San Antonio has many transportation assets that have kept congestion at bay and the transportation system working at an acceptable level of service, despite being the seventh largest city in the country. Our low cost of living, relatively short commute times and dispersed land uses all encouraged and facilitated a transportation culture dominated by automobiles. In fact, statistics show that 95% of us drive to work, while 5% percent either walk, bike or use public transit.

Continued reliance on single-occupancy-vehicle travel is not sustainable. Current traffic projections indicate that our road and highway network will be unable to accommodate the unprecedented growth anticipated over the next 25 years. We are already witnessing longer-than-average commutes during rush hour especially on the major highways and in the northwest part of town. While many people from around the country are attracted to our economic stability and low cost of living, both are in jeopardy if we continue “business as usual” when planning our transportation system.

For a variety of environmental, economic development, and community health reasons, this plan calls for a new approach to transportation planning in our city. Expected congestion can no longer be managed simply by building new roads, and many of us have expressed a desire for more safe, comfortable and healthy transportation options. Walking, bicycling and transit must be prioritized. Many of us will continue to drive for some or all of our trips, but our city needs to provide a wider range of mobility choices that allow us access to work, recreation and other daily activities if we cannot or choose not to drive a car.

The Transportation and Connectivity element is somewhat unique in this plan, as a separate Multimodal Transportation Plan is being developed concurrently as part of the SA Tomorrow effort. Because the Multimodal Transportation Plan will address the full range of mobility issues in great detail, this chapter examines San Antonio's transportation challenges and opportunities at a more comprehensive level, making connections to the other elements of this plan.

The Transportation and Connectivity (TC) goals and policies were developed in response to the five key transportation challenges that follow.

SA riverwalk