. It improves public health and increases mobility independence for more people. Innovative approaches and 21st century partnerships help to align policy decisions and investments to achieve statewide objectives with maximum local and regional benefit. Together, we make the best use of existing infrastructure, services, and public resources to meet Washington’s mobility needs. OR the original: [2035 WTP Vision: By 2035, Washington’s transportation system safely connects people and communities, fostering commerce, operating seamless across boundaries, and providing travel options to achieve an environmentally and financially sustainable system.]

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Statewide Goal: Promote and develop transportation systems that stimulate, support, and enhance the movement of people and goods to ensure a prosperous economy. Why This Is Important: Economic vitality underpins our ability to accomplish other goals. A robust economy requires efficient, reliable travel options and compatible land use patterns. This is as true in rural Washington as it is in our major metropolitan areas. Four Policies that Support the Statewide Economic Vitality goal: 1.

Support Washington’s economic competitiveness with strategic multimodal transportation investments coordinated with corresponding land use and other infrastructure policies to improve efficient and reliable movement of goods and services and employee access.


Recognize the full range of multimodal mobility needs that support the State’s economy, including but not limited to first-mile/last-mile freight access and delivery, intermodal connectors, industrial access to interstate and international travel, and work force commuter travel.


Explore 21st century public-private partnerships that advance shared economic objectives and redefine ways of collaborating across sectors in the provision of infrastructure and services. 4. Support efforts to site or expand as appropriate regionally significant or statewide significant transportation facilities such as airports or intermodal transfer facilities, or other essential public facilities that support economic vitality.

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Big Ideas to Support Economic Vitality Objectives: 1.




Evaluate ways to stimulate economic growth through transportation investments in economically distressed counties as a means of rebalancing some of the transportation system and housing pressures in the central Puget Sound. Recognize the importance of broadband access in rural communities with investments in the “information highway” so that these communities have maximum opportunity to compete in the economic marketplace, access long-distance education and telehealth opportunities, and benefit from the technological advances that are improving system management and operations and poised to increase mobility opportunities. Pursue with public and private stakeholders border-to-border freight corridor mobility strategies including I-5, I-90, and the Columbia-Snake strategic waterway to assess near- , medium- , and longterm issues and opportunities for improving internal, domestic, and international mobility and increasing resilience in the face of major disruptions. Authorize expansion of the reservation system for commercial vehicles traveling on Washington State ferries during off-peak travel times.

Cross-cutting Considerations: 

Technology and innovation drivers create new opportunities for managing system capacity and increasing efficient throughput. We need to double-down on our efforts to ensure transportation supports economic opportunity across the state by considering not just urban applications for technology and innovation but rural and suburban applications as well. A goal of system resilience efforts must be on supporting businesses’ ability to recover and maintain business continuity and supply chain reliability after a major disaster to minimize even more severe and potentially permanent economic losses to communities. Project funding needs to align with objectives to increase system efficiency and reliability, make the best use of existing resources, and encourage innovation and partnerships to meet statewide mobility objectives. Practical solutions for improving system capacity and efficiency will look different then 20th century strategies; how we pay for transportation needs to align with these approaches.

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B. PRESERVATION Statewide Goal: Maintain, preserve, and extend the life and utility of prior investments in transportation systems and services. Why This Is Important: Preservation is an essential funding priority. If we can’t afford to take care of what we’ve already built, we can’t afford to rebuild it or expand it. An ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure if we can’t afford the cure. This is especially true for our oldest pavements and bridges that still serving us well past their planned life expectancy. Preservation is the foundation of good asset management for every single mode of travel, not just pavement and bridges. Transit systems, traffic management systems, marine terminals, airports, railways, drainage culverts and storm water systems, and more – protecting our existing investments is the single most cost-effective thing we can do to ensure our transportation system continues to meet our needs. Four Policies to Support the Statewide Preservation goal: 1.

Make preservation and asset management of the existing state and local transportation network a funding priority and work to reduce the backlog of deferred infrastructure maintenance.


Support optimal asset management strategies that keep life cycle costs as low as possible, including pavement and bridge preservation, ferry vessels and terminal infrastructure preservation, and preventive transit system and infrastructure preservation.


Promote systemic and cost-effective preservation of essential infrastructure outside the control of local or state transportation agencies, such as river locks and barges, marine terminals, railroads and trestles, and airports.


