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Working Together to Shape Wisconsin's Future Transportation System - Wisconsin TransLinks 21

Click HERE for graphic.


TRANSLINKS 21 - Wisconsin's 21st century transportation plan - will
outline a comprehensive transportation system that moves people and
goods efficiently, strengthens our economy, protects our
environment, and supports our quality of life.  Working with DOT,
the public will identify Wisconsin's transportation needs - and
help to make tomorrow's transportation choices.

Tommy G. Thompson, 

Charles H. Thompson,

A new era in transportation partnerships

What transportation systems will Wisconsin need - and how should
they be integrated - to move people and goods efficiently, support
our economy, protect our environment and maintain our quality of
life in the 21st century?

Wisconsin's citizens, local government officials, legislators,
statewide organizations, business leaders and environmental groups
will help the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) find
the answers through a new statewide planning process called
Translinks 21.

Translinks 21 overview

Translinks 21 - the planning process and 21st century
transportation plan - will be in place by the Summer of 1994. Its
development will rely upon these fundamental "building blocks:

         Basic transportation goals and values
         New federal requirements
         Wisconsin's existing transportation system
         Responding to a changing Wisconsin
         Transportation financing
         Public involvement

While Translinks 21 will not make decisions on specific
transportation projects, it will set the critical framework and
priorities to determine which projects are designed and built in
the future.  How we travel and how we do business in Wisconsin lay
in the balance.

Translinks 21 building block:
Basic goals and values

Translinks 21 begins with five fundamental transportation goals in
Wisconsin, including:

Mobility.  Wisconsin's economy and quality of life depend upon the
state's ability to move people and goods both within its boundaries
and to worldwide destinations.  Translinks 21 will focus on
improving travel - in terms of timeliness, greater reliability,
more accessible destinations, and lower costs.

Choice.  Whenever feasible, practical and economical, shippers and
travelers should have more than one mode - highways, transit air,
rail, waterways and bikeways - available to meet a range of -
mobility needs.  WisDOT's role is to support, and not limit,
transportation choices.

Safety.  Every transportation user expects and deserves a system
that is safe for personal and freight travel.  Wisconsin has one of
the safest transportation systems in the nation - but we can do
even better.  Improving transportation safety is a top priority of
Translinks 21.

Connectivity.  A seamless transportation system with convenient and
reliable opportunities to use more than one mode in a single trip
provides a wider range of cost-effective options.

Efficiency.  Wisconsin expects its 21st century transportation
system to be efficient and economical.  Opportunities to reduce the
monetary and time costs involved with building, using, improving
and maintaining the transportation system will be aggressively

The stakes are very high.  While Translinks 21 will not make
decisions on specific transportation projects, it will set the
critical framework and priorities to determine which projects are
designed and built in the future.  How we travel and how we do
business in Wisconsin lay in the balance.


Translinks 21 building block:
Federal requirements

Along with addressing Wisconsin's fundamental transportation goals,
our state's 21st century transportation systems must also respond
to new federal requirements.

ISTEA has four key impacts for Wisconsin: 1) Develop a multi-modal
transportation plan; 2) Review all existing plans; 3) Incorporate
new stakeholders into the decision-making process; and 4) A new
emphasis on urban transportation.

ISTEA presents a call to action

The federal Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of
1991 (ISTEA) is a new call to action in transportation.  It
requires states to do business differently by re-examining their
transportation systems and plans, and by developing comprehensive
new plans for the future.

ISTEA has four key impacts for Wisconsin - which are being
addressed through Translinks 21.

First: ISTEA calls on states to develop statewide multimodal
transportation plans.  These plans should look at the
transportation needs within broad corridors, and the right solution
or combination of solutions to address them.  Highways, airports,
railroads, harbors, and transit systems will all be part of the mix
- with different solutions applied appropriately in different

ISTEA also provides the flexibility - for the first time - to spend
highway funds on some other modes, such as transit.  The key is to
find where these tradeoffs are feasible and make sense.

