Introduction and Purpose
In 2009, the U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (U.S. HUD) created the Partnership for Sustainable Communities (the Partnership) “to help improve access to affordable housing, more transportation options, and lower transportation costs while protecting the environment in communities nationwide” (U.S. EPA, 2009, para. 6).
Guided by the goals of the Partnership, the federal government has committed significant resources and attention to implementing livability in state and local governments. While high-level, strategic federal investment in livability is relatively recent; states, regions, and localities have planned and implemented livable communities for more than a decade. For example, the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) and the Metropolitan Council of the Twin Cities (Met Council) established their programs in 1995. As many of the…
What GAO Found
U.S. bus rapid transit (BRT) projects we reviewed include features that distinguished BRT from standard bus service and improved riders’ experience. However, few of the projects (5 of 20) used dedicated or semi-dedicated lanes— a feature commonly associated with BRT and included in international systems to reduce travel time and attract riders. Project sponsors and planners explained that decisions on which features to incorporate into BRT projects were influenced by costs, community needs, and the ability to phase in additional features. For example, one project sponsor explained that well-lighted shelters with security cameras and real-time information displays were included to increase passengers’ sense of safety in the evening. Project sponsors told us they plan to incorporate additional features such as off-board fare collection over time.
The BRT projects we reviewed generally increased ridership and improved service over the previous transit service.
This report includes a synopsis of the history of barriers to local coordination of housing and transportation resulting from HUD and DOT statutes and regulations, a summary of efforts to date to identify barriers within each agency’s programs, and a description of efforts underway to address these barriers. We conclude the report with a list of provisions in HUD and DOT statutes and regulations, grouped into four categories. These categories correspond to key areas where improved coordination would better support local strategies to plan and implement sustainable communities:
This station area planning document is a reference tool for State transportation departments and local and regional jurisdictions working in partnership with transportation agencies implementing high-speed and intercity passenger rail (HSIPR) projects. The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) encourages dialogue with Federal, State, regional, and local partners on ways to better integrate passenger transport and land use. FRA has included topics, concepts, and ideas to assist local jurisdictions and others accomplish successful station area planning and achieve an optimal integration of the station in its context — to ensure ridership growth and capture livability, sustainability, and economic benefits. Rail stations will differ depending on their location — downtown, airport transfer, suburban, and small town. While every station area is unique and should reflect local context, culture and climate, some common principles apply to the creation of forms and public…
The purpose of this white paper is to create a well-supported yet simple illustration of the relationship between household energy consumption and residential development patterns. For the purpose of this illustration, residential development patterns are generally described by housing location and housing type. The paper also takes into account energy efficiency measures in homes and vehicles as factors that aff ect household energy use.
Housing that is located in a walkable neighborhood near public transit, employment centers, schools, and other amenities allows residents to drive less and thereby reduces transportation costs. Development in such locations is deemed to be “location efficient,” given a more compact design, higher-density construction, and/ or inclusion of a diverse mix of uses. If American families can reduce their necessity to drive through better housing and transportation options, then commute times and household energy costs will drop.
On September 1, 2010, Virginia Tech’s Metropolitan Institute and Center for Housing Research brought together more than 50 national experts and policy advocates for a one-day research roundtable with leaders and staff from HUD’s Office of Planning, Development and Research (PD&R) and Office of Sustainable Communities and Housing (OSHC). Participants were tasked with identifying the top research priorities that would support HUD and the Federal Interagency Partnership for Sustainable Communities as they develop and implement policies and programs that promote more sustainable communities.
Sustainability covers a wide range of potential policy and research topics. In light of Virginia Tech’s expertise and HUD’s policy and programmatic domains, the following three areas were selected as special breakout groups for the roundtable:
Accessible and Affordable Housing – strengthening the policy connections between transportation and housing;
Green and Energy…
The Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco held conference entitlted Capital Solutions for Equitable Transit-Oriented Development. The purpose of this conference was to examine the practical realities of financing equitable transit-oriented development (TOD) projects and presenting best practices for equitable TOD financing to the Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) sector.
Transportation systems are the backbone of America: They keep our nation strong and moving. But we have not been taking good care of this resource. Lacking a coherent vision for our transportation future and chronically short of resources, we defer new investments, fail to plan, and allow existing systems to fall into disrepair.
This shortsightedness and underinvestment—at the planning level and on our nation’s roads, rails, airports and waterways—costs the country dearly. It compromises our productivity and ability to compete internationally; transportation users pay for the system’s inefficiencies in lost time, money and safety. Rural areas are cut off from economic opportunities and even urbanites suffer from inadequate public transportation options. Meanwhile, transportation-related pollution exacts a heavy toll on our environment and public health.
Stakeholders in the transportation community have recognized these costs. It is time to rethink existing…