Discourage activities or practices that reduce the integrity of the existing transportation system or which increase life-cycle costs.

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Big Ideas to Support Preservation Objectives: 1.

2. 3. 4.


Eliminate the 1 percent cap on property taxes that has restricted local governments’ ability to pay for essential public services and undermined their ability to maintain infrastructure and services in a responsible, cost-effective manner. Explore the potential for non-traditional public-private partnerships with manufacturers of highly automated vehicles to accomplish low-cost, mutually-beneficial roadway maintenance and striping. Prohibit the sale of studded snow tires and phase out their legal use on public streets within five years after they are no longer sold. Establish an annual “Spring Cleaning” challenge that encourages, promotes and rewards agencies who decommission transportation assets, projects, and services that are no longer adding sufficient value to the traveling public. Direct a study of the process considerations that an infrastructure decommissioning plan should entail to serve as guidance for local and state agencies that are no longer able to maintain all of their transportation infrastructure and services in a safe and reliable manner. If new revenue sources and more sustainable mechanisms for funding transportation are not established then this guidance will be used to develop a rational and evidence-based strategy for decommissioning elements of the transportation system or possibly turning them over to private sector ownership for operation.

Cross-cutting Considerations: 

Rapid advances in the development and deployment of drone technology and embedded sensors are creating safe and cost-effective means of conducting bridge inspections and monitoring the physical condition of infrastructure without relying on more destructive techniques. The ability of our transportation system to meet our needs in an emergency and support rapid recovery depends in large measure on the state of the system before the disaster. If we are unable to maintain our resources on an on-going basis we need to consider how that impacts our overall system resiliency. We need to explore new arrangements with private partners to support the maintenance and preservation of our transportation system when that collaboration is mutually beneficial and increases cost-effective system preservation for the traveling public and business.

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C. SAFETY Statewide Goal: Provide for and improve the safety and security of transportation customers and the transportation system. Why This Is Important: No fatality is acceptable. We design, build, operate, and manage our transportation system with safety in mind – safety for all users of that system as well as for those who operate and work on the system. Four Policies that Support the Statewide Safety goal: 1.

Sustain on-going efforts to integrate safety into infrastructure design and system operations for all modes of travel and ensure the safety of those who operate and maintain the transportation system.


Support Target Zero goals by encouraging an integrated, multi-disciplinary approach to system safety that includes engineering, enforcement, education, and emergency response, and which harnesses emerging technologies as they are proven to reduce crash hazards.


Encourage inter-agency collaboration at all levels of government as well as cooperation between public and private sectors to increase emergency preparedness and response capabilities, and reduce system vulnerabilities and disruptions. 4. Promote the role of the built environment and community design in reducing risk exposure and the severity of traffic-related crashes, especially for non-motorized travelers.

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Big Ideas to Support Safety Objectives: 1.

Commission a multi-disciplinary, multi-sector work group to evaluate new opportunities made possible by recent advances in technology to improve system safety for all modes of travel and reduce fatality and serious injury crashes. 2. Develop policy guidance with input from public and private sector interests on the testing of connected and autonomous vehicles on public roads in Washington State and the metrics by which those tests will be evaluated. This should include consideration of urban, suburban, and highly rural applications. 3. Extend consideration of life line facilities necessary for response and recovery after a major seismic event to include eastern Washington, taking a more systems-wide view of what staging and recovery will entail after such a major event and including rural general aviation airports, strategic waterways, international border crossings and heavy haul freight corridors. 4. Authorize an automated truck mounted attenuator pilot program and evaluate its effectiveness in improving worker safety on roads and highways. A truck mounted attenuator is also called a “crash truck” or “safety truck” because it is designed to absorb the impact of crashes in a work zone, save workers’ lives as well as those of the driver and passengers of the offending vehicles, and minimize damage in work zones.

Cross-cutting Considerations: 

 

In 2016 there were 513 fatal crashes in Washington resulting in 536 fatalities. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that 94 percent of crashes are due to human error and can be avoided. Advanced technologies in modern vehicles can reduce these crashes and advance our ‘Target Zero’ safety objectives though questions regarding cybersecurity and privacy must also be considered. The partnerships and strategies that increase system resilience support on-going day to day efforts to increase system safety and security. Funding programs need the flexibility to support innovative projects and the emergence of new practices and procedures that result in a safer transportation system.

