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.
Last week the arts & culture team caught up with this year’s State of the Art (SOTA) Transportation Training participants to learn how arts organizations and transportation agencies in these communities are successfully collaborating to address unique transportation challenges. We’re also releasing the DIY Toolkit so that you can hold SOTA Transportation Trainings in your own community.
This toolkit will walk you through the steps to design and implement a State of the Art (SOTA) Transportation Training to help address a transportation project in your community by utilizing creative placemaking strategies.
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.
Smart Growth America and the Governors’ Institute on Community Design worked with state departments of transportation to question and assess their underlying assumptions that lead many states to over built, expensive highway solutions for every transportation problem. The following memos are the outcome of that work, which delve into seven common areas of reform that we identified.
Designing the commercial corridors where we live, work, and shop to move high volumes of cars as quickly as possible isn’t just dangerous. It also has severe consequences for health, economic viability, and equity along these corridors. We collaborated with the Urban Land Institute on a new research report that measures the impact of unsafe, unhealthy corridor conditions; examines how common these conditions are across the country; and digs into what can be done to change this trend.