Continuously improve the quality, effectiveness, and efficiency of the transportation system.

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Why is Stewardship Important to Everyone?

There never has been enough money to do everything we want and need to do with our transportation system. That is unlikely to change. As stewards of the public’s finite resources, we must make difficult near-term decisions, manage our growth, and invest strategically with the long view in mind to get the most benefit from our transportation system today and in the future. This includes working to ensure fair and equitable mobility choices for all people.

Four Policies that Support the Statewide Stewardship Goal:


Align investments with desired performance outcomes to get the greatest mobility and safety benefit from existing infrastructure and services at the least cost to the traveling public, which may require revisiting existing funding programs to better align with the kinds of projects that offer cost-effective solutions.


Provide the cross-training, skills assessment, and succession planning needed to ensure our workforce has the knowledge needed to manage and maintain a 21st century transportation system, and ensure continuity of operations during this transformative transition period.


Introduce new practices or technologies when proven that they can enhance system efficiency, reduce crash risks for the traveling public or industry, increase the cost-effectiveness of system preservation, or reduce life-cycle costs.


Support inclusive, equitable planning that considers the full range of mobility needs and communities served by transportation, and more fully integrates transportation and land use decision-making at all levels of government.

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Recommendations to Support Stewardship Statewide


Catalogue the various transportation performance measures currently monitored by local, regional, and state agencies to determine what gaps, if any, exist in monitoring system performance.  

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Performance measures help us understand if our investments are making progress in the desired direction. Dozens of performance measures are being collected and evaluated across all levels of government in Washington, some in response to state or federal mandates and others to meet local or regional objectives. Before determining whether additional measures are needed, it is useful to get an understanding of those measures that are currently being monitored to determine what gaps, if any, exist.


Provide additional resources for RTPOs and MPOs to support local-regional-state collaboration and coordination.

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RTPOs and MPOs are at the forefront of local-regional-state collaboration and coordination, but the resources available for that work are stretched thin and have not increased over the years in the same way that their responsibilities have increased. A recurring theme in 2040 and Beyond is that additional levels of coordination are needed to understand and manage the uncertainties and pace of change facing every region. Regional agencies will require additional resources to take on this additional work.


Develop a Transportation Equity Analysis toolkit for use in evaluating the benefits and impacts of transportation policies and investments on historically marginalized populations in Washington.

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Most planners and policy makers are sincerely interested in achieving equity objectives but are unsure of where to begin. Uncertainty as to which impacts matter the most, how to measure them, and what populations are affected by different impacts can make it easy to avoid taking any steps. A toolkit that reflects the diversity of Washington’s people, communities, and transportation system needs can help local, regional, and state transportation agencies begin the process of understanding disparities so that meaningful progress can be made in addressing them.


Establish person-throughput and freight-throughput objectives to evaluate level of service on congested highways and arterials.

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Measures of system performance need to look at how efficiently the highway network is being used, not just how much it is being used. Establishing person-throughput standards to evaluate level of service rewards operational strategies that maximize system efficiency, and promotes multimodal mobility. In the same way, freight-throughput recognizes the important role of trade and freight mobility to the state economy. Aligning our definition of highway performance with broader mobility objectives helps us to make the best use of limited resources.


Support efforts to improve consistency of statewide forecast inputs used in MPO and RTPO models.

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Regional traffic models rely on locally adopted land use plans and growth assumptions but those regional forecasts are not suited for developing forecasted growth rates for traffic on Highways of Statewide Significance. These major facilities support region-to-region and interstate travel. Guidance from the state as to assumptions about forecasted growth on Highways of Statewide Significance, long-distance freight flows, and interregional commuter patterns would support greater consistency between regional forecasts and increase WSDOT’s ability to rely on regional models to support bigger state-level analyses. In addition, as shared and automated mobility technologies become more prevalent, it will be useful to have agreed-upon modeling assumptions regarding changes in operational capacity and throughput.

Cross-Cutting Ideas

Cross-cutting topics can advance our understanding, preparedness, and ownership over new horizons. Here we present potential next steps and some options available to deepen understanding.

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Technology & Innovation

Technological advances afford us the opportunity to better manage demand for limited transportation capacity than we’ve ever had before, reducing or postponing the need for costly general-purpose capacity increases.

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System Resilience

Collaboration between state, regional, local, federal, tribal, and military partners to prioritize resiliency investments demonstrates public accountability and responsible use of limited resources.

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Paying for Transportation

Demonstrating public accountability in the use of scarce resources to maximize system performance is essential to obtaining public support for future investments and revenue increases.

Further Questions

Equity & Transportation

Transportation is essential for healthy, thriving communities. Safe, reliable, affordable transportation opens doors to economic and social opportunities for many people. However, not all people have access to safe, reliable, affordable transportation. Equity refers to the distribution of impacts cross race and economic status—benefits and costs—and whether that distribution is fair. Transportation equity is focused on transportation system impacts in an effort to understand where costs are, in terms of monetary or other imparts, unfairly distributed. It reflects the input of an inclusive process involving the people who will be affected. This is the starting point for transportation decisions and investments that create a more just system that works for all.

2040 and Beyond introduces transportation equity as a Stewardship concern. Continuous improvement in the quality, effectiveness, and efficiency of the transportation system will only be successful if those benefits are fairly distributed and do not contribute to ever widening economic disparity. This means the environmental and physical impacts of that system must not disproportionately affect some segments of our communities more than others. This plan acknowledges that much work is needed to better define what transportation equity means for a statewide policy plan, just as work is needed to define and apply transportation equity to planning and project development in regions and communities across the state. There is not a single answer, nor is there an easy answer.

Six Statewide Transportation Goals