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Regional Transportation Plan

RTP CoverThe MAG Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) serves as the policy framework that directs major transportation investments in the region and represents the Valley’s transportation blueprint for the next 20 years and beyond.

Initially adopted in 2003, the RTP was most recently updated in January 2014 and extends through fiscal year 2035. The RTP was developed and is maintained through the MAG Transportation Policy Committee (TPC), a public/private partnership charged with finding solutions to the region’s transportation challenges. The TPC makes recommendations to the Regional Council.

Regional funding distribution amounting to $25 billion for the Regional Transportation Plan includes:

  • 54% Freeways and Highways
    • $12.7 billion highway construction
    • $690 million highway operations (litter pickup, noise mitigation, freeway operations)
  • 32% Regional Transit
    • $1.6 billion bus capital
    • $3.0 billion bus operations and maintenance
    • $3.2 billion rail capital
  • 12% Street Improvements
    • $2.9 billion
  • 2% Other (air quality measures, bike and pedestrian programs, etc.)
    • $529 million


There are approximately 431 miles of freeway comprising the freeway system in the Metropolitan Planning Area.

  • 137 miles are freeways built under Proposition 300— a half-cent sales tax for transportation passed by voters in 1985.
  • When Proposition 400 was passed in 2004, the freeway plan included 78 miles of new freeways and 253 miles of improvements to existing highway facilities. Major progress has been made on these facilities, including:
    • 35 miles of new freeways have been completed or are nearing completion, and an additional 22 miles are programmed for construction.
    • 119 miles of new HOV lanes on existing freeways have been completed or are nearing completion.
    • 107 miles of new general purpose lanes on existing freeways and highways have been completed or are nearing completion.
    • 21 projects to install new freeway interchanges with arterial streets or to improve existing locations have been completed or are under construction.

There are nearly 3,400 miles of arterial streets in the region.

Estimates for 2015 show that the daily VMT (Vehicle Miles Traveled) for our region is approximately 83 million per day (freeways and arterials). By 2030, daily VMT is projected to grow to about 115 million.

According to the Texas Transportation Institute, the Phoenix urban area ranked 15th in the nation for annual hours of delay per traveler. Arizona drivers each spend about 35 hours a year stuck in traffic.

Daily Person Trips by Mode of Year 2014

Source: 2014 MAG Regional Travel Demand Model

Light Rail Transit

RTP CoverThe first 20 miles of light rail opened in December 2008. Seven light rail extensions are planned or are under construction that will create a 60-mile system by 2034.

In Fiscal Year 2014, Valley Metro Rail recorded an average of 44,000 weekday boardings. Each two-car train can carry 400 passengers.

Valley Metro Rail operates 365 days a year, 20+ hours a day, with a 12-minute peak hour frequency. Stations are about one-half mile apart. Light rail trains travel at the posted speed limit. It takes 65 minutes to travel the entire 20-mile route.

The 20-mile system runs from 19th Avenue and Montebello Avenue in central Phoenix, through downtown Phoenix and Tempe to Mesa, ending at Sycamore and Main Street. Planned future extensions include:

  • Central Mesa Light Rail Extension: A 3.1-mile extension from the current end of-line, running east on Main Street through downtown Mesa to Mesa Drive. Scheduled to open in 2015.
  • Northwest Light Rail Extension: A 5-mile extension from the current end-of-line, running north on 19th Avenue. This extension will be built in two phases, with the first phase of 3.2 miles ending at Dunlap Avenue. Phase I is scheduled to open in 2016; Phase II in 2026.
  • Tempe Streetcar: The region’s first modern streetcar will run in the Mill Avenue corridor and on Rio Salado Parkway and/or Apache Boulevard. Scheduled to open in 2018.
  • Gilbert Road Light Rail Extension: A 1.9-mile extension that will travel east from Mesa Drive on Main Street to Gilbert Road. Scheduled to open in 2018.
  • Capitol/I-10 West Light Rail Extension: An 11-mile extension running west from downtown Phoenix by the State Capitol area to the I-10 freeway ending at 79th Avenue. Scheduled to open in 2023.
  • West/Phoenix/Central Glendale Transit Corridor Study: A five-mile study area running northwest into downtown Glendale. Scheduled to open in 2026. Transit mode and route to be determined.
  • Northeast Transit Corridor Study: A 12-mile study area running northeast toward Paradise Valley Mall. Scheduled to open in 2034. Transit mode and route to be determined.
  • South Central Transit Corridor Study: An adopted locally preferred alternative for light rail on Central and 1st avenues connecting from Washington/Jefferson streets south to Baseline Rd.


RTP CoverRidership (total boardings) in FY 2014 was 72 million (bus and light rail.)

There are a total of 400 active vanpools in the program today.

In 2014,, a ride-matching system that allows commuters to quickly and securely find a commute partner, reached 30,000 active users. Users logged 12 million commute miles in 2014, saving $1.3 million in commute costs and more than 7.2 million pounds of greenhouse gas emissions.