Image by Ted Eytan licensed under Creative Commons.

Do you have ideas for how to improve how residents get around in the Washington region? Maybe you’d like to add a crosswalk or you have ideas for reducing congestion at a specific intersection. Now you can help direct the future of transportation planning in the our area by taking a survey that's part of a transportation plan called Visualize 2045.

The results will help transportation planners at the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board (TPB), an office that plans and coordinates projects with local jurisdictions across the entire region as part of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, understand how residents travel throughout the region and their perception of their environment. All of the answers will go into the Visualize 2045 plan, a long-range look at the region’s transportation needs and goals in the future.

This plan means dreaming big

The Visualize 2045 plan is an expansion of the Constrained Long Range Plan (CLRP), which currently only covers transportation projects that have funding. Visualize 2045 will be the new version, and will have with a section that includes unfunded projects or policies that, should they get financial backing, could be extremely beneficial to the region.

“With Visualize 2045, we'll be forecasting future travel patterns and conditions (like transit ridership, traffic congestion, and job access) under the ‘constrained’ portion of the plan — that is, if we build the projects we expect to be able to afford over the next 20-30 years,” said Benjamin Hampton from the COG’s Department of Transportation Planning.

Hampton noted that the survey will provide data that will contribute to discussions about what goes into Visualize 2045.

“We'll then be able to compare that to what travel patterns and conditions we might expect if we were to build everything that is currently being planned in the region, regardless of whether we can afford it — what we call that the “unconstrained” portion of the plan.”

The survey will also give local jurisdictions better data about what their residents want and a springboard for future projects that could be funded.

“The main, overarching benefit to the region of Visualize 2045 is planning for more of the transportation improvements and outcomes we'd like to see,” he said.

In the next decades, Visualize 2045 should have hundreds of planned projects related to walking, biking, driving, and rail and bus transit.

Take the survey!

The best part of the survey is that it’s interactive; besides answering questions, you can describe what kind of effect bus delays have on your commute or how safe you feel when you travel. You can even add markers to a map and enter your own solutions for improving the region’s transportation infrastructure.

A screenshot of the survey. Image by National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board.

You can select from six categories, like ideas for roads, rail transit, bus transit, walking, land-use and policies, and anything else that doesn’t fall into those categories. Then you’ll be able to choose a type of improvement from a list, and then add comments and details. Because it’s map-based, you’ll be able to pinpoint specific streets and intersections.

The Visualize 2045 survey is open until July 31. There will be events and workshops with the community later in the year where planners will gather more opinions and ideas. In 2018, all of the feedback will be incorporated and published in the Visualize 2045 plan.

Joanne Tang is a Northern Virginia native and a graduate student in public administration and policy, focusing on resiliency and emergency response. She lives in Alexandria and enjoys learning about pretty much everything, including the history of pencils.