Connecting Transportation Decision Making With Responsible Land Use: State and Regional Policies, Programs, and Incentives.

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Connecting Transportation Decision Making With Responsible Land Use: State and Regional Policies, Programs, and Incentives.


This report highlights a growing number of state and regional initiatives aimed at curbing unsustainable land use patterns through the use of targeted transportation funding. Just as a disconnect between transportation decision making and land use planning can develop and continue sprawling urban conditions, the linkage between the two processes can, in contrast, foster responsible growth. This report is intended to provide planning agencies at various levels of government with tools that can be used to strengthen the connection between transportation and land use planning. This report showcases 17 jurisdictions in the United States that have developed policies, programs, and incentives to connect transportation funding with various “smart growth” efforts. These jurisdictions are both state governments and regional planning agencies. The programs reviewed have had varying levels of success and have implemented a range of approaches in order to meet program goals. This variety of approaches shows that there is no single formula for achieving a strong linkage between transportation funding and responsible land use planning. These various approaches show that success in linking transportation planning with land use decision making most likely depends on creating context-specific strategies.



ary Binger, principal investigator of this report, has extensive experience in land use, development processing, and intergovernmental coordination. He has served as an assistant planner in Concord, California; associate planner in Oakland, California; planning director for the City of Del Mar, California; chief of planning and community development director for the City of Walnut Creek, California; deputy executive director of the Association of Bay Area Governments; and director of the Urban Land Institute’s California Smart Growth Initiative. Binger earned his bachelor of architecture degree from Cal Poly–San Luis Obispo, and his master of urban planning degree from the University of Washington, Seattle. He has performed graduate study at the University of Manchester, England, where he studied the British New Town Program. He recently received the Distinguished Leadership Award from the California Chapter of the American Planning Association.


Richard Lee has been a research associate with the Mineta Transportation Institute (MTI) for over 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, and has over 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 master’s 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 at 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 José State University, and UC Berkeley.


Since his arrival at the San Francisco Planning Department in 1991, Charles Rivasplata has worked as both an associate planner and a senior transportation planner in the Citywide Policy Section. He has participated in a number of projects linking land use planning and transportation investment, and has been involved in issues related to interagency coordination. Prior to his arrival at the Planning Department, he worked as an assistant transportation planner at TJKM Transportation Consultants in Pleasanton, California. He has also served on both the Minority Citizens Advisory Committee and the Advisory Council of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC). Currently he is a visiting lecturer in the Urban and Regional Planning Department at San José State University in San José, California. Rivasplata earned a bachelor of arts, a master of arts, a master of science, and a master of city planning from the University of California at Berkeley. In 2006, he received a doctor of philosophy degree from the University of California at Davis. His doctoral dissertation addressed recent transportation reforms and their impacts on transit integration in the United Kingdom. In the past 15 years, he has written and presented a number of articles on a variety of transportation topics, ranging from transit service planning to travel demand management and regional transportation planning.


Alexis Lynch is a master’s degree candidate in the Department of City and Regional Planning at the University of California at Berkeley. She earned her bachelor of arts in sociology from Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York. Her areas of research interest include land use, regional planning, sustainable development, and transportation.


Marlene Subhashini is a graduate student of Urban & Regional Planning at San José State University in San José, California. She has an undergraduate degree in architecture from Bangalore, India. She is currently an assistant planner at a private planning consultant company. Her areas of research interest include sustainability and green buildings, smart growth, transit-oriented development, and community-based planning.

February 2008
Government funding
Local government agencies
Regional policies
State Government agencies
Transportation planning
Land Use planning



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