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Travel and Tourism

Would you like to visit – or move to – a place that is consistently listed as one of the “best” for recreation, wineries, or fly fishing? What about a place known for its safe drivers and caring and happy people? Or, maybe a place that is “best” for young professionals, active families, or retirees? The place that matches all of these is the Treasure Valley, which consistently appears on a multitude of “best places” lists.


Transportation is a key ingredient to making these experiences as rewarding as possible and continuing to bring visitors – and the money they spend – into the valley.


Tourism is Idaho’s third largest industry, behind agriculture and technology. In southwest Idaho, tourism employs over 13,000 people and generates $1.4 billion in traveler spending.

Challenges and Solutions

While travelers bring their wallets into the region, they also bring additional transportation needs. The Treasure Valley faces challenges in attracting and serving tourists, including isolation from other population centers, traffic congestion during major events, limited public transportation, and gaps in regional bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure.


However, these obstacles are not insurmountable. Some of the larger scale challenges and solutions are described below. While some solutions will take significant time and need large financial investments, others will not. Smaller scale solution such as bike share programs, ride hailing, vehicle-on-demand services, and shuttles from off-site parking can help bridge the gap between travelers and their destinations.


Hover over the flip boxes below to see the challenges and possible solutions for each issue.

Special events bring travelers to the region, but also bring traffic congestion, which can create a tremendous impact on the transportation system. Of particular note are Interstate 84 and State Highway 55, which provide key regional access to the Treasure Valley and from the Treasure Valley to recreational opportunities in the surrounding area.

Communities in Motion 2040 2.0 identifies many large roadway projects u2013 some funded, some not u2013 that can help address regional mobility needs of travelers, particularly those who wish to leave the urban core to visit wineries, participate in outdoor recreational opportunities, and more.
The Treasure Valley suffers from a lack of public transportation options and limited service hours, requiring visitors to rent a car to access many locations in the region.

Expanded bus service and/or high-capacity transit can increase options for travelers who do not bring vehicle to the valley, and do not wish to rent a car, and be an economic boon.
The Boise River Greenbelt is a regional landmark that attracts outdoor enthusiasts and visitors who want to see Boise by foot or bike; in addition, it is serves as a transportation option for many destinations and events. However, while it provides a well-used east/west corridor in Ada County, it currently does not extend into Canyon County, nor does it provide north/south access.

COMPASS and its member agencies have mapped a regional bicycle and pedestrian system. Portions of this system have been developed by cities, counties, highway districts, and developers, but gaps remain. As these gaps are filled, regional routes can provide not only alternative transportation options, but also serve as a tourist attraction.
As the Treasure Valley welcomes an increasing number of visitors, we’ll need to ensure the transportation system can keep up. Learn more about how the region can rise to that challenge.