Transportation

The 2040 Transportation Policy Plan (2040 TPP) outlines the plans for regional facilities including principal arterial highways, metropolitan transit services and facilities, and the region’s aviation facilities that communities should reflect in updating your local comprehensive plan. It includes chapters on the characteristics of the existing transportation system; goals, objectives and strategies; transportation finance and the plans and policy direction for each mode. The appendices also provide important resources.

The 2040 Transportation Policy Plan describes two funding scenarios for the highway and transit improvements to the metropolitan transportation system.

  • Current Revenue Scenario: This is the adopted metropolitan transportation system plan which includes affordable improvements. Local comprehensive plans will be reviewed for conformance with this “fiscally constrained” plan.

  • Increased Revenue Scenario: This scenario includes regional projects that could be implemented if additional revenues are made available for transportation. While the local comprehensive plans can include these improvements, they must be described as unfunded and the uncertainty of their implementation clearly distinguished from the rest of the plan.

Transportation Plan

The Metropolitan Council conducts research on travel behavior and forecasts future transportation conditions as a result of regional growth. We maintain a regional travel demand model. The geographic unit for this analysis is the transportation analysis zone, or TAZ. While we allocate a portion of the forecasted regional growth to each community, the distribution of that growth within each community depends on local land use decisions. We ask each community to allocate forecasted future growth of population, households, and employment to each TAZ, reflecting the community’s land use planning efforts. Some communities in the region may only have one TAZ; therefore, no further allocation is needed.

 Minimum Requirements: 
  • Include a table allocating forecasted population, household, and employment growth by TAZ using the Official TAZ system with 3,030 zones for 2020, 2030 and 2040.

  • Describe how you have allocated demographic growth based on your plan’s assumptions for guided future land use (e.g., density, mix of uses, locations for new development, highway/transit access, redevelopment, etc.).

  • When doing your land use planning, accommodate development densities around transit consistent with density expectations established in Chapter 3 of the 2040 Transportation Policy Plan (2040 TPP).

 Get More Out of Your Plan:
  • Include maps illustrating patterns of growth in different parts of the community by TAZ using the Official TAZ system with 3,030 zones to help your community understand the relationship between where you expect growth to occur and use of transportation infrastructure.

 We Can Help!
  • Download the TAZ (using the Official TAZ system with 3,030 zones) GIS boundary file, including 2010 Census data, for making TAZ-based maps.

  • Consult our Tutorial on allocating growth by TAZ, including methodology for areas guided for employment and mixed-uses.

  • Learn more about travel demand forecasting.

  • Contact your sector rep for further assistance and to connect with the appropriate transportation staff.

Your plan should include a highway and road plan that maps and describes existing roads and planned improvements, identifies the primary function of each road, analyzes traffic volumes, and addresses safety and capacity issues. The metropolitan highway system emphasizes mobility, while minor arterials balance mobility and access. Other roads, like collectors and local streets, emphasize access to adjacent land. Communities manage access through their land use authority. When planning for growth or redevelopment of land, communities should encourage the safety and preserve the capacity of non-freeway principal and A-minor arterials by managing access to these roads and by developing or improving a supporting network of connecting local roadways. 

 Minimum Requirements: 
  • Describe and map the functional classification of all existing and proposed roads within your community, using the functional classification system described in Appendix D of the TPP and the roadway classification map currently recognized in the region.

    • Maps must reflect the principal arterials adopted as the metropolitan highway system in the 2040 Transportation Policy Plan (2040 TPP). 

    • If a community determines that a change to the A-minor arterial system in the community is warranted, a request should be made to the Transportation Advisory Board (TAB) for the change, and TAB’s approval secured, prior to reflecting the new classification in the community’s plan. Check the council’s website or contact Elaine Koutsoukos at 651-602-1717 for more information.

