Competitive Economy

Supporting economic competitiveness, vitality, and prosperity

An integrated, multimodal transportation system helps to retain and grow existing businesses and industries and draws in new ones. It also retains and attracts talent in a market where people are increasingly seeking a less car-dependent lifestyle.

Transportation Policy Plan

Competititve economy strategies in depth

The region’s long-range transportation plan, the Transportation Policy Plan, lays out six broad aims and a framework for how to achieve them. Competitive economy and the five other values are detailed in Chapter 2: Transportation Policy Plan Strategies (PDF).


  1. Improve multimodal access to regional job concentrations identified in Thrive MSP 2040.
  2. Invest in a multimodal transportation system to attract and retain businesses and residents.
  3. Support the region’s economic competitiveness through the efficient movement of freight.

Strategies summarized

  • The plan directs investment so the transportation system will serve the generations of today and tomorrow and attract talent and businesses looking for a place to prosper.
  • This plan expands the regional transit and bicycle systems and provides reliable options on the highway system to keep the region competitive.
  • Our connections to places beyond the region that foster its growth and economic prosperity will be strengthened by corridors that connect us statewide and beyond, reducing the impacts of congestion on freight corridors and supporting a strong airport system with national and international connections.

A good transportation system is fundamental to a robust and thriving economy. To continue being competitive, the region must shift its focus to operating and maintaining what we have. At the same time, building a more multimodal system that provides all its residents and businesses choices in how they personally or their freight moves. Practical alternatives to the single-occupant vehicle benefits everyone, including those who only want to drive. Safe and convenient choices like walking, bicycling, and transit can remove cars from highways and streets and increase everyone’s quality of life.

An integrated, multimodal transportation system helps retain and grow existing businesses and industries, while attracting new ones. The same applies to talent, and the market shows people are increasingly seeking a less car-dependent lifestyle. To support and strengthen the region’s economy, investing in a multimodal system with better integrated transit, bicycling and walking builds on an already well-developed highway system.

A shopper picking out fruit in a grocery store.

Job concentrations

Thrive MSP 2040 identified 42 job concentrations areas as of 2011. These areas have at least 7,000 jobs at a net density of at least 10 jobs per acre. The Met Council continues to monitor employment patterns to find new concentrations that meet these criteria. Transportation priorities should be geared toward providing good access to these concentrations while still addressing emerging needs.

Providing good access to regional freight terminals facilitates efficient freight movement that is vital to the region’s economy. Maintaining existing freight-related infrastructure like ports and intermodal rail yards is a cost-effective strategy. In addition, communities should identify and preserve land near highways for certain freight movement, particularly in existing industrial areas.

Measuring performance

Performance measures used to measure transportation-related elements include:

  • Travel time reliability for freight traveling on highways
  • Percentage of existing population near high-frequency transit service
  • Cost per passenger mile at MSP International Airport