When we ask you what your top issues are related to getting around Portland, three answers lead the pack: safety, congestion, and road maintenance. In a recent survey, nine out of 10 Portlanders cited these three issues as their top priorities.
PBOT's three core goals
Given these concerns, we think you will be pleased with Moving to Our Future, the strategic plan that will guide our work at the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) for the next three years. It’s built around three core goals:
- SAFETY: Make Portland streets safe for everyone
- MOVING PEOPLE AND GOODS: Provide transportation options for a growing city
- ASSET MANAGEMENT: Deliver smart investments to maintain our transportation system
Delivering on these goals means saving lives by protecting Portlanders as they walk, bike, roll, and drive. It means saving time by offering easy, reliable options to get where we need to go. It means saving money by investing in our roads efficiently.
As we work towards these goals, we also want to make sure that our efforts contribute to a Portland that is more equitable and that has a smaller carbon footprint. This is why we will ask ourselves these two fundamental questions as we pursue each goal:
- Will it advance equity and address structural racism?
- Will it reduce carbon emissions?
Portland continues to grow and change at a rate we haven’t seen in decades. We have a lot of work to do to meet the expectations this growing city has for its transportation system.
Fortunately, PBOT has an extremely talented and committed staff. Part of the success of Moving to Our Future will depend on providing PBOT’s people with the tools they need to deliver this plan’s goals. Specifically, this means investing in our people at all levels of the bureau and fostering a positive, mission- driven workplace. We’re dedicated to making PBOT an employer of choice and recruiting and cultivating superior talent to deliver our ambitious strategy.
We also need Portlanders to be engaged with this plan. Whether you are a veteran of transportation policy or are getting involved for the first time, please share your ideas about how we can reach our goals together. Your input is a critical part of this plan’s success. Together we will move Portland toward a safer, more accessible and more equitable future.
What we stand for
We want a safe, reliable, equitable, and affordable transportation system that supports Portland’s prosperity with a high quality of life, an inclusive and connected community, and a low-carbon footprint.
We work with our community to shape a livable city together. We plan, build, manage, and maintain an effective and safe transportation system that provides people and businesses the access and mobility they need and deserve. We keep Portland moving.
Safety first: we make the safety of all Portlanders, including our workforce, our highest priority.
Equitable: we promote equitable outcomes bureau-wide, and deliver equitable and accessible services for all Portlanders.
Respectful: we value and support our workforce.
Innovative: we foster innovation to deliver forward-thinking transportation solutions.
Open: we embrace and cultivate a welcoming and accessible culture.
Inclusive: we embrace and cultivate a welcoming and accessible culture.
How we will use this plan
Our goals reflect the work ahead, as well as the risks the city faces if we can’t deliver. PBOT’s Transportation System Plan anticipates a wholesale shift from car trips to other modes. But how can we expect people to make these changes if our streets are dangerous or if young people can’t walk or bike to school safely? Without reliable transportation alternatives, we get gridlock and congestion, which exacts an extraordinary cost on our personal health, the environment, and our region’s economy.
Furthermore, every decision we make on these goals involves some level of economic constraint. Federal and state investment in transportation is declining. Better fuel efficiency, means a significant source of transportation revenue, the gas tax, is also declining. Add to this the demands of a growing city and years of deferred construction and maintenance, and PBOT is simply not able to maintain the infrastructure we’ve built, let alone make the additional investments our community deserves. We must be smarter about how we invest our resources so we are not merely responding to a failing system.
In Moving to Our Future, we expand on each of our three goals outcomes we are striving for and how the overall goal works to (1) advance racial equity and (2) reduce pollution. We’ve then outlined specific objectives to help achieve each goal.
For each goal, we lay out the specific programs, initiatives, or strategies that will help us best achieve it, and how we will measure our success along the way.
Defining measurable objectives in this way allows us to assess whether we are choosing the right strategies to achieve our goals. They help guide our managers and the work they oversee. They help managers develop work plans for their respective groups. They also allow us all to draw on the expertise of the entire bureau and help us achieve the same outcomes together.
Here at PBOT, we are more than the sum of our parts. Advances in one goal and its objectives will likely deliver better outcomes for another. For instance, reductions we make in vehicle miles traveled not only mitigate congestion but make our roads safer. Similarly, streets designed for safety, that make walking and biking a viable option for more Portlanders, not only help ease congestion but reduce carbon emissions as well. And fiscally speaking, when we manage our assets more efficiently we save money in the long-term, freeing up our budget to design safer streets and expand transportation options.
We can’t solve every challenge we face in the three-year scope of this strategy, but we intend to offer bold solutions for the path ahead. We work toward our future with confidence.