Second: ISTEA starts with a blank slate.  All of Wisconsin's
existing highway, rail and airport plans will be reviewed and could
be changed.  New plans - for intercity bus, urban mass transit,
intercity freight and passenger rail, and bikeways - should be

Third: ISTEA brings many new stakeholders into the transportation
decision-making process.  Environmentalists, bicycle and rail
advocates, and the elderly and disabled join local officials, road
interests, transit providers and business groups in having input
into transportation plans.

Fourth: ISTEA places a new emphasis on urban transportation. 
Wisconsin's urban areas face unique challenges, such as traffic
congestion, air quality limitations, and connecting people with
jobs.  Land use is also a growing concern, as more development
moves to suburban and outlying areas served by automobiles and not
efficiently reached by transit  walking or biking.

Federal law requires all federally-funded urban transportation
projects to be included in urban transportation plans, which will
be developed by the state's metropolitan planning organizations
(MPO's) in cooperation with WisDOT.  Planning will determine the
transportation future of urban areas, and the economic development
and environmental quality that depend upon it.

Translinks 21 building block:
Responding to a changing Wisconsin

Wisconsin's economic needs, environmental priorities, population
and land use trends are changing.  For transportation to be a "good
neighbor" - and a continued part of the formula for a successful
Wisconsin - Translinks 21 must be in a position to respond to these


Translinks 21 supports a competitive economy

Translinks 21 will chart a 21st century transportation system that
supports the expansion and diversity of Wisconsin's economy, and
helps provide economic opportunities for our citizens.

Wisconsin's economy depends upon good and production.  It reduces
the costs of shipping land production.  It frees up resources for
expansion, research and new jobs.  It connects people with jobs and
businesses with markets.  And good transportation gives communities
an edge in competing for businesses by providing access to four-
lane highways, modern rail lines and airports.

Just-in-Time shipping and intermodalism are changing how
transportation serves Wisconsin's economy.

Two key trends are influencing how transportation serves the
economy in Wisconsin.

The first trend is "Just-in-Time" operations, where companies move
raw materials in and finished products out quickly at the time of
production in order to reduce inventory and overhead costs.  The
second trend is "intermodalism," where companies take advantage of
faster and more cost-effective methods by shipping goods in
containers on trucks, and then transferring the containers to rail
and ships in the same trip, in order to reach national and world

Manufacturing.  Wisconsin is one of the nation's leading
manufacturing states.  With a competitive global economy, Wisconsin
firms must have efficient, multimodal freight transportation
systems that allow for "Just-in-Time" operations and increased

Tourism.  This mainstay of our economy depends upon convenient,
safe and attractive transportation - bringing visitors to our
state's many attractions and hospitality businesses.

Agriculture.  Efficient rural highway, rail and water
transportation systems are essential for meeting the unique needs
of agriculture -- delivering supplies to farms, collecting farm
products, and taking products to processing plants and consumers
throughout the state and nation.

Services.  All indications are that Wisconsin's service economy
will be a primary source of future job growth.  Transportation
fosters this growth by connecting businesses with customers.

Employment.  Between 1970 and 1990, employment in Wisconsin climbed
by an impressive 41%.  This means that there are more workers who
need highway and transit connections to jobs, and more economic
activity that must be served by transportation.

Translinks 21 focuses on the environment

Quality transportation and environmental protection are two basic
values that will be addressed and balanced by Translinks 21 and
Wisconsin's resulting 21st century transportation plan.

Air quality. Eastern Wisconsin shares a summer ozone problem with
the three other states surrounding Lake Michigan.   Quality
transportation surrounding Lake Michigan.  Under the federal Clean
Air Act Amendments of 1990, emissions from transportation, industry
and other sources must be reduced to comply with federal air
quality standards. In urban areas that do not meet these standards, 
transportation plans must demonstrate that the projects they
include contribute to emissions reductions.

Energy consumption. Wisconsin imports virtually all of its energy
resources. While transportation energy efficiency has improved
dramatically, further progress is needed.

