2045 Long-Range Transportation Plan

Message from the Secretary

Transportation is critical to Pennsylvania's economic vitality and well-being. We see that theme across history, and it holds true today in a time of transformative change. Now, enabled by technology and driven by data, the Commonwealth's transportation system can become more efficient, responsive, sustainable, resilient, and equitable than ever before

Pennsylvania's 2045 Long-Range Transportation Plan (LRTP) outlines a future transportation system that Pennsylvanians are creating together.

Transportation agencies provide facilities and services essential to everyday life. As such, we must be able to react effectively to abrupt changes and urgent situations, such as those thrust upon us by the COVID-19 pandemic and the relentless impacts of climate change. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) makes investments in roadways, bridges, public transit, and other infrastructure that last decades, and must do so with a strategic future perspective that considers big-picture outcomes for the Commonwealth's transportation system and its users.

The plan's goals are inspiring and were developed based on broad engagement with diverse stakeholders, the public, and underrepresented interests, which is the cornerstone of the planning process. This resulted in wide-ranging and valuable feedback, so much so that a major goal and objectives specific to addressing equity are a key part of the LRTP.

Our ability to achieve these goals—even with the extensive collaboration with our partners and stakeholders—depends upon securing adequate resources. Implementing strong investment proposals like that put forward by the Transportation Revenue Options Commission will be essential for advancing much of this plan.

Under any funding scenario, collaborating with other agencies, other levels of government, the private sector, MPOs/RPOs, and the public is vital to making positive, systemwide improvements. I am pleased with the diverse engagement that has occurred with such partners, with the aim of collaborative implementation to accomplish common purposes.

Transportation is about fostering opportunity. We must make wise investments in our infrastructure and services that yield great returns, opening opportunities for all Pennsylvanians. As stewards of the statewide transportation system, that mindset is at the heart of this plan and our commitment to implementing its strategic actions and initiatives. We are embracing new tools, skills, processes, and perspectives to accomplish this plan.

A special thank you to the many individuals who provided input during the development of the Commonwealth's 2045 Long Range Transportation Plan. We ask that all Pennsylvanians remain involved as we implement the plan's action strategies and initiatives that will strengthen our transportation system, programs, and services long into the future.

Photograph of PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian, P.E.

Yassmin Gramian, P.E | Secretary
Pennsylvania Department of Transportation

The Essentials

The statewide long-range transportation plan (LRTP) establishes a direction for Pennsylvania's transportation system across a 20-year planning horizon.

This 2045 PA LRTP has been developed alongside a PA Freight Movement Plan (FMP), available on PennDOT's Planning Program's Project Webpage. The two plans complement each other, establishing a comprehensive direction for enhancing the movement of people and goods within and through the state.

The statewide LRTP does not include specific projects, such as bridge replacements or major road improvements. These projects are developed regionally by the state's metropolitan and rural planning organizations (MPOs/RPOs), known as PennDOT's Planning Partners. Each MPO/RPO develops a regional LRTP in step with the statewide direction.

Transportation Planning Process

Long-range planning is one of three key phases of transportation improvement. Plans guide development of Transportation Improvement Programs (TIP) established at the regional level. The TIP projects are rolled up into a Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (or STIP) and included in the statewide 12-Year Program (TYP), which is updated every two years.

In the off-year, the State Transportation Commission (STC) and Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC) compile a Transportation Performance Report (TPR), which serves as a report card on the transportation system and helps direct future programming to achieve plan goals. It is a cornerstone of the TYP development process.

The update of both the LRTP and 12-Year Program included extensive outreach to the public and transportation stakeholders to ensure that public perspectives are considered as part of the process.

More information about the transportation planning process is available on Talk PA Transportation.

Infographic illustrating that the Transportation Performance Report helps direct the Long-Range Transportation Plan and the 12-Year Program, both of which include public and stakeholder input to ensure all perspectives are included in the process.

Sets Direction

  • Long-Range Transportation Plan (LRTP) 20-Year Plan
    (Updated every 6-10 years)
    • Where do we want to go?
      • Goals
      • Objectives
      • Measures
    • How are we going to get there?
      • Implementation Strategies
      • Policies
      • Priorities
      • Functional Plans
      • MPO/RPO LRTPs

Prioritizes Projects

  • 12-Year Program (TYP)
    • How can we best use available funding?
      • Lists funded projects for a 12-year period
      • First four-year period is the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP)
      • STIP complies MPO/RPO Transportation Improvement Programs (TIP)

Measures Progress

  • Transportation Performance Report (TPR)
    (Updated in odd-numbered years)
    • How did we do?
      • Monitor
      • Report
      • Evaluate
    • Where do measures come from?
      • State and Federal Requirements
    • What do we measure?
      • Safety
      • Mobility
      • Accountability
      • Funding
      • Preservation

Public & Stakeholder Involvement

Many voices throughout the Commonwealth provided the foundation for effective development and successful implementation of Pennsylvania's 2045 LRTP. The scope and scale of outreach conducted for the LRTP was greater than for any previous plan. The users of the statewide transportation network provide an essential perspective in helping to shape the plan's strategic directions.

