In the early years of the 20th century, the Charlotte region depended on transit to carry it into the future. Early trolley lines fostered the growth of neighborhoods and allowed communities such as Myers Park, Plaza-Midwood, Wilmore and Dilworth to flourish. Today, the Charlotte region is home to over 1.8 million people and is expected to grow to over 2.5 million by 2030. Key to supporting this economic growth is a rapid transit system integrated with land-use planning creating a sustainable, economic-environment which improves the quality of life and attracts businesses and people to the region.
In the mid-1990s local elected officials, business leaders and citizens understood the need to provide choices to supporting this future growth. In 1994, the Metropolitan Transit Commission (MTC), a board composed of members from the region, was created to review and recommend long-range public transportation plans for the region. After careful study and extensive public input and thoughtful consideration the 2025 Integrated Transit/Land Use Plan was created in 1998. The goals of the Plan were to: Support Centers and Corridors Land Use Vision; Provide Choices in Mode of Travel; Develop a Regional Transit System; and Support Economic Growth and Sustainable Development
The Plan focuses future growth along five primary transportation corridors and links our area's key centers of economic activity. The Plan includes rapid transit, bus, streetcar and facility improvements to better serve the region, but at its core, the Plan is not just about transit. Integrated land use planning and transit-oriented development (TOD) are cornerstones of the Plan. TODs provide a pedestrian-friendly environment with connections to rapid transit stations and create a sense of community. These high-quality environments are carefully planned and designed to attract and retain transit ridership, which helps reduce pollution and vehicle miles traveled.
In the end, the Plan is about providing choices:
- Choice to move freely around the region to conduct activities associated with daily life, independent from owning a vehicle.
- Choice to reside in an urban community and enjoy a high quality of life in a pedestrian-friendly environment within close proximity to a rapid transit station.
- Choice to reduce environmental contaminants and use the time you would have spent in grid-locked traffic reading or relaxing.
- Choice to live a public transit lifestyle and see Charlotte region in a whole new way.
Through implementation of the 2025 Integrated Transit/Land Use Plan, many improvements have been made to both the transit system and to our land use policies to ensure cohesive and complementary growth that benefits the entire region. In 2002 and 2006, the MTC adopted the 2030 Transit Corridor System Plan, furthering the vision outlined in the 2025 Integrated Transit/Land Use Plan. As the region advances to 2030, the economic landscape may change but the vision remains the same.