An exercise in futility


Our Transportation for America program has released a comprehensive report on why our default “solution” to traffic congestion—widening highways—simply does not work. The Congestion Con proves with data that one more expensive freeway lane most certainly will not solve congestion, and perhaps congestion is the wrong thing to be trying to solve in the first place.

Transportation

How bad land use and transportation decisions go hand-in-hand with “The Congestion Con”

In an expensive, decades-long effort to curb congestion in urban regions, our transportation agencies and elected leaders have overwhelmingly prioritized spending hundreds of billions of dollars to widen and build new highways. Yet this strategy has utterly failed to “solve” the problem at hand, and in many cases, has actually made it worse. The Congestion Con, a new report from our Transportation for America program, examines how and why, and in this post we look at how land use is right in the middle of it all.

Complete Streets DOT Innovation Economic development Transportation

Webinar Recap: The State of Transportation and Health Equity


Smart Growth America recently released The State of Transportation and Health Equity, a field scan looking at the intersection of transportation and health equity in the U.S. today. Last month, Emiko Atherton walked through the high-level findings on a webinar. A recording of the webinar with closed captioning is now available. You can also download a PDF of the presentation or read the brief recap below.

Transportation

New federal bill would make our streets safer—plus, see the 100 most dangerous House districts


A handful of leaders in the House and Senate just introduced a bill that would finally require states and metro areas to design and build safer streets for everyone. Plus, our new report shows which U.S. House representatives have the highest rate of people struck and killed while walking in their districts.

Advocacy Complete Streets Transportation

Foot Traffic Ahead: 2019

Walkable urban places (i.e. WalkUPs) occupy less than one percent of the total land mass in the 30 largest metro areas, but deliver outsized economic performance and there is great demand for more of such places. Meeting this pent-up demand for new WalkUPs would create a new economic foundation for the U.S. economy, one far more resilient than one predicated on suburban growth.

In Foot Traffic Ahead 2019, we rank the top 30 metros based on their WalkUPs.

LOCUS

The time tested value of walkability


Smart Growth America/LOCUS today released Foot Traffic Ahead 2019, a report which ranks the 30 largest metros in the United States based on the percentage of office, retail and rental multi-family space each has in their walkable urban places. The report powerfully illustrates the price premiums investors and buyers are willing to pay to live or work in walkable, transit-connected neighborhoods—and why we urgently need to build more of them.

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New report calls for examination of federal real estate spending

Federal financing of and spending on real estate impacts millions of Americans on every street, in every neighborhood, town and rural community in the country. From loan guarantees to commercial tax credits, these programs help those most in need pay their rent, help families purchase their first home, and provide financing for commercial development. The federal government impacts where and how homes and even whole neighborhoods are built in the United States.

Federal Involvement in Real Estate: A call for examination surveys this spending, which encompasses approximately $450 billion each year. Through a combination of direct spending and commitments, this funding supports loans and loan guarantees, grants, and tax credits.

This spending has an enormous impact on the U.S. real estate market. Though usually viewed as a “free” market, the U.S. real estate sector is heavily influenced by direct and indirect government intervention. Taken as a whole, these expenditures and investments impact where real estate is developed and what kind of product is built.

Even a cursory analysis reveals this impact is uneven. For example, small multifamily buildings are less likely to receive financing, despite the fact that most renters in the United States live in these smaller buildings. Viewed as whole, federal funds are not targeted to those most in need, are not targeted to strengthen existing communities and are not targeted to places where people have economic opportunities.

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New Resource: USDA Releases Guide to Federal Programs for Rural Communities

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently published Federal Resources for Sustainable Rural Communities; a guide to programs available to help rural areas promote economic development and enhance quality of life.

The publication, a joint effort of the federal Partnership for Sustainable Communities,

Compiles all of the federal resources that can support rural communities in their efforts to promote economic competitiveness, protect healthy environments, modernize infrastructure, and provide services to residents. The guide has 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 benefitted from federal resources.

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New report highlights smart growth's return on investment and cost savings

A new report out today from the Center for Clean Air Policy (CCAP) discusses the myriad economic benefits that smart growth brings to households, communities and municipal governments. The study, titled Growing Wealthier: Smart Growth, Climate Change and Prosperity shows that smart growth development strategies enhance community prosperity and generate economic benefits for local businesses, households and governments.

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