To capture transportation system needs and concerns across Pennsylvania, input was solicited in various forums and incorporated at key points during plan development. In addition to statewide public outreach and stakeholder engagement, extensive “in-reach” was a key element of the stakeholder engagement process. PennDOT units and partnering agencies and organizations were engaged to ensure that current and future initiatives would be properly reflected and supported by the LRTP's implementation plan.

The success and implementation of the LRTP strongly depends on public and stakeholder involvement and participation. Feedback was requested on the draft plans through the Public Comment Period from September 20 – October 19, 2021.

Significant effort was made to maximize public outreach during the comment period, through social media, email campaigns and targeting underserved populations such as senior citizens, people with disabilities, and marginalized communities.

This combined outreach process was used for both the 12-Year Program and the LRTP.

Dark blue crowd of people with message bubbles over their heads iconPublic Outreach


Public Surveys Completed


Public Forum Views


E-News Contacts


Social Media Posts

Mustard yellow tri-person icon with connecting linesStakeholder Engagement


MPOs and RPOs Engaged


STC & TAC Presentation


Freight Focus Group
Meetings by Mode


Freight Forum Registrations


Equity & Diversity Workshop Attendance


PennDOT Planning Network e-Blasts


State Planning Board Attendance

Green icon showing two people with arrows pointing to each other in a circular motionPennDOT In-reach & Interagency Collaboration


Executive Interviews


PennDOT Bureau/District Personnel Engaged


Partnering Agency Interviews & Presentations

Public Comment Period Engagement


Social Media Reach


Public Website Page Views


Email Campaign Contacts


Federally Recognized Tribes Contacted for Feedback


Public Libraries with Printed Copies

*Social Media Definitions

    1. Reach is the number of people who saw any content from the PennDOT page or about the PennDOT page.
    2. Impressions are the number of times any content from PennDOT or about PennDOT entered a person's screen.
    3. Engagement is any action someone takes on PennDOT’s page or one of PennDOT’s posts.

What We Heard

Key Themes from the Public Survey

Public feedback was obtained through an online public survey and public forum hosted by PennDOT and the STC for the 2023 12-Year Program update. Extensive outreach and promotions were launched through the STC website, including email blasts to thousands of stakeholders, a targeted social media campaign offered in Spanish and Mandarin—the two most-spoken languages in Pennsylvania after English-traditional media outreach, and outreach in partnership with stakeholders.

1. Road Pavement

Repairing, restoring, reconstructing, and maintaining state and local roads

2. Bridges

Repairing, replacing, and maintaining state and local bridges

3. Traffic Flow

Using technology to improve traffic flow, add new lanes, and construct new roads

4. Interstate Highways

Specific, prioritized investments in Interstate reconstruction

5. Walking

Accessible and connected walking routes

6. Transit

Accessible and frequent public transportation options that cover an extensive area and cross regions

7. Passenger Rail

Intercity and commuter rail service with out-of-state connections

8. Bicycling

Safe routes and facilities throughout the state

9. Freight

Modern highways, railways, airports, and ports to support the economy

10. Aviation

Modern facilities, operations, and a wide range of commercial airline choices

Key Themes from the Freight Industry

Dark blue bubble icon with a train on train tracks

Freight networks are critically important to the supply chain which moves essential raw materials as well as finished goods.

Green bubble icon with a truck

Issues such as truck parking will become more challenging as our reliance on goods movement continues to grow.

Mustard yellow bubble icon with two map location markers and a dotted line connecting them

Trending issues such as automated vehicles, the explosive growth of e-commerce, and changing supply-chain patterns are poised to affect our planning.

Red bubble icon with a plane

It is imperative to reduce the impact of transportation on our changing climate.

Light blue bubble icon with three people

We must abide by the value of fairness in working to meet the transportation needs of all our communities and citizens.

Key Themes from Executive Interviews

Several common themes emerged from interviews of agency executives at the start of the planning process, including:

  • Transportation and land use connection
  • Emerging technology
  • Asset management
  • Equitable solutions for diverse populations, from urban to rural areas
  • Multimodal and intermodal connections
  • Transportation's impact on quality of life
  • Stronger connections between planning and programming
  • Funding to support plan outcomes
  • Implementation and accountability

Municipal Collaboration

The following organizations offered local government viewpoints during statewide plan development:

  • Pennsylvania State Association of Boroughs (representing 956 boroughs, statewide)
  • County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania (67 counties)
  • Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors (1,546 townships)
  • Pennsylvania Municipal League (119 members)
  • Pennsylvania State Association of Township Commissioners (93 first-class townships)


The 2045 LRTP's goals and objectives set a course for PennDOT and its transportation stakeholder and partner organizations to carry out their respective programs with the long-term direction in view. Transportation planning is an ongoing process used to shape future policies, investments, and priorities associated with moving people and goods.