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D. MOBILITY Statewide Goal: Improve the predictable movement of goods and people throughout Washington State. Why This Is Important: Predictable, reliable travel choices underpin a strong economy and healthy communities. The biggest challenge to this may be chronic congestion. Strategic system expansion coordinated with transportation-efficient land use policies, effective system management and operations, multimodal integration, practical solutions, demand management, and emerging technologies help to get the most benefit out of our transportation system. Four Policies that Support the Statewide Mobility goal: 1.

Support efforts to increase reliable multimodal travel for people and goods in communities all across the state, recognizing that the diverse range of places, needs, and opportunities represented statewide require equally diverse strategies applicable to those communities. 2. Promote innovative, practical strategies that maximize person-throughput on our corridors, minimize travel delay for people and goods, and increase trip reliability across modes and sectors. 3. Monitor and respond to 21st century changes in demographics, transportation technologies, and lifestyle preferences when evaluating and prioritizing transportation system needs and investments. 4. Work to ensure that all people have access to their daily needs with dignity and independence, regardless of their ability or income and without discrimination.

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Big Ideas to Support Mobility Objectives: 1.

2. 3.

4. 5.

Extend the work of the Ruckelshaus Group to convene a Blue Ribbon panel tasked with exploring and reporting on mechanisms by which concurrency might be applied to Highways of Statewide Significance in an equitable and practical manner, including consideration of mechanisms by which private developer mitigations can fund non-capital operating activities that increase throughput. Direct development of a seamless, statewide transit fare card with interoperability between transit and ferry systems across the state. Direct a multi-sector study of the state interest and potential role in coordinated human services transportation and in reducing barriers to access and increasing the efficiency of delivering basic lifeline services. This includes ways to improve access to health care of vulnerable population groups like veterans, seniors, and low-cost residents across service areas boundaries as well as increasing opportunities to broadband-dependent strategies like telehealth. Require systems management and operations as the initial approach for all transportation system investments as a part of a comprehensive and systemic approach to Practical Solutions. Support development of a statewide travel demand model that provides consistent inputs to more detailed MPO and RTPO models on region-to-region throughput, long-distance freight flows, interregional commuter patterns, and assumptions related to shared and automated mobility.

Cross-cutting Considerations: 

Automated vehicles will change the way people and goods move around Washington State and between Washington and the rest of the world. A collaborative, cooperative approach will ensure automation and shared mobility increase system efficiency and minimize the cost of infrastructure while supporting objectives related to equity, growth management, and economic vitality. Strategic resiliency planning entails prioritizing transportation system elements to be restored in the event of a natural disaster, identifying which parts of the network and which systems will be brought back on line in priority order. Project funding buckets emphasize capital projects and infrastructure expansion while state policy and best practices emphasize the importance of lower cost practical solutions that improve overall systems operations and throughput before strategically adding capacity.

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E. HEALTH AND THE ENVIRONMENT Statewide Goal: Enhance Washington’s quality of life through transportation investments that promote energy conservation, enhance healthy communities, and protect the environment. Why This Is Important: Transportation directly impacts the environment though not always in negative ways. Environmentally responsible development decisions, infrastructure design, and transportation investments minimize transportation impacts on the natural and built environment and reduce resource consumption. This can also improve community health and social equity for generations to come. Four Policies that Support the Statewide Environment goal: 1.

Work to accelerate availability of and demand for clean transportation energy sources across all sectors while curbing growth in demand for energy sources based on fossil fuels.


Encourage the design and development of communities that make walking and biking more viable for more people and increase opportunities for active travel for all ages.


Work to avoid highly sensitive environments for transportation infrastructure, minimize impacts where it is unavoidable, and continue to make progress on retrofitting outdated infrastructure to lessen existing impacts. 4. Promote practical solutions and context sensitive strategies that effectively integrate transportation into the unique fabric of individual communities and environments, working to enhance overall quality of life and sense of place while improving mobility and access.

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Big Ideas to Support Health and Environment Objectives: 1.




Require school districts and state agencies involved in the siting of school and other public facilities to explicitly include consideration of transit, walk, and bike access in their decisionmaking process and strive to maximize safe and convenient multimodal access whenever state funds are involved. Ensure the public health benefits of active transportation are adequately reflected in transportation funding programs and promote greater coordination of activities between Senate and House Transportation Committees and other legislative committees with an active interest in public health in order to expand awareness and opportunities. Direct a study of the barriers that inhibit participation by transit and state agencies in greater collaboration with land developers to create multimodal, mixed-use transportation hubs in the vicinity of major park-and-ride lots and ferry terminals where intermodal travel options can be provided most conveniently and cost-effectively. Increase support funding support for electric vehicle charging stations across Washington, and provide guidance to local agencies on various business models that enable them to plan for and stimulate an expansion of infrastructure without putting municipalities in the business of owning and operating these facilities.

