MassDOT seeks to triple transit, bike and walk share

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation last week announced a goal of tripling the share of trips in the state taken by transit, bike, and walking by 2030. Strategies to achieve the growth in non-single-occupant-vehicle modes are still being considered. If MassDOT can show progress toward its ambitious goals, it could provide best practices for peer agencies pursuing related policy ends.

Federal Resources for Sustainable Rural Communities (Partnership for Sustainable Communities and USDA, 2012)

This guide to HUD, DOT, EPA, and USDA programs highlights federal resources rural communities can use to promote economic competitiveness, protect healthy environments, and enhance quality of life. It provides key information on funding and technical assistance opportunities available from the four agencies, as well as examples of how rural communities across the country have put these programs into action.

The Innovative DOT: A Handbook of Policy and Practice (SSTI & SGA, 2012)

State officials across the country are facing the same challenges. Revenues are falling and budgets are shrinking while transportation demands grow. Most state Departments of Transportation (DOTs) have ambitious goals: improve safety, reduce congestion, enhance economic opportunity, improve reliability, preserve system assets, accelerate project delivery, and help to create healthier, more livable neighborhoods, just to name a few.
The handbook provides 31 recommendations transportation officials can use as they position their agencies for success in the new economy. The handbook documents many of the innovative approaches state leaders are using to make systems more efficient, government more effective and constituents better satisfied.

Land Use and Transportation Scenario Analysis and Microsimulation (LUTSAM) Tool (SSTI and DelDOT, 2012)

With SSTI assistance, Delaware DOT has developed its four-step demand model for scenario planning, using off-the-shelf GIS and simulation software. The tool, called Land Use and Transportation Scenario Analysis and Microsimulation (LUTSAM), enables DelDOT to quickly model and display development scenarios, providing communities and developers with analysis on traffic, congestion, emissions and other outcomes. LUTSAM will dramatically demonstrate, in real-world cases, the cost and environmental advantages of well-connected, compact and mixed use development. It is currently being used in a variety of settings around the state. Because it is built around standard software, it is adaptable for other states, MPOs and cities seeking to improve their land use and transportation planning.

Walk this Way: The Economic Promise of Walkable Places in Metropolitan Washington, D.C. (Brookings, 2012)

An economic analysis of a sample of neighborhoods in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area using walkability measures, this study offer useful insights for a diverse set of interests, including lenders, developers, economic planning professionals, as well as those interested in the economic healthy of cities.

New Chicago plan aims for zero traffic deaths in ten years

In a new transportation plan Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and DOT Commissioner Gabe Klein laid out their vision of no traffic fatalities within ten years. While the safety goals received much of the recent press, abitious performance measures for sustainability, transportation choice, customer service, and economic development are also part of the plan.

Southern California Association of Governments adopts strong sustainability plan

On April 3, the Southern California Association of Governments unanimously adopted a 25 year transportation plan that focuses on transit, road maintenance, walking, biking, sustainability, land use, and reduction of greenhouse gases. Local officials and citizen’s groups alike hailed it as a significant change in strategy for a region notorious for clogged freeways and the worst air quality in the nation.

The Colorado Energy Smart Transportation Initiative: A Framework for Considering Energy in Transportation (SSTI and Colorado DOT, 2012)

The mission of Colorado’s Energy Smart Transportation Initiative was to develop a framework for considering energy efficiency and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in transportation decision-making. With SSTI assistance, a collaborative team composed of federal and state agencies, MPOs, and rural planning partners came together to leverage resources and promote efficiency and effectiveness among agencies by exploring ways to develop “energy smart transportation” strategies. This report includes strategies developed to incorporate energy efficiency and GHG emissions in transportation planning, increase energy efficiency and reduce GHG emissions from transportation, advance environmentally friendly alternative vehicle and fuel technologies, and increase efficiency through truck fleet enhancements, improved traveler information, and other methods.

The BRT Standard (Institute for Transportation & Development Policy, 2012)

The BRT Standard is an effort by leading technical experts to come to a common understanding of what constitutes internationally recognized best practice in Bus Rapid Transit system design. The best BRT systems are ones that combine efficiency and sustainability with passenger comfort and convenience.