The below goal statements express what is essential to accomplish over the planning horizon.

The goals align with national planning priorities and requirements, while also reflecting concerns and opportunities expressed by MPOs/RPOs, local governments, and the general public. To learn more about each goal's specific objectives, view the full plan.


Enhance safety and security for both motorized and non-motorized modes throughout Pennsylvania's transportation system.


Strengthen transportation mobility to meet the increasingly dynamic needs of Pennsylvania residents, businesses, and visitors.


Improve transportation access and equity throughout Pennsylvania.


Strengthen Pennsylvania transportation's resilience to climate change and other risks and reduce transportation's environmental impacts.


Improve the condition and performance of transportation assets.


Structure transportation funding and finance approaches that allocate sufficient resources for system safety, maintenance, preservation, and improvement.

Additional Opportunities

Modernizing Transportation Funding

As of FY 2021-22, it is estimated that PennDOT’s $8.8 billion budget would need to more than double to adequately address the Commonwealth's transportation system needs.

Further, approximately 75 percent of PennDOT’s highway and bridge funding comes from the federal and state gas tax revenue, which continues to decline. Fuel economy improvements and as well as the transition to alternative fuels and electric vehicles—positive trends in themselves—will continue to reduce gasoline and diesel consumption, and, therefore, the revenue from state and federal fuel taxes. PA Act 44 of 2007 and PA Act 89 of 2013 provided some needed infusions of predictable funding to aid shore up transportation statewide, particularly to the public transportation systems. However, these acts only addressed part of the funding need.

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf tasked the transportation Revenue Options Commission (TROC) with developing a comprehensive, strategic proposal for addressing the state's multimodal transportation funding needs. In August 2021, TROC submitted its strategic funding proposal. The proposed new and updated revenue sources would close the state-level transportation funding gap in phases. The TROC report also acknowledged the unfunded transportation need at the local government level—$3.9 billion per year, growing to $5.1 billion by 2030—and emphasized the need for mechanisms to expand local and regional investment.

Learn more about PennDOT's work to secure transportation funding for the future.

Federal Policy

Other future opportunities from a national perspective that will likely have a major bearing on Pennsylvania:

  • The direction of federal transportation policy as reflected in legislation in November 2021 will be highly influential; as rule-making follows it will likely pose opportunities for honing the strategic direction of this plan and others.

  • The federal priority on asset management for highways and public transportation will likely place even greater emphasis on preservation, which is necessary, but could constrain needed capacity-adding investments.

  • Climate change, long a matter of debate, is moving now into an era of major initiatives to address the problem. Transportation will be greatly affected. Agencies and planners need to prepare and position for any associated changes to the greatest extent possible.  

  • The emphasis on active transportation is expected to steadily increase given the positive benefits for public health and community quality of life. Federal and state policy will likely expand this as a focus area. 

Where We Are Now

Highlights by Mode


Trends & Implications

  • With a 2020 population of just over 13 million, Pennsylvania remains one of the most populous states in the nation, ranking fifth in size.
  • Most of Pennsylvania's population growth has occurred within its southeastern (Philadelphia) and southcentral (Harrisburg) regions. Cumberland and Lebanon counties have led the state in growth rates since 2010, while Philadelphia, Montgomery, and Lancaster counties experienced the greatest population gains numerically (Figure 1).
  • Pennsylvania's growth rate since the 2010 U.S. Census (2.4 percent) is well below the national average (7.4 percent). Among the 50 states, Pennsylvania ranked 44th in rate of population growth since 2010. By 2050, the state's population is forecasted to exceed 13.3 million (Figure 2).
  • Millennials, or those born between 1981 and 1996, now outnumber Baby Boomers and are Pennsylvania's largest demographic group.
  • Pennsylvania is also more racially diverse. By 2050, the state's non-white population is expected to increase 13 percent, while the white population is expected to decline by the same rate. Pennsylvania's youth are more diverse than the state's adult population (age 20 and older).
  • Despite being a “slow growth” state, Pennsylvania is a large consumer market in the Northeastern U.S., with strong demand for travel by people and freight on its transportation system.
  • Local communities will need to place a greater emphasis on walkability, and micromobility, and adopt zoning that encourages and helps facilitate multimodal approaches to address transportation needs.


