One of the fastest growing states in the nation, North Carolina is expected to see its population rise to more than 12.5 million people by 2040 – a 32 percent increase from the state's 2010 population.
Consider this as well:
- Much of that growth will occur in major metropolitan areas, which are projected to house 81 percent of the state's overall population.
- Smaller communities are expected to see population growth of more than 180,000.
That's why it is crucial that North Carolina's public transportation systems keep up with the changing population and connect residents in urban and rural areas to opportunities and services such as jobs, higher education, healthcare and recreation.
The Public Transportation Statewide Strategic Plan will help public transit systems keep pace with growth through improved partnerships and recommendations for strategic transit investments that build upon the success of the state's transit systems.
With a vision of “Connecting North Carolinians to Opportunities,” the Strategic Plan recommends expanded local and regional commuter services and spells out strategies to focus transit spending.
The plan features a Connected Statewide Network with 70 suggested new routes, linking rural and urban areas with scheduled transit service to give more North Carolinians access to major hospitals, community colleges and employment centers.
Developing the Plan
The NCDOT Public Transportation Division developed the Strategic Plan over a two-year period with help from health-care providers, local leaders and the state’s 100 urban and rural transit agencies. Many of the routes proposed in the Connected Statewide Network were suggested by citizens who took part in community workshops across the state.
Developing the plan involved:
- A comprehensive outreach and engagement effort
- An analysis of the statewide public transportation needs and gaps in service
- Recommendations to meet the needs and close the gaps
- A roadmap to achieve the vision
- Short-term and long-range recommendations to improve North Carolinians' access to opportunities
The Strategic Plan was unveiled in March 2018 at a summit meeting attended by more than 300 local officials, transit operators and citizens.
A final report will be released in mid-2018. It will include an action plan and implementation recommendations for three strategies and fifteen tactics. It will also include a financial plan to strengthen North Carolina’s transit services and supporting infrastructure.
Documents & Resources
May 2017 Community Workshop Presentations
The N.C. General Assembly created the state's Public Transportation Division in 1974 to foster the development of intercity, urban and community public transportation for all those who live and work in North Carolina.
The N.C. Department of Transportation's last public transportation strategic plan was the Transit 2001 Commission report, dated January 1997, that stated:
"Transportation alternatives are essential to our future. The issue is not highways or transit. We must have a transportation system which embraces various modes and alternatives if we are to move goods and people safely and conveniently."
In response to the Transit 2001 Commission's recommendations, the state and local governments made capital and operating investments that established transit systems in North Carolina's 100 counties. This led to North Carolina's urban transit ridership becoming the fastest growing in the Southeast.