Since 2015, Metro has worked with the public and local, regional and state partners to update greater Portland’s Regional Transportation Plan, a blueprint that guides investments for all forms of travel – transit, driving, walking, and biking – over the next 25 years.
The federally required document is updated every five years so that regional leaders may respond to the needs of a growing and changing region.
Greater Portland, including southwest Washington, is home to 2.4 million people. By 2040, the region is expected to have nearly 3 million people – more than in the Baltimore metropolitan area today. Children born to families already living here and transplants from other states are expected to make up the new residents. Forecasts estimate that employers will create more than 350,000 new jobs within the Urban Growth Boundary.
The challenge for leaders is to accommodate how more people move around by taking transit, walking and driving, while easing traffic, reducing carbon emissions and making streets safer.
Zero is an important number for the 2018 RTP – as in Vision Zero. For the first time, Metro and the Joint Policy Advisory Committee on Transportation enacted this goal to eliminate all deaths and life-changing injuries from collisions by 2035.
“It is an ambition we must have, unless we believe that there is an acceptable level of death and serious injury,” said Metro Councilor Bob Stacey.
Where will investments go?
Planners took a hard look at how much money leaders expect to secure from local, state and federal sources over the next 25 years, and prioritized 822 projects based on that assessment.
This doesn’t mean funding has actually been secured for every project, but planners have a “reasonable expectation” that funding will be available sometime before 2040 based on current funding trends.
The draft list of projects represents $15.4 billion of investments in the region’s transportation system, with more than half of that dedicated to throughways, roads and bridges.
It also establishes policies and best practices to guide these priority investments.
The plan also identifies $13 billion for transit operations and maintenance, and $13 billion for highway, road and bridge maintenance.
The plan also includes a longer list of “strategic” projects -- $10 billion in additional priorities that could be built if more funding is available before 2040.
Metro Councilor Shirley Craddick said the plan looks toward the future and encourages people to think big and boldly about transportation.
“Part of that process is creating the expectation, the anticipation, the public acceptance of what that the next big project is going to be,” Craddick said. “Let's build some stuff.”
Partnerships and outreach
Over three and a half years, Metro convened business leaders, community organizations and representatives and jurisdictional partners from the 24 cities in greater Portland, and made 19,000 connections with people across the region to discuss their transportation needs. Through this process, the 2018 RTP homed in on issues of equity – improving transportation for marginalized communities – and safe streets for all residents.
“The community engagement for this RTP was really impressive,” said Metro Councilor Kathryn Harrington. “It really put into practice tremendous 21st century methods for community engagement.”
Review the full chapters, appendices and implementation strategies.
Use the interactive map of project lists to learn about specific projects in your neighborhood and city.
Visit oregonmetro.gov/rtp to learn more about what's in the plan.
Read a message from the Metro Council: