Increased traffic congestion, loss of open space, infrastructure costs, and a desire for more housing options have all made smart growth an increasingly powerful strategy for building and revitalizing communities, catalyzing economic development and protecting the environment.
Evidence of this trend is every-where. Of the 189 ballot initiatives in 2002 related to state and local conservation, 141 were approved. Elected in 2002, Massachusetts Republican Governor Mitt Romney, Michigan Democratic Governor Jennifer Granholm and Pennsylvania Democratic Governor Ed Rendellare poised to make smart growth actions a high priority.
Smart growth projects nationwide were built in record numbers, continuing a five-year upward trend, reported “The New Urban News,” an industry publication that tracks new development. Cities and towns across the country are re-examining and changing comprehensive plans, zoning and other building regulations to make smart growth possible.
National transportation policy faces a number of urgent imperatives, including mitigation of air pollution and greenhouse gas production, and coping with congestion in the face of constrained capacity to construct and expand roadways. Because of these concerns, research into the interaction of land use and transportation policy has focused on the capacity of alternative land use approaches--including transit villages, New Urbanist development, jobs-housing balance, and compact development in general--to moderate growth in vehicle miles traveled (VMT). These development forms are referred to collectively in this study as "alternative" development.
The primary focus of this project is intra-regional comparisons, focusing on information pertaining to the relative desirability of places within a region. Context matters, so data is best understood in a comparative context. Small multiple replicate maps, charts, and digital images can be used to understand many aspects of places with TOD potential. Place comparisons can be made across space, time, and scale. The study focus is on understanding the neighborhoods surrounding transit centers and their context in terms of the character of areas within walking distance (< 1/2 mile), bicycling distance (< 2 miles) and five-mile driving or transit distance. These ranges of analysis include the areas where residents of possible TODs might work, shop, or prefer to go for services. This project includes a comprehensive case study application envisioning the Hayward BART Station area. Other case studies cover the Fruitvale BART in Oakland, Redwood City and Mountain View CalTrain,…
This project reviews policies and legislative programs that can be adopted at all levels of government to encourage transit-based development. The focus of the study is on local government implementation because cities and counties have the land use responsibility of planning and zoning. The study also investigates how higher levels of government (regional, state, and federal) can encourage development through legislative powers and policy incentives. The study recommends additional land use, legislative, and fiscal powers that are needed by local jurisdictions so that they can carry out these incentives.