Are We There Yet? Creating Complete Communities for 21st Century America (Reconnecting America, 2012)

This report that tracks progress in America’s regions toward a vision of complete communities. The report highlights the benefits that complete communities offer all Americans, tells stories about the work being done across the country to create complete communities, and measures progress in every region with a population above 55,000. Transportation plays a key role in this report, including gauging access for low-income and disadvantages communities, whether cities have invested in fixed guideways, and the development implications of in transit, bicycling and walking infrastructure.

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.

Fighting transit fear with transit facts

While per-capita traffic casualties are declining with increasing transit ridership, many people still harbor an irrational fear of public transit—making them less likely to use transit or support increased transit service. Todd Litman of the Victoria Transport Policy Institute (VTPI) released a new study last month that delves into this issue.

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.

Two new studies shed light on the link between transportation and health

Two new studies affirm the links between transportation, urban design, and health. One study, conducted in England, determined that providing free transit passes to senior citizens significantly increased their level of physical activity, and a second study in Canada affirmed the link between walkable neighborhoods and Type 2 diabetes.

Decentralized by design: When should we consider ditching exclusive radial bus routes?

In the past, development and commute patterns required transit to bring commuters into densely developed central cities. Dispersal of residential and employment destinations has made serving choice transit riders while still maintaining urban core service a tricky balancing act. How can transit agencies best serve both suburban and urban needs?

Financing Transit Systems Through Value Capture: An Annotated Bibliography (Victoria Transportation Policy Institute, 2012)

This paper summarizes the findings of more than 100 studies concerning the impacts transit service has on nearby property values, and the feasibility of capturing a portion of the incremental value to finance transit improvements. The results indicate that proximity to transit often increases property values enough to offset some or all of transit system capital costs.

Complete Streets: Policy Analysis 2011 and Local Policy Workbook (Smart Growth America and National Complete Streets Coalition, 2012)

Smart Growth America has released a report that summarizes surveys of the more than 350 complete streets policies that have been approved by communities across the United States. Also available is the latest edition of the Complete Streets Local Policy Workbook, which is intended to assist transportation experts and local leaders with developing complete streets policies.

New generation of transit hubs redefining train stations’ place in communities

Whereas the grand train stations of yesteryear were monuments to transportation with their soaring cathedral-like ceilings, huge open spaces, and rows of wooden benches – today’s transit hubs have both a new aesthetic and role in their communities. They often link multiple modes – heavy rail, light rail, buses, bikes, etc. – and act as central gathering spaces for their communities, with shops, restaurants, parks, space for performances, and public art. The changing role for transit stations was outlined in several recent articles.