    • Maps should also show the streets classified by the community as major and minor collectors and local streets. Changes to these streets from the function shown on the regional map are at a community’s discretion, and do not need approval from TAB. However, these changes should follow the criteria laid out in Appendix D of the TPP and maintain system continuity. A map or table highlighting any discrepancies between the community’s map and the regional functional classification map previously referenced should be submitted to Council staff so the regional map can be updated.

  • Include the following information for the principal and A-minor arterials:

    • Identify the existing and future number of lanes.

    • Map current traffic volumes, including heavy commercial volumes, which include both ADT and HCADT.

    • Map forecasted 2040 traffic volumes. (This should be done using the Council’s regional model, or another method with approval from Council forecasting staff.)

    • Identify future rights-of-way that need to be preserved.

    • Identify planned improvements to principal arterials as shown in the Current Revenue scenario of the 2040 TPP.

    • Identify any existing or proposed future MnPASS lanes, dedicated busways and bus-only shoulder lanes as shown in Figure 6-4 of the 2040 TPP.

    • Identify proposed new or improved interchanges to Principal Arterials that the MnDOT/Metropolitan Council joint interchange committee has found consistent with the 2040 TPP (shown on table 5-5 on 5.30 of TPP).

    • For other proposed interchange improvements, follow the Highway Interchange Request Criteria and Review Procedure, which can be found in Appendix F of the 2040 TPP.

    • Incorporate access management guidelines of MnDOT, or those of the county in which your community is located, into your comprehensive plan as well as into your subdivision and zoning ordinances.

    • Describe recommendations from recent corridor studies regarding roadway improvements, changes in land use, and/or access.

For those communities with areas having the highest concentration of uses and traffic generation (Downtown Minneapolis, Downtown St. Paul, University of Minnesota, and Airport South/Mall of America): 
  • Include analysis of travel demand management strategies for moving people and freight into, out of, and within these areas.
 Get More Out of Your Plan: 
  • Develop pavement management policies that specifically consider user needs as well as asset preservation and life-cycle costs.

  • Develop a Complete Streets policy that considers the needs of all users in the planning, design, construction and maintenance of roadway improvement projects.

  • Address the relationship of the roadway network to the mobility needs of freight and freight users in your community.

  • Conduct more detailed traffic forecasting and studies in areas planned for significant growth, including ways to manage and/or mitigate travel demand. Include policies that address street connectivity, traffic distribution, and access for non-auto modes in areas of job concentrations and other centers of activity.

  • Address any special planning considerations such as use of A-Minor Arterials for transit, regional trails, bicycle facilities, on-street parking, and/or sidewalks within the right-of-way.

  • Describe planned or potential jurisdictional transfers of roadways between agencies.

  • Incorporate transportation goals, objectives, and strategies outlined in Chapter 2 of the 2040 TPP.

  • If the community wishes to show regional roadway improvements that the 2040 TPP has identified as part of the Increased Revenue Scenario, these projects should be identified clearly as unfunded and therefore unlikely to be completed by 2040.

  • Consider travel demand management (TDM), which includes a collection of strategies that focus on reducing the number of single-occupancy trips and providing users with more mode choices. TDM is often used to reduce congestion and improve health, safety and livability. (Minnesota Healthy Planning: How-To Guide, page 59). For more information, please visit the Minnesota Department of Health Healthy Places website.

 We Can Help!
  • Chapter 1 of the 2040 TPP describes existing elements of the regional transportation system.

  • See more planned details in Chapter 5, Highway Investment Direction and Plan, of the 2040 TPP.

  • See our How-To Guide for suggestions on how to map existing and future roadways, including their characteristics.

  • Contact your sector rep for further assistance and to connect with the appropriate transportation staff.

A strong system of public transit is an essential part of a prosperous, livable, sustainable, and equitable region. Transitway investments are being made in corridors where there is likely to be significant ridership, as well as the potential for future concentrations of growth. Other types of transit services complement that investment, including local bus service. To ensure a cost-effective regional transit system, it is a policy of the 2040 Transportation Policy Plan (2040 TPP) that communities guide growth at higher densities near stations for light rail, bus rapid transit, commuter rail, and high-frequency bus corridors. 

