Transportation & Land Use

Transportation emissions depend on how far we travel and how we make those trips. Land use patterns help determine people’s transportation needs. See the regional transportation and land use strategies and actions.


  1. Emissions
  2. Vehicle Miles Traveled
  3. Commute Modes
  4. Electric Vehicles
  5. Land Use


  Transportation: On track

Overall vehicle miles traveled steeply declined in 2020, after years of increase since 2015. From 2019 to 2020, VMT decreased 14%. From 2020 to 2021, VMT increased 7% but remained below the 2015 baseline measure. Electric vehicle registrations have risen sharply since 2017, and in 2022 make up 1.5% of total vehicle registrations countywide. Overall transportation emissions have decreased 9% since 2015.

  Land Use: Not on track

As of 2021, only 48% of our urban households lie within a half mile of a center or corridor, and 14% of residential development from 2010 to 2020 took place in rural areas, falling short of regional targets. Achieving our targets will require land use policies that create walkable communities and conserve sensitive resource lands.

Community Resources

Strategies and Actions

Set land use policies that support increased urban density and efficient transportation networks and reduce urban sprawl. Transportation and land use are tied together, as the way our communities develop influence the transportation needs of the residents. Actions to support this strategy include coordinating long-term plans with transit agencies to create high-density transit corridors, reducing urban sprawl, and more.

Increase the use of public transit and active forms of travel such as bicycling and walking. Currently, most Thurston residents drive alone to work and use a car for most other trips. Encouraging the use of shared transit and active travel not only decreases emissions, but also decreases costs for travelers and promotes healthy lifestyles. Actions to support these strategies include maintaining a fareless transit system, identifying barriers to active transportation and promoting projects that address them, and more. 

Increase the adoption of electric and other zero and low-emission vehicles. Auto manufacturers continue to offer an increasing range of options for vehicles that don’t rely on fossil fuels. Actions in the plan aim to reduce technical and economic barriers that limit access to these lower-emission vehicles.

See the full list of the transportation and land use strategies and actions. 

Contact Us

  1. Allison Osterberg
    Senior Planner

    Thurston Regional Planning Council
    2411 Chandler Court SW
    Olympia, WA 98502
    Ph: 360-956-7575