Cross-cutting considerations: 

The same auto manufacturers working to bring connected and autonomous vehicles to the market are moving away from internal combustion engines, consistent with broader environmental objectives related to greenhouse gas emissions and air quality. A built environment that offers more viable travel options will be able to respond and recover faster after a natural disaster or other disruption than one that is solely dependent on a single mode of travel, increasing community resiliency. Growing demand to increase opportunities for walking and biking in local communities outpaces the ability of existing revenues to retrofit outdated infrastructure that accommodates only cars as part of stand-alone projects. Current development standards should ensure that appropriate non-motorized facilities are built in tandem with new streets and roads, and that roadway retrofits bring old facilities up to modern standards.

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Statewide Goal: Continuously improve the quality, effectiveness, and efficiency of the transportation system. Why This Is Important: There never has been enough money to do everything we want and need to do with our transportation system. That is unlikely to change. As stewards of the public’s finite resources, we must make difficult near-term decisions, manage our growth, and invest strategically with the long view in mind to get the most benefit from our transportation system today and in the future. Four Policies that Support the Statewide Stewardship goal: 1.

Align investments with desired performance outcomes to get the greatest mobility and safety benefit from existing infrastructure and services at the best cost to the traveling public, revising if necessary existing funding programs to better align with the kinds of projects that offer cost-effective solutions.


Provide the cross-training, skills assessment, and succession planning needed to ensure that government has a work force with the knowledge and experience needed to manage and maintain a 21st century transportation system and maintain continuity of operations during this transformative transition period. 3. Introduce new practices or technologies when proven that they can enhance system efficiency, reduce crash risks for the traveling public or industry, increase the cost-effectiveness of system preservation, or reduce life cycle costs. 4. Support inclusive, equitable planning that considers the full range of mobility needs and communities served by transportation, and more fully integrates transportation and land use decision-making at all levels of government.

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Big Ideas to Support Stewardship Objectives: 1.




Direct the Transportation Commission to catalogue the various transportation performance measures currently in place at federal, state and regional levels to determine sufficiency of existing measures in measuring progress towards statewide goals. If necessary identify additional metrics developed in collaboration with affected agencies and the funding means with which to maintain them. Establish person-throughput and freight-throughput performance metrics for highly constrained urban highway corridors in collaboration with affected regional and local agencies and transit service providers, and direct the management of that system to maximize throughput including use of dynamic tolling policies that balance system demand with existing capacity. Commission a multi-sector, multi-disciplinary evaluation of the State interest in health care access for vulnerable populations like veterans, seniors, and low-income residents, and identify ways to streamline access across service area boundaries, including ways in which scheduling and service are coordinated and paid for as well as opportunities to reduce the need for travel with technologydriven strategies like telehealth. Direct that Human Services Transportation Program grant awards should be extended to four years for those programs that have consistently demonstrated the ability to deliver services and meet mobility management objectives for a minimum of three (3) biennial funding cycles. This will increase program stability and reliable customer service for the vulnerable populations served and reduce the overhead and administrative requirements needed to simply secure on-going program funding.

Cross-cutting Considerations: 

Technological advances afford us the opportunity to better manage demand for limited transportation capacity than we’ve ever had before, reducing or postponing the need for costly general purpose capacity increases. Collaboration between state, regional, local, federal, and military partners to prioritize resiliency investments demonstrates public accountability and responsible use of limited resources. Demonstrating public accountability in the use of scarce resources to maximize system performance is essential to obtaining support for future investments and revenue increases.

