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The contents of this report reflect the views of the author(s), who is responsible for the facts and the accuracy of the data presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Commonwealth Transportation Board, or the Federal Highway Administration. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation. Any inclusion of manufacturer names, trade names, or trademarks is for identification purposes only and is not to be considered an endorsement.


How Might Virginia Age and Grow by 2040?
Hillary D. Goldstein, Aidan S. Barkley, and Benjamin D. Smith
John S. Miller
John S. Miller
Amy A. O'Leary
Amy A. O'Leary
Year: 2016
VTRC No.: 16-R12
Abstract: The development of Virginia’s Statewide Multimodal Transportation Plan for 2040, also known as “VTrans 2040,” requires the identification of population forecasts, employment forecasts, and changes in population-related factors that might influence future travel demand. The research documented in this report fulfills that requirement.

Key findings are that Virginia’s population is forecast to grow over roughly a quarter century from a 2012 population of 8.2 million to a 2040 population of 10.5 or 11.7 million, depending on the forecast source. The 14% difference between these two population forecasts is a degree of uncertainty that would be expected given previous comparisons of actual and forecast populations. The forecast growth varies by age group: the number of people age 65+ is projected to almost double over this period, with the fastest growing cohort within this age group being those age 85+. The forecast growth varies by location, with 4 of Virginia’s 21 planning district commissions accounting for between 77% and 81% of the forecast growth from 2012-2040. Employment is forecast to grow by about 60% over this period. Changes in other population-related factors that influence travel demand include density (about one-half of Virginia’s growth from 2012-2040 is projected to be in areas that will by 2040 have a transit-compatible population density), the use of alternative fuel vehicles, and vehicle ownership (which is not expected to increase).

These forecasts do not necessarily suggest a single policy response for all Virginia locations. For example, decreasing rates of licensure might suggest increased use of public transportation; however, this impact would presumably be less in areas with lower population density. As shown by the two sample stakeholder input exercises developed in Appendix D, a variety of responses to transportation policies is possible. Because knowledge of the forecasts noted in this report may help inform consideration of diverse transportation alternatives, it is recommended that the material available in the report continue to be shared with Virginia planners.