A Review: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Challenges

The starting point for developing the TMP involved reviewing background reports and data (including the County and regional General Plans) and talking to the Regional Transit Board members and staff. The process help's our consulting team better understand what services are currently provided, how many people use them, and how these services are paid for in the Sacramento Region. At the same time an initial review of Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities and Challenges has been undertaken to provide further context for developing the TMP. A copy of that assessment undertaken by our consultants is available here (link to February 11, 2008 SWOC Note)

The Big Challenges Ahead

The development of SACOG's Preferred Scenario Blueprint and the Metropolitan Transportation Plan has highlighted the challenges facing the Sacramento region over the next 25+ years - significant increases in population, employment and new households; an aging population with particular needs; and continuing reliance on the car with continuing issues relating to congestion and air quality as a result. Some of these challenges are summarized in the table below:

  • Population Growth: 54% increase (1.2m to 1.9m)
  • Growth in Households: 55% increase (474k to 732k)
  • Increase in jobs: 80% increase (542k to 976k)
The 'smart growth' principles underpinning the Blueprint are central to how many of these issues will be addressed. One of the key principles, 'Providing a variety of transportation choices', highlights the key role that a modern, high quality, affordable and attractive transit network will have in delivering a sustainable future for the Sacramento region. This principle will have a direct direct impact on the requirement for RT's services. Work done by SACOG estimates that:
  • Region-wide transit trips will grow from 93,000/day to 629,000/day by 2050;
  • Region-wide trips into the Sacramento downtown will rise by approximately 40%; and
  • Region-wide transit mode share (i.e. the percent of all trips taken by transit) will increase from 1.1% to 3.3% with Sacramento County seeing this rise from 1.1% to 4.4% over the same period.
These huge increases will have a direct impact on the costs of running the RT network and many of the growth assumptions have been made based on an expected expansion of the transit network. The SACOG Preferred Blueprint Scenario includes the following growth assumptions for the Sacramento County transit system:



New Capital Investment

$2.1 billion

$619 million

Increased Annual Operating Costs

$119 million

$105 million

The predicted growth in transit patronage over this period will be the result of a number of contributing factors, including:
  • Increased housing densities (following "smart growth principles") making transit provision more efficient and cost-effective;
  • Changing behavior resulting in people "choosing" to live closer to transit and closer to their places of employment, shopping, education, recreation, etc.
  • Changing regional demographic with the number of seniors more than doubling over this period; and
  • Growing concerns over climate change and energy security resulting in increased social pressure for transit investment.