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BIG IDEAS IN SUPPORT OF CROSS-CUTTING TOPICS Advisory Group note: An objective of 2040 and Beyond is to stimulate further thinking and discussion about technology and innovation, system resiliency, and how we pay for transportation. The intent is to identify some Big Ideas and describe early steps towards accomplishing them. Following is an initial list of ideas gleaned from our review of regional and state plans and discussions with stakeholders. Not all of these ideas will make the cut. Advisory Group input will help us to refine the list so that we can further develop those with the greatest potential to make a meaningful impact on our ability to understand and respond to future uncertainties. The following example illustrates how a Big Idea can be described to show what the first few implementation steps might look like. The intent is to help decision-makers understand ways that they can begin approaching these opportunities and make progress even though many things are still unknown. Initial steps help to reduce blind spots, test concepts, and provide clarity on subsequent steps. We will develop this kind of format for those Big Ideas that are included in the public review draft. (Example format, using a Technology and Innovation idea) What is the Big Idea? Advance government’s role in the deployment of cooperative automated transportation programs to “provide and support safe, reliable and cost-effective transportation options to improve livable communities and economic vitality for people and businesses” across the state. Why is this important? Transportation technology has the potential to dramatically improve our transportation system and to spawn new industries but only if we catch up and keep up with advances driven in large measure by the private sector. Without guidance the benefits are likely to accrue to major urban areas and leave Washington’s other communities behind. Independent actions on the part of individual jurisdictions and coalitions seek to fill the current void of guidance and leadership. A cohesive, unified approach will better serve the people and businesses of Washington and demonstrate to private companies that Washington is a good place to do business in the 21st century. How can this be done based on what we know today? Build on the existing work of the Transportation Commission’s Autonomous Vehicle Working Group with additional direction and tasks.

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Extend the mandate of the Commission’s AV Working Group to include expanded focus on freight mobility. Direct creation of a subcommittee within the AV Working Group that includes representatives of key industrial sectors, trucking and shipping firms, delivery firms, the University of Washington’s Supply Chain Transportation and Logistics Center, and representative public agencies and RTPOs from urban and rural areas. This group will direct its focus on the future of connected and autonomous vehicles and ‘smart infrastructure’ and how this will influence freight mobility, supply chain logistics, and commercial vehicle operations. This should be intermodal in its scope and include highways, streets, and roads, strategic waterways, marine ports, and air cargo facilities, and should include both urban and rural interests.


Direct the Commission’s AV Working Group to develop a prototype policy framework for Cooperative Automated Transportation that is applicable to state, regional, and local agencies and which provides a logical foundation for collaboration across sectors and between agencies. This framework will be revisited periodically and updated as needed to stay current with evolving conditions. It should facilitate collaboration and sharing of information between agencies and, where appropriate, between public and private sectors.


Establish an “Innovations and Emerging Technologies” account to be administered directly by the Commission’s AV Working Group Executive committee for the purpose of enabling, researching, evaluating, and deploying new technologies that directly benefit citizens and the economic vitality of Washington State. Expenditures should require a 1:1 match with private sector investments to demonstrate the market potential for innovative public-private partnerships. An initial deposit of $100 million, derived from electric vehicle registration fees, congestion pricing on select facilities during the pm peak period, and other sources will establish Washington as a proactive leader at the forefront of innovation.


Establish a Smart Mobility Center to be co-located and administered by a multiagency, multidisciplinary, cross-functional team of public, private, and academic interests working together to ensure the successful introduction / integration of 21st century technology and innovation in Washington State. The Smart Mobility Center should encourage resource and information sharing between public agencies and across jurisdictional boundaries to identify the best projects and strategies.

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Allow existing recipients of state project funding to redirect up to 10% of their awarded funds to “Innovations and Emerging Technologies” projects if the recipient can demonstrate that the original project can be substantially delivered within 90% of the original scope and legislative intent. These innovative projects should serve as pilot projects to demonstrate the effectiveness of new practices and techniques with results shared widely to advance knowledge across the state.


Evaluate the feasibility of a cooperative insurance pool mechanism to facilitate the introduction of vehicles with automated driving systems that perform all or a portion of the driving tasks on Washington’s streets and highways.


Evaluate current and emerging practices for public-private partnerships particularly in regards to collaboration with Transportation Network Companies (TNC) and transportation technology industries. Streamline life cycle asset management and establish flexibility within procurement processes and decision-making structures to realign toward a more sustainable approach that requires on-going coordination and collaboration between government and the business community in the 21st century. 4. Provide funding support to WSDOT to revisit and refresh if necessary the scenario planning analysis conducted for the current Washington Freight Mobility Plan in order to update its indicators, assess the pace of change of major drivers identified in that work in the last 5 years, and implications for freight mobility statewide. Share the results widely to broaden the knowledge base. 5. Evaluate the business case analysis for Ultra-High Speed Ground Transportation and develop a near- , medium- , and long-term action plan and multi-sector engagement strategy for high priority options.

