WisDOT plans, builds, maintains, or financially supports all these types of transportation, which make up Wisconsin's statewide network.
Our communities and how we move around them are changing all the time. And from e-bikes and ride-hailing apps to drones and driverless cars, transportation is often at the center of advances in technology.
Understanding the key issues or "trends" that affect transportation is essential for a Connect 2050 plan that prepares us for what lies ahead. The six trends below will influence how WisDOT makes decisions about managing our statewide transportation system well into the future.
Population growth helps determine where and when transportation improvements may be appropriate.
Wisconsin's population is expected to grow between 2013 and 2040 by almost 800,000 people, or about a 13.5 percent increase.
Transportation planners use population, demographics and other data to help determine future transportation demands – like getting to work, the grocery store and recreational destinations, and transporting freight.
What types of communities are growing?
500 or fewer people
Wisconsin’s SENIOR POPULATION
Wisconsin’s population of people 65 years old and older is expected to double from 2010 to 2040, particularly in our northern and rural counties.
35% or more
25% or less
Source: Wisconsin Department of Administration, 2010-2040 Population Projection Report Travel Patterns.
Knowing where, why and how people travel is important for allocating funding and other resources.
We expect the annual amount of travel in Wisconsin for all vehicles – a metric called "vehicle miles traveled" or VMT – to increase from 65.9 billion (2018) to 82.9 billion (2050), which will require our transportation network to accommodate increased use.
We use modeling and current and future population and employment data to forecast future VMT and the reasons for people's trips.
Current and Forecast Annual Vehicle Miles Traveled
Source: Federal Highway Administration. National Household Travel Survey, 2017.
WisDOT uses educational campaigns, media shares and engineering techniques to keep our system safe.
Our approach to creating and maintaining a safe transportation system in Wisconsin: Safety is everybody's business.
To reduce the number of preventable traffic fatalities and injuries, WisDOT’s Bureau of Transportation Safety works with internal and external partners, utilizing the best expertise to solve safety-related challenges.
SAFETY TRENDS ON WISCONSIN PUBLIC ROADS (2015-2019)
The Bureau of Transportation Safety also prepares our annual Highway Safety Plan and Highway Safety Program Annual Report for submission to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration.
These reports describe, respectively, our planned and current safety-focused programs, grants and activities.
Wisconsin Crash Statistics
Among Wisconsin's 551 traffic fatalities in 2019, speed-related crashes accounted for 163 deaths (30 percent), and crashes involving alcohol accounted for 140 deaths (25 percent).
In 2019, when helmet use could be determined by the investigating officer, 65 percent of all motorcyclists killed in crashes were not wearing helmets.
Deer are the third most commonly struck object in Wisconsin (behind other vehicles and fixed objects), causing almost 18,400 deer-related crashes here (2019).
Source: Federal Highway Administration. “Transportation Performance Management State Profile: Wisconsin”. June 2020. Retrieved from https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/tpm/reporting/state/
A healthy economy requires an efficient, multimodal transportation system that can meet our changing needs.
Recent years have seen increases in just-in-time deliveries, which eliminate overhead costs, and the growing popularity of e-commerce.
WisDOT works with public- and private-sector partners on committees and task forces such as the Freight Advisory Committee to enhance our state transportation network for a 21st-century supply chain environment – one that also supports the northernmost and most rural areas of Wisconsin.
Projected Statewide Employment by Industry through 2050
Projected Statewide Earnings by Industry through 2050
Source: Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, Office of Economic Advisors, Wisconsin Employment Projections 2016-20226.
Emerging technologies such as alternative fuel vehicles and autonomous and connected vehicles have the potential to change how we travel — and even how we fuel transport.
To help prevent snow drifts that can close roads and driveways and isolate farmsteads, WisDOT works with farmers to implement "living snow fences," which are trees and shrubs strategically placed along roadways to help stop snow drift.
Farmers keep rows of corn standing along roadway edges to prevent snow drift; in return, WisDOT compensates farmers with a premium per-bushel price for the corn.
WisDOT balances our transportation system needs with a healthy environment by recycling pavement, seeding native plants along highways, rehabilitating wetlands, using solar power at rest areas, and planning for alternative fuels.
Source: Federal Highway Administration. Alternative Fuel Corridors webpage. Accessed July 2020. Retrieved from https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/alternative_fuel_corridors/
By 2050, Wisconsin's transportation landscape will likely look very different ...
WisDOT is exploring solutions involving connected and automated vehicles (CAVs) that could help us meet our changing needs and communities.
While some early CAV technology has already arrived, WisDOT continues to explore what introducing CVs and AVs to Wisconsin’s roadways will mean for infrastructure, policy, administrative requirements, enforcement, and communities.
A number of Wisconsin organizations and companies are involved in CAV research including the University of Wisconsin-Madison, UW-Milwaukee, MGA Research Corporation, Traffic & Parking Control Co. Inc., the city of Madison, and WisDOT.
Wisconsin's CAV Test Facilities
Chippewa Valley Regional Airport
UW-Madison Extension Racine County
City of Racine
Gateway Technical College
City of Madison
Sources: State of Wisconsin. “Report of the Governor’s Steering Committee on Autonomous and Connected Vehicle Testing and Deployment”. June 29, 2018. Retrieved from https://wisconsindot.gov/Documents/about-wisdot/who-we-are/comm-couns/av-final-report-062918.pdf. 2) University of Wisconsin-Madison. Wisconsin Automated Vehicle Proving Grounds website (Accessed July 2020) Retrieved from https://wiscav.org/