Milwaukee sees new investment where freeway once stood

Just as more U.S. cities are beginning to see urban highways and parking lots as opportunities for development, Milwaukee is reaping the benefits of its freeway removal efforts, which date back two decades. The 24-acre downtown corridor where the Park East Freeway stood until 2003 has generated $886 million in new investment, and more development is planned.

Shared parking keeps customers happy

Parking issues have a measurable effect on businesses’ reputations, according to a recent study, but there are important exceptions. Restaurants, bars, and nightclubs aren’t as vulnerable to parking complaints, for instance, and the effects don’t seem to hold when parking is shared among businesses.

How WSDOT will be picking the right transportation investments for economic vitality

Smart Growth America and SSTI recently helped the Washington State Department of Transportation take a groundbreaking step to align its transportation investments with statewide policy goals. WSDOT is seeking to bring the state’s transportation policy goals directly into its decision making at every level, from statewide planning down to roadway design. The new framework will help WSDOT determine which transportation problems are most critical and which potential investments will move the state toward its vision for the future.

Is traffic congestion a good thing?

Transportation planners and engineers often think of traffic congestion as a problem that must be alleviated by building new roadways and widening existing ones. However, a new study goes against conventional thought to suggest that traffic congestion may actually be a sign of success for regions.

Test cases sought for Cost Effectiveness Tool

Smart Growth America has developed a new tool to help agencies decide which projects are most cost effective, and they are inviting transportation agencies to share past projects to help test this important tool. The tool allows communities to have a more transparent understanding of whether the long-range costs of a transportation project will be recovered via taxes and user fees, both with and without any state or federal subsidies.

A framework for determining where congestion really matters

These two things are true: 1) Travelers dislike slow traffic, and 2) slow traffic is sometimes an inescapable result of things that people do like—cities with popular destinations. Conventional transportation practice responds well to No. 1, with well-known standards for delay and capacity. Practice has no clear standards to deal with No. 2—what to do in places where speeding up cars amounts to destroying the village in order to save it. A new study of neighborhoods in Los Angeles, a place with more than a little congestion, helps fill this gap.

Real-time travel information: Better for businesses, better for travelers

Real-time travel information on digital screens placed in popular gathering areas allows for more efficient time management by transportation users of all modes. Tysons Corner Center, a shopping center in northern Virginia, uses Traveler Information Displays that provide traffic conditions and transit schedules to help customers plan their departures from the mall. Virginia DOT recently surveyed customers to evaluate the success of the TIDs with the goal of improving the system.

The economics of active transportation oriented development

While cities and developers have recognized the value of transit oriented development for quite some time, the advantages of proximity to and amenities building on active lifestyles and transportation are just beginning to emerge. Active Transportation and Real Estate: The Next Frontier, a new report from the Urban Land Institute, looks at the rise of residential, office, and mixed-use developments built around active transportation infrastructure and amenities.