Interstate Highway System

Trends & Implications

  • Pennsylvania is served by 1,870 linear miles of Interstate highway—the fourth-largest network of Interstates in the nation (Figure 3).
  • Interstates comprise only 6 percent of total state-owned roadway mileage yet accommodate 24 percent of all traffic volume. Moreover, these highways account for only 12 percent of total crashes (2019).
  • Much of Pennsylvania's Interstate system was constructed more than 50 years ago and needs major rehabilitation or replacement.
  • Further, much of the Interstate system will be over 80 years old at the end of the LRTP horizon year of 2045. Pavement reconstruction efforts are insufficient due to funding constraints, adding to the backlog of needs. Interstate funding in general has remained relatively flat since 2007 (Figure 4).
  • MAP-21 and the FAST Act1 established Performance-Based Planning & Programming (PBPP) and Transportation Asset Management Plan (TAMP) requirements. These requirements are driving PennDOT to move toward Lowest Life- Cycle Cost asset management approaches, which prioritize timely repairs versus fixing the worst infrastructure first. PennDOT completed its current TAMP in June 2019.
  • 1 Federal transportation legislation, respectively Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st century and Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act.
  • The improvement needs of Pennsylvania's Interstate system are far greater than the funding available. Even with the projected ramp-up in funding to $1 billion annually by 2028, the state will continue to fall short of what is needed to keep the system in a state of good repair. It is estimated that $1.2 billion is needed per year to address cyclical asset management needs on the Interstate system.
    • The current backlog of assets needing improvement
    • Modernization (fiber network, intelligent transportation system (ITS) expansion, operational improvements, safety and guiderail upgrades, all-weather pavement markings)
    • Strategic Investments – selected capacity improvements, interchanges, truck climbing lanes
  • Interstate maintenance and related improvements are currently funded at only half the level necessary to keep with a desired preventive maintenance cycle. Further, by having to direct more funds to the Interstate program, resources are diverted from the rest of PennDOT's road and bridge network (Figures 5 and 6).


Non-Interstate Roadway Network

Trends & Implications

  • Pennsylvania has a large and aging network of roadways. There are more than 120,000 linear miles of roadway in Pennsylvania—nearly 40,000 of which are owned, maintained, and operated by PennDOT; the rest of the extensive road network is primarily owned and maintained by local government.
  • The extensive improvement needs for improving the local system of roads and bridges is also a major problem that was also discussed was addressed in the TROC funding proposal.
  • Roadways are the backbone of Pennsylvania's transportation system, particularly in its more rural areas where National Highway System routes provide essential access (Figure 7).
  • PennDOT is moving away from prioritizing roadway improvements from a “worst-first” approach in favor of a “lowest life-cycle cost” method. This approach is aimed at making timely improvements when needed to extend roadway life. Lowest life-cycle cost places greater emphasis on timely maintenance for system preservation. Lowest life-cycle cost as a strategic approach is especially important given the need to stretch limited resources.
  • The extensive investment needed for system maintenance has resulted in fewer capacity-adding projects. Nonetheless, PennDOT is moving forward on several major roadway projects, including: the US 322 widening in Delaware County and the Central Susquehanna Valley Transportation (CSVT) project in Northumberland, Snyder, and Union counties.
  • Funding is inadequate to keep pace with rehabilitation and replacement projects needed to keep the system in optimal condition. Moreover, the increased age of Pennsylvania's roads and bridges minimizes the benefit of continual preservation treatments. As documented in the TROC Final Report, PennDOT's $8.8 billion annual budget must more than double—to approximately $18.15 billion—to adequately address transportation system needs.
  • The present funding shortfall poses a dilemma that must soon be resolved. As greatly limited resources are prioritized to the Interstate system to the greatest extent possible, other roads and bridges receive even less funding. This trade-off is untenable and unsustainable. A level of sufficient investment must be established to ensure that non-Interstate roads and bridges do not fall into an overall state of disrepair (Figure 8).



Trends & Implications

  • There are more than 25,400 bridges in Pennsylvania greater than 8 feet in length, representing nearly 117 million square feet in deck area.
  • The percentage of poor bridges steadily increases across all lower-order business plan networks, because the structures are deteriorating faster than they can be repaired or reconstructed under current funding constraints. Given the age of Pennsylvania's bridges, barring a funding breakthrough this trend is forecasted to continue through 2030 (Figure 9).
  • As mentioned in the full report, PennDOT has organized its roadways and bridges into four Business Plan Network (BPN) classifications, including: NHS Interstate; NHS Non-Interstate; Non-NHS with ADT > 2,000; and Non-NHS with ADT < 2,000. All BPNs have less than 10 percent of bridge deck area rated poor, and bridges on non-NHS routes have larger share of deck area than NHS routes that is considered in good condition than NHS routes. More than 75 percent of Interstate deck area is fair; only 19 percent is considered good (Figure 10).
  • The number of bridges rated poor has decreased significantly in recent years. However, there is inadequate funding to continue the “worst-first” method of prioritization. Transitioning to a "lowest life-cycle cost” approach, based project selection will help keep good bridges from becoming poor and yield additional years of service from existing poor structures, but does not address the funding need gap directly.
  • The financial burden for maintaining legacy structures constructed decades ago is extensive for municipalities that are not growing, particularly rural municipalities.
  • The highest proportion of state bridges were built during the peak interstate construction period from the late 1950s through the early 1970s, but there are many older bridges still in use. A large number of bridges have also been built in more recent years (Figure 11).


Pennsylvania's bridges by condition of deck area

PennDOT entered into agreement with some municipalities to manage local bridge bundle packages, with PennDOT handling consultant selection, design, construction, and inspection. This has helped improve local bridge conditions.

