In Orange County alone, we have seen a population increase of more than 150,000 people over the past five years. Local transportation planners anticipate an increase of more than 400,000 (13%) residents by the year 2035. Furthermore, with a projected population increase, overall traffic is expected to increase by 60% by 2050.
The development of more than 14,000 homes in Rancho Mission Viejo (which is larger than the City of San Juan Capistrano) has increased traffic concerns among South Orange County residents. Rancho Mission Viejo’s major cross streets, Antonio Parkway, Crown Valley and Ortega Highway, are expected to see much more traffic – and residents are concerned about the additional cars on their side streets, as well as the 5 Freeway, and how this influx will impact the flow of traffic.
One thing is clear: we as a community must effectively plan for the future to prevent severe traffic throughout Orange County. Improving transportation connections, both locally and regionally, as well as within and between different modes, will help reduce future traffic. These measures include: reducing system bottlenecks by increasing current capacity on existing transportation systems and looking at innovative alternatives for transportation including trolleys, biking, ride-sharing, etc.
Improving the transportation system will help increase access to jobs, improve public safety, reduce travel times for emergency response, and enhance air quality – all of which are essential to maintaining the quality of life in Orange County.