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Implementing Transportation-Efficient Development: A Local Overview

Description: Transportation-efficient development is development that supports the use of alternative transportation modes while reducing the need to drive alone. The project assumed that transportation-efficient development is effective at changing people’s travel behavior. To study implementation of transportation-efficient development, relationships between local regulations and approved project proposals were examined in 19 study areas along two major state highway corridors in the central Puget Sound region in Washington. Transportation-efficient development is development that supports the use of alternative transportation modes while reducing the need to drive alone. The project assumed that transportation-efficient development is effective at changing people’s travel behavior. To study implementation of transportation-efficient development, relationships between local regulations and approved project proposals were examined in 19 study areas along two major state highway corridors in the central Puget Sound region in Washington State. