Welcome to Connect 2050

icons illustrating various transportation modes

Planning NOW for the future of transportation in Wisconsin

Welcome to Connect 2050

Planning NOW for the future of transportation in Wisconsin

We heard you, Wisconsin!

We asked, and you answered!

What do you want our transportation system to look like in 2050?

What should we do between now and then to get there?

Kicking off Connect 2050 outreach in summer 2020, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) asked you to help us build a shared vision for our state's transportation future.

We received comments and survey responses from people in all 72 Wisconsin counties!

Thanks to your participation, we are well on our way to establishing Connect 2050 as Wisconsin's roadmap for transportation policymaking.

We are continuing to collect public comments on the draft plan through January 24th, 2022 as we prepare to adopt and publish the final Connect 2050 plan.

What are others saying about Transportation in Wisconsin?
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Draft Plan Goals and Objectives

Goal 1: Pursue sustainable long-term transportation funding

An illustration showing how the value of available transportation funding is maximized for the state of Wisconsin.

Funding is the key to maintain and develop Wisconsin's transportation system so that it is safe for all users, meets current and future demand, and exists in a state of good repair that facilitates lowering long-term costs. This leverages prudent asset management practices that maximize the benefit of available funding.

An illustration showing how the value of available transportation funding is maximized for the state of Wisconsin.

Objectives

1a. Ensure funding is efficiently managed and sufficient to support WisDOT's long-term plans for providing a transportation system that is in a state of good repair, and is safe, efficient and accessible, all of which support Wisconsin's economy and quality of life.

1.b. Facilitate access to funding at the regional and local level according to state and/or federal requirements, and prudent financial management of WisDOT-administered programs.

1c. Pursue innovative and sustainable funding mechanisms and solutions to ensure system health across all modes.

What are we doing now? Some Examples
Fuel taxes, vehicle registration fees, and driver license fees largely fund the state’s $7.2 billion transportation budget for 2019-2021. Wisconsin also receives money from the federal government based on formula and discretionary funding programs, and from program and local revenues.
WisDOT's State Urban Mass Transit Operating Assistance program provides operating cost assistance to support bus, shared-ride taxi and rail services. Federal transit programs further support rural and urban transit systems and specialized transit services in Wisconsin.
The General Transportation Aids (GTA) program enables local governments to receive state aid payments for county and municipal road construction, maintenance, and traffic operations. GTA is WisDOT’s second-largest program with a budget of $985.6 million in the 2019-2021 state budget.

Goal 2: Focus on partnerships

Effective partners work together to identify common goals. They communicate with each other an help each other when support is needed. Wisconsin will focus on transportation partnerships to coordinate and cooperate toward shared objectives.

Goal 2: Focus on partnerships

Objectives

2a. Ensure the transportation system is developed in a way that addresses the needs of all users.

2b. Ensure inclusivity, equity, access, and safety.

2c. Eliminate and reduce transportation accessibility barriers.

2d. Ensure the transportation system can adapt to changes over time, such as connected and automated vehicles, use of alternative fuels, telecommuting and other social changes, and needs of an aging population.

2e. Collaborate with partners and stakeholders to identify strategic transportation investment opportunities.

2f. Identify and communicate transportation system needs, priorities, and benefits to maximize transportation investments.

2g. Ensure projects reflect the character and needs of communities.

What are we doing now? Some Examples
WisDOT created the Wisconsin Non-Driver Advisory Committee in 2020 as a forum to discuss transportation mobility, safety and access for Wisconsin residents who do not drive due to physical, mental or developmental disabilities, age, financial constraints, or choice.
Industry representatives on the Freight Advisory Committee keep WisDOT informed about issues that affect freight access, mobility and viable transport from, to and within Wisconsin.
Our Harbor Assistance Program helps fund projects within communities along the Great Lakes and Mississippi River that maintain and improve the shipping, port and waterway resources that support our economy.

Goal 3: Pursue continuous improvement and expand data-driven decision-making processes

Data-driven decision-making ensures that the transportation system is operated, maintained, and improved in the most efficient and effective way possible so that the right project is implemented in the right place and at the right time.

Goal 3: Pursue continuous improvement and expand data-driven decision-making processes.

Objectives

3a. Strategically align resources and emphasize integrating performance-based decision-making throughout WisDOT.

3b. Use cost-effective techniques to maximize transportation investments.

3c. Continue using performance measures to inform sound investment decisions.

3d. Be agile in adapting to changing data needs over time.

3e. Assess, expand and improve data collection through technological means by processing, monitoring, using, reporting, and sharing data.

What are we doing now? Some Examples
Our Transportation Asset Management Plan identifies strategic investment decisions that will preserve and maintain the useful life of transportation assets over time.
WisDOT's MAPSS Performance Improvement Program focuses on five core goals and associated performance measures that guide us in achieving our mission "to provide leadership in the development and operation of a safe and efficient transportation system." We report our progress quarterly in summarized "scorecards" and improvement reports for each performance measure.
WisDOT meets federal requirements for system performance and measurement by reporting at regular intervals information about our assets to the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Goal 4: Increase options, connections and mobility for people and goods

Mobility and transportation choices are at the core of an efficient and effective transportation system, which is critical to Wisconsin’s economic vitality and quality of life.

Goal 4: Increase options, connections, and mobility for people and goods.

Objectives

4a. Ensure adequate system mobility to support and enhance Wisconsin’s quality of life and economic competitiveness though system reliability, efficiency and a resilient supply chain.

4b. Enhance transportation equity, access, mobility and safety.

4c. Facilitate mobility options that support transit use and active transportation such as bicycling and walking.

4d. Close gaps and create an interconnected network of transportation facilities to move people and goods safely and efficiently.

What are we doing now? Some Examples
Our Freight Railroad Infrastructure Improvement Program or FRIIP provides loans for rail projects that connect industry to the national rail program, enhance the safe and efficient movement of freight, rehabilitate lines, and help develop the economy. Since 1992, we've awarded $128 million in FRIIP loans. New for 2021: Intermodal facility improvements and studies can also utilize FRIPP loans.
WisDOT financially supports the Hiawatha rail service between Chicago and Milwaukee. Hiawatha, the busiest route in the Midwest, served a record 880,000 passengers in 2019. A new Amtrak Thruway I-41 Bus Service connects with the Hiawatha in Milwaukee, and provides two daily round-trip buses between Green Bay and Milwaukee, with stops in Appleton, Oshkosh and Fond du Lac.
The Wisconsin Bicycle Transportation Plan recognizes bicycling as a legitimate mode of transportation  and provides a blueprint for improving bike transportation and integrating bicycling into the current transportation system.

Goal 5: Maximize technology benefits

Technological change occurs rapidly, and that trend is expected to continue from now through 2050. The purpose of this goal is to continue a proactive and agile approach to using new technologies that provide transportation benefits and increase the cost-effectiveness of transportation solutions.

Goal 5: Maximize technology benefits.

Objectives

5a. Identify opportunities to integrate transportation and technology that will support WisDOT’s vision.

5b. Embrace technology and be agile in implementing technology-based solutions to improve all aspects of transportation including safety, resiliency, operations, maintenance, and transportation systems impacts on sensitive resources.

5c. Use technology and data to maximize transportation investment benefits.

What are we doing now? Some Examples
We created the Wisconsin Automated Vehicle External Advisory Committee or WAVE in 2020 to gather input and advice about connected- and automated-vehicle-related planning priorities, policies, and impacts on the state’s transportation system.
Our Traffic Management Center monitors roadway conditions throughout the state from one location, allowing faster response for maintenance activities such as snowplow deployment, or emergency medical service for incidents.
WisDOT installed a Truck Parking Information Management System or TPIMS that uses sensors and cameras to generate real-time information about truck parking availability. TPIMS enhances safety and efficiency, helping drivers plan their rest periods without having to exit the freeway.

Goal 6: Maximize transportation safety

WisDOT has always prioritized transportation safety. A safe transportation system benefits all of Wisconsin, whether by providing safe highways for freight movement and vehicular traffic, safe ways for pedestrians to cross roadways, or safe and secure airport facilities.

Goal 6: Maximize transportation safety.

Objectives

6a. Develop and maintain a system that is safe and secure.

6b. Strategically align resources to make progress towards the goal of zero fatalities in Wisconsin.

6c. Leverage data and technology to improve safety.

6d. Research and implement innovative safety solutions that involve education, engineering, enforcement, emergency management, and everyone.

What are we doing now? Some Examples
Replacing traditional intersections with roundabouts where warranted reduces severe injury crashes while also reducing traffic delays. As of 2019, Wisconsin had constructed 427 roundabouts, 162 of which are in rural areas and 246 in urban areas.
Centerline rumble strips have been shown to reduce head-on fatal and injury crashes by 44% on rural two-lane roads, and 64% on similar urban two-lane roads. Shoulder rumble strips, which alert drivers when their vehicle moves outside the driving lane, help lower fatal and injury lane-departure crashes by up to 29%.
The Wisconsin Highway Safety Improvement Program funds safety projects across the state such as intersection improvements, addressing sight-distance problems, eliminating roadside obstacles, and installing guardrails and barriers. The program, which also has a subprogram focusing on high-crash-risk rural roads, aims to reduce the number and severity of crashes on all streets and highways.

Goal 7: Maximize transportation system resiliency and reliability

Resiliency is defined as the ability for the transportation system to continue operating in the face of an obstacle. Reliability is defined as the ability to successfully and consistently move people and goods when impacted by congestion, inclement weather, crashes, etc. Reliability and resiliency typically go hand in hand; if the system is resilient, it will be reliable for users.

Goal 7: Maximize transportation system resiliency and reliability.

Objectives

7a. Develop physical and operational systems that are adept at preventing, preparing for, and coordinating responses to any incident, whether natural or the result of human activity.

7b. Emphasize system resiliency to reduce repair costs and improve safety and security.

7c. Identify and assess risk-based solutions for system vulnerabilities.

What are we doing now? Some Examples
The Facilities Repeatedly Requiring Repair and Reconstruction or F4R program identifies and evaluates roadways and bridges with catastrophic damage from state emergency declarations on two or more occasions. These evaluations help assess repair and reconstruction costs relative to the likelihood of a future event, and present alternatives to consider.
Our living snow fence program, designed to reduce blowing snow, contributes to a reliable system by incentivizing property owners to strategically plant trees and shrubs along roadways resulting in 50-75% fewer winter weather-related crashes.
We track traffic patterns throughout the state to improve travel time reliability, so drivers can rely on consistent drive times and traffic flow. In 2018, our Interstate highways were 93.2% reliable person-miles traveled.

Goal 8: Balance transportation needs with those of the natural environment and socioeconomic, historic and cultural resources

The natural environment and Wisconsin’s cultural resources contribute greatly to our quality of life. We should develop and maintain the transportation system in a way that balances transportation needs with those of the landscapes in which transportation exists. Landscapes include the physical environment like waterways and forests, but also socioeconomic resources such as access to food.

Goal 8: Balance transportation needs with those of the natural environment, socioeconomic, historic, and cultural resources.

Objectives

8a. Develop a transportation system that avoids, minimizes, and compensates for environmental impacts.

8b. Prioritize emissions reduction and alternative fuels to improve air quality.

8c. Reduce waste and recycle materials during transportation projects.

8d. Consider cultural, socioeconomic and historic resources during the project development process.

8e. Foster a safe and environmentally sensitive transportation system.

What are we doing now? Some Examples
Since beginning the wetland mitigation program in 1993, WisDOT projects have restored about 5,808 acres of wetlands in the state.
Electric vehicle and alternative-fuel vehicles are growing across Wisconsin. Our Interstate highways (I-39, 41, 43, 90, 94 and 535) and US 53 and 151 are designated Alternative Fuel Corridors, part of a federal program to create a national network of alternative-fueling and charging infrastructure.
WisDOT secured a $1.5 million grant in 2018 from the Federal Transit Administration’s Low or No Emission Program to acquire six battery electric buses for three rural transit agencies.

Goal 1: Pursue sustainable long-term transportation funding

An illustration depicting funding for Wisconsin's transportation system.

