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Puget Sound Regional Council (PSRC)

The PSRC is a Regional Transportation Planning Organization under chapter 47.80 RCW. Its major planning document, VISION 2050, states:

The region’s local governments come together at the Puget Sound Regional Council (PSRC) to make decisions about transportation, growth management, and economic development.

PSRC serves King, Pierce, Snohomish, and Kitsap counties, along with cities and towns, tribal governments, ports, and state and local transportation agencies within the region.

PSRC is a federally designated Metropolitan Planning Organization for the region.3


VISION 2050 is the result of a process undertaken by the region’s elected officials, public agencies, interest groups, and individuals. It was adopted in 2020 and establishes the regional vision, sets the Regional Growth Strategy (RGS), and provides guidance to the CPPs as shown in Figure 1. VISION 2050 describes itself with the following excerpt:

VISION 2050 is the shared regional plan for moving toward a sustainable and more equitable future. It encourages decision-makers to make wise use of existing resources and planned transit investments while achieving the region’s shared vision. VISION 2050 sets forth a pathway that strengthens economic, social, and environmental resiliency, while enhancing the region’s ability to cope with adverse trends such as climate change and unmet housing needs. As the region experiences more growth, VISION 2050 seeks to provide housing, mobility options, and services in more sustainable ways. Most importantly, VISION 2050 is a call to action to meet the needs of a growing population while considering the current needs of residents. VISION 2050 recognizes that clean air, health, life expectancy, and access to jobs and good education can vary dramatically by neighborhood. VISION 2050 works to rectify the inequities of the past, especially for communities of color and people with low incomes. 4

The concept of sustainability is integrated into VISION 2050 and has long been a key feature of the regional vision. The United Nations defined the term sustainable development in the Bruntland Report, issued in 1987, as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”5 This concept is present throughout the goals, policies, and actions within VISION 2050.

VISION 2050 sets a vision for the central Puget Sound region, which reads as follows:

A Vision for 2050

The central Puget Sound region provides an exceptional quality of life and opportunity for all, connected communities, a spectacular natural environment, and an innovative, thriving economy.

In 2050…

• Climate. The region’s contribution to climate change has been substantially reduced.

• Community. Distinct, unique communities are supported throughout the region.

• Diversity. The region’s diversity continues to be a strength. People from all backgrounds are welcome, and displacement due to development pressure is lessened.

• Economy. Economic opportunities are open to everyone, the region competes globally, and has sustained a high quality of life. Industrial, maritime, and manufacturing opportunities are maintained.

• Environment. The natural environment is restored, protected, and sustained, preserving and enhancing natural functions and wildlife habitats.

• Equity. All people can attain the resources and opportunities to improve their quality of life and enable them to reach their full potential.

• Health. Communities promote physical, social, and mental well-being so that all people can live healthier and more active lives.

• Housing. A range of housing types ensures that healthy, safe, and affordable housing choices are available and accessible for all people throughout the region.

• Innovation. The region has a culture of innovation that embraces and responds to change.

• Mobility and Connectivity. A safe, affordable, and efficient transportation system connects people and goods to where they need to go, promotes economic and environmental vitality, and supports the Regional Growth Strategy.

• Natural Resources. Natural resources are sustainably managed, supporting the continued viability of resource-based industries, such as forestry, agriculture, and aquaculture.

• Public Facilities and Services. Public facilities and services support the region’s communities and plans for growth in a coordinated, fair, efficient, and cost-effective manner.

• Resilience. The region’s communities plan for and are prepared to respond to potential impacts from natural and human hazards.

• Rural Areas. Rural communities and character are strengthened, enhanced, and sustained.6

VISION 2050 Overarching Goals

VISION 2050 contains the following topic specific Overarching Goals:

Regional Collaboration.

The region plans collaboratively for a healthy environment, thriving communities, and opportunities for all.

Regional Growth Strategy.

The region accommodates growth in urban areas, focused in designated centers and near transit stations, to create healthy, equitable, vibrant communities well-served by infrastructure and services. Rural and resource lands continue to be vital parts of the region that retain important cultural, economic, and rural lifestyle opportunities over the long term.


The region cares for the natural environment by protecting and restoring natural systems, conserving habitat, improving water quality, and reducing air pollutants. The health of all residents and the economy is connected to the health of the environment. Planning at all levels considers the impacts of land use, development, and transportation on the ecosystem.

Climate Change.

The region substantially reduces emissions of greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change in accordance with the goals of the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency (50% below 1990 levels by 2030 and 80% below 1990 levels by 2050) and prepares for climate change impacts.

Development Patterns.

The region creates healthy, walkable, compact, and equitable transit-oriented communities that maintain unique character and local culture, while conserving rural areas and creating and preserving open space and natural areas.


The region preserves, improves, and expands its housing stock to provide a range of affordable, accessible, healthy, and safe housing choices to every resident. The region continues to promote fair and equal access to housing for all people.


The region has a prospering and sustainable regional economy by supporting businesses and job creation, investing in all people and their health, sustaining environmental quality, and creating great central places, diverse communities, and high quality of life.


The region has a sustainable, equitable, affordable, safe, and efficient multimodal transportation system, with specific emphasis on an integrated regional transit network that supports the Regional Growth Strategy and promotes vitality of the economy, environment, and health.

Public Services.

The region supports development with adequate public facilities and services in a timely, coordinated, efficient, and cost-effective manner that supports local and regional growth planning objectives.

Regional Growth Strategy

The Regional Growth Strategy (RGS) is a major component of VISION 2050. Implementation of the RGS is a key in achieving the regional vision and goals. The central Puget Sound region is forecasted to grow to 5.8 million people and 3.4 million jobs by 2050. The RGS considers how the region can distribute growth. VISION 2050 describes the Regional Growth Strategy as:

a description of a preferred pattern of urban growth that has been designed to minimize environmental impacts, support economic prosperity, advance social equity, promote affordable housing choices, improve mobility, and make efficient use of new and existing infrastructure.7

The major parts of the growth strategy include:

a. Designation of regional growth centers, regional manufacturing/industrial centers, countywide centers and local centers and activity hubs in Urban Growth Areas (UGAs) and cities to concentrate population and employment growth and other services and activities;

b. Planning for multi-modal connections and supportive land uses between centers and activity hubs and building transit-oriented development along existing and planned infrastructure investments;

c. Maintaining stable and sustainable urban growth areas into the future;

d. Achieving a better balance of jobs and housing throughout the region; and

e. Allocation of population and employment growth to regional geographies in Snohomish County.

Under the RGS, Snohomish County is expected to grow by 424,000 people and 225,000 jobs between 2017 and 2050.

Multicounty Planning Policies (MPPs)

VISION 2050 contains MPPs that are intended to provide an integrated framework for addressing land use, economic development, transportation, other infrastructure, environmental, and climate change planning. These policies play three key roles: (1) give direction for implementing the Regional Growth Strategy, (2) create a common framework for planning at various levels in the four-county region, including countywide planning, local plans, transit agency plans, and others, and (3) provide the policy structure for PSRC’s functional plans (the Regional Transportation Plan and the Regional Economic Strategy). The MPPs are presented as a part of VISION 2050 through a three part framework:

Goals. Overview the desired outcome for each of the subject areas covered in VISION 2050.

Policies. Provide overall guidance for planning and decision-making at the local, countywide, and regional level.

Actions. Implement the policies and identify specific tasks for local governments, PSRC, and other partners.8

The MPPs address the following subject areas:

Regional Collaboration

Regional Growth Strategy


Climate Change

Development Patterns




Public Services