Las Vegas’ next great leap

With more than 40 million visitors annually, Las Vegas is already one of the world’s favorite destinations. And investments are under way to solidify its future as a global city. Just a few of the projects on the horizon include the Las Vegas Convention Center Master Plan, the expansion and renovation of the facility and future re-imagining of the surrounding area, and continued development of new resorts and attractions, including a 20,000-seat arena on the Las Vegas Strip.

This increased growth is exciting and critical to the future of Las Vegas. But how do we move the next 1 million residents and 10 million visitors? The most critical need: a cohesive, convenient multimodal transportation system.

Easy to visit. Easy to explore.

Any resident or visitor of Las Vegas can tell you that current transportation options are limited and reaching maximum capacity. Traffic delays are increasing, and some parts of the Las Vegas Valley are difficult, if not impossible, to reach via public transportation.

A modernized, cohesive transportation system could not only fix those problems, it could elevate Las Vegas to new heights as an innovative place to live, visit and do business. Visitors would spend more time enjoying entertainment, shopping, dining and gaming—all adding to a highly favorable experience and an increased desire to visit again.

The economics of convenience.

The advantages of creating a state-of-the-art public transportation system extend well beyond convenience. Improving the transportation infrastructure of Las Vegas is also critical to maintaining the economic health of Las Vegas’ No. 1 industry: tourism.

Tomorrow's travelers are going to insist on an even higher standard of convenience and mobility, demanding multiple transit options that allow them to explore everything Las Vegas has to offer.

If Las Vegas is to continue to be one of the top travel destinations in the world, it must work to enhance transportation options that meet the expectations of the next generation. Las Vegas’ current transportation network is adequate to meet the demands of today, but will fall short of accommodating expectations of future generations.

A carefully planned, modernized transportation system will not only ensure Las Vegas remains the world’s premiere leisure and business destination; it will also maximize the money people spend once they’re here. The average visitor spends $107.26 on local transportation. If that were reduced by just 15%, over half a billion dollars every year would be freed up for spending in other areas. Additionally, studies have shown that hotels within ¼ mile of a rail station have seen a 12.5% higher occupancy rate on average and nearly 50% higher average daily room rates. In short, we could make Las Vegas’ core strength—the tourism industry—even stronger.

Transportation = Transformation.

While it’s critical that we ensure Las Vegas remains a key player in the global tourism industry, we should also consider ways to diversify our economy. Currently, Las Vegas has one of the least diverse economies of any major city in the world, with tourism supporting 48% of Southern Nevada’s gross domestic product. This makes Las Vegas more vulnerable to market fluctuations and slows recovery efforts during economic downturns.

Fortunately, many of the foundational elements that add strength and diversification to the Las Vegas economy already exist. In addition to the world’s greatest stretch of hotels, restaurants and entertainment offerings, Las Vegas is home to three of the country’s 10 largest convention centers as well as a growing, revitalized downtown area where a new medical school is being explored.

If we can improve the accessibility of these assets through infrastructure improvements and better connect them via efficient, multi-modal transportation options, not only will it be easier for both visitors and residents to explore and enjoy the area, it will also increase opportunities for development. Looking ahead, these areas can increasingly become more attractive locations for businesses to operate, as well as places employees want to live, and places where new and big ideas arise. These are the defining characteristics of the world’s leading economies.

Our goal is to set Las Vegas up for economic success over the next 20 years and beyond—to make it a hub for business, innovation and education while protecting and maintaining its status as the leading leisure and convention destination. To accomplish this, the plan will focus on economic diversification through the development of multiple specializations. New York is as famous for business and Wall Street as it is for entertainment and Broadway. We believe Las Vegas has the ability to be just as multi-dimensional.