2021 Comprehensive Plan Indicator Report: Transportation

JACKSON, Wyo. — The town of Jackson and Teton County recently released the 2021 Comprehensive Plan Indicator Report. The Indicator Report is compiled annually to gauge how the town and county are doing in terms of fulfilling the goals of the Comprehensive Plan.

The three common values outlined in the Comprehensive Plan are ecosystem stewardship, growth management and quality of life. The first two values protect the natural character of the region while the quality of life value is aimed at protecting the emotional aspects of the community. One aspect of quality of life is transportation opportunities.

According to the report, the goal of START Bus is to have greater than or equal to 3.6 million annual riders by 2035. 2019 saw the most riders per year, with just over one million riders.

Due to to the pandemic, START Bus ridership declined significantly in 2020. According to the report “since growing steadily from 2011 to 2019, ridership in 2020 fell more than 40% to 589,568.”

START Bus is also used significantly more during the winter months, as seen in the graph above.

Active transportation is also a goal of the Comprehensive Plan. By 2035, the Town and County aim to have greater than or equal to 20% of transportation be via cycling or walking. The percentage of trips made by walking or biking peaked in 2011 at over 24%. 2013 had the lowest percentage of trips, at just 16%. According to the report, the active transportation mode share fell 2.6% from 2019 to 2020.

Another goal of the plan is to decrease wildlife-vehicle collisions. The Comprehensive Plan goal is to have fewer collisions than the 2012 level of 206 collisions for the biological year which runs from May through April, rather than the calendar year. 2018 had one of the lowest collision rates in recent history, with under 200 collisions. 2020 wildlife-vehicle collisions also dropped significantly compared to 2019 with about 225 accidents. 2020 also saw a decrease in monthly average weekday traffic which might be attributed to the decrease in wildlife collisions.

In 2020, average summer weekday vehicles on N. Highway 89, were just above 13,000 vehicles. Moose-Wilson Road saw about 14,500 summer weekday vehicles decrease to approximately 500 vehicles as compared to 2019. On WY-22, weekday vehicle rates fell by nearly 1,500 vehicles in 2020. Weekday vehicle rates in 2020 recorded just over 22,000 vehicles, while 2019 rates were about 23,500.

The report attributes this decrease in summer weekday traffic to changes in work and travel patterns due to the pandemic. “It remains to be seen what long term impacts lifestyle changes spurred by the pandemic will have on traffic volumes and at what rate annual growth will continue,” states the report.

About The Author

Buckrail @ Lindsay

Lindsay Vallen is a Community News Reporter covering a little bit of everything; with an interest in politics, wildlife, and amplifying community voices. Originally from the east coast, Lindsay has called Wilson, Wyoming home since 2017. In her free time, she enjoys snowboarding, hiking, cooking, and completing the Jackson Hole Daily crosswords.

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