Metropolitan Kansas City's
Long-Range Transportation Plan

A changing region

Greater Kansas City is a region that continues to change. The population is growing older and becoming more racially diverse. The residents of the region are looking for more choices for transportation, housing and employment.

As the region’s population increases and changes, infrastructure needs will also change. Transportation Outlook 2040’s policy framework is designed to help meet the needs of area residents in the coming years. The plan’s goal is to make smart decisions — strategic investments with high impact — for the best use of the limited funds. Local, national and global dynamics require a clear, forward-leaning vision for the region that better integrates transportation planning with social, environmental and economic factors.

Explore some of the changes that will impact our region, what our region is doing well, and some of the opportunities and challenges for Greater Kansas City.

  chart with population growth

We're growing.

Currently, the region is home to 1.9 million people — and that number is expected to grow by 31 percent over the coming decades, to roughly 2.5 million residents in 2040.

  In addition, employment will grow by more than 320,000 jobs, an increase of 30 percent.
  map of distances drivers can travel in 20 minutes over time

We're spread out.

The Kansas City region covers a large geographic area. Its historic development patterns have created an infrastructure network that makes it more difficult to provide active transportation choices and efficiently connect people to jobs, services and neighborhoods.

  graphics showing housing imbalance

We're vehicle-dependent.

Area residents primarily depend on single passenger vehicles, which means:

  • High household costs for transportation.

  • Vulnerability to fluctuations in gas and energy costs.

  • More emissions from cars and trucks.

  • Mobility issues for older adults, persons with disabilities and residents living in poverty.
  chart with growth in employment

We have environmental challenges.

The region faces environmental challenges that include:

  • Public health issues related to
    air quality.

  • Climate change impacts.

  • Vulnerability of critical natural habitats and sensitive lands.

The circumstances facing Greater Kansas City today are different than those experienced in previous transportation-planning cycles. The region’s economy continues to recover from the Great Recession. Energy costs and availability continue to be unstable. Interest in environmental protection and stewardship — both local and global — continues to grow. And we see a growing desire to create vibrant, livable places.

These factor are integral in becoming a more sustainable region.


Challenges the region faces:

  • Changing climate and expected regulation changes of greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Fluctuating fuel and energy prices.
  • Preserving natural resources.
  • Creating walkable, bike-friendly communities.
  • Changing demographics: older, more diverse, smaller households.
  • Public costs rising faster than revenue.
  • Economy that runs on talent, attraction to diversity and density.
image of West Bottoms KCK

Opportunities to leverage:

  • Understanding desired regional future and transportation's role to achieve goals.
  • Making stronger connections to local land-use plans and community objectives.
  • Integrating environmental priorities.
  • Creating a stronger link between planning activities and programming funds for projects.
  • Positioning the region for stronger economic future.