• Infrastructure Black and White

    REGIONAL MOBILITY

     

    DESTINATION

    The region's transit and road networks provide convenient and efficient connections to communities and employment centers.

     

WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT?

 

A regional transportation network that effectively integrates public transit, roads, and active modes of transportation to make it easy to move between communities and economic centers is a significant driver of regional growth and competitiveness. Effective and reliable transportation systems ease congestion, expand access to economic opportunity, and help preserve quality of life. Metropolitan areas with high-performing multimodal transportation systems have a decided competitive advantage over regions that do not. Investing in Greater Philadelphia’s transportation infrastructure will increase the appeal of the region to both businesses and employees, while decreasing the likelihood of costly service disruptions and improving system reliability, security, and safety.

HOW DO WE CURRENTLY FARE? 

Global & National Connections
Passenger Air Connections
Intercity Rail Ridership
Global Port Connections
Regional Mobility
Transit Ridership
Transportation Choice
Transportation State of Good Repair
Sustainable Systems
Water Distribution Efficiency
Electric Reliability
Open Space Acreage
Passenger Air Connections
Philadelphia International Airport provides nonstop international service to 25 countries whose combined GDP accounts for nearly one-quarter of world economic output. By this measure, Greater Philadelphia ranks last among the 10 largest U.S. metros.
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COMBINED GDP OF COUNTRIES SERVED BY NONSTOP PASSENGER AIR SERVICE BY METRO AREA (2015)

WORLD CLASS STRATEGIES

 

BRING THE REGION'S TRANSIT SYSTEMS UP TO A STATE OF GOOD REPAIR

 

Many of the region’s transit bridges, rail lines, substations, and vehicles are well beyond their intended lifespan and in need of significant rehabilitation or replacement. SEPTA estimates that only 65% of its infrastructure is in a state of good repair. The transit agency’s backlog of unmet infrastructure needs has grown to $4.7 billion due to a chronic shortage of funding that has limited its ability to perform maintenance and undertake capital improvements. Today, SEPTA’s capital budget remains well below that of peer agencies across the country, despite ridership numbers that are higher than they have been in more than two decades.

 

While the cost of state-of-good-repair improvements is daunting, delaying investment will increase that figure by allowing systems to further deteriorate. Advancing much-needed improvements on transit bridges, stations, and catenary and structural components across the region will enhance operating efficiency, decrease the likelihood of costly service disruptions and improve the system’s resiliency in the face of extreme weather events.

 

Promising Pathways

 

MAKING CRITICAL BRIDGE REPLACEMENTS ON SEPTA REGIONAL RAIL LINES

 

Deferred maintenance on SEPTA’s rail bridges is forcing the Authority to plan for weight restrictions and closures that will compromise the performance of the regional rail system that carries more than 125,000 riders daily. Continued lack of investment will further degrade service levels, increasing automobile congestion and inhibiting economic growth and opportunity. 

 

UNDERTAKING STATION RENOVATIONS

 

Many major transit stations in Greater Philadelphia were constructed in the late 19th or early 20th century and are in need of substantial renovations to improve the commuter experience and ease of navigation, as well as to come into compliance with ADA regulations. The region’s transit agencies have successfully undertaken improvements at a number of key stations in recent years, including SEPTA’s Wayne Junction Regional Rail station and PATCO’s Camden and Philadelphia stations, but many critical projects—including the long put-off renovation of SEPTA’s City Hall Station—remain incomplete.

 

COMPLETING CATENARY SYSTEM REPLACEMENTS

 

State-of-good-repair needs include the systems that supply power to key transit routes across Greater Philadelphia. Many transit vehicles in the region, including SEPTA's Regional Rail trains, operate on electrical power transmitted from overhead catenary wires. SEPTA has replaced more than 100 miles of overhead catenary lines in recent years, but more than 100 additional miles need to be replaced on key routes including the Doylestown and Media/Elwyn lines as well as in the 30th Street rail yard. Advancing these replacements will allow for the removal of speed restrictions on key lines and improve overall efficiency and reliability of the commuter rail system.

 

REPLACING AGING ROLLING STOCK

 

SEPTA operates more than 230 regional rail cars from the 1970s and 140 light rail vehicles from the early 1980s that are nearing the end of their useful lives.  The replacement cost for these vehicles is in excess of $1 billion, but until recenetly the agency lacked the resources to commence the multi-year contracting process necessary to procure new rolling stock.

 

UPGRADE AGING ROADS AND BRIDGES
 

Lack of funding has prevented Greater Philadelphia from keeping up with maintenance and repair needs on its bridges and roads. While the number of structurally deficient bridges in Greater Philadelphia has decreased over the past five years, Pennsylvania still has the most structurally deficient bridges in the nation. DVRPC estimates that nearly 2,200 bridges will need to be rehabilitated or replaced in Greater Philadelphia over the next three decades. Investing to keep these bridges in a state of good repair will avoid weight restrictions and closures due to safety concerns and help ensure that Greater Philadelphia’s network of roads meets the needs of residents and businesses over the long term.

 

The region faces the additional challenge of resurfacing approximately 19,000 lane miles and reconstructing more than 3,300 lane miles of road between 2014 and 2040. Improvements to pavement condition can reduce congestion and prevent damage to vehicles, saving drivers money on gas and repairs. While these improvements will come at substantial cost, the price of ongoing maintenance on roads and bridges will be significantly lower than the wholesale replacement of infrastructure that will be required if action is not taken to bring these systems up to a state of good repair now.