 Minimum Requirements: 
  • The region has established Transit Market Areas to guide the types and levels of transit service that are appropriate for efficient and effective services. Transit Market Areas are defined in Appendix G of the 2040 TPP by the demographic and urban design factors that are associated with successful transit service. Identify your community in relationship to your transit market area(s). Describe and map the existing and planned transit infrastructure and services in your community, including those of Metro Transit or other regional transit service providers. Communities should include the identification of the following basic elements of the transit system in their comprehensive plan:

    • Existing transit routes and dial-a-ride services

    • Existing and potential high-frequency transit routes

    • Existing and planned transit stations and transit centers

    • Existing and planned park-and-rides and express bus corridors

    • Existing and planned transit advantages

    • Existing transit support facilities

 For communities with transitways in the 2040 TPP Current Revenue Scenario with an identified mode and alignment and for high-frequency bus corridors:
  • Identify the geography of transit station areas.

  • Ensure that land guided for future residential development in station areas conforms to minimum density levels in the 2040 TPP; and address opportunities for residential density at target density levels.

  • Plan for a total level of activity in station areas that is supportive of transitway investments; and address the activity level guideline of a minimum combined total of 7,000 residents, jobs, or students.

  • Address access to stations by pedestrians and bicyclists.

 For communities with transitways in the 2040 TPP Current Revenue Scenario prior to an identified mode and alignment:
  • Describe the community’s roles and responsibilities in early transitway development, including analysis of potential modes, alignment, and station locations.

  • Describe and map these transitways in your community including alternative alignment(s) and station locations under consideration.

 Get More Out of Your Plan: 


For communities with transitways identified in the 2040 TPP Current Revenue Scenario prior to identification of mode and alignment:

  • Set vision for potential/future transit stations and corridors with goals for land use patterns and street networks that can support transit-supportive densities and nodes of activity.

  • Work with agencies leading transit planning to evaluate the land use, accessibility, and other advantages and disadvantages of alternative transitway alignments and modes and to identify important locally derived opportunities for transit.

For communities with transitways identified in the 2040 TPP Increased Revenue Scenario:

  • As an option, include these transitways in your comprehensive plan. However, identify them as unfunded and distinguished from improvements identified in system statements.

  • Set vision for potential/future transit corridors with goals for land use patterns and street networks that can support transit-supportive densities and nodes of activity.

  • Work with agencies leading transit planning to evaluate the land use and accessibility advantages and disadvantages of alternative transitway alignments and to identify important opportunities for existing and planned transit.

Other considerations:

  • Identify transit expansion opportunities and target higher-intensity uses and pedestrian-supportive urban forms in nodes along these corridors. Use the 2040 TPP’s “Transit Planning Basics” discussion and TOD Guide for additional guidance.

  • Address the opportunities and challenges for transit related to your Transit Market Area and your Community Designation. Explore how new development and infrastructure policies might improve the cost-effectiveness and attractiveness of transit, ridesharing, bicycling, and walking.

  • Describe transit service to major job, activity, and industrial and manufacturing concentrations in your community.

  • Include ridership data on maps for transit stops in your community.

  • Identify areas for travel demand management initiatives and strategies. Focus on major job, activity, and industrial and manufacturing concentrations on congested highway corridors and corridors served by regional transit service.

  • Develop strategies to create and preserve a mix of housing affordability in areas where land values are likely to escalate after a transitway commitment is made.

  • Identify needed local transportation improvements to support transit use and the land use vision in your comprehensive plan.

  • Explore how transit and ridesharing programs contribute to regional equity goals by better connecting all residents to a wider range of employment, training, and educational opportunities.

  • Incorporate transportation goals, objectives, and strategies outlined in Chapter 2 of the 2040 TPP.