Funding is the key to maintain and develop Wisconsin's transportation system so that it is safe for all users, meets current and future demand, and exists in a state of good repair that facilitates lowering long-term costs. This leverages prudent asset management practices that maximize the benefit of available funding.

An illustration showing how the value of available transportation funding is maximized for the state of Wisconsin.

Objectives

1a. Ensure funding is efficiently managed and sufficient to support WisDOT's long-term plans for providing a transportation system that is in a state of good repair, and is safe, efficient and accessible, all of which support Wisconsin's economy and quality of life.

1.b. Facilitate access to funding at the regional and local level according to state and/or federal requirements, and prudent financial management of WisDOT-administered programs.

1c. Pursue innovative and sustainable funding mechanisms and solutions to ensure system health across all modes.

What are we doing now? Some Examples
Fuel taxes, vehicle registration fees, and driver license fees largely fund the state’s $7.2 billion transportation budget for 2019-2021. Wisconsin also receives money from the federal government based on formula and discretionary funding programs, and from program and local revenues.
WisDOT's State Urban Mass Transit Operating Assistance program provides operating cost assistance to support bus, shared-ride taxi and rail services. Federal transit programs further support rural and urban transit systems and specialized transit services in Wisconsin.
The General Transportation Aids (GTA) program enables local governments to receive state aid payments for county and municipal road construction, maintenance, and traffic operations. GTA is WisDOT’s second-largest program with a budget of $985.6 million in the 2019-2021 state budget.

Goal 2: Focus on partnerships

Effective partners work together to identify common goals. They communicate with each other an help each other when support is needed. Wisconsin will focus on transportation partnerships to coordinate and cooperate toward shared objectives.

Goal 2: Focus on partnerships

Objectives

2a. Ensure the transportation system is developed in a way that addresses the needs of all users.

2b. Ensure inclusivity, equity, access, and safety.

2c. Eliminate and reduce transportation accessibility barriers.

2d. Ensure the transportation system can adapt to changes over time, such as connected and automated vehicles, use of alternative fuels, telecommuting and other social changes, and needs of an aging population.

2e. Collaborate with partners and stakeholders to identify strategic transportation investment opportunities.

2f. Identify and communicate transportation system needs, priorities, and benefits to maximize transportation investments.

2g. Ensure projects reflect the character and needs of communities.

What are we doing now? Some Examples
WisDOT created the Wisconsin Non-Driver Advisory Committee in 2020 as a forum to discuss transportation mobility, safety and access for Wisconsin residents who do not drive due to physical, mental or developmental disabilities, age, financial constraints, or choice.
Industry representatives on the Freight Advisory Committee keep WisDOT informed about issues that affect freight access, mobility and viable transport from, to and within Wisconsin.
Our Harbor Assistance Program helps fund projects within communities along the Great Lakes and Mississippi River that maintain and improve the shipping, port and waterway resources that support our economy.

Goal 3: Pursue continuous improvement and expand data-driven decision-making processes

Data-driven decision-making ensures that the transportation system is operated, maintained, and improved in the most efficient and effective way possible so that the right project is implemented in the right place and at the right time.

Goal 3: Pursue continuous improvement and expand data-driven decision-making processes.

Objectives

3a. Strategically align resources and emphasize integrating performance-based decision-making throughout WisDOT.

3b. Use cost-effective techniques to maximize transportation investments.

3c. Continue using performance measures to inform sound investment decisions.

3d. Be agile in adapting to changing data needs over time.

3e. Assess, expand and improve data collection through technological means by processing, monitoring, using, reporting, and sharing data.

What are we doing now? Some Examples
Our Transportation Asset Management Plan identifies strategic investment decisions that will preserve and maintain the useful life of transportation assets over time.
WisDOT's MAPSS Performance Improvement Program focuses on five core goals and associated performance measures that guide us in achieving our mission "to provide leadership in the development and operation of a safe and efficient transportation system." We report our progress quarterly in summarized "scorecards" and improvement reports for each performance measure.
WisDOT meets federal requirements for system performance and measurement by reporting at regular intervals information about our assets to the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Goal 4: Increase options, connections and mobility for people and goods

Mobility and transportation choices are at the core of an efficient and effective transportation system, which is critical to Wisconsin’s economic vitality and quality of life.

