Images on Front Cover and Inside page are a blend of the following places in our ten-county region of Middle Tennessee: Left: Downtown Nashville from the Cumberland River, BellSouth, now AT&T “Batman Building”….a Nashville icon building, Riverfront Park and other notable sky line features Center: Bicentennial Walking Train in Ashland City, an excellent example of an urban greenway, featuring stunning views of the Cumberland River, providing biking and walking connections throughout this City Left: A scenic farm in the Leipers Creek community of Williamson County which depicts the beautiful farmland and open areas that make our ten county region desirable and unique.
Point out that this topic is the glue that pulls many of the other topics together.
Historically transportation planning has responded to land use growth, and since the 1960’s transportation engineers have been trying to keep up with population and employment growth. At the larger scale, linking transportation and land uses requires understanding how land use patterns affect the need for travel, in terms of where land use is located within the region, the type of land use, the design of the land use, and the constraints of the transportation system. When these factors are understood appropriate land use and transportation decisions can be made and can result in a more efficient and sustainable land use/transportation system. At a finer scale, linking transportation and land use means designing streets that are compatible with the adjacent land uses, that support the adjacent “context”, to the point where the street is an integral part of the context.
Here is why this topic is important: Population and employment growth and growth in traffic is projected to increase sharply over the next 20 years. Funding will fall short of solving the deficiencies in our transportation system. We have rapidly reached a point where “we can’t build our way out of congestion.” In addition we are already seeing impediments to expanding the regional transportation system: Environmental impacts Social impacts Limited right-of-way The effects are not limited to only highways and major arterials, but starts to affec t the livability and desirability of outlying communities.
Key message: Achieving the tangible benefits of a balanced transportation and land use system requires a collaborative planning approach. Emphasize one definition of sustainability: We want to be able to grow and accommodate new people who desire to live and work in our region and at the same time we want our transportation system to run well and want transportation investments to last a long time….this is sustainability.
An important concept in understanding how land use influences travel is the 3 D’s, density, diversity and design. Define density and how it influences travel. Key message: Higher densities in the appropriate place and with appropriate urban design can have beneficial impacts on transportation, particularly at the regional scale.
Define diversity and its affect on travel. Housing choice also accommodates the diverse household types in today’s region. Key message: Not only is mixed use a beneficial land use strategy from a transportation perspective, but it is also a critical element of creating vibrant town centers.
Define design and its affect on transportation. Key points: There are two primary aspects to design: Urban design features which provides intangibles such as attractiveness, comfort, interest, and encourage to use other than single occupant auto modes of travel. These features include the relationship of buildings to the street and creative a supportive multi modal environment; and Functional design which provides intangibles including accessibility, connectiveness, reliability, security which give people transportation choices , and also allows the chosen transportation system to work effectively and efficiently. Indicate that we will discuss design tools in more detail later.
Highlight these examples of how the region’s dis-invested and under-utilized arterial streets have redevelopment potential.
Simulation is one way to illustrate the integration of transportation design into the creation of a place. In this example, the goal of this community is to create a vibrant and economically vital place that has lasting value. This requires a integration of land use, urban design and transportation design and a combination of public and private investments.
The transportation investment might look like this. It can include vehicle, pedestrian and bicycle safety improvements, and streetscape and landscaping in the public right-of-way. The transportation design helps forms an armature for a place…but is it a place? Not yet.
It becomes a place when the transportation and land use contexts are combined and integrated in a compatible way. Note how the buildings orient to the thoroughfare and how the privately-owned areas transition into the publicly-owned areas forming a plaza. [Use pointer] The automobile is accommodated, but other modes such as pedestrians, bicycles and transit are equally prioritized. For example, parking is provided in the rear or under the building, separated from the pedestrian realm making the place easily accessible for all users.
The toolbox contains a varied menu of strategies ranging from regional to community to project-level scales. Combinations of strategies are required to achieved the desired results. Additionally point out that different agencies control and implement different strategies. Important strategy to highlight is the first one. We must make the most out of existing transportation system, squeezing out every bit of efficiency before considering building more roads and widening highways. There will be a day when this will be our ONLY option. The second strategy to highlight is working collaboratively with agencies to coordinate land use and transportation planning. Collaboration is a key aspect of this strategy. This is a good strategy to be illustrated of a local example of a successful development project that work well with the transportation system (e.g., transit-oriented development, mixed-use).