Natural resources. A 21st century transportation system must
respect clean water, habitat preservation and natural areas in
order to maintain Wisconsin's high-quality environmental.  

Quality transportation and environmental protection are two basic
values that will be addressed and balanced by Translinks 21.


Land use plays a key role in transportation

Especially in urbanized areas, transportation is largely influenced
by land use trends.  The relationship between land use and
transportation is complex - with each impacting the other.

Where land is where land is developed; whether it is zoned for
commercial, residential or industrial use; and the design of
buildings and communities are key land use issues for
transportation.  During the second half of this century, population
and employment centers have shifted from central cities to suburbs
and outlying areas - presenting new transportation challenges.

Central cities, for example, are generally designed in a way that
can be served efficiently by many transportation modes.  Transit
service is flexible because there am more people and buildings per
square mile, and neighborhoods have sidewalks to accommodate

In suburban and outlying areas, by contrast, development is more
dispersed.  These areas are easily served by automobiles, and are
much less accessible by walking, transit or biking.  A key result
of suburbanization is the changes in commuting patterns and
subsequent pressures on the transportation system - with more
suburb-to-suburb and city-suburb trips being made.

Where land is developed and how it is used are key issues for
communities and the transportation systems that service them.

Demographic, employment and travel trends

Wisconsin's growing economy and population - along with changes in
where people are living and working and the trips they are making
all have significant impacts on transportation.

Population.  Wisconsin's total population increased by some II%
between 1970 and 1990.  More than five million people now make
their home in Wisconsin.

Meanwhile, the average size of each household is decreasing, the
number of households is increasing at a rate faster than population
growth, and the average number of vehicles per household is
increasing.  The "high mileage age group" - people aged 25-44, who
tend to travel the most - also expanded by 58% in Wisconsin from
1970 to 1990.

Each of these factors contributes to an increase in travel, though
the rates of both population growth and travel growth are expected
to slow through the year 2020.

Travel. National data indicate that business and shopping trips
increased by 111% and 62% from 1970 to 1990.  Our state probably
mirrors these trends.  Vehicle miles of travel in Wisconsin
increased by 80% from 1970 to 1990.

Work trips.  Of all trips to work made in Wisconsin during the
1980's, the share of drive alone trips increased 37.3%.  All other
modes showed a dramatic decline as a percentage of work trips: car
pooling (-31.8%). mass transit (-29.2%), walking (-26.2%), and
bicycling (-17.2%).

While these trends show that more people are commuting in cars, the
number of people working at home - and therefore not requiring a
commute - increased 8.9% during the 1980's.

Serving community values

WisDOT recognizes that while every Wisconsin community shares a
need for safe, efficient, accessible and affordable transportation,
the values of these communities can be very different.
Transportation planning and programs must be flexible enough to
respond - with a basic core of policies that addresses shared
needs, and the ability to account for community diversity.


Translinks 21 building block:
Wisconsin's transportation system

In shaping a 21st century transportation plan, Translinks 21 will
build upon the solid transportation foundation that is already in
place and evolving in Wisconsin.                                   

State and local highways, public transit systems, airports,
intercity bus service, freight and passenger railroads, harbors,
bikeways and pedestrian facilities combine to make transportation
in Wisconsin among the safest, most efficient, and most cost-
effective anywhere in the nation.

Click HERE for graphic.


Wisconsin is served by 110,000 miles of highways, streets and
roads, with more than 13,000 bridges.  This network - operated by
state, county, town and municipal governments - ranges from
heavily-used six-lane urban freeways to low traffic volume two-lane
rural routes.  In 1992, about 47 billion vehicle miles of travel
were logged in Wisconsin - a 93% increase over 1970.

A key subset of Wisconsin's roadway network is the State Trunk
Highway System, which encompasses 12,000 miles.  While this system
comprises 11% of all road miles in Wisconsin, it carries more than
60% of all vehicle miles of travel statewide.  The State Trunk
Highway System also includes 640 miles of Interstate Highways (1-
43, 90, 94, 535, 794 and 894).