Goal 4: Increase options, connections, and mobility for people and goods.

Objectives

4a. Ensure adequate system mobility to support and enhance Wisconsin’s quality of life and economic competitiveness though system reliability, efficiency and a resilient supply chain.

4b. Enhance transportation equity, access, mobility and safety.

4c. Facilitate mobility options that support transit use and active transportation such as bicycling and walking.

4d. Close gaps and create an interconnected network of transportation facilities to move people and goods safely and efficiently.

What are we doing now? Some Examples
Our Freight Railroad Infrastructure Improvement Program or FRIIP provides loans for rail projects that connect industry to the national rail program, enhance the safe and efficient movement of freight, rehabilitate lines, and help develop the economy. Since 1992, we've awarded $128 million in FRIIP loans. New for 2021: Intermodal facility improvements and studies can also utilize FRIPP loans.
WisDOT financially supports the Hiawatha rail service between Chicago and Milwaukee. Hiawatha, the busiest route in the Midwest, served a record 880,000 passengers in 2019. A new Amtrak Thruway I-41 Bus Service connects with the Hiawatha in Milwaukee, and provides two daily round-trip buses between Green Bay and Milwaukee, with stops in Appleton, Oshkosh and Fond du Lac.
The Wisconsin Bicycle Transportation Plan recognizes bicycling as a legitimate mode of transportation  and provides a blueprint for improving bike transportation and integrating bicycling into the current transportation system.

Goal 5: Maximize technology benefits

Technological change occurs rapidly, and that trend is expected to continue from now through 2050. The purpose of this goal is to continue a proactive and agile approach to using new technologies that provide transportation benefits and increase the cost-effectiveness of transportation solutions.

Goal 5: Maximize technology benefits.

Objectives

5a. Identify opportunities to integrate transportation and technology that will support WisDOT’s vision.

5b. Embrace technology and be agile in implementing technology-based solutions to improve all aspects of transportation including safety, resiliency, operations, maintenance, and transportation systems impacts on sensitive resources.

5c. Use technology and data to maximize transportation investment benefits.

What are we doing now? Some Examples
We created the Wisconsin Automated Vehicle External Advisory Committee or WAVE in 2020 to gather input and advice about connected- and automated-vehicle-related planning priorities, policies, and impacts on the state’s transportation system.
Our Traffic Management Center monitors roadway conditions throughout the state from one location, allowing faster response for maintenance activities such as snowplow deployment, or emergency medical service for incidents.
WisDOT installed a Truck Parking Information Management System or TPIMS that uses sensors and cameras to generate real-time information about truck parking availability. TPIMS enhances safety and efficiency, helping drivers plan their rest periods without having to exit the freeway.

Goal 6: Maximize transportation safety

WisDOT has always prioritized transportation safety. A safe transportation system benefits all of Wisconsin, whether by providing safe highways for freight movement and vehicular traffic, safe ways for pedestrians to cross roadways, or safe and secure airport facilities.

Goal 6: Maximize transportation safety.

Objectives

6a. Develop and maintain a system that is safe and secure.

6b. Strategically align resources to make progress towards the goal of zero fatalities in Wisconsin.

6c. Leverage data and technology to improve safety.

6d. Research and implement innovative safety solutions that involve education, engineering, enforcement, emergency management, and everyone.

What are we doing now? Some Examples
Replacing traditional intersections with roundabouts where warranted reduces severe injury crashes while also reducing traffic delays. As of 2019, Wisconsin had constructed 427 roundabouts, 162 of which are in rural areas and 246 in urban areas.
Centerline rumble strips have been shown to reduce head-on fatal and injury crashes by 44% on rural two-lane roads, and 64% on similar urban two-lane roads. Shoulder rumble strips, which alert drivers when their vehicle moves outside the driving lane, help lower fatal and injury lane-departure crashes by up to 29%.
The Wisconsin Highway Safety Improvement Program funds safety projects across the state such as intersection improvements, addressing sight-distance problems, eliminating roadside obstacles, and installing guardrails and barriers. The program, which also has a subprogram focusing on high-crash-risk rural roads, aims to reduce the number and severity of crashes on all streets and highways.

