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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Although state DOTs were largely created to build highways, they are now responsible for moving people and goods safely and efficiently across multiple modes—bike, walk, bus, trains, ferries, and cars. But to do a better job of meeting all these diverse needs and provide a multimodal transportation system that supports economic growth and livable communities, changes to their policies, internal processes, and agency culture are required.
In 2019 and 2020, we will partner with six rural communities—including return visits to two places we worked with in the past—to deliver technical assistance workshops aimed at tackling their specific economic, fiscal, and housing needs to help them prosper.
This month on Building Better Communities with Transit we are joined by Sean Northup, Deputy Director of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Planning Organization. Sean chats about the Indianapolis Red Line, the first of three BRT routes that will crisscross the region. Those lines and other transit improvements are being funded in part by local, dedicated funding which was won after a long and arduous process, as Sean explains.
A month ago, Cleveland’s HealthLine celebrated its 10th anniversary, and there is certainly plenty to celebrate. As one of the nation’s first examples of bus rapid transit (BRT), the HealthLine has spurred about $9.5 billion in investment over the last decade up and down the corridor where it runs.