Led by 18 mayors and elected county officials, the Wasatch Front Regional Council (WFRC) has developed the long-range transportation plans for the Salt Lake metropolitan area for decades. As the Regional Council developed these transportation plans, it became apparent that certain development patterns are more transportation-efficient than others and that transportation and land use decisions affect each other. Therefore, the Regional Council, in association with the Mountainland Association of Governments in Utah County and Envision Utah, decided in 2005 to engage in a visioning process to explore how patterns of development might impact long-term metropolitan quality of life. The process culminated in the Wasatch Choice for 2040 Vision. This Vision serves as the foundation for a variety of plans and implementation activities including the Regional Transportation Plan.
The Wasatch Choice for 2040 points the way forward for us to focus growth in a variety of activity centers across the region, many of which are coordinated with our existing and near-term transportation system: freeways, rail lines, rapid busways, and key boulevards. While these centers are coordinated with today's transportation system, tomorrow's new transportation investments will be planned to serve these activity centers, areas of growth, and our region's special districts – like the airports and the universities.
The Wasatch Choice's centers are located where regional destinations have grown, where economic activity has clustered, or in strategic locations that are pointed in this direction. The Vision suggests that these centers should expand to provide ever-broadening choices for residents to live, work, shop and play; a mix of all of these activities is welcome. Centers should work with the long-term market, helping provide opportunities to residents who want to live close to work, walk or bike to shop, and have both great transit and road access -- desperately needed as our population ages, gas prices and congestion increase, and the cost of transportation for work and play inches upward, and available land shrinks.
We enjoy an unparalleled quality of life along the Wasatch Front. People from all over the world are drawn to our stunning scenery, rich opportunities, and friendly spirit. As one of America's fastest growing regions, we cannot take our high quality of life for granted. How we grow will affect how we and our children will live. Important choices face us, and the path we take will have long-term consequences. Implementing the Wasatch Choice for 2040 will result in a more livable community for all.
Additional information on the Wasatch Choice for 2040 Vision may be obtained by contacting Julia Collins.