Goal 7: Maximize transportation system resiliency and reliability

Resiliency is defined as the ability for the transportation system to continue operating in the face of an obstacle. Reliability is defined as the ability to successfully and consistently move people and goods when impacted by congestion, inclement weather, crashes, etc. Reliability and resiliency typically go hand in hand; if the system is resilient, it will be reliable for users.

Goal 7: Maximize transportation system resiliency and reliability.

Objectives

7a. Develop physical and operational systems that are adept at preventing, preparing for, and coordinating responses to any incident, whether natural or the result of human activity.

7b. Emphasize system resiliency to reduce repair costs and improve safety and security.

7c. Identify and assess risk-based solutions for system vulnerabilities.

What are we doing now? Some Examples
The Facilities Repeatedly Requiring Repair and Reconstruction or F4R program identifies and evaluates roadways and bridges with catastrophic damage from state emergency declarations on two or more occasions. These evaluations help assess repair and reconstruction costs relative to the likelihood of a future event, and present alternatives to consider.
Our living snow fence program, designed to reduce blowing snow, contributes to a reliable system by incentivizing property owners to strategically plant trees and shrubs along roadways resulting in 50-75% fewer winter weather-related crashes.
We track traffic patterns throughout the state to improve travel time reliability, so drivers can rely on consistent drive times and traffic flow. In 2018, our Interstate highways were 93.2% reliable person-miles traveled.

Goal 8: Balance transportation needs with those of the natural environment and socioeconomic, historic and cultural resources

The natural environment and Wisconsin’s cultural resources contribute greatly to our quality of life. We should develop and maintain the transportation system in a way that balances transportation needs with those of the landscapes in which transportation exists. Landscapes include the physical environment like waterways and forests, but also socioeconomic resources such as access to food.

Goal 8: Balance transportation needs with those of the natural environment, socioeconomic, historic, and cultural resources.

Objectives

8a. Develop a transportation system that avoids, minimizes, and compensates for environmental impacts.

8b. Prioritize emissions reduction and alternative fuels to improve air quality.

8c. Reduce waste and recycle materials during transportation projects.

8d. Consider cultural, socioeconomic and historic resources during the project development process.

8e. Foster a safe and environmentally sensitive transportation system.

What are we doing now? Some Examples
Since beginning the wetland mitigation program in 1993, WisDOT projects have restored about 5,808 acres of wetlands in the state.
Electric vehicle and alternative-fuel vehicles are growing across Wisconsin. Our Interstate highways (I-39, 41, 43, 90, 94 and 535) and US 53 and 151 are designated Alternative Fuel Corridors, part of a federal program to create a national network of alternative-fueling and charging infrastructure.
WisDOT secured a $1.5 million grant in 2018 from the Federal Transit Administration’s Low or No Emission Program to acquire six battery electric buses for three rural transit agencies.
compass-icon-lt-brown
Do you get to work by your vehicle, a bus, your feet or bike?
Does your job involve transporting people or goods?
Are you simply an interested or concerned Wisconsinite?

We want to hear from you!

Vision and Focus Areas

Connect 2050 Vision

WisDOT envisions an integrated, multimodal transportation system that maximizes the safe and efficient movement of people and products throughout the state, enhancing economic productivity and the quality of Wisconsin’s communities while minimizing impacts to the natural environment.

Connect 2050 fOCUS aREAS

Economic Vitality

Maintain and improve the state’s transportation system so it is responsive to global and regional economic needs and changing conditions.

Safety and Security

Create a system that is safe for all users, and agile in preventing, preparing for, and coordinating responses to any incident, whether natural or the result of human activity.

Quality of Life and Natural Environment

Implement and manage a system that balances transportation needs with the natural environment and resource conservation.

System Integration and Connectivity

Bring modes of transportation together to provide a properly integrated system.

System Management

Utilize cost-effective preservation and maintenance techniques to maximize transportation investments.