Strategies to highlight: -Concentrated activity centers are the 3 D’s in practice, these are examples of efficient land use patterns that create efficient travel patterns. -The design of a site can create either an auto or pedestrian-oriented environment simply by how the buildings are oriented to the thoroughfare, how the parking is configured and how well connected the pedestrian facilities are planned. Discuss the features of site design that differentiate auto and pedestrian orientation. Point out that good site design is linked to a previous strategy for Design Guidelines. -Balanced transportation system is a combination of land uses, development patterns and types, and transportation services that create an environment where non-auto travel options are viable and attractive.
The strategies we just reviewed are supported by a menu of tools. This is the first set of tools, which are applied based on the unique circumstance of the situation. Note that the tools are not specifically related to a particular strategy (like in other topics) but are divided into three major categories: Transportation operations – common and innovative improvements to streets and intersections that improve traffic flow and safety without having to widen streets. Integration of land use and transportation – land use patterns and product types that change people’s travel behavior and designing streets to be more compatible with their surrounding contexts. Design – aesthetic and functional treatments that make alternatives to driving alone viable transportation options. The tools are further identified as applicable at the community and corridor scale or the project scale. This slide lists some common types of operational improvements at the community/corridor scale that improve conditions for auto drivers and pedestrians and bicyclists. (See additional material for some more detail on these types of tools).
Again using simulation to show how the combination of thoroughfare design, and site and building design evolve an auto-oriented context to a multi-modally oriented context. This simulation demonstrates how the combination can change the context. Current context includes low-intensity and under-utilized land and a basic divided arterial street.
Collaborative planning includes planning the appropriate density, and type of land uses and transportation improvements that are compatible with the land uses and the type of travel the land uses create. In this simulation the land uses are more intensified, and the street improves the pedestrian and bicycle environment, but remains the primary divided arterial.
This illustration shows an evolution into a town center. Note that the street is reduced in size and more pedestrian-oriented (an example of a road diet). This can occur when increase street connectivity occurs with redevelopment, allowing traffic to disperse over a grid of streets.
Additional tools at the community and corridor level. A few interesting ones to discuss include: -ITS (intelligent transportation systems) and how this use of technology can improve traffic conditions without widening streets or highways. -Plan for Bus Rapid Transit – often used in lieu of building expensive light rail systems, a modern bus transit system that provides many of the same benefits of light rail at a fraction of the cost. (see additional material for a more in-depth information). -Access management – an excellent way to squeeze more capacity out of streets without widening and to improve aesthetics and pedestrian safety (see additional material).
These tools tie back to other topics and are the actions that make strategies work. Discuss those topics that would be of particular interest to the community you are presenting to, but the default should include: -Adopt design guidelines (this would be a good topic for a handout, an example (best if local) of a good set of guidelines for street design). -Consider an adequate facilities ordinance (see additional materials for more information).
The menu of design tools covers a very broad spectrum of issues, from development patterns, to housing development types to mixed-use, to landscaping and urban design, to street network, and street design. From a transportation perspective, the primary benefit of good design is choice…choice in where to live and work, and choice in mode transportation. But good design has many benefits some of which are listed here.
One of the most important factors in creating a walkable place is connectivity. The single greatest barrier to walking is a lack of connectivity. Before the automobile communities used to be quite walkable, but development patterns changed and land uses became separated served by an auto-centric transportation system. Describe the difference in the north and south areas of the diagram, note that north area has segregated land uses with little connectivity between them (forces everyone onto the arterial street), whereas area to the south mixes land uses and provides an interconnected street system with many choices to get from point point to point without using the arterial. Some communities are developing connectivity plans, or at a minimum, are preparing connectivity guidelines for new development. Other tools to highlight: -As downtowns and town centers become more vital, the need to develop comprehensive public parking strategies and programs. As areas intensify, communities may want to treat parking as a commodity. -Some incentives for different types of development (such as higher density housing, mixed-use and TOD) include innovative parking strategies which begins with revising old parking standards to be more flexible. Also as areas intensify the need to protect surrounding residential neighborhoods form traffic and parking intrusion becomes more apparent, so these tools might include neighborhood traffic management plans.
More design tools: Integrating transit means to orient sites and buildings towards the street served by transit (its good to orient towards the street even if it is not served by transit), and to provide a transit stop (with amenities) at development projects of the appropriate scale and type for transit (e.g., high density housing, employment). On larger sites ensure that all of the buildings have convenient pedestrian connections to transit. Discuss the different types of development types. See additional information for handouts and additional information.
