Moving around California three decades from now will be safer, cleaner and simpler with more mobility options under a new plan unveiled by the California DOT (Caltrans). The California Transportation Plan (CTP) 2050 details the state’s long-range transportation vision and establishes a roadmap to improve mobility and accessibility in the state while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
By 2050, Caltrans says the state’s transportation system will need to support an estimated 45 million residents with an integrated, sustainable network of mobility options connecting them to jobs, education, housing, vital services and recreation — and must do so while also achieving its goal of reducing emissions from transportation to 80% below 1990 emissions.
“The plan sets a bold vision to foster economic vitality, protect our environment and meet the transportation needs of all Californians,” said Caltrans Director Toks Omishakin.
The CTP 2050 is a comprehensive plan that — as opposed to focusing on individual projects or budgets — examines wide-ranging policies and strategies to meet several key objectives, including:
- Expanding economic opportunities through the easy, integrated movement of people, freight and services
- Enhancing safety and security on bridges, highways, and roads
- Creating a low-carbon transportation system that protects public and environmental health
- Advancing transportation equity and improving quality of life for Californians
California has a robust and complex multimodal transportation system made up of roads, bridges, railways, ports, transit systems, bicycle and pedestrian paths, and other vital infrastructure that supports communities and the economy. The plan notes that California’s roadways are the backbone of this multimodal system and that, “Maintaining our roadways in a state of good repair is absolutely essential to our quality of life and economic prosperity.”
California’s roadways currently support 40 million residents and 268 million annual visitors, and move more than $4 trillion worth of goods. If current trends continue, driving is expected to remain the dominant mode of transportation in 2050, with vehicle miles traveled (VMT) expected to increase by 35% due to population growth.
The plan cautions that, “California’s roads and bridges will likely face further VMT increases, congestion, and deterioration if sufficient system investments are not made” and that, “Climate change and natural disasters will pose further risks to our roadways, requiring even more maintenance, rehabilitation, and resources to keep assets in a state of good repair, and to keep users safe.”
CTP 2050 advocates for continuing a ‘fix it-first’ approach for California’s roadways, integrating sustainable pavements and other materials, and using new tools and technologies to efficiently manage assets as recommended in California’s Transportation Asset Management Plan (TAMP). These measures would “extend the life of the multimodal system while making travel more efficient and reliable. “