Additionally, the State Transportation Commission approved a Local Small Bridges Study report in 2021. The study included recommendations to help create increased capacity and incentives to facilitate uniformity in local small bridge (i.e., less than 20 feet in length) asset management.

Traffic Operations

Trends & Implications

  • Improving transportation operations can be a cost-effective way to improve capacity and improve traffic flow. As Pennsylvania continues to operate within an increasingly constrained funding environment, there will be the need to emphasize improving operations (handling more trips on the existing system) over capacity-building (such as adding lanes and building new roads).
  • PennDOT has developed a Transportation Systems Management and Operations (TSMO) Program that is currently being implemented. The program is designed to “advance projects and services designed to get the safest and most efficient use out of the existing and planned roadway network” (FHWA, Planning for Operations Program) and is currently implementing it. PennDOT maintains four TSMO regions (Figure 12).
  • There are more than 13,800 traffic signals in Pennsylvania, which are primarily owned, maintained, and operated by more than 1,200 municipalities. Signal equipment that is properly timed and maintained helps improve travel efficiency and reduces the cost of signal operation/maintenance over time.
  • The gains that PennDOT has achieved in recent years related to signals and ITS investments could slow or reverse based on the current funding environment. Challenging state and local funding scenarios will likely limit the ability of municipalities and PennDOT to maintain and upgrade their traffic signals and ITS devices.
  • Pennsylvania can expect more commercial vehicles on the road and an increased number of trucking distribution centers. This growth will require additional accommodations such as parking areas, queueing zones, and longer traffic signal phases to account for the slower acceleration and deceleration of heavy trucks.
  • Emerging technologies may significantly alter how the state's transportation system operates and is designed over the next 20 years. Some examples of emerging technology include integrated corridor management, connected ITS infrastructure, connected vehicle “platoons,” and highly autonomous and/or connected public transit and private automobiles.
A state map of Pennsylvania illustrating the four Transportation Systems Management and Operation regions of Western, Central, Eastern, and Southeastern.

Source: PennDOT


  • There are many uses for fiber optic lines that go beyond connected and automated vehicles, e.g., access to work, school, and telemedicine for rural hospitals. The introduction of fiber can bring immediate benefits even as the technology matures and develops. Indeed, transportation and communication continue to merge in many new ways.
  • An area that will be important to understand as it relates to technological advances includes curb side management. As the economy moves toward more e-commerce, the use of parking lanes and public right-of-way adjacent to businesses may change in very dynamic ways from what we are accustomed to current patterns.
  • Freight movement will be heavily influenced by improvements in traffic operations and technology, as advancements will improve operating efficiencies and address operator hours-of-service requirements. In the future, some freight may be moved by automated vehicles for long-haul driving, with human drivers for the “first- and last-mile.” It will be easiest to accommodate automation on the Interstate system, with its highly standardized and well-maintained pavement markings and signage and more unified ownership and oversight.

There are over 13,800 Traffic Signals in Pennsylvania, which are primarily owned, maintained, and operated by over 1,200 municipalities. Enhanced traffic signal performance helps improve travel efficiency and highway safety.

Public Transportation

Trends & Implications

  • All 67 Pennsylvania counties are served by at least one mode of public transportation, provided by 57 transit agencies (Figure 13).
  • Four distinct types of services are available to transit users: fixed-route bus, shared-ride demand-response bus, intercity bus, and passenger rail. Each mode has unique operating characteristics, customer needs, and funding sources.
  • Public transportation usage across the nation has decreased in each of the last four years, even before the COVID-19 pandemic. While overall ridership in Pennsylvania has followed that trend, 15 transit agencies in Pennsylvania have experienced ridership growth. The decline in transit use could reverse in the future due to numerous factors including federal policy and changing demographics.
  • PennDOT's Intercity Bus Program subsidizes a variety of services through several carriers, providing opportunities to travel into and outside of the state providing intrastate and interstate travel options (Figure 14).
  • State funding for public transportation is essential and will need to increase to help support the state's mobility needs. The July 2021 TROC proposal offers strategies to address the public transportation funding problem.
  • Other planning implications for public transportation:
    • Shared-ride services may be particularly difficult to sustain coming out of the pandemic, and especially so given other trends such as seniors driving longer, etc.
    • Preparing for climate change initiatives is likely going to be an area that receives a great amount of attention in the near term to prepare for long-term change.
  • Alternative energy sources for public transit fleet including compressed natural gas (CNG), and battery electric presents an opportunity to further promote transit while making the investments in fleet updates.
  • Figures 15 and 16 provide more detail on historic ridership trends for fixed-route and shared-ride demand-response programs.


With over 300 million trips taken in FY19-20, fixed-route urban transit represents the majority of the passenger trips provided in Pennsylvania each year, and most of these trips (91%) are provided by the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority (SEPTA), and Port Authority of Allegheny County (PAAC).

