A Introduction


ew Orleanians get around the city by all transportation modes—foot, car, bicycle, bus, streetcar, and ferry. Although much of New Orleans is a walking city, car travel still tends to dominate, particularly in areas built after 1960.  As New Orleans moves toward becoming a stronger, more resilient, and more prosperous city, the City’s transportation system is a critical component in ensuring all residents have an equal opportunity to participate, prosper, and reach their full potential.  The most successful urban places in America offer a variety of ways to travel around the city.  They also connect land-use planning and policy to transit investments.  Because of its dense street grid and existing transit lines, New Orleans has the foundation to become a truly equitable and multimodal community.

The City of New Orleans’ transportation system of the future will enhance our quality of life by supporting social, environmental, and economic sustainability in an accountable and responsible manner.  In order to achieve this vision, our transportation system must meet our mobility needs while reducing automobile dependence through an integrated, balanced system of multimodal facilities and services, enhancing the economy by maximizing access to businesses and community resources, delivering cost-effective services by making the best possible use of existing facilities and transportation assets, and protecting public safety and the environment.  


Responsible Agencies

The agencies with major responsibility for transportation facilities in New Orleans are the City’s Department of Public Works (DPW); the Port of New Orleans; the New Orleans Aviation Board (NOAB); New Orleans Public Belt Railroad (NOPB); and the New Orleans Regional Transportation Authority (RTA). The Regional Planning Commission (RPC) is the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) responsible for coordinating planning and allocation of federal transportation dollars on a regional basis.  DPW has responsibility for all streets (except federal and state highways), street lights, traffic and street signs, traffic signals, the minor drainage system, and curbside management and enforcement. The Port of New Orleans, which is managed by a Board of Commissioners, is responsible for managing all port traffic and commerce.  The NOAB is an unattached board under the executive branch of the City government and is responsible for overseeing the administration, operation, and maintenance of the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport and represents the City in all aviation matters.  The NOPB is a political subdivision of the City and is a Class III switching railroad with the primary mission of serving the Port of New Orleans and local industries.  It is a neutral carrier run by the City, with direct connections to six Class 1 Railroads, and plays an important role in expediting local and intermediate freight through the strategic New Orleans rail gateway.  The RTA is a state agency that has responsibility for public transit buses, streetcars, and ferries and whose day-to-day operations are managed by a private firm in a public-private partnership.



Master Plan recommendations to achieve the transportation system vision focus on fixing and maintaining transportation system infrastructure; increasing efficiency across all transportation modes; improving the safety and quality of life for all users; promoting economic growth and development; and supporting environmental sustainability and resiliency. These priorities are in alignment with the New Orleans Urbanized Area Metropolitan Transportation Plan (MTP) developed by the RPC, the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (LaDOTD) Master Plan and Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) priorities and include:



Equity must be a prime consideration in allocating both the benefits and costs of transportation in a manner that is fair and appropriate.  Transportation planning decisions often have significant equity impacts, inasmuch as transportation is the second-largest expense for households and represents a major financial hurdle for low-income families.  New Orleans will also be one of the first cities to implement the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Rule (AFFH).  The AFFH Rule requires access to affordable and reliable transportation that widens opportunity and is essential to addressing poverty, unemployment, and other equal opportunity goals such as access to good schools and health care services.  Providing equal access to transportation means providing all individuals living in the City with an equal opportunity to succeed.  In New Orleans, with high rates of people with limited access to a private vehicle and low median household incomes, the provision of safe, affordable, and convenient transportation options such as public transit, walking and bicycling is an important component of the overall transportation system.  Care must therefore be taken to ensure that access to the pedestrian network of sidewalks and paths is available to all residents of the region regardless of physical ability.  It is important that transit service delivery, including bike share systems, is also equitably accessed.


B Resilience

In order for people to connect to the opportunities of the future, we will need modern and efficient transportation options to get workers to jobs and students to school. In order to bounce back from future shocks, we must prepare our city, neighborhoods, and businesses. In order to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and join the global community in mitigating climate change, we must invest in renewable energy sources and design for greater efficiency, 


A recommendations Summary linking goals, strategies and actions appears below and is followed by one or more early-action items under the heading Getting Started. The Narrative follows, providing a detailed description of how the strategies and actions further the goals. Background and existing conditions discussion to inform understanding of the goals, policies, strategies and actions are included in Volume III, Chapter 6.