Planning for more housing and jobs close to transit

Share your thoughts on the draft VISION 2050 growth strategy

Today the central Puget Sound region is home to just over 4 million people. By 2050, the region’s population will grow to 5.8 million.

How and where growth happens over the next three decades will have big impacts on transportation, the environment, community development and quality of life. 

PSRC has just released a draft VISION 2050 plan that will guide the region and local jurisdictions on how to prepare for growth.  

The Regional Growth Strategy in VISION 2050 describes how the region should distribute growth to cities and unincorporated areas. The proposed strategy focuses job and housing growth in centers and near transit. 

The goal is to sustain and create thriving urban communities of all kinds while preserving the region’s working resource lands and open spaces.

The strategy promotes a better jobs-housing balance among the four counties, growing jobs in more places and promoting higher levels of housing in King County so more people can live closer to where they work.

The result will be more walkable communities close to transit services and fewer negative environmental impacts compared to other options that were studied.

What are regional geographies? 

The Regional Growth Strategy groups different types of cities and unincorporated areas by common characteristics.  These are referred to as regional geographies.

For example, the major cities in each county, including Bellevue, Seattle, Everett, Tacoma and Bremerton, are grouped together as Metropolitan Cities.  Other cities and urban places that will have major transit investments in the future are called High Capacity Transit Communities.  These geographies provide flexibility for cities and counties to make local decisions about where growth should go among each group of places.

Map of Regional Geographies

Regional Geographies Map

Visit the VISION 2050 online open house to learn more about the regional geographies.

How is growth distributed within the region and within each county?

The Regional Growth Strategy outlines the shares of growth within individual counties. One of the goals of VISION 2050 is to have cities, towns, and neighborhoods of various sizes and character in the future, so different levels of growth are provided for different types of places.

Growth is also distributed differently within each county because they are different from one another.  For example, in King County, the Metropolitan cities of Seattle and Bellevue represent a large share of the county population, while Snohomish County has more smaller cities and urban unincorporated area with planned high-capacity transit. These differences are reflected in the county growth shares.

How much growth is planned around high-capacity transit? 

The Regional Growth Strategy aims for 65% of the region’s population growth and 75% of the region’s employment growth to be in regional growth centers and near high-capacity transit. This means that cities and counties with major centers or transit investments will be encouraged to plan for growth in those areas.

How will the strategy become reality? 

Under the Growth Management Act, counties and cities work together to adopt population and employment growth targets for each jurisdiction. These growth targets are used in local comprehensive plans and planning throughout the region for land use, transportation, and services. Beyond just the numbers, the Regional Growth Strategy also includes policies, actions, and guidance on cities and counties can achieve the strategy over time.

How can I learn more?

The Regional Growth Strategy background paper has more information on performance of the VISION 2040 Regional Growth Strategy, and the VISION 2050 Alternatives background paper describes the regional planning context and the alternatives studied in the Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement.

Tell us what you think!

Read more in the draft Regional Growth Strategy and share your thoughts!  Where should the region encourage growth?  Do the numbers achieve the region’s objectives?

PSRC is accepting comments on the draft VISION 2050 plan through September 16. Learn more in the online open house!


Dear Sirs - I am writing to voice my opposition to the preferred alternative for Snohomish County Vision 2050. That plan calls for Everett to accommodate merely 20% and Core Cities to handle just 11%. of the projected growth. I believe the distribution should be more like the plans for King or Pierce County at a minimum. Too much growth has occurred to date in supposed HCT and unincorporated rural areas that don't have the infrastructure to support current or future growth without a huge investment in infrastructure. Snohomish County lets developers dictate rather than the interests of their constituents. Developers feel building in urban areas is too expensive so the County lets them put high intensity development in rural areas dramatically increasing traffic. Everett should be the hub for growth in Snohomish County not HCT's. To date there is almost nothing happening in that city. I count maybe one crane and no apartments over 5 stories at all. To make up for growth that should have already occurred, to address GMA and to address the stated Regional Growth Strategy Policies below Everett needs to handle at least 50% period.

"Under the Growth Management Act, counties, in consultation with cities, are responsible for adopting population and employment growth targets to ensure that each county collectively is accommodating projected population and employment. These population and employment growth targets are a key input to local comprehensive plans. Jurisdictions use growth targets to inform planning for land use, transportation, and capital facilities. The Regional Growth Strategy provides a regional framework for the countywide growth target process by defining expectations for different types of places.

Regional Growth Strategy Policies
MPP-RGS-4 Accommodate the region's growth first and foremost in the urban growth area. Ensure that development in rural areas is consistent with the regional vision.
MPP-RGS-5 Ensure long-term stability and sustainability of the urban growth area consistent with the regional vision.
MPP-RGS-6 Encourage efficient use of urban land by optimizing the development potential of existing urban lands and increasing density in the urban growth area in locations consistent with the Regional Growth Strategy.
MPP-RGS-7 Attract 65% of the region’s residential and 75% of the region’s employment growth to highcapacity transit station areas to realize the multiple public benefits of compact growth around high-capacity transit investments. As jurisdictions plan for growth targets, focus development near high-capacity transit to achieve the regional goal.
MPP-RGS-8 Focus a significant share of population and employment growth in designated regional growth centers.
MPP-RGS-9 Focus a significant share of employment growth in designated regional manufacturing/industrial centers.'

Thank you - Linda Gray