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Chapter 1 – What are we trying to achieve?

A collaborative vision

Transportation systems are not built for the sake of transportation. Transportation networks and services are developed to support Minnesota’s quality of life and economy.

To better define the aspirations for transportation in the state, the Minnesota Department of Transportation created the 50-year Minnesota GO Vision. Thousands of Minnesotans helped craft the vision, which was adopted in November 2011. It describes a desired transportation system for Minnesota. It also provides guiding principles for state, regional and local transportation planning. It answers the question, “What are we trying to achieve with transportation over the next 50 years?” The text of the Vision and accompanying set of guiding principles follows.

Minnesota’s multimodal transportation system maximizes the health of people, the environment and our economy.

The system:

  • Connects Minnesota’s primary assets—the people, natural resources and businesses within the state—to each other and to markets and resources outside the state and country
  • Provides safe, convenient, efficient and effective movement of people and goods
  • Is flexible and nimble enough to adapt to changes in society, technology, the environment and the economy
Quality of Life

The system:

  • Recognizes and respects the importance, significance and context of place—not just as destinations, but also where people live, work, learn, play and access services
  • Is accessible regardless of socioeconomic status or individual ability
Environmental Health

The system:

  • Is designed in such a way that it enhances the community around it and is compatible with natural systems
  • Minimizes resource use and pollution
Economic Competitiveness

The system:

  • Enhances and supports Minnesota’s role in a globally competitive economy as well as the international significance and connections of Minnesota’s trade centers
  • Attracts human and financial capital to the state

Guiding Principles

The following principles will guide future policy and investment decisions for all forms of transportation throughout the state. They are listed in no particular order. The principles are intended to be used collectively.

  • Leverage public investments to achieve multiple purposes: The transportation system should support other public purposes, such as environmental stewardship, economic competitiveness, public health and energy independence.
  • Ensure accessibility: The transportation system must be accessible and safe for users of all abilities and incomes. The system must provide access to key resources and amenities throughout communities.
  • Build to a maintainable scale: Consider and minimize long-term obligations—don’t overbuild. The scale of the system should reflect and respect the surrounding physical and social context of the facility. The transportation system should affordably contribute to the overall quality of life and prosperity of the state.
  • Ensure regional connections: Key regional centers need to be connected to each other through multiple modes of transportation.
  • Integrate safety: Systematically and holistically improve safety for all forms of transportation. Be proactive, innovative and strategic in creating safe options.
  • Emphasize reliable and predictable options: The reliability of the system and predictability of travel time are frequently as important or more important than speed. Prioritize multiple multimodal options over reliance on a single option.
  • Strategically fix the system: Some parts of the system may need to be reduced while other parts are enhanced or expanded to meet changing demand. Strategically maintain and upgrade critical existing infrastructure.
  • Use partnerships: Coordinate across sectors and jurisdictions to make transportation projects and services more efficient.

A Renewed Commitment

When the previous version of the Statewide Multimodal Transportation Plan was adopted in 2012, it was the first plan based on the Minnesota GO Vision. Since then, other MnDOT and partner plans have built upon the vision. This SMTP update continues the last five years of planning activities. It provides a revised set of strategies to advance the vision. Since the last plan, there are new opportunities and challenges. Progress has been made toward the vision, but we are not there yet. This update renews the state’s commitment to the Minnesota GO Vision, but it will take all transportation partners to bring the vision closer to a reality.