 

Promising Pathways

 

REPAIRING AND RECONSTRUCTING COUNTY AND MUNICIPAL BRIDGES

 

As recent bridge collapses across the country have demonstrated, aging bridge infrastructure can prove particularly vulnerable to disinvestment. While state-owned bridges have been the target of investment in recent years, in particular through Pennsylvania’s now-defunct Rebuild PA program, bridges owned and managed by counties and municipalities have not received the same level of attention or resources. Dedicated funding for local governments to repair and replace deteriorating bridges is critical to preserving regional mobility in Greater Philadelphia.

 

REBUILDING I-95 IN PENNSYLVANIA AND RECONNECTING THE REGION TO THE CENTRAL DELAWARE WATERFRONT

With much of Interstate 95 in Pennsylvania at or approaching the end of its useful lifespan, Greater Philadelphia faces the challenge of rebuilding its primary north-south vehicular corridor at a cost of several billion dollars over the next 30 years. Due to heavy usage, the corridor’s advancing age, and chronic maintenance deferral, the condition of I-95 in Pennsylvania has deteriorated to the point that there is a real risk of traffic disruptions. In 2008, a two-mile stretch of I-95 in Philadelphia was shut down for two days due to the discovery of a six-foot crack in a supporting concrete pillar. This type of structural deterioration is not unusual – I-95 within Philadelphia is largely an elevated viaduct, and a substantial percentage of its deck, superstructure, and substructure is in need of rehabilitation. For the purposes of repair and reconstruction, PennDOT divided the Commonwealth’s 51 miles of I-95 into five project sections and assigned each section a priority ranking based on structural condition, age, and crash data. Estimated costs of capital improvements and maintenance for the two highest-priority segments total approximately $6 billion. Without dedicated funding, much of the rebuilding effort remains uncertain. A successful rebuild will require creative solutions to overcome funding shortfalls and potential traffic disruptions while strengthening connections to the Delaware River waterfront and its emerging amenities and development opportunities.

 

STRATEGIC RESURFACING OF ROADS WITH POOR PAVEMENT CONDITION

Improving the quality of roadway conditions in Greater Philadelphia can reduce automobile maintenance costs for drivers, improve vehicle fuel efficiency, and prevent unsafe driving conditions. DVRPC estimates that 1,910 lane miles of pavement in the region are currently in poor condition. Investing in strategic resurfacing now can limit more significant investment in the future, extending the usable life of road facilities.

STRENGTHEN CONNECTIONS BETWEEN THE REGION'S ECONOMIC HUBS
 

Greater Philadelphia’s centers of population and employment have evolved over the past several decades, but, in most parts of the region, its passenger rail network has not. Several regional hubs of employment and commerce, including King of Prussia/Valley Forge, Great Valley, the Philadelphia Navy Yard, and parts of South Jersey, lack multimodal transportation connections to each other and to Center City. These centers are critical components of the region’s economy, but congested highways and limited transportation alternatives make accessibility a challenge and inhibit future growth.

Planning for rail and bus rapid transit extensions into the Pennsylvania and New Jersey suburbs is already underway, and a coalition of organizations is working to build a network of bicycle and pedestrian trails that will connect many of the region’s key communities.

 

Promising Pathways

 

EXTENDING THE SEPTA BROAD STREET LINE TO THE PHILADELPHIA NAVY YARD

 

The Philadelphia Navy Yard has reemerged as one of the region’s primary economic hubs, but limited transit access constrains opportunities for continued growth. SEPTA, the City of Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation, and others have actively explored the extension of SEPTA’s Broad Street Line to the Navy Yard, but significant challenges remain. Broad support and strong political will are necessary to secure dedicated funding and proceed with implementation.

 

ENHANCING TRANSIT CONNECTIONS BETWEEN PHILADELPHIA AND THE KING OF PRUSSIA/VALLEY FORGE AREA

 

SEPTA has engaged a consultant team to produce an alternatives analysis and environmental impact statement for the extension of the Norristown High Speed Line to destinations in King of Prussia in Montgomery County, though full funding for design and construction is not in place. This extension could help reduce heavy existing congestion on I-76 while providing easier access to Philadelphia for people working and living in the King of Prussia area.

 

STRENGTHENING TRANSIT CONNECTIONS BETWEEN PHILADELPHIA AND SOUTH JERSEY

 

Plans to connect growing communities in South Jersey with Philadelphia via transit are ongoing. The Delaware River Port Authority and NJ Transit, with support from the federal government, are advancing environmental impact studies for proposed light-rail and bus rapid transit (BRT) service that would connect Gloucester and Camden counties with Center City. This service would help ease congestion on I-676, Route 42, and Route 55, improving commutes both for those working in Philadelphia and South Jersey. Successful implementation of BRT service in South Jersey could serve as a model for expanding multimodal connections between Center City and suburban locations throughout Greater Philadelphia.

 

SUPPORTING THE DEVELOPMENT AND ENHANCEMENT OF BICYCLE AND PEDESTRIAN TRALS BETWEEN KEY ECONOMIC CENTERS

 

Led by the Pennsylvania Environmental Council and the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, a broad alliance of non-profit organizations, foundations, and agencies are working to complete a regional network of bicycle and pedestrian trails dubbed “The Circuit.” When completed, this network will span 750 linear miles across the region. This effort builds on ongoing investment in bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure investment in New Jersey and Pennsylvania that was made possible by a $23 million grant to regional groups through the federal Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) Discretionary Grant Program. The Circuit will not only provide accessibility benefits to the region, but promote Greater Philadelphia as a center for livability and active transportation.