  • Identify transit expansion opportunities and target higher-intensity uses and pedestrian-supportive urban forms in nodes along these corridors. Use the 2040 TPP’s “Transit Planning Basics” discussion and TOD Guide for additional guidance. (Minnesota Healthy Planning: How-To Guide, page 53). For more information, please visit the Minnesota Department of Health Healthy Places website.

 We Can Help!
  • See more details in Chapter 1, Chapter 3, Land Use and Local Planning, and Chapter 6, Transit Investment Direction and Plan, of the 2040 TPP.

  • Download GIS data for transitway lines, transit routes, park-and-rides, service frequency, transit use by stop (boardings and alightings), and other transit-related datasets.

  • Review the How-To Guide on guidelines for mapping of transit facilities and services.

  • Consult the How-To Guide on Transit Station Areas, which provides guidance on mapping transit station areas, conforming with residential density requirements, and addressing activity level policy.

Bicycling and walking are important for local trips as well as making regional connections. The newly established Regional Bicycle Transportation Network (page 7.11 ) (RBTN) is an important component of the overall regional transportation system. It consists of prioritized alignments and corridors (where specific alignments are yet to be designated) that were developed for and adopted into the 2040 Transportation Policy Plan (2040 TPP). The goal of the RBTN is to establish an integrated seamless network of on-street bikeways and off-road trails to improve conditions for bicycle transportation at the regional level and to encourage planning and implementation of future bikeways by cities, counties, parks agencies, and the state, to support the network vision.

 Minimum Requirements: 
  • Describe and map the existing and planned on-road and off-road bicycle facilities in your community.

  • Map and describe the Regional Bicycle Transportation Network (RBTN) within your community:

    • Show all Tier 1 and Tier 2 RBTN corridors and alignments.

    • Show the relationship of the RBTN to the local bicycle network of off-road trails and on-street bikeways including all existing and planned connections.

    • Include locations of regional employment clusters and activity center nodes (as shown on the RBTN map) and other local activity centers.

    • For Tier 1 and Tier 2 corridors on the RBTN, describe and map the existing or planned bicycle facility alignments that are within the established corridors; the purpose of these corridors is as a placeholder for cities/counties to designate a planned alignment. If there is a planned alignment that would fulfill the intent of the corridor and that lies within and in line with the corridor’s directional orientation that the community would propose to replace the established corridor, map that alignment and denote by indicating it as “proposed for the RBTN.”

  • Analyze and address the need for local bicycle and pedestrian facility improvements to provide connections over major physical barriers (i.e., freeways, railroad corridors, rivers and streams) on the regional (RBTN) and local networks. 

  • Discuss pedestrian system needs in a manner that responds to your community designation (as described in Thrive MSP 2040) and addresses the needs of your community. 

 Get More Out of Your Plan: 
  • Utilize the forthcoming on-line Metropolitan Council bicycle system inventory tool to help your community establish and enhance your bikeways data, to facilitate an up-to-date regional bicycle system database and to access the regional system files for use in planning your jurisdiction’s bicycle network.

  • Map existing and planned sidewalks.

  • Incorporate policies that address walking and bicycling needs as new development and redevelopment occur (e.g., access, internal circulation, bicycle storage).

  • Address the needs of pedestrians and bicyclists as part of right-of-way planning, in designing improvements to the public right-of-way that make walking safer or more pleasant (e.g., street lighting and streetscaping), and by planning the orientation of buildings to provide for pedestrian and bicycle-friendly streets and sidewalks.

  • Collect bike and pedestrian use data on key local bike routes, on local routes accessing major employment centers, and along routes used to access schools. Use the data in planning and prioritizing bike and pedestrian infrastructure projects, and in substantiating project applications for regional funding

  • Evaluate the potential for sharing space on roadways for bicycle lanes (e.g., 4-to-3-lane roadway conversions) and/or expanded pedestrian facilities.