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Dedicate an accrual account for emergency relief funds that cities and counties can quickly access to repair and rebuild infrastructure damage due to natural events and restore business continuity as soon as possible after disruptions.


Provide funding to RTPOs to conduct a statewide assessment of all-weather system capacity for local and state facilities by type of freight facility and collaborate on strategies to reduce deficiencies with the greatest impact on commerce and economic vitality in each region.


Pursue innovative strategies to maintain the economic viability of rural general purpose airports to ensure they are available and in useful condition to support firefighting, emergency response, and emergency relief efforts in the event of major disruptions.


In collaboration with public transportation agencies, providers of paratransit services, CTANW, RTPOs, first responders, Offices of Emergency Management, and others, develop a coordinated step-by-step guide for evacuation and emergency response for vulnerable populations including requisite Memorandums of Understanding between applicable agencies and organizations. Coordinate where appropriate these activities with those of Resilient Washington.


Provide funding to RTPOs to engage local jurisdictions in working with WSDOT offices to further define critical routes into and out of ports, airports, and other key areas. Identify priority routes for retrofitting and hardening and incorporate these into regional transportation plans, in support of Safety and Security objectives.

6. Direct the development of written interagency agreements between WSDOT and local jurisdictions for rerouting traffic onto local facilities in the event of major and prolonged closures of state highways. Fund analysis that enables WSDOT and local agencies to evaluate how local roads might be impacted if they are used for “lifeline routes” and encourage development of operational plans for use in managing traffic and prioritizing use of these facilities for emergency response and recovery in the event of a disaster so that they can best meet operational needs.

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Ideas Related to Revenue Sources – a. Authorize the creation of Street Utility Programs by cities and Transportation Benefit Districts. b. De-federalize funds awarded to local projects by regional planning agencies for all awards of $5 million or less by exchanging those funds with state funds allocated to major WSDOT projects on which there are already federal funds. Reducing the number of federally funded projects will reduce overall project and program administration, streamline project delivery, and stretch project delivery value further for all projects across the state. c. Increase revenue for regional mobility grants by 10 percent and extend the length of the award to four years for those proven, on-going programs and services that have met their performance targets for the last three (2-year) funding cycles. d. Ensure current silos for infrastructure funding do not undermine the ability of local and state agencies to fund multimodal projects and innovative technology projects that align with practical solutions and local Comprehensive Plans. e. Index the state gas tax to inflation.


Ideas Related to Financing – a. Identify and put forward a constitutionally-compliant alternative to Tax Increment Financing to support public and public-private partnership financing of transportation infrastructure and services in fast growing areas. b. Direct a review of current and emerging practices in regards to public-private partnerships, especially for their potential in systemic, innovative arrangements between government and the business community and considering participation by new types of entities engaged in providing transportation services.


Ideas Related to Project Selection – a. Ensure statewide project prioritization criteria do not inadvertently penalize rural communities for being rural. b. Ensure statewide project funding programs have the flexibility to align with and fully support practical solutions approaches.

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Establish formal consultation procedures between the Legislature and MPOs and RTPOs to review project funding recommendations for consistency with established regional priorities prior to significant funding authorizations. Review the balance between project specific and programmatic funding to ensure it aligns with current thinking about system wide objectives and decision-making processes.

Ideas Related to Legislation – a. Review the 1954 definition of “highway purpose project” and update if necessary to make it consistent with 21st century policies, economics, and understanding of how our multimodal transportation system functions. b. Remove the 1% cap on property tax to better support the ability of local government to provide essential public infrastructure and services like transportation, law enforcement, and public health. c. Work to ensure that multimodal transportation projects and programs that reduce per capita greenhouse gas emissions are eligible for revenues generated by a new carbon tax at the state or federal level.

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MOBILITY IN THE 21 S T CENTURY (A wrap up summary and big ideas related to the spotlight themes. This will be developed once we know which Big Ideas make the cut for the public review draft)




Including OCOG which is in the final stages of getting its RTPO designation and which will be complete before the draft plan is on the streets.

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2040 and Beyond - Internal Working Draft  

Working draft for review and comment by the WTP Advisory Group, Steering Committee, and Leadership Team.

2040 and Beyond - Internal Working Draft  

Working draft for review and comment by the WTP Advisory Group, Steering Committee, and Leadership Team.