Everybody depends on some form of transportation to get where they are going. Whether it is on a transit system, a network of bicycle paths, or in a vehicle, transportation systems affect our lives everyday. An effective regional transportation system provides multiple transportation nodes that are accessible by residents and connect people to services. However, it is also important to consider the effects of transportation on global warming and to look for solutions that reduce the need for traditional forms of transportation, such as single-occupancy vehicle trips.
What is the situation…
Regional growth projections will drive the need for new and better transportation systems, which will either worsen the global warming problem, or will include systems that provide better transportation choices for residents. Choices made today in regional transportation investment practices will determine what systems we will rely upon during the coming decades and the degree to which we add to the production of greenhouse gases.
The rising cost of oil has translated into higher gasoline prices, increasing over a dollar per gallon in some areas in the last year alone. As prices continue to rise, residents will seek alternative modes of transportation. Alternative transportation systems, such as transit and networks of bicycle routes, will need to expand to meet the needs of a growing user group.
Existing transportation systems provide residents of Tucson a number of options, but growth is occurring throughout the region and in all jurisdictions. Connectivity between systems will be necessary to encourage residents to utilize transportation alternatives as population growth continues in the region. These systems should utilize alternative fuel sources as oil and gasoline become increasingly cost prohibitive and as an effort to curb greenhouse gas emissions.
Focusing growth and development in areas that already have infrastructure will curb the need to extend transportation systems. Encouraging infill development keeps people close to resources and within the network of transportation alternatives.
The RTA is the leading transportation plan in southeastern Pima County. Pima County voters approved the Regional Transportation Authority’s 20-year, $2.1 billion plan on May 16, 2006. The plan is funded by a half-cent excise tax, which voters also approved. Improvements include street repairs, a variety of new and expanded services and facilities that build upon the success of the current regional transit system, and bicycle and pedestrian improvements. The RTA is managed by Pima Association of Governments (PAG).
PAG Transportation Planning Program
PAG manages a number of regional transportation programs in addition to the RTA, such as RideShare, Travel Demand Management, and a Travel Reduction Program.
PAG also coordinates the regional bicycle planning process among local jurisdictions. The current bicycle network consists of over 600 miles of bicycle lanes, routes and shared-use paths/trails.
Clean Fuels/Clean Cities
Pima Association of Governments manages Clean Cities, a voluntary program of the U.S. Department of Energy to expand the use of alternatives to gasoline and diesel fuel, accelerate the use of alternative fuel vehicles and build a local refueling infrastructure for these vehicles.
Click here for information about State incentives and regulations for alternative fuel vehicles.
Tucson Transit Study
The mission of the study is to “establish the foundation for an expanded regional transit system by initially connecting major activity centers in the Tucson metro core with a new form of high capacity transit service that is easy to use, affordable, and supported by the community.”