  • Develop a Complete Streets policy that considers the needs of all users in the planning, design, construction and maintenance of roadway improvement projects.

  • Integrate planning for safe and active travel to schools (Safe Routes to School) in your plan.

  • Use Cyclopath, an online bicycle route mapping tool that assists bicyclists in finding suitable bicycle routes and enables users to provide feedback about the condition and connectivity of the existing bikeways network.

  • Alternative design methods, including traffic calming techniques, can help reduce the number of conflicts between automobiles, bicyclists and pedestrians. Successfully calming traffic reduces the number of accidents and improves both the actual and perceived safety of users. (Minnesota Healthy Planning: How-To Guide, page 21). For more information, please visit the Minnesota Department of Health Healthy Places website.

 We Can Help!
  • See more details in Chapter 7, Bicycle and Pedestrian Investment Direction, of the 2040 TPP.

  • Download GIS data for the RBTN attributes.

  • Learn more about Safe Routes to Schools programs available through MnDOT.

  • Incorporate transportation goals, objectives, and strategies outlined in Chapter 2 of the 2040 TPP.

  • Contact your sector rep for further assistance and to connect with the appropriate transportation staff.

Aviation connects the Twin Cities region to the rest of the nation and the world beyond. The Twin Cities region is served by one major airport with commercial air service − Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport − and seven reliever airports for general aviation, business, and recreational users. The Twin Cities Regional Aviation System is a well developed aviation system that requires continued protection, maintenance, and enhancements to support the Minneapolis- St. Paul economy and its transportation infrastructure. 

 Minimum Requirements: 
  • Identify policies and ordinances that protect regional airspace from obstructions. Include how your community will notify the FAA of proposed structures.

  • Recognize seaplane use on surface waters as designated and regulated by MnDOT; communities should recognize these areas on plan maps where appropriate and consider issues of land use compatibility.

  • Map any facilities such as radio beacons or other air navigation aids sited in off-airport locations and address how they will be protected from physical encroachment and electronic interference through your local ordinance and notification processes. Your system statement will indicate whether your community hosts one of these facilities

 For Communities Impacted by an Airport:
  • Map the airport location, including existing and future airport boundaries, land access locations, and runways. See more details in Appendix K: Airport Long Term Comprehensive Plans.

  • Describe the existing and future functional and operational characteristics for any airport whose compatibility area includes your community.

  • Assess existing and potential future noise impacts of airport operations. If your community is affected by aircraft noise, work with the airport owner/sponsor to prepare or update a noise program to reduce, prevent, or mitigate aircraft noise impacts on land uses that are incompatible with the guidelines identified in Table L-3: Land Use Compatibility Guidelines for Aircraft Noise.

  • Evaluate, address, and establish policies related to land use compatibility issues, identifying efforts that include land acquisition, "preventive" land use measures, or "corrective" land use measures. (See Table L-2)

  • MnDOT- Aeronautics is in the process of updating the state airport zoning rules. These changes could affect your community’s land use planning efforts in and around airports. Once the rules have been adopted by the state legislature, we will update this section so you know how these changes will affect your community. Currently, the changes are expected to be debated by early 2018. If you should have further questions, contact Russ Owen at (651) 602-1724 or follow the process at http://www.dot.state.mn.us/aero/planning/zoning.html.

 Get More Out of Your Plan: 
  • Consider a joint airport zoning board (JAZB), which allows an airport authority in an urban setting to form a board between the authority and airport-affected communities to address height control and land use type/density off-airport for safety of persons flying and persons on the ground within prescribed areas around an airport.

  • Helicopter operations can occur at airports or in conjunction with many different land uses and locations. If your community anticipates issues with helicopter operations, prepare and adopt ordinances for heliport sites.

  • Incorporate transportation goals, objectives, and strategies outlined in Chapter 2 of the 2040 Transportation Policy Plan (2040 TPP).

 We Can Help!

