Transportation is the link between regional land uses. An efficient and effective transportation system serves the region's citizens as well as businesses and industries; protects the environment; and promotes the economic and population growth of the St. Louis area.

The current federal transportation bill—Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP 21)—formally establishes performance and outcome-based criteria to improve safety, maintain or improve infrastructure condition, reduce congestion, improve system reliability, enhance freight movement and economic vitality, reduce project delivery delays, and protect the environment. Fulfillment of these criteria on a project-by-project basis must be demonstrated in mandated long-range plans and short-term transportation improvement plans (TIPs).Regional Transportation NetworkRegional Housing Values

The region’s highway system provides good access to regional growth centers, as illustrated in the facing map on page 44. The St. Louis region currently ranks fifth in the nation in terms of the proportion of jobs located from 10 to 35 miles outside of the central business district. This development pattern fosters strong sub-regional centers for work and can reduce commuting distances for residents in suburban communities. However, since many centers are not adequately served by transit, this development pattern limits workers’ transportation options.

As illustrated in the section on Economic Development in this Chapter (pages 32-33 of the printed document), these growth centers provide the highest regional employment densities. These centers will benefit from additional multimodal transportation options. Future regional transportation investments should preserve the existing surface transportation network while enhancing the availability of transit and multi-modal alternatives—including buses, bikes, sidewalks, trails, and rails.

MAP-21: Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century

OneSTL's Connected theme was developed in coordination with the current Federal transportation law, known and MAP-21, and the local needs of the St. Louis region. MAP-21 establishes the following priority areas to guide decision makers nation-wide.

Current and future transportation investments should address:

  • Economic vitality
  • Safety and security
  • Accessibility and mobility for people and freight
  • Environmental protection
  • Quality of life for citizens
  • Energy conservation
  • Integration and connectivity between all forms of transportation (i.e. automobiles, transit, freight, bicycle, pedestrians, etc)
  • Coordination between state and local entities
  • System efficiency
  • Preservation of our current system

The Great Streets program is a prime example of how investments in regional corridors can help catalyze economic growth and community building. Great Streets is a program administered by East-West Gateway for projects that enhance multi-modal transportation and access to transportation alternatives. Elements include road diets, bike lanes, streetscape improvements, and enhancements to transit facilities. A notable example of recent Great Streets program success is South Grand Boulevard in St. Louis City, where sales tax revenue increased eight percent after improvements.16

The Metro transit system provides more than 47 million trips annually. The increased efficiency of mass transit can help reduce the financial and environmental impact of the overall transportation system, both for regional and local agencies as well as individual citizens. A strong transit system will support the St. Louis region in retaining and attracting new residents and growing new business opportunities. Investments in MetroLink, bus rapid transit (BRT), regional rail, and high-speed rail can all help make the region an even more attractive place in which to live and work.

Transportation goals that meet or exceed the criteria of MAP-21 will help ensure that the St. Louis region has maximum access to future federal transportation funding.

Our location makes the St. Louis region ideally situated as a major hub of freight movement and shipping. The Missouri and Mississippi rivers; Interstates I-70, I-44, I-64, and I-55; major rail access; Lambert St. Louis International Airport; and Mid-America Airport all provide the St. Louis region with excellent access to water, truck, rail, and air. As a result, St. Louis has evolved into a major intermodal transfer point for intercontinental shipping. In addition, St. Louis exported $14.6 billion in goods in 2012, up from $7.2 billion in 2005, with 17.8 percent of exports—$2.6 billion—going to China. Our shipping access should continue to support a variety of local industries that export goods to the nation and the world. One key to improving the region's international shipping is greater coordination and cooperative planning for our regional ports and airports.

Transportation goals that meet or exceed the criteria of MAP-21 will help ensure that the St. Louis region has maximum access to future federal transportation funding. Related OneSTL goals are outlined in the sidebar to the right. They are presented in detail, along with associated objectives and strategies, in Chapter 4 of this document.