How Can Pittsburgh Improve Transportation Now And In The Future?

Jul 29, 2019

The City of Pittsburgh is preparing for significant population growth over the next 50 years. On Monday, the Department of Mobility and Infrastructure announced its 2070 Transportation Vision Plan as one way to meet that future.

Since its mid-century peak, Pittsburgh has lost nearly half of its population, which now hovers around 300,000. The once-a-year fascination with U.S. Census estimates may flatten the complexities of the past events and their implications for the future. But officials in DOMI and the Department of City Planning believe the city is in the midst of a resurgence and growth is inevitable, said principal planner Dara Braitman, who is leading the 2070 plan.    

“We need to make sure that our infrastructure network is able to accommodate that,” she said.

Over the next few months, department staff will attend community meetings and events across the city to better understand people’s transportation needs. Those conversations will help inform a roadmap for the region’s long-term transportation investments, as well as short-term needs.

“This is meant to be a fully inclusive city-wide initiative,” said Braitman. “We understand that everyone has their own transportation challenges, and they vary a lot by area and by topography and we want to hear it.”

In addition, the department has launched an online survey for residents. By collecting as much input as possible, DOMI hopes to create a balanced network for all users, said Braitman.

“We also want to make sure that we create a network that does not require one new car for every new person who moves to the city.”   

If every new resident were to drive to work, congestion would only worsen. Braitman said they’ll ask people to think beyond existing transportation options and instead consider where they want and need to go. Braitman said future modes could include the reintroduction of streetcars, water taxis, or aerial trams where there used to be inclines. She added that the 2070 plan will incorporate existing studies and other long-range transportation plans.

The department expects to release the 2070 Transportation Vision early next summer.