The updated mobility policy will guide development of regional and local transportation plans and the evaluation of potential impacts of plan amendments and zoning changes on the transportation system.
What is the current regional mobility policy?
As the primary way of measuring vehicle congestion on roads and at intersections, the current mobility policy measures the number of motor vehicles relative to the motor vehicle capacity of a given roadway during peak weekday travel times, currently defined as being from 4 to 6 p.m.
This current mobility policy is centered on vehicle-based thresholds adopted in the Regional Transportation Plan and Oregon Highway Plan. These thresholds are referred to as the volume-to-capacity ratio or v/c ratio.
Nationally, this measure of mobility was originally developed and used to guide the sizing and location of the Interstate System in the 1960s. Over time, the measure has been applied to all roads for different purposes as determined in state, regional and local plans.
Why update the policy now?
- The current policy focuses solely on vehicles and does not measure mobility for people riding a bus or train, biking, walking or moving goods.
- The current policy has led to transportation projects that are increasingly more expensive than we can afford and that may have undesirable land use, housing, air quality, public health and environmental impacts, conflicting with local, regional and state goals.
- Cities and counties are increasingly unable to meet the current policy or pay for needed transportation investments. This is especially true in planned growth areas including urban growth boundary expansion areas.
- The 2018 Regional Transportation Plan failed to meet the current policy, particularly for the region’s throughway system, triggering the need to consider alternative approaches for measuring mobility and success under state law.
- ODOT is preparing an update to the statewide Oregon Transportation Plan and Oregon Highway Plan – the mobility policy update provides an opportunity for the greater Portland region to help inform those efforts.
What are the expected outcomes?
The project’s primary outcome is to recommend an updated mobility policy and associated measures and performance targets for the greater Portland region that clearly define mobility expectations for people and goods for all modes to guide local, regional and state decision-making.
The updated policy will guide development of regional and local transportation plans and studies, and the evaluation of potential impacts of plan amendments and zoning changes subject to the State of Oregon's Transportation Planning Rule during development review.
What are the next steps?
The updated policy is being applied to the 2023 Regional Transportation Plan and incorporated in the highway mobility policy (Policy 1F) in the Oregon Highway Plan, pending approval by the Joint Policy Advisory Committee on Transportation, the Metro Council and the Oregon Transportation Commission.