A safe, efficient, high-capacity freight transportation system is essential to the economic well-being of communities, the region, and the state. Like people, freight moves by several modes. However, all goods move at some time by truck, so all communities should plan for the movement of trucks. Communities with large areas of industrial land use, such as manufacturing, warehousing, and extraction industries, should pay special attention to accommodating truck traffic. Stores and restaurants also need to be served by trucks. Communities which contain railroads, airports, or barge terminals should acknowledge their presence and how they may affect the community. Although all community residents rely on goods movement for food and other consumer goods, freight movement is often regarded as incompatible with many land uses. Communities should plan to minimize these conflicts.

 Minimum Requirements:
  • Identify railways, barge facilities and truck or intermodal freight terminals within the community.

  • Identify other important nodes that may generate freight movement, such as industrial parks and large shopping areas.

  • Map the road network showing volumes of multi-axle trucks (also known as “heavy commercial average annual daily traffic or HCAADT”) for Principal Arterial and A-Minor functional classifications.

  • Identify any local roadway issues or problem areas for goods movement, such as weight-restricted roads or bridges, bridges with insufficient height or width clearances, locations with unprotected road crossings of active rail lines, or intersections with inadequate turning radii. 

 Get More Out of Your Plan:
  • Include a map of designated truck routes (if the community has adopted such routes) and roads adequate to carry 9-10 ton per axle loads. HCAADT information is available from MnDOT for most arterial roads; however, communities with heavy truck volumes or truck generators may wish to collect additional truck traffic data to analyze specific issues.

  • Consider the future use of existing railroad tracks, including the likelihood of more freight traffic in the future. Communities should be aware that freight rail traffic is growing, and after a significant reduction in excess rail trackage in the region over the past 25 years, few additional rail abandonments are expected.

  • For communities with heavy freight rail traffic, address the need to improve safety at roadway crossings or implement “quiet zones”.

  • Address potential conflicts that may arise with introduction of residential and mixed-use redevelopment near existing freight users and operators in areas previously designated for industry.

  • Consider the freight implications of local economic development proposals.

  • Incorporate transportation goals, objectives, and strategies outlined in Chapter 2 of the 2040 Transportation Policy Plan (2040 TPP).

 We Can Help!

The transportation sections of your community’s comprehensive plan provide opportunities to consider public health, the environment, and the needs of specific groups that include seniors, persons with disabilities, children and economically disadvantaged communities. Federal Environmental Justice regulations and Thrive MSP 2040 emphasize equity, promoting beneficial projects and ensuring that projects do not have disproportionate negative impacts

 Minimum Requirements:
  • None.

 Get More Out of Your Plan:
  • Consider how planned transportation investments do not disproportionately impact low-income households and people of color.

  • Consider how transportation plans will avoid or minimize impacts on the natural, developed, and cultural environments.

  • Ensure broad community participation in transportation planning and decision making.

  • Incorporate maps and discussion of how transportation plans impact areas of concentrated poverty as well as user groups that may depend upon transit, walking and/or bicycling.

  • Consider public health issues in transportation planning, including opportunities to support increased physical activity through walking and bicycling.

  • Articulate how transportation investments will support particular communities and user groups.

  • Consider opportunities for transportation projects to improve environmental conditions, including the management of stormwater, minimizing impervious surfaces, and restoration/enhancement of tree cover and vegetation.

  • Consider traffic calming techniques to support safety by slowing traffic and increasing infrastructure for visibility of pedestrians and bicyclists. (Minnesota Healthy Planning: How-To Guide, page 55). For more information, please visit the Minnesota Department of Health Healthy Places website.

 We Can Help!
  • See more details on strategies for promoting healthy environments and communities in Chapter 2 of the 2040 Transportation Policy Plan (2040 TPP).

  • In Chapter 10 of the 2040 TPP, see how multimodal transportation strategies promote equity in the region.


Transportation Resources

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