Photo courtesy of the Utah Department of Transportation.
The first comprehensive, regional transportation planning efforts in the Wasatch Front urban area were undertaken in the early 1960s. At that time, the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) worked with local elected officials in the Wasatch Front region to develop an area-wide, long-range transportation plan (LRP) for 1980. As part of this study and analysis, an origin-destination survey for this region was conducted to develop travel-forecasting models to project future traffic flows.
In the mid-1970s, a major update to the Wasatch Front region’s LRP was undertaken by the Wasatch Front Regional Council (WFRC). The objective was to extend the LRP to the planning horizon of 1995, taking into account the changes in development patterns and travel behavior that had occurred since the first LRP was adopted. The 1979 LRP, with a planning horizon set to 1995, consisted of Technical Report 13 for the Salt Lake Urbanized Area and Technical Report 19 for the Ogden Urbanized Area. This LRP was approved, published, and distributed in September of 1979.
In the 1980s, a second major update to the Wasatch Front region’s LRP was undertaken by WFRC. This update effort extended the LRP’s time horizon to 2005. While earlier long-range transportation plans had developed a good master plan for future transportation facilities with an emphasis on highways, many of the facilities would not be needed during the time frame of the plan and funding for other projects was unlikely to be available. The LRP developed in 1987 took a slightly different approach and made recommendations to address the projected needs for the year 2005. WFRC also developed a separate plan for facilities needed beyond 2005 as a guide for local communities to use in future local transportation planning. The 2005 LRP was approved by the Council in 1987, and consisted of Technical Report 22 for the Salt Lake Urbanized Area and Technical Report 23 for the Ogden Urbanized Area.
Beginning with the passage of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) in 1991, all regional transportation plans are now required to include a financial element showing how the recommended projects and facilities can reasonably be implemented. This financial constraint meant that some needed projects could not be included in LRP recommendations. In 1993, WFRC adopted an interim long-range transportation plan to address the financial requirements and other criteria established by ISTEA. The Council approved a final long-range transportation plan in 1995. This LRP, which had a planning horizon set to the year 2015, addressed ISTEA requirements. Three reports were published, including Technical Report 32, The Salt Lake Area Long-range Plan, Technical Report 33, The Ogden Area Long-range Plan, and Technical Report 34, The Financial Plan for the Wasatch Front Region Transportation Plans.Read More
A comprehensive LRP for 2020 was developed and approved by the Council in October 1998 for the Salt Lake and Ogden Urbanized Areas. This LRP effort placed greater emphasis on public transit improvements than the previous long-range transportation plans, and identified a system of fixed guideway light rail and regional commuter rail facilities. The LRP was documented and summarized in a series of technical reports, including Technical Reports 35, 36, 37, and 38.
The LRP was revisited beginning in January of 1999. The Salt Lake and Ogden Urbanized Areas, treated in the past as two separate and distinct geographic jurisdictions for population projections, travel demand analysis, needs assessment, recommended transportation projects, and supporting documentation, were combined into the larger, more complete Wasatch Front urban area for the purposes of this particular planning effort. The LRP and supporting documentation, entitled the Wasatch Front Urban Area Long-range Transportation Plan: 2002-2030, was approved and adopted by the Council in December of 2001. The 2002-2030 LRP was designated Technical Report 40. Technical Report 41, entitled the Wasatch Front Urban Area Long-range Transportation Plan: 2002-2030 Financial Plan, along with appendices and an executive summary, provided supporting documentation to the 2002-2030 LRP. In the 2000 United States Census, the Ogden Urbanized Area became the Ogden-Layton Urbanized Area, which incorporated a portion of Davis County that was formerly included in the Salt Lake Urbanized Area.
In December of 2003, Council representatives adopted the Wasatch Front Urban Area Long-range Transportation Plan Update: 2004-2030, Technical Report 43, along with its accompanying Financial Plan, Technical Report 44. These previous regional transportation planning efforts provided the groundwork for the current 2030 RTP, which builds on the recommendations and priorities established in earlier long-range plans.
More recently, the Wasatch Front Regional Transportation Plan: 2007-2030, Technical Report 46, was prepared and adopted by the Regional Council on May 24, 2007. This effort featured a compact diskette that contained: (1) Small Area Socioeconomic Projections: 2005-2030 (Technical Report 45); 2030 RTP Appendices (Technical Report 46); 2030 RTP Financial Plan (Technical Report 47) and Air Quality Memorandum (Report Number 21). These previous regional transportation planning efforts provided the groundwork for the current 2015-2040 Regional Transportation Plan (RTP). Technical Report 50 continued to reflect the recommendations and priorities established in earlier long-range plans.
Historically, until the adoption of WFRC’s 2007-2030 RTP in May of 2007, UDOT and the state’s four MPOs communicated and notified each other about their planning efforts, but made no real effort made to coordinate certain or all aspects of the five entities’ transportation plans. Each planning organization used different financial assumptions, planning cycles, baseline data, priority-setting procedures, formats, etc. As the Unified Plan process has evolved, many of these inconsistencies have been resolved. Each of the MPOs has accepted responsibility for preparing a transportation plan for the urbanized area in which it has planning responsibility. The statewide Unified Plan contains the essence of these plans and reflects a common approach and planning schedule, uniform financial assumptions and inflation factors, consistency in document organization, a common public involvement approach, consistent criterion for project selection and prioritization process, etc. With Utah’s Unified Transportation Plan, it is hoped that many of the criticisms and inconsistencies that were apparent in the past have been overcome, and that interactions with the Utah State Legislature regarding transportation priorities and funding issues will continue to be productive.
During 2007, UDOT, along with the Cache Metropolitan Planning Organization, Dixie Metropolitan Planning Organization, Mountainland Association of Governments, and WFRC compiled Utah’s first-ever unified transportation plan. This effort, entitled Utah’s Unified Transportation Plan: 2007-2030 was an executive summary of Utah’s five individual transportation planning agencies’ long-range transportation plans, and contained a comprehensive project lists and maps for both highway and transit improvements for the entire state.
Utah’s Unified Transportation Plan: 2011-2040 was revised and updated version of Utah’s Unified Transportation Plan: 2007-2030 and, as part of the 2011-2040 RTP, followed the same general process that was established during the development of the 2007-2030 RTP. The Wasatch Choice for 2040 Vision was used as the basis for the urbanized area of the Wasatch Front. The Regional Vision, and its supporting Regional Growth Principles, which were adopted by a majority of member cities and counties, helped guide Utah’s Unified Transportation Plan: 2011-2040. Statewide transportation planning efforts are now much more closely coordinated then in the past and the updated Utah’s Unified Transportation Plan: 2011-2040 continued this tradition.
In January and February of 2011, WFRC staff prepared the draft supporting documents for The Wasatch Front Urban Area RTP: 2011-2040 for distribution to interested public agencies, elected officials, local communities, and the general public. A formal public review period was held during March 2011. Interested persons and groups were invited to review and offer comments on the draft 2011-2040 RTP in either formalized public open houses or individually at their convenience. The final document, Technical Report 50, was reviewed and approved by the Council in May of 2011.
For additional information regarding the RTP, please contact Jory Johner.