County Overview With limited geographic growth potential in the County due to the Atlantic Ocean to the east and the Florida Everglades to the west, the expected growth in Miami-Dade County's population and employment represents both a challenge and an opportunity; a challenge because there is less space to accommodate growing areas with new or expanded transportation facilities; an opportunity because the concentrated growth increases the viability for transit and other non-highway expansion improvements. It also creates opportunities for creative solutions that both improve mobility within the County and also improve the overall quality of life of Miami-Dade County residents and visitors alike. This positive growth creates economic oppurtunities and contributes to Miami-Dade County's role in the global marketplace. Population And Employment Growth Miami-Dade County is, by far, the most populous county in Florida, with almost 2.5 million residents in 2010 and is expected to grow by over 30% by 2040 to over 3.3 million. The residents of Miami-Dade County, along with visitors, equates to a substantial demand on the transportation system. Projected growth can be expected to worsen already congested conditions on the County's roadways without proportional improvements to the transportation system. Employment in Miami-Dade County represent the other critical variable in terms of demand on the system. Total employment in the County in 2010 was just over 1.4 million and is expected to grow to more than 2 million by 2040. Historic and projected population and employment trends are illustrated in Figure 1-2. The greatest population growth, in terms of new residents added and percentage growth, is expected to occur in the southern planning area, with 217,000 or nearly 50% increase of population by 2040. While the south planning area, defined roughly as the area south of Kendall Drive, has traditionally been composed primarily of residential development and will continue to, it is also expected to experience the greatest employment growth, in percentage terms, at just over 64%. The growth in employment, relative to population growth is a positive trend allowing greater potential for more localized travel, which can have a positive effect on traffic levels of regional facilities, like US-1 and the HEFT. Change in population and employment by planning areas is shown in Figure 1-3 and Figure 1-4. The Downtown population and employment growth are expected to grow to 543,000 and 391,000 by 2040, respectively. The renewed growth in construction over the last several years, as evidenced by the construction cranes dotting the Miami skyline, will continue to strain the transportation infrastructure. This growth also provides opportunities for redevelopment and non-automobile oriented mobility solutions to the growing congestion. The west planning area is expected to grow by a modest 48,000 residents, but a much greater 173,000 employment. The northwest is expected to grow to 479,000 residents and 428,000 in employment. The north planning area is expected to remain the most populous growing to 712,000 residents and an increase of employment to 362,000. The central planning area is expected to grow to 480,000 residents and increase employment more than 100,000 to 408,000 total employment.