The state's roads play a key role in moving freight as well as
passengers.  Trucks carried 1 17 million tons of freight in
Wisconsin during 1989 (53% of the total), providing fast and direct
service to businesses.  Key passenger and freight routes are
included in Corridors 2020, a 3,400-mile network of two- and four-
lane highways connecting Wisconsin communities with other regions
of the state and with national and international markets. 
Corridors 2020 serves as a blueprint for Wisconsin's portion of the
National Highway System, a network of nationally significant
highways authorized by ISTEA that must be in place by 1995.  In
Wisconsin, 6,150 miles are also part of the National Truck Network.

The role of trucking is expanding nationwide.  More than 43% of the
nation's total freight tonnage was carried by trucks in 1990, a 42%
increase over 1980.  Trucking also accounted for 77.4% of the
nation's total freight shipping costs in 1991, up from 72.7% of the
total in 1980.

Public transit

Some 52 public transit systems - both fixed-route bus and shared-
ride taxi systems - operate in communities and rural areas
throughout Wisconsin.  Public transit carried approximately 73
million riders in 1992.  This declined 28.5% from a total ridership
of 93 million in 1980.  In Wisconsin's urban areas, public transit
typically carries up to 5% of all trips made.

Public transit is a key part of the mobility equation, helping
reduce congestion and air pollution, and providing mobility for
people without access to cars or who choose not to drive.


Wisconsin is also served by privately-owned intercity bus carriers,
with the major routes connecting Chicago, Milwaukee, Madison and
Minneapolis/St. Paul.  Intercity bus ridership totaled
approximately 900,000 passengers in 1992.

Passenger rail

Passenger rail, as provided by Amtrak, is another option for
intercity travel in Wisconsin.

Amtrak offers two Wisconsin routes: the Hiawatha, with seven daily
round trips between Milwaukee and Chicago; and the Empire Builder,
with daily round trip service to six Wisconsin' cities via Chicago,
Milwaukee, the Twin Cities, and on to the Pacific Northwest Amtrak
carried about 450,000 passengers in Wisconsin during 1992, with
most on the Hiawatha service.

In Wisconsin, ridership on the Empire Builder route increased
nearly 9% from 1980 to 1992, with ridership on the Milwaukee-
Chicago Hiawatha route rising more than 78% since 1986.

Nationwide, passenger rail travel (in passenger miles) increased by
24% from 1980 to 1992.  Total rail ridership, however, grew by only
600,000 passengers during that same period.  As a result, rail
carried slightly less than 1% of all intercity passenger trips in

Click HERE for graphic.

Freight rail

Wisconsin is served by 14 freight railroads operating over 4,100
miles of track.

In 1991, rail moved about 59 million tons of freight in Wisconsin
(2% of the total) serving  key industries such as manufacturing,
pulp and paper, food and agricultural producers, and utilities. 
Railroads also provide key intermodal connections with truck and
waterway shipments.

During 1992, rail carried approximately 25% of all intercity
freight tonnage nationwide - a 3.7% drop from its 1980 share of the
total.  Rail's share of the nation's intercity freight bill also
declined, from 13% in 1980 to 8.3% in 1991.  In Wisconsin, freight
rail -- especially as a link in intermodal shipments -- has
followed positive trends over the past decade.

Air transportation

Wisconsin has 142 public use airports, with ten offering scheduled
passenger flights.  Nearly all Wisconsin residents live within 45
minutes of commercial airline service.

In 1992, approximately 3.5 million passengers boarded commercial
flights in Wisconsin - an increase of 31% over 1980 levels. 
Approximately 60% of airline passengers in Wisconsin use General
Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee County.

General aviation airports - serving smaller communities without
scheduled commercial flights also play a key role in providing
Wisconsin businesses with access to national markets.


