State DOTs recognize benefits of supporting local land use planning

As part of a new grant program, the Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) recently funded three local projects aimed at better coordinating transportation and land use decisions. VTrans has partnered with the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development to award approximately $200,000 each year for communities to develop plans, policies, and funding mechanisms that support local transportation options and reduce long-term infrastructure demands throughout the state.

SSTI researcher: 'Parking requirements transform cities, cost millions in tax revenues'

Researchers from the University of Connecticut and SSTI recently completed a pair of studies examining the long-term, citywide impacts of parking facilities and minimum parking requirements. The research shows how parking minimums can physically transform urban centers, stifle development, and cost cities millions of dollars in annual tax revenues.

America’s Rails with Trails: A Resource for Planners, Agencies, and Advocates on Trails Along Active Railroad Corridors (Rails to Trails Conservancy, 2013)

Instead of converting former rail lines to multi-use trails, states and municipalities are also finding that trails can be built alongside active rail lines. This report examines the characteristics of 88 rails-with-trails in 33 states, based on a survey of trail managers and the results of ongoing study over the past 20 years.

Can BRT drive TOD? Yes, with the right government support

Conventional wisdom asserts that rail does a better job of spurring transit-oriented development than a bus rapid transit line, but until now no one has quantified the return on investment with a BRT line. A new study released by ITDP this week attempts to quantify the TOD potential of these transit options and find that, “Per dollar of transit investment, and under similar conditions, Bus Rapid Transit leverages more transit-oriented development investment than Light Rail Transit or streetcars.”

More Development for Your Transit Dollar: An Analysis of 21 North American Transit Corridors (ITDP, 2013)

Cities short on funds have wondered whether BRT, a low-cost form of transit, cold be used to leverage TOD. This report compares BRT, light-rail, and streetcar projects and finds that per dollar of investment BRT leverages more development than either light rail or streetcar. Other conclusions are that all three types of transit investments show a significant return, and both government support how well the BRT meets best practices are keys to TOD success.

Regional TDM Action Plan (Pugest Sound Regional Council, 2013)

This transportation demand management plan from the Puget Sound Regional Council and the TDM Steering Committee lays out strategies to reduce single occupancy car trips through the region. A variety of efforts are outlined, including neighborhood-based alternative transportation education, car-sharing, employer-based ride-sharing, parking management, and regional transit cooperation.

Regional TDM Action Plan (Pugest Sound Regional Council, 2013)

This transportation demand management plan from the Puget Sound Regional Council and the TDM Steering Committee lays out strategies to reduce single occupancy car trips through the region. A variety of efforts are outlined, including neighborhood-based alternative transportation education, car-sharing, employer-based ride-sharing, parking management, and regional transit cooperation.

Tools for Estimating VMT Reductions from Built Environment Changes (Anne Vernez Moudon and Orion Stewart , University of Washington, 2013)

This report reviews the built environment characteristics associated with travel and the tools available that utilize these built environment characteristics to estimate travel and related outcomes such as vehicle emissions and health co-benefits. Tools ranged from simple to complex, and a number of factors should be considered when applying a tool to a planning effort.

American parking requirements: Massive (mostly), arbitrary, and costly

The large supply of parking has become a key concern in transportation and land use planning. Lots of parking makes it difficult for non-motorized modes to function, shifts costs from drivers to others, encourages SOV use, reduces available land for higher and better uses, creates stormwater issues, and so forth. One factor driving the prevalence of parking is regulation through zoning codes that impose parking minimums.