Passenger rail a lynchpin of smart, walkable development


Passenger rail along the Gulf Coast has been absent since 2005 when Hurricane Katrina wiped out much of the infrastructure. But Smart Growth America, through our Transportation for America (T4America) program, has been coordinating a monumental effort to restore service along the Gulf Coast and that work is paying off.

Advocacy Technical assistance

Economic mobility drives Charlotte’s new TOD zoning


Charlotte is booming. Since 2003, upwards of 12,000 new housing units have opened along the LYNX Blue line. But when planners went back to look at the development over the last decade, they weren’t entirely satisfied with the results. So the city decided to create new TOD zoning that would better reflect the needs and context of different stations as we hear on this month’s episode of Building Better Communities with Transit.

Technical assistance Transportation

Arts, culture, and transportation fellowship


Transportation for America is excited to announce the Arts, Culture, and Transportation (ACT) Fellowship, a new opportunity for professionals to increase their knowledge of the transportation planning and design process, and develop creative placemaking skills to better integrate artistic and cultural practices in transportation projects.

Creative Placemaking Technical assistance

Getting intentional about equitable TOD in Chicago


This month on Building Better Communities with Transit we talk with Kendra Freeman, the director of community engagement for the regional Metropolitan Planning Council, about TOD in Chicago. A recent update to the city’s TOD policy puts a new focus on equitable development in a city that has seen stark differences in outcomes based on zip code.

Technical assistance Transportation

An Alabama city grapples with its development decisions


Atmore—a rural city in southern Alabama—is poised to make some key land use decisions that will have a great impact on both its long-term economic prosperity and its fiscal health. To grapple with these choices, the city partnered with Smart Growth America to gain a better understand their impact.

Economic development Technical assistance

How to build a better state DOT, the digest


State departments of transportation (DOTs) direct most of the transportation spending in the United States but they’re often focused on building highways and are ill-equipped to address the far more diverse mix of challenges they’re tasked with solving today. In a month-long series we just wrapped up, we examined how we got here, what state DOTs need to change, and how one state is putting its intentions into practice.

DOT Innovation Technical assistance Transportation

How Tennessee DOT is turning Complete Streets policy into practice


State DOTs have a major role to play in reversing the nation’s epidemic of pedestrian deaths. But that can be hard to do when most DOTs are still set up to build roads that prioritize high-speed car travel, even if that jeopardizes the safety of some of the people using those roads. Tennessee DOT is working to change that through a comprehensive approach to Complete Streets.

DOT Innovation Technical assistance Transportation

If that road feels out of place, that’s probably because it is


State DOTs often use guidance and a project selection process that leads to overbuilt projects that don’t fit their context and are ill tailored to the needs of the community. To build better projects that fit in the areas they serve, state DOTs need to acknowledge land use and context and update their project selection process to focus on outcomes.

DOT Innovation Technical assistance Transportation

TOD winds shift in San Diego


This month on Building Better Communities with Transit we chat with Colin Parent, Executive Director of Circulate San Diego, an advocacy organization that promotes public and active transportation in tandem with sustainable growth. As Colin notes, much of the renewed interest and support for transit and transit-oriented development is being driven by one thing: the housing crisis.

Technical assistance Transportation

“Incorrect assumptions lie at the root of every failure.”


State DOTs founded to build highways are now in charge of building and operating a much broader array of transportation infrastructure and services than ever before. But to build more cost-effective projects that meet modern mobility challenges and broader economic and environmental goals, state agencies will have to reassess the assumptions that so often drive them in the wrong directions.

DOT Innovation Technical assistance Transportation