This research investigates the rationale behind the parking mandate in the minimum street width requirement for residential streets adopted by most local U.S. governments. For example, a minimum width requirement of 36 feet for a residential street automatically provides two 10-foot traffic lanes and two 8-foot parking lanes, making it a de facto parking policy. Such a street standard provides a large amount (between 740 million and 1.5 billion) of parking spaces on residential streets, in addition to abundant off-street parking spaces (garage and driveway), and it costs trillions of dollars in road investments. This research explores the two common beliefs underlying the parking mandate: that it is an amenity reflecting market demand, and that it is a technical necessity based on traffic safety concerns.
This research surveyed the decision makers of street standards in the United States: directors of departments of public works or transportation in local…
The evidence is clear. On the whole, America’s central cities are coming back. Employment is up, populations are growing, and many urban real estate markets are hotter than ever, with increasing numbers of young people, empty-nesters, and others choosing city life over the suburbs. Unfortunately, not all cities are fully participating in this renaissance. An examination of the performance of 302 U.S. cities on eight indicators of economic health and residential well-being reveals that 65 are lagging behind their peers. Most of these cities—and their larger regions—are older industrial communities that are still struggling to make a successful transition from an economy based on routine manufacturing to one based on more knowledgeoriented activities. Some others are simply dominated by the low-wage employment sectors that today characterize much of the American economy. But the outcomes are largely the same: While many of these cities have strong pockets of real…
Why This Book?
Transit-oriented development can be used as a tool to support family-friendly communities and high-quality education. Transit-oriented development (TOD) is a mix of housing, retail and/or commercial development, and amenities in a walkable neighborhood with high-quality public transportation. Interest in TOD has grown across the country to achieve multiple goals, including:
Reduced automobile trips and greenhouse gas emissions;
Increased transit ridership and transit agency revenues;
The potential for increased and/or sustained property values near transit;
Improved access to jobs for households of all incomes;
Reduced infrastructure costs, compared to what is required to support sprawling growth;
Reduced transportation costs for residents;
Improved public health due to increased walking and biking;
Creation of a sense of community and place.
Recent TOD projects have often catered more to young professionals, empty nesters or other households without children, as these…
In recent decades, some cities have seen their urban centers lose population density, as residents spread farther out to suburbs and exurbs. Others have kept populous downtowns even as their environs have grown. Population density in general has economic advantages, so one might wonder whether a loss of density, which may be a symptom of negative economic shocks, could amplify those shocks. This paper looks at four decades of census data and show that growing cities have maintained dense urban centers, while shrinking cities have not. There are reasons to think that loss of population density at the core of the city could be particularly damaging to productivity. If this is the case, there could be productivity gains from policies aimed at reversing that trend.
The topic of barrier-free access is of great importance in Dresden. Dresden has a population of over 508,000 inhabitants, more than 60,000 of whom have a disability. Demographic changes and an increase in the number of older people mean the number of people with disabilities continues to increase.
Over the next 25 years, the San Francisco Bay Area is projected to grow by an estimated 22 percent—adding around 1.6 million new residents. Land use and development professionals are engaged in a dialogue around how the region can accommodate this growth in a way that maintains the extraordinary quality-of-life that attracts people to live and work in the region. With an eye toward demographic shifts like an aging population and an increasing number of smaller and non-family households, planners and developers recognize the growing demand for homes and jobs in walkable, urban environments.
High land and housing costs in the core areas of the region, however, create continued development pressure in the outskirts of the region, leading to commute-times and household transportation costs that are among the highest in the nation. The high cost of housing and transportation is particularly felt by the region’s moderate- and lower-income families, who in some cities spend as…
A growing number of communities are discovering the value of their streets as important public spaces for many aspects of daily life. People want streets that are safe to cross or walk along, offer places to meet people, link healthy neighborhoods, and have a vibrant mix of retail. More people are enjoying the value of farmers’ markets, street festivals, and gathering places. And more people want to be able to walk and ride bicycles in their neighborhoods.
People from a wide variety of backgrounds are forming partnerships with schools, health agencies, neighborhood associations, environmental organizations, and other groups in asking their city councils to create streets and neighborhoods that fit this vision.
As a result, an increasing number of cities are looking to modify the way they design their streets. They are often stifled by standards and guidelines that prevent them from making the changes they seek. Some want to modify their standards and manuals, but don’t…
Carsharing in North America is changing the transportation landscape of metropolitan regions across the continent. Carsharing systems give members access to an automobile for short-term use. The shared cars are distributed across a network of locations within a metropolitan area. Members can access the vehicles at any time with a reservation and are charged by time or by mile. Carsharing thus provides some of the benefits of personal automobility without the costs of owning a private vehicle.
This paper examines how various land use factors such as density, regional accessibility, mix and roadway connectivity affect travel behavior, including per capita vehicle travel, mode split and nonmotorized travel. This information is useful for evaluating the ability of land use policies such as Smart Growth, New Urbanism and Access Management to help achieve transport planning objectives.
This study is one of the first to test the effect of sidewalks on travel patterns and the first we know of to relate sidewalk availability with VMT (Vehicle Miles Traveled) and GHG (Greenhouse Gas) emissions. Recently, several large jurisdictions in King County have developed local sidewalk data layers, creating a new opportunity to look at pedestrian infrastructure alongside other investment and policy strategies associated with reduced VMT and CO2 (carbon dioxide). The study used travel outcome data from the 2006 PSRC (Puget Sound Regional Council) Household Activity Survey. The household-level analysis was restricted to households in King County cities where sidewalk data was already available, and modeled the association of urban form, pedestrian infrastructure, transit service and travel costs on VMT and CO2, while controlling for household characteristics known to influence travel.
The results provide early evidence in the potential effectiveness of …