Air travel carried 29,000 tons of freight in Wisconsin during 1992,
primarily low-volume, high-value commodities such as express mail. 
U.S. Mail accounted for 25% of the total shipments.  Nationally,
air shipments (measured in ton-miles) increased 131% from 1980 to
1992, though air continues to carry only a very small percentage of
the nation's total freight tonnage.

Water transportation

The Great Lakes and the Mississippi River are dotted by 14
Wisconsin ports.  These facilities moved 46 million tons of freight
in 1992 (21% of the total), including coal, grains, metals, sand
and gravel, and petroleum products.  The majority of waterborne
freight in Wisconsin travels through Superior/Duluth, Brown County
(Green Bay) and the Port of Milwaukee.

From 1980 to 1992, Great Lakes shipping - including Wisconsin ports
- dropped by 12.5%.

Passenger ferry services are also available to carry trips across a
river or lake or to connect islands with the mainland.  The Lake
Michigan Carferry, a privately-operated service connecting
Manitowoc and Ludington, Michigan, carried the most trips in 1992,
with 115,000 riders.

Translinks 21 building block:
Transportation financing

State transportation programs in Wisconsin are financed through a
combination of state, federal and local funds.  Private funding -
for vehicles and some systems - is also included.

State funds.  The state-generated revenues for WisDOT's
transportation programs - with motor fuel taxes and vehicle
registration fees accounting for more than 90% of the total are
collected in the state's Transportation Fund.  This comprises more
than two-thirds of WisDOT's budget.

The Transportation Fund is reserved for transportation programs and
projects, and it remains separate from the state's General Fund
that collects sales and income taxes and funds other priorities. 
Wisconsin is different from other states, in that its
Transportation Fund revenues are used to pay for all modes of
transportation - state and local - and not just highway programs.

Federal funds.  Federal highway user fees account for 20% of the
state transportation budget.  Under ISTEA, Wisconsin was to receive
significant increases in its annual level of federal highway and
transit funds, though the actual levels have been lower than those

Local funds.  The state transportation budget also includes local
revenues that are used to match state and federal funds in sharing
the costs of transportation projects that benefit communities.  The
local match varies depending on the project involved and its direct
benefit for a community.

Private sector.  Wisconsin's transportation picture would not be
complete without the involvement of the private sector.  Many rail
lines, ferry services and harbors are owned and/or operated by
private entities.  And the cars on our highways, planes in our
skies, bicycles on our streets, and trains that carry freight are
owned and financed privately.

Wisconsin's transportation system is financed through a combination
of state, federal, local and private sector funding.


Translinks 21 building block:
Public involvement

Translinks 21 will be - and must be - a team effort.  As with all
transportation planning efforts and programs, WisDOT is not going
it alone.  Public involvement is the key to success.

WisDOT has already initiated a series of newsletters that update
Translinks 21 developments and explain the process.  To explain
both past and future issues, contact WisDOT at 608/266-3581.

During the Fall of 1993, WisDOT officials will conduct a series of
regional forums throughout the state, in partnership with Regional
Planning Commissions.  These half-day forums will bring local
government officials, business leaders, transportation interests,
environmental and community groups together at the same table, to
start building the Translinks 21 plan.

At these forums, WisDOT will present an overview of what
Translink's 21 is, what it will examine and produce, the perceived
needs and priorities of each region, and how the public will be
involved.  More importantly, forum participants will share their
transportation needs and suggestions with WisDOT officials - in a
variety of "give-and-take" formats.

Along with regional forums, public outreach will include periodic
meetings between WisDOT officials and key statewide organizations
with an interest in transportation, along with visits to key
communities statewide.  Topical forums - focusing on urban, rural,
economic development, freight, transit, tourism and environmental
issues - will also be held beginning in 1993.

In the Spring of 1994, WisDOT will conduct a second round of
regional and topical forums and organize community visits, to
present and gauge reactions to alternative transportation plans
developed with earlier public input.  Plans will include choices to
solve specific transportation challenges - for example, the
tradeoff between passenger rail and transit service or highways to
move people.  Hearings will also be held to actively involve the
general public.

