The Future of Transportation with NC Moves 2050

by Gwen Newell
Roscoe's family gazing out of train window

As North Carolina grows and changes, so do the state’s transportation needs. With the population anticipated to jump from 10 million to 14 million by 2050, the economy, technology and development patterns will all play a critical role in shaping transportation needs.

NC Moves 2050, a strategic transportation plan that focuses on shaping the future of transportation in North Carolina, is aimed at connecting communities and supporting North Carolina’s economy and quality of life. This plan is focused on creating a more responsive, diverse and inclusive transportation system to keep people and freight moving safely and efficiently.

Using research on emerging trends that could affect North Carolina’s future, the NC Moves 2050 plan explored four alternative future scenarios. These scenarios help to understand what could happen and provide an understanding of future transportation needs to develop modern strategies. Additionally, the plan proposes eight strategies in which each align with five plan objectives, for providing a responsive, diverse and inclusive transportation system.

The five plan objectives are: provide transportation access for all, improve transportation through technology, ensure safety and security, support a strong economy, and maintain a high-quality system. The eight strategies are:

  • Improve quality of life and multimodal access to regional jobs and services
  • Connect communities to statewide opportunities
  • Enable smart and innovative statewide technology solutions
  • Promote more multimodal safety and behavioral-based programs, policies and tools
  • Provide connections to new industry clusters and transportation terminals
  • Address air, sea and inland port capacity to handle freight demand
  • Identify future transportation workforce supply and demand
  • Develop and mainstream risk / resiliency practices

To implement this 30-year plan, NCDOT (North Carolina Department of Transportation) will work closely with partners and stakeholders to identify resources and staff that make the actions real and effective. As with any planning endeavor, these changes will not occur overnight but require steady, disciplined progress and accountability to achieve and realize results. NCDOT will employ a number of options to advance the strategies and actions while maintaining plan momentum through a structured implementation approach.

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