Regardless of whether you are developing a single project, a comprehensive citywide plan, or a new transportation facility there are significant benefits to using a process involving Contest Sensitive Design (CSD). CSD recognizes that achieving Trans and LU integration requires different roadway designs depending on the land use character. Discuss the tenets. The CSD process produces positive outcomes that include: Stakeholder and agency education Full range of alternatives Enhancements to community, environment and transportation Clear assessment of trade-offs so that informed decisions can be made Innovative solutions Public trust and credibility in agency Community ownership in decisions CSD is both a process and a way of designing balanced multi-modal transportation facilities that respect traditional objectives for safety, efficiency, capacity, and maintenance, while integrating community objectives and values relating to compatibility, livability, sense of place, urban design, cost and environmental impacts
A key to CSD is understanding what is meant by “context”. One definition is: The nature of the natural or built environment created by land, topography, natural features, buildings and associated features, land use types, and activities on property adjacent to streets and on sidewalks and the broader area created by the surrounding neighborhood, district or community. Context also refers to the diversity of users of the environment. A simple way to identify context is to use something similar to the “transect” developed by the new urban architect and planner Andres Duany. This system takes the infinite spectrum of natural and built environments and classifies them into six discrete context zones intended to correctly identify supportive characteristics. Often times these context zones can be used to develop context-specific design guidance.
See additional material for the key aspects of pedestrian-oriented building and site design.
Good design is based on an understanding of human needs. There are a number of tools for good site design including the appropriate types or mix of land uses, oriented the building toward where people approach instead of parking lots, creating pedestrian-oriented setbacks, not auto-oriented, small blocks that encourage walking, putting parking in structures or behind or to the side of buildings, and avoiding projects that create unwelcoming frontages and poor access to other uses or transportation facilities.
The design of buildings plays an important role in how people perceive a community or district. The design of buildings is very important from the pedestrians viewpoint because it adds visual interest, identifies entries, provides street-level activity and socializing opportunities. A “streetwall” of buildings provides a sense of enclosure that makes walking more comfortable when in urban areas. NOTE that we are not talking about architectural design but rather urban design and creation of public space.
Another simulation…describe existing conditions, older area with a theater that has potential for significant activity. Located in area with lack of investment.
Area with streetscape improvements.
Catalyst development project such as renovation of a historic structure start to draw interest to the area.
..and draw new development into the area.
Over time the area become vibrant and economically vital.
This transformation can occur very efficiently with application of the right strategies and tools with public investments and incentives to encourage complementary private investment.
This is a list of local, regional and statewide resources that can provide information and assistance with land use and transportation planning, as well as provide information on design and Context Sensitive solutions.
Case Study Background – This is an example of an ongoing “Major Investment Study” which integrates land use and transportation planning. The Nashville region is experiencing substantial growth. From 1990 to 2005 the growth rate for the five county region of the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) was 35%. Existing transit services within the five-county Nashville region are primarily limited to local bus systems with some express service to the Nashville CBD. There is an extensive car/van pool system within the region. The Music City Star commuter rail service began revenue operations in 2006. This commuter rail, links Lebanon, TN with downtown Nashville. This is the region’s first corridor of a multi-modal, regional system that was planned to parallel many of the area interstates. As part of this multi-corridor transit network, the MPO, in coordination with the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) and the Nashville Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA), began a study in 2004 to evaluate the potential for establishing a high-performance transit connection to Murfreesboro. Increasing capacity on other regional roadways has not been as successful in keeping up with demand. The Northeast corridor has stood out in terms of potential ridership and favorable air emission reductions. This study is unique for the region in that alternatives for both land use and transportation will be studied together rather than as separate entities. The objective of this study is: - Investigate current mobility condition in the Corridor, both technically and as a perception of the residents and businesses who use the corridor regularly. Develop a series of alternative growth patterns, starting with the pattern envisioned by the local governmental entities and proceeding through an iterative process to produce a transportation system that delivers the best level of transportation service to fit the desired land use pattern. Study evaluates existing unconstrained development pattern and a series of alternative land uses and corresponding transportation systems, culminating in a set of land use and transportation choices selected by the Corridor. Study will also result in recommendations for local land use policies to ensure the desired land use patterns will be implemented.
QUALITY GROWTH TOOLBOX
Transportation and Land Use Planning for Quality Growth