Transportation Innovation

Practical Design

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.

Smart Growth America’s Practical Design for Transportation Systems program is a comprehensive approach that helps your DOT meet and balance the changing needs of motorists, freight handlers, bicyclists, pedestrians, transit riders, and other travelers in a variety of contexts.

Our Practical Solutions program helps determine strategic goals and creates performance metrics with the community that meet goals like cost-effectiveness, safety for all modes, equity, mobility, accessibility, economic development and health. The most productive departments of transportation are those that have come to grips with the fact that moving cars fast all the time is hard to square with most of their other stated priorities, whether improved safety, more mobility, or reduced costs.

Our expert staff works with DOTs to produce a tailored education program involving state project managers, planners, designers and environmental managers. Our program includes best practices related to the challenge each state faces and the potential solutions that meet multiple community, regional and statewide goals and values.

Performance Management

Measuring performance in transportation is fundamentally about making sure a project supports the priorities of a state or community. Over the last several years, an increasing number of agencies began promoting a broader range of priorities, including better connecting all residents to economic opportunity, resources, and essential services. Smart Growth America’s performance management assistance helps your state department of transportation, transit agency, or local transportation agency prioritize your desired outcomes, meet federal and state requirements and do so in a way that addresses community concerns.

Rooted in Transportation for America’s seminal report, Measuring What We Value: Setting Priorities and Evaluating Success in Transportation, SGA and its program T4A, work with state and local agencies to identify strategic goals for the transportation network, develop performance measures that track progress toward those goals, and recommend targets under each of those measures. The relationship between SGA and T4A allows us to consider a variety of factors that extend beyond transportation and into land-use and development issues. Our assistance also explores the new data and tools available to help agencies evaluate transportation performance in new ways.

Measuring performance in transportation is about more than keeping your road smooth; it’s about spending scarce public dollars on projects that do the most good. Increased transparency, better outcomes, and greater efficiency are what keep the public supportive and what get projects built.