It doesn't happen by accident. The very highways and roads we drive on today were first proposed and designed years ago, following a carefully drafted Statewide Multimodal Transportation Plan (SMTP) adopted by the Minnesota Department of Transportation.

Every five years, the agency reevaluates their strategic plans to maintain that they accomplish the transportation needs of state residents. The plan is often referred to "Minnesota's highest level policy plan for transportation" and it's significance cannot be undersold.

As part of the process, the planning committee focuses on three questions:

  • "What's directing the plan"? This includes a review of the current SMTP, legal challenges and changes, and the transportation of partner agencies.
  • "What will impact transportation [needs] in the next 20 years"?
  • "How will we guide ourselves moving forward"?

MNDOT just finished up the most-recent review process, and they have approved the SMTP that will guide their agency for the next twenty years - through 2041.

The new plan will play a large role in everything the state agency does as the plan for the future. MNDOT Commissioner Nancy Daubenberger explains:

"Everyone deserves transportation options that work for them and their needs. The SMTP is a cornerstone to the important work that MNDOT and our transportation partners need to do in the near- and long-term to ensure our investments continue to deliver on our commitments to safety, economic vitality, and livability. We look forward to working with partners statewide to implement the goals laid out in this updated plan."

Similar to the SMTP's that have guided MNDOT's plans in the past, the new one focuses on six objectives:

  • Transportation safety
  • System stewardship
  • Climate action
  • Critical connections
  • Healthy equitable communities
  • Open decision making

However, MNDOT added some additional focus details with the newly-adopted plan.  These "new opportunities and emphasis areas" are specific to the 2022-2041 plan. Generally speaking, they focus on climate, equity, and health - with action goals that include measurable results for tracking.

Here are some highlights of the specific goals that MNDOT will seek to accomplish with the 2022-2041 SMTP:

  • Decrease annual greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector by 80% by 2040.
  • Ensure that all new light duty vehicles registered in Minnesota are zero emission vehicles by 2035.
  • Reduce the number of vehicles miles traveled across Minnesota per capita 14% by 2040.
  • Increase the percent of Minnesotans who walk or bicycle at least weekly to 60% by 2040.

When combined, both the continuing goals and these new objectives help MNDOT focused on the transportation challenges that lie ahead - while helping them to plot their course of action. They share that "[i]t is important we proactively plan to address these changes, so we can achieve our vision of a multimodal transportation system that maximizes the health of people, the environment, and our economy".

The complete plan is available for public review online. In addition to the plotted courses of action, MNDOT also includes specific ways that it will implement the plans.

The next update of the Statewide Multimodal Transportation Plan is scheduled for 2027.

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