By the Summer of 1994, WisDOT will again return to community and
regional forums and statewide organizations, presenting the
Translinks 21 plan selected for public review.

The Translinks 21 plan can only be shaped by the public - so
everyone must be involved by sharing their needs, priorities and
ideas with WisDOT.  And remember, transportation revenues will
remain limited, so Translinks 21 must involve choices and
tradeoffs.  Everything cannot be in the plan - so WisDOT needs the
public's help in making the best decisions for the future.

Partnerships build a multimodal transportation vision
With all of these "building blocks" in place, here is how
Translink's 21 will look.

Intercity transportation

Under the federal ISTEA legislation, WisDOT is responsible for
developing freight and passenger transportation plans connecting
regions and key population and economic centers.

Translinks 21 will focus on the key issues (i.e. population,
demographics, economic development, the environment and technology)
in broad corridors.  These are the areas through which people and
freight travel, instead of just the highway, rail or transit
facility on which they travel.


WisDOT will then look at the transportation needs within different
corridors, such as connecting people with jobs; taking the elderly
to health care; bringing raw materials to factories; shipping
finished products to regional, national and international markets;
and serving tourism.  The unique needs of rural Wisconsin will also
be identified through Translinks 21.

With the issues and needs identified, WisDOT will target the most
appropriate mode - or combination of modes - to address Wisconsin's
transportation needs.  It will also look at how to connect
different regions and metropolitan areas with an integrated
multimodal system.

No longer will WisDOT plan and develop highways, airports,
railroads, harbors, transit systems and bikeways in isolation of
each other.  Instead, Translinks 21 will develop and integrate
intercity plans for all modes to meet identified travel needs. 
Translinks 21 will ensure that Wisconsin's intercity plans not only
connect regions, but connect with urban with urban transportation

Urban transportation                                               

A parallel effort to WisDOT's intercity planning will occur in our
urban areas.

Under ISTEA, Wisconsin's 11 metropolitan planning organization (or
MPOs, which are public bodies representing local governments in the
state's 14 urbanized areas over 50,000 population) are responsible
for developing the multimodal transportation plans for their
transportation areas. 

MPO's are expected to follow a similar process to WisDOT's
intercity planning - evaluating transportation needs within broad
travel corridors, and identifying the best mode or combination of
modes to meet those needs.  MPO planning will take place with input
from WisDOT.

Specifically, WisDOT has a proactive role in helping MPO's develop
their transportation plans.  WisDOT will provide MPO's with
planning guidance and technical assistance in about 20 different
areas, including bicycle/pedestrian facility planning, land use
Transportation planning, transit planning, travel demand management
strategies, environmental evaluations, management of access to
highways, and achieving connections between various transportation

The purpose of this guidance and technical assistance is to ensure
that all MPOs work from a similar planning foundation, so that each
plan can be more effectively and consistently incorporated into
Translinks 21.  WisDOT staff is also represented and active on the
various MPO policy and technical committees with responsibility for
shaping MPO plans.

WisDOT will also work with local officials to help identify
mobility needs and develop transportation plans in the state's
smaller urban areas (5,000 to 50,000 population).

In all urban areas, issues such as coordinating transportation and
land use plans, and implementing travel demand management
techniques to limit the growth in drive-alone vehicle travel, will
present unique challenges that must be addressed through the
planning process.

Bringing the blueprint together

With WisDOT's intercity plans and each urban plan completed,
Translinks 21 will combine these two equally important elements to
shape the state's overall 21st century transportation blueprint
making sure it provides seamless connections between and within all
areas of the state.


Join the Translinks 21 team

With this introduction to Translinks 21, you're now prepared to
come to the table and help WisDOT build the vision for Wisconsin's
21st century transportation system.

For more information on Translinks 21, or to obtain copies of the
newsletters, contact the Wisconsin Department of Transportation at

Let's work together for an even better transportation future!


                                                       TRANSLINKS 21


P.O. BOX 53707-7910
MADISON, WI 53707-7910

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