Applying Smart Growth Principles and Strategies to Resolving Land Use Conflicts Around Airports

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Applying Smart Growth Principles and Strategies to Resolving Land Use Conflicts Around Airports


This report presents the findings and conclusions from a research project to explore how the principles and strategies of smart growth can be applied to resolving land use conflicts around airports. The study entailed a literature review, interviews with airport and planning agency staff and others involved in airport land use planning decisions and detailed case studies. The work involved in performing the case studies constituted most of the research effort and the case study analysis and findings comprise the largest part of this report. Based on the research, nine specific recommendations are made. Key among these are that Caltrans Division of Aeronautics should work to ensure adequate funding, staffing and training for planners charged with land use planning around airports. Airport Land Use Commissions should also be encouraged (and provided with incentives) to better disseminate their policies and decisions, and to track and report changes in land use within Airport Influence Areas on an annual basis. Caltrans Division of Aeronautics should also coordinate with other relevant state agencies to develop explicit guidelines that address smart growth planning in the vicinity of airports.



Richard W. Lee has been a Research Associate with the Mineta Transportation Institute (MTI) for more than 10 years, and has led MTI studies of general plans and sustainability and of sustainability indicators for transportation (MTI Reports 01-18 and 02-05). He is also a Senior Transportation Planner with Fehr & Peers in Walnut Creek. He has more than 20 years of experience as a transportation consultant and academic. His consulting experience includes management of regional transportation plans, general plan studies, high-speed rail and transit projects, and smart growth transportation studies, as well as a wide variety of traffic impact, travel demand management, and transportation policy studies. Dr. Lee earned his Masters Degrees in Civil Engineering (1984) and City and Regional Planning (1985) and his PhD in City and Regional Planning (1995), all from the University of California, Berkeley. He has taught transportation planning and conducted transportation research projects at several universities, including Massey University in New Zealand, UCLA, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, San Jos State University, and UC Berkeley.


Geoffrey D. Gosling has been a Research Associate with MTI for three years. He is also the principal and founder of Aviation System Consulting, LLC, in Berkeley. He has more than 25 years of experience as a transportation consultant, researcher, and academic, and has been a consultant and expert witness in the areas of airport planning, aviation system planning, aviation safety, and airline economics to a wide range of government and other clients. From 1979 to March 2002 he was a member of the research staff of the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, and helped establish the National Center of Excellence for Aviation Operations Research, serving as its first program manager. In addition to his research with the Mineta Transportation Institute, he has been undertaking research on airport ground access with the California Partners for Advanced Transit and Highways at UC Berkeley. Mr. Gosling earned Master of Science (1975), Master of Engineering (1976), and PhD (1979) degrees in Civil Engineering (transportation) from the University of California, Berkeley. He was an Assistant Professor in the transportation engineering program at UC Berkeley for several years and continues to teach through the UC Extension and ITS Technology Transfer programs.


Katja Irvin has been a research assistant for the Mineta Transportation Institute since January 2004. She was employed by IBM for more than 10 years, leaving to pursue a Master of Urban Planning degree from San Jos State University. She has a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. She has worked as a planning intern with the City of San Jos and a transportation planning intern with the City of Sunnyvale. She is also a member of San Joss Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee and is active in the California Chapter of the American Planning Association.

September 2008
Airport facilities
Airport planning
Land use
Land use planning



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