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2050 Metropolitan Transportation Plan

2050 MTP

The federal government requires the DCHC MPO to update their Metropolitan Transportation Plan (MTP) at lease every four years. The 2050 MTP will identify the highway, public transportation, bicycle, pedestrian and other transportation projects that the region plans to implement over the next thirty years to meet the MPO’s goals. The MTP has to be based on the future land use plans and policies of the jurisdictions and counties in the MPO’s planning area, and must be fiscally-constrained, which means that the project costs have to be covered by the expected available revenues. As a practical matter, the MTP is important because the MPO requires that projects that are submitted to the NCDOT prioritization process for possible state or federal funding must come from the MTP, and regulations require that all federally-funded projects must be in the MTP. In addition, local governments may use the MTP to reserve or dedicate right-of-way for future highway and rail transit projects.

The series of tabs on this Web page will present the process, documents and maps used to develop the 2050 MTP. The tabs/process will be in chronological order, starting with the goals and ending with the adopted plan.

A review of the adopted 2045 MTP and the various development steps will provide a clearer understanding of the MTP – see the following Web page and associated tabs:

Approved Public Engagement Plan and Schedule

The DCHC MPO Board approved the Public Engagement Plan and schedule for use in developing the 2050 Metropolitan Transportation Plan (MTP) at their Board meeting on September 9, 2020. A copies of the Plan and schedule are available at the links below. Note that some details of the plan and schedule could change, as needed, because of technical circumstances and the ongoing Covid-19 social distancing requirements.

Public Engagement

The public engagement period to review the draft versions of the Plan and schedule was from June 10, 2020 through August 13, 2020. The public provided feedback through the survey, written comments, and the public hearing at the August 12, 2020 Board meeting.

Approved Goals and Objectives

The DCHC MPO Board approved a set of Goals and Objectives for use in developing the 2050 Metropolitan Transportation Plan (MTP) at their Board meeting on September 9, 2020. A copy of these Goals and Objectives, which will drive the MPO’s policies and decision-making over the next several years, is available at the link below. The remainder of this web page provides information on the process to develop the Goals and Objectives.


As part of the Goals and Objectives development, the MPO conducted an online survey (in both English and Spanish) to understand support for proposed goals and policies. Over 2,100 respondents completed the survey, which was open from July 2nd through August 13th. The presentation at the link below provides survey results. These results are from a point that was a few weeks before the survey closed but are likely to similar to the final survey results (which are to be analyzed at a later date).

Public Engagement

The public engagement period was from June 10, 2020 through August 13, 2020. The public provided feedback through the survey, written comments, and the public hearing at the August 12, 2020 Board meeting.

UNDER CONSTRUCTION - The documents and data on this Web page are not officially released, yet, and subject to major changes

The icons above provide interactive maps on congestion maps, and population and employment growth.


What is a Deficiency Analysis?

The Deficiency Analysis compares today’s travel conditions with that of the year 2050, assuming that no additional transportation infrastructure and services are realized. Thus, the Deficiency Analysis shows where investments in highways, transit and other travel modes are needed to address the future travel demands. It will guide the development and evaluation of the various transportation alternatives that will be considered in a subsequent step of the 2050 MTP development.

What Future Year is Used?

The measures and maps are based on a travel demand model that estimates conditions in two different years:


This is 2016 population and employment using the existing transportation system of streets, transit, etc., and reflects the current travel conditions.

2050 E+C

This is the estimated 2050 population and employment using the existing transportation system plus any projects that are committed to construction or implementation. “E+C” means “Existing plus Committed.” This “no build” scenario allows us to see where future deficiencies are to be expected.

What is the Next Step?

With the MPO’s Goals and Objectives in mind, staff will use the deficiency data to create several alternatives to meet the future travel demand. This Alternatives Analysis will be released to the public and will include public meetings and a hearing to help gather people’s comments.

2050 MTP Deficiency Analysis

This Web page provides the detailed tables and maps that comprise the Deficiency Analysis and presents the Socioeconomic Data (SE Data) used to generate the analysis. The following link is a presentation that helps one understand the Deficiency Analysis data and graphics.

Congestion Maps

The congestion maps estimate the level of congestion in the year 2050 if no additional transportation projects are implemented. This is often called the No Build Scenario. In this case, the travel demand model puts the trip demand for the 2050 population and 2050 employment on to the current transportation network that might also have a few additional approved projects (e.g., East End Connector and Alston Avenue widening) that are close to beginning construction or completion. The maps depict the level of congestion by dividing the traffic volume by the road capacity. So, if the road has 8,000 vehicle trips per hour and the road capacity is 10,000 vehicles; the V/C (volume to capacity value) will be 0.80.

Note that the MPO's travel demand model uses a Level of Service (LOS) of "E" to depict the situation where the volume is equal to capacity, or V/C = 1. Most motorists would experience LOS E as very congested, especially in urban areas and those areas with intersections and driveways. Motorists would experience a V/C higher than 1 as highly congested (orange lines on map), and a V/C higher than 1.2 as long delays (red lines on map0.

The thumbnail maps at the top of this page provide 2016 and 2050 interactive maps for the daily congestion level.


The congestion maps below show the daily average V/C for both roadway directions. Roadways in which the V/C exceeds 1 are labeled with the actual V/C value.

Travel Time

The table below show the travel time between key destinations in the Triangle region in 2016 and 2050, and calculates the change in that travel time. These travel times are for the morning and afternoon peak hour.

Isochrone Maps

An isochrone map shows lines that connect the points that have the same travel time from a specified point. The isochrone maps below show the 2016 and 2050 travel time to key destinations in the Triangle region in fifteen-minute increments for the afternoon peak hour. The destinations are the downtowns or center of Durham, Chapel Hill, Raleigh and the Research Triangle Park.

Performance Measures

The Performance Measures are a broad set of calculations that provide an indicator of the mobility, trip volume, mode choice and congestion in the overall transportation system. The measures are not specific to a travel corridor or transportation project but are useful for broad comparisons of different transportation system alternatives. The first table below compares the 2016 and the 2050 Existing plus Committed (E+C, also known as the No Build) models for the DCHC MPO. The second table provides the same data at the county level.

SE Data

The Triangle J Council of Governments (TJCOG), in partnership with the MPO, forecasts Socioeconomic Data, such as dwelling units, population and employment, to the year 2050. The guide totals document below shows the expected population and employment growth from 2016 through 2050 for Triangle counties. These guide totals are input to a land use model called Community Visualization that uses a set of development rules and available land information to further geographically distribute county-level population and employment growth. The sets of maps use a color intensity scale to depict the forecasted distribution for population and employment growth from 2016 to 2050.