Passenger Rail

Trends & Implications

  • Intercity passenger rail service in Pennsylvania is primarily provided by the National Railroad Passenger Corporation, known as Amtrak. Amtrak operates 13 service lines on five corridors in Pennsylvania that range from high-speed service along the Amtrak-owned Northeast Corridor (NEC) to daily long-distance service along the Capitol Limited route through the southwestern corner of the state (Figure 18). There have been extensive efforts to increase passenger rail service between Harrisburg and Pittsburgh.
  • Total boardings and alightings (exits at the destination) for Amtrak's 24 Pennsylvania stations for Federal Fiscal Year (FFY) 2019 were 6.67 million (Figure 19). Ridership originating in Pennsylvania has increased by more than 700,000 trips over the past five years. These trends are expected to continue across all Pennsylvania Amtrak stations as ridership is projected to grow by 1.4 million (21 percent), climbing from 6.7 million in FFY 2019 to 8.1 million in FFY 2025.
  • Population growth across the nation is concentrating in urban areas of all sizes, not just the largest metro areas. This growth encompasses people of all ages who have not demonstrated higher rates of ridesharing and lower vehicle ownership rates, yet may choose passenger rail for their intercity travel needs. Agencies such as SEPTA and the Port Authority of Allegheny County (PAAC) will need to be responsive to this growing customer base to remain viable. The July 2021 Transportation Revenue Options Commission strategic funding proposal includes potential revenue sources that can expand public transportation funding.
  • The State Rail Plan identifies an investment of capital projects totaling $4.5 billion between 2021 and 2045. In addition, there are $1.0 billion worth of “vision projects” for which implementation dates are yet to be determined.
  • A 2019 Transportation Advisory Committee study on intercity rail can provide a useful baseline or starting point for any reexamination of potential future service—particularly in light of the potential for more federal investment in intercity passenger rail. Transportation Advisory Committee study on intercity rail


The Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC) projects that the SEPTA Regional Rail network will grow by 8,730 person trips (7.3 percent) and by 9,176 passenger miles (5.2 percent) from 2020 to 2045.

Active Transportation

Trends & Implications

  • Active Transportation is any self-propelled, human-powered mode of transportation, (such as walking and/or bicycling). Use of the term “active transportation' highlights the growing recognition of the connection between public health outcomes and transportation planning.
  • PennDOT's Active Transportation Plan outlines a vision and framework for improving conditions for walking and bicycling across Pennsylvania, most notably for those who walk and bicycle out of necessity rather than for leisure and recreation. Pennsylvania's active transportation network and recreation spaces link communities, connect children to the outdoors, and serve as economic engines for small towns and big cities looking to attract tourists. Improved and expanded bicycle and pedestrian facilities also support improved community health outcomes and ensure flexibility and resiliency in the face of climate change.
  • PennDOT and its state, regional, and local partners must coordinate efforts and leverage existing and new resources to improve the current policies, legislation, funding, and infrastructure intended to support active transportation.
  • There are numerous plans and programs being undertaken at the county and municipal levels that are increasing the public's access to facilities and activities focused on active transportation. Growing public support is a key factor in future planning and investment decision-making.


PennDOT’s 2019 Active Transportation Plan outlines a vision and framework for improving conditions for walking and bicycling across Pennsylvania, most notably for those who walk and bicycle out of necessity rather than for leisure and recreation.


Trends & Implications

  • There are approximately 655 aviation facilities across Pennsylvania. These include 123 licensed public-use airports, including three heliports and two seaplane bases, as well as 230 private-use airports and 282 private-use heliports.
  • Of the public-use airports, 14 are commercial service airports (Figure 22), which are also used for air freight; the remaining 113 are general aviation airports offering on-demand air transportation service.
  • According to the 2019 Interim Aviation Economic Impact Study, Pennsylvania's commercial and general aviation airports provide an annual economic impact of $28.5 billion to the state. As would be expected, the state's 15 commercial airports generate most of the economic activity, at approximately $26.7 billion (Figure 23).
  • Air cargo revenue ton-miles increased both domestically and internationally between 2009 and 2019, by 36.5 percent and 105.5 percent, respectively.
  • With estimates of a near-doubling of passenger and cargo numbers by 2036, airport infrastructure improvements are needed, and can be expected to support airport job growth.
  • Regarding commercial activity, Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) could face major operational challenges. While the introduction of larger aircraft may result in the consolidation of flight schedules, the airport's airspace remains congested. General aviation and reliever airports in southeastern Pennsylvania help reduce congestion in and around the PHL airspace and minimize delays for non-commercial activity.
    • Three constrained general aviation service airports—Doylestown, Heritage Field, and Brandywine—should be upgraded where possible to continue meeting regional demand, especially because aircraft operations in Eastern Pennsylvania are forecasted to grow faster than the state's average.


There are approximately 655 Aviation Facilities across Pennsylvania. These include 128 licensed public-use airports, including three heliports and two seaplane bases, as well as 243 private-use airports and 284 private-use heliports.

Connected and Automated Vehicles (CAV) and Technology

Trends & Implications

  • There are many initiatives currently underway that aim to prepare for the introduction of Connected and Automated Vehicles (CAVs) to the U.S. and Pennsylvania's roadways. These initiatives include research and testing of Highly Automated Vehicles (HAVs), public outreach and education, and developing legislation to govern the safe operation of these vehicles.
  • In addition to personal vehicles, other roadway user types such as freight haulers are rapidly transitioning to a more automated fleet of vehicles. The freight sector is likely to be the earliest adopter of the technology due to the cost savings and driver shortages. As a national hub for freight movement, improvements in freight transportation will be directly beneficial to the Commonwealth.
  • Pennsylvania's first automated vehicle legislation, Act 117 of 2018, allows for the platooning of up to three vehicles on public roadways. Platooning could potentially increase the amount of freight moved by a single driver by enabling the driver to operate a fleet of up to three trucks, buses, or military vehicles.
  • An increase in new technologies on roadways will change physical aspects of the nation's transportation network and operations such as traffic patterns, land use, travel volumes, curbside management, use hours of vehicles, and roadway design. Future PennDOT guidelines and publications will need to accommodate these changes.
  • The Pennsylvania Automated Vehicle Strategic Plan (2018) outlines four pilot projects that are advantageous to implement in the near term to assist with the shift toward automation. These pilots will need to be implemented to better help identify understand the changes that will be needed to adapt the current transportation system to a more automated future.

As of November 2021, there is no legislation allowing autonomous vehicles to operate on PennDOT roadways. However, PennDOT has produced guidance for vehicle testers to safely experiment with their products with a human driver behind the wheel. Development of legislation can be a long process that can impede implementation of new technologies.

Freight Rail

Trends & Implications

  • Freight Rail Pennsylvania's freight railroad activity ranks among the leaders across the U.S. by several measures, including the number of railroad companies operating in the state, track mileage, tonnage, car loadings, employment, and total compensation for railroad employees and retirees.
  • One of the unique elements of the Pennsylvania freight rail network is the Conrail Shared Assets system. After the acquisition of Conrail by Norfolk Southern and CSX in the late 1990s, a remnant of Conrail remained as a switching and terminal railroad in several regions of the Northeast. The railroad is jointly owned by CSX and NS, and in Pennsylvania it operates on more than 65 miles of right-of-way in the Philadelphia area.
  • As a result of the growth in rail intermodal traffic, connections between transport modes have increasingly become bottlenecks in the transportation process over time. Roadside access to marine terminals and intermodal rail yards is critical to the efficient movement of containerized freight.
  • The 2020 State Rail Plan (SRP) is built around the following vision statement:
    Pennsylvania's integrated rail system will provide safe, convenient, reliable, cost-effective connections for people and goods. As a viable alternative to other modes, it will support economic competitiveness, smart growth, environmental sustainability, and resiliency, thereby strengthening Pennsylvania's communities.

State Rail Plan - Eight Key Goals

An illustration of Pennsylvania's State Rail Plan's 8 Key Goals: 1. Bring the priority rail system to a state of good repair and maintain it. 2. Develop an integrated rail system. 3. Support the future needs of residents and businesses. 4. Enhance the quality of life in Pennsylvania. 5. Ensure personal safety and infrastructure security. 6. Support energy efficiency, environmental sustainability, and resiliency. 7. Identify stable and predictable funding, 8. Build public support for rail system services and assets.

Source: Pennsylvania State Rail Plan, 2020


The growth of intermodal freight transportation in the railroad industry has been an ongoing trend that has accelerated in recent decades as global trade in containerized shipments has grown dramatically. This has been coupled with consolidation in the North American railroad industry that has extended the reach of the remaining Class I railroads and improved the competitive position of rail transport of shipping containers versus long-haul trucking on many domestic trade corridors.

Train traveling on train tracks

Ports and Waterways

Trends & Implications

  • Maritime transportation is the most cost-competitive long-distance transportation mode, and water ports provide the essential intermodal connection between waterways and the landside systems that handle final delivery of goods.
  • Pennsylvania's three water ports each function uniquely to move domestic and international commerce across deep water, inland, and Great Lakes waterways. The Port of Philadelphia serves Atlantic Ocean vessels and transfers raw materials in bulk, as well as finished goods in containers. The Port of Pittsburgh serves predominantly river barge traffic carrying dry bulk materials for the metal, chemical and energy industries. The Port of Erie connects the interior of North America to international waters along the St. Lawrence Seaway. Its top freight includes aggregates used in construction and specialized equipment for a growing wind power generation market.
  • Pennsylvania's water ports are major economic generators. Freight planning at the state, and regional generators must focus on ways to support the efficiency and effectiveness of our water ports. This includes roadway connections and other investments that help to keep the ports competitive.
  • Multimodal transportation access and intermodal connections to port facilities are critical elements of an efficient, environmentally sound freight transportation system. Improvements to first-mile/last-mile truck access to waterfront properties and on-dock rail capabilities should be encouraged, and promoted where feasible.
  • The USDOT and the Maritime Administration outlined a policy framework for improving the maritime transportation system in Goals and Objectives for a Stronger Maritime Nation: A Report to Congress (February 2020). The policy framework establishes that maritime transportation is essential to national security and economic prosperity, and requires workforce, infrastructure and industry innovations to serve the nation's interests.

Environmental Features

Trends & Implications

  • Pennsylvania's forests, mountains, lakes, and streams provide an abundance of recreation, aesthetic, economic, and environmental resources. Pennsylvania is also home to vast cultural resources among a varied mix of communities.
  • The Commonwealth is home to 121 state parks encompassing nearly 300,000 acres, 2.2 million acres of managed forest land, 1.5 million acres of state game land, 19 national parks, and seven National Heritage Areas.
  • Rich soils suitable for farming are another natural resource that characterizes Pennsylvania, has shaped its history, and has ongoing transportation implications for both access and protection.
  • The aim of transportation entities related to environmental features is to provide appropriate access for the use and enjoyment of these resources while minimizing the harm that transportation facilities and traffic can cause to the environment.
  • While PennDOT does not have decision-making authority regarding how land is used, it will continue to work closely with other state, local, and federal agencies to reduce transportation's impacts on the environment. PennDOT's “PennDOT Connects” initiative will need to continue to be used in improving the transportation-land use linkage and ensuring that local partners are engaged as project scopes are being developed.



PennDOT will create, maintain, and periodically update an Action Plan that includes the strategic actions and initiatives for advancing the goals and objectives covered in the previous section. Actions are defined at a level to be assigned, scheduled, tracked, and collaborated on with partners and stakeholders.

The plan and associated progress will be reviewed twice a year and reported on annually to PennDOT leadership. Basic summaries of plan implementation progress will be provided to the STC, TAC, and other stakeholder groups such as the Planning Catalyst Team, which served as a steering committee for LRTP development.

PennDOT's Program Management Committee will conduct periodic reviews of the Action Plan and specific goals, objectives, and initiatives aimed at maximizing and optimizing plan implementation.

Project Implementation

The LRTP will be implemented in collaboration with PennDOT's various regional partners (Figure 22). This promotes collaboration, joint problem-solving, and resource optimization. Specific projects such as a roadway widening or bridge replacement are identified, prioritized, and programmed (placed on a list of funded projects) at the regional level by MPOs and RPOs. They develop regional LRTPs with project lists and establish Transportation Improvement Programs (TIPs)—the list of funded projects expected to be undertaken within the next four years.

The State Transportation Commission and the TYP that it approves are key to the plan's implementation. The STC also oversees the issuance of the Transportation Performance Report, which will take on greater significance as this LRTP advances the greater integration of planning, programming and performance measurement.

Implementation Resource: Transportation Planning Data Repository

PennDOT, its stakeholders, and its partner MPOs and RPOs use a variety of data to forecast and plan for future transportation system needs and priorities. PennDOT is working to develop a data repository to aid and support MPOs/RPOs and stakeholders statewide. The effort is aimed at identifying the best available data sources, processing data into easy-to-use products, sharing data in an organized manner, and updating the data on a periodic schedule. Initial efforts will focus on data that can support solutions to our most frequently asked transportation planning questions.

Some of the most important data needs relate to infrastructure (bridges and pavement), freight, and land use. PennDOT has already initiated efforts to develop data products that help address planning questions across these topic areas. This includes developing maps highlighting the density of employment by employment type. Other priority data products (referred to as the “Core Metrics”) will focus on better understanding the national transportation performance measures and mapping of innovative data sources such as cellular and GPS travel time and origin–destination data. The Bureau of Public Transportation's Capital Planning Tool (CPT) is still yet another planning tool provided by PennDOT.

The data repository is envisioned to be an evolving resource that will address new data sources and changes to our future transportation planning needs and questions. It is anticipated to become available to the state's MPOs and RPOs in 2022, and will be an important resource for regional planning and LRTP implementation.

Key Elements of the PennDOT Data Repository Initiative

Data Categories to be Addressed by PennDOT's Data Repository

Assess available data
and measures



Define topic
areas to address

Land Use


Identify most important
questions for each topic area



Invest resources; process data;
define form of product

Traffic Demand

Travel Time

Develop process to produce and
integrate data into PennDOT platforms


Active Transportation

Develop schedule
for data updates

Air Quality

Tourism- Recreation

Transportation Performance Management

Transportation performance management (TPM) is a federally required approach to prioritizing transportation investment that is focused on results—measurable, strategic improvements to the transportation system. TPM involves setting measurable performance goals for the transportation system, tracking progress, and directing funds to projects that best achieve those goals.

The LRTP will be useful in updating the performance measures of the Transportation Performance Report. New measures may result from this plan.