Forces of Change

Different forces in the future will accelerate or reverse current trends, or create new ones that significantly impact demographics, development patterns, use of the regional transportation system, the economy, and/or the environment in Greater Philadelphia. This survey asks you about which of these forces have been most significant in the past, and what you think will be the most important in the future.

The Greater Philadelphia has changed dramatically over the past 50 years. The region's population has grown by 22 percent over this period, while the number of jobs has increased by 48 percent. Commuter use of the region's transportation system has gone from more than 40 percent of people riding transit, walking, or working from home in 1960 to more than 80 percent driving by 2010.


What do you think has been the most significant force behind the transportation, development patterns, and economic growth in Greater Philadelphia over the past 50 years?

Auto-oriented Development Preferences

Construction of new highways, cheap energy, the prevalence of the automobile, and a host of other factors lead to rapid, widespread low-density suburban development.


The opening of global markets leads to significant loss of manufacturing in the region, but less expensive products for consumers.

Changing Federal Role

An increase in federal funds for renewing transportation and urban areas early in the 50-year period, but a decrease in funds over the last 30 years. As Federal Government involvement has waned, cities and regions have had to find their own solutions to a variety of challenges.

Rise of Mobile and Communications Technologies

The internet, computers, and cell phones allow for the instantaneous transmission of data and information, changing the nature of the U.S. economy.

More Women in the Workforce and Increasing Household Wealth

More women in the workforce, and expanded access to mortgage financing means many households have increasing amounts of disposable income.

Rising Inequality

The failure of the minimum wage to keep up with inflation and declining union membership means that many working class families have been left behind in the new economy.

Identify Your Own Force


What do you think will be the most significant force behind the transportation, development patterns, and economic growth in Greater Philadelphia over the next 50 years?

Enduring Urbanism

Urban locational preferences of millennials and empty nesters are just the start of a long-term trend, as future generations show an even stronger desire for city living and alternative transportation.

The Free Agent Economy

Individuals must increasingly create their own economic opportunities, as gains in labor efficiency and the escalating cost of full-time employees, cause large companies to continue to reduce their workforces.

The U.S. Energy Boom

The region's economy grows with domestic natural gas production, and renewed manufacturing. An abundance of domestically produced energy keeps the cost of energy low, and helps the nation become more energy independent.

Severe Climate

Ever increasing greenhouse gas emissions lead to the worst-case outcomes of climate change. The region must prepare for hotter and wetter weather, more frequent storms, and rising sea levels.

Government Paralysis

Partisan politics and fiscal austerity hamper governmental effectiveness at all levels. Increasing personal, business, and government debt levels limits willingness to fund major new investments, public or private.

Transportation on Demand

Smart phones, apps, and real-time information help transportation system users seamlessly navigate a multimodal network of car sharing, taxi, ride sourcing, transit, biking (including e-bikes and other small electric vehicles), bike sharing, and walking to get around.

Identify Your Own Force


What will be the biggest impact on the region over the next 50 years as a result of the future force (in Question 2)?

Complete Survey