Congestion Mitigation Systems Plan “Vision 2020”
The Congestion Mitigation Systems Plan “Vision 2020” prepared by Wilbur Smith Associates and a team of consultants for the South Western Regional Planning Agency in February 2003 developed a vision for southwestern Connecticut (focusing on the I-95 corridor) that seeked to reduce congestion, improve air quality and promote economic growth. The vision built upon the existing transportation assets and tried to improve overall system efficiency by offering transportation users, choices. In particular, the vision looked to promote transit options and reduce the continued reliance on the automobile.
To generate a set if strategies to mitigate traffic congestion in the study area, the plan utilized an intensive public involvement/outreach program that collected input from a wide section of customers (elected officials, business owners, commuters, transit passengers and operators, etc.), market research that tested a variety of factors (e.g. public perception of traffic congestion, willingness to pay for improvements) on the public and other groups, the development of focused goals and objectives (reduced congestion, improved mobility, improved accessibility, economic growth), the development of performance metrics to compare the impacts resulting from a set of transportation improvements to the Base Scenario (travel time, vehicle miles traveled, mode shifts, accessibility, and safety, and the identification of constraints that would be applied to each strategy (analysis is focused on trips starting and ending in study area, analysis is focused on peak period work trips, expansion of Merritt Parkway not considered, analysis of land use strategies assumes maintenance of local jurisdiction land use regulation).
After a through analysis of the existing transportation system in the study area, and its problems, a long list of transportation strategies were developed. These strategies were evaluated in terms of costs and benefits, and based on the process and criteria defined above advanced into the plan as recommendations.
A brief summary of the recommendations which were grouped into four categories; immediate actions (foundation), short term actions (incremental), long-term actions (Vision), and support for other strategies, is detailed below:
Immediate Actions (Incremental)
• Public Education – Education
must be an ongoing process to inform the public and decision makers
of the benefits and costs of transportation strategies. In addition,
the importance of the transportation and land use connection needs
to be emphasized to local and state officials. Implementation needs
to be consensus driven and broad-based support needs to be attained.
SWRPA should continue to engage various media outlets to keep awareness
of transportation issues on the forefront, and continue to work with
state and local officials to gain addition support and funding.
SWRPA – in partnership with ConnDOT and transportation management organizations – should study the performance of existing TDM programs.
Short-Term Actions (Incremental)
• Transit Operational Improvements
• I-95 Operational Improvements (focusing on Interchange 6 to Interchange 16)
• Changes to Zoning Regulations – SWRPA should work with municipalities to structure zoning regulations to embrace transit friendly development, walkable communities, increased density and mixing of land uses, reduced parking requirements, and access management along transportation corridors and in town centers.
Long-Term Actions (Vision)
• Transit Capacity Expansion
• I-95 Capacity Expansion – Two additional lanes should be considered a strategy to help alleviate congestion along the corridor
Support for Other Strategies
• Interstate Rail – Improvements
should be made to fleet configuration, infrastructure and service
to obtain optimum system performance.
• Ferry – SWRPA should continue
to monitor the results of the Long Island Sound Waterborne Transportation
Plan and other studies of potential passenger ferry services.