In the year 2045, what will transportation look like in Michigan?

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On this edition of the Talking Michigan Transportation podcast, Brad Sharlow, point person on MDOT’s state long-range transportation plan, talks about the extensive engagement and public involvement involved in the process.
Michigan Mobility 2045, or MM2045, is the department’s ambitious project to look into a big crystal ball and see what our needs will be and how mobility will factor into how we live, work and play.
Some ways MM2045 helps Michigan residents:
- Demonstrates how to get there so that the public can understand decision-making and hold transportation agencies accountable to their commitments.
- Explores how additional revenue will grow Michigan’s economy, advance equity, adapt to climate change, and improve health and quality of life today and into the future.
Sharlow explains that, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, this transportation plan included an expansive outreach and public involvement process utilizing a variety of new methods. He also says MM2045 is the first state long-range transportation plan in the country to fully integrate state freight and rail plans into a combined long-range transportation plan. In addition, MM2045 incorporates Michigan’s first active transportation plan and statewide transit strategy.
As noted with recent heavy rains and flooding in Metro Detroit, Sharlow also talks about the plan’s discussion of the need to prepare the system to be more resilient, redundant, and technology-ready.
Among other findings, the pandemic has accelerated ongoing trends toward urbanization, more-flexible travel patterns, e-commerce, and changes in the supply chain. While Michigan’s vehicle miles traveled (VMT) has largely recovered to pre-pandemic levels, passenger travel and freight patterns may look quite different than they did pre-pandemic.
Also noted: Michigan’s aging population. By 2045, Michigan’s age 65-and-older population is expected to increase significantly, accounting for the bulk of the state’s 7 percent projected growth. To age in place independently, older Michiganders will need access to on-demand paratransit service, rides to medical appointments, walkable communities, and other alternatives to driving. In part due to aging but also in part to generational preferences and urbanization, the number of households without a vehicle is projected to bump up from 7.9 percent to 9.1 percent in 2045, with increases across all regions of the state.

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