Regional Perspective

Importance of Transportation Planning and Investing Regionally

The day when the Washington area consisted of the District of Columbia and a collection of small suburban enclaves is long past. Today our metropolitan region is home to nearly 6 million residents, nearly 45% of whom live in Northern Virginia. Only about 12% live in the District of Columbia.

Our economy is arguably the most intertwined in the nation. Every day millions of trips and hundreds of millions worth of goods and services travel between states and jurisdictions. Most people work in jurisdictions other than where they live. Most Arlington residents don’t work in Arlington. Most Arlington workers don’t live in Arlington. Banking, medical, recreational and other essential daily trips regularly cross jurisdictional boundaries. Given that the number of highly specialized jobs is likely to increase, businesses will need to draw upon a wider geographic area to get the skilled workers they need.

To prosper and provide a better quality of life our region will need a resource it currently lacks — a well-connected regional transportation network. Being ranked #1 in the nation for congestion is not a plus for our region. In short, a well-connected regional network of major highways, Potomac River Bridges and public transit, coupled with good land use policies will make more jobs available to more people, take more traffic off local streets and contribute substantially to our prosperity and quality of life.

This is the approach the Alliance has advocated for more than a quarter century and continues to advocate.

2011 Regional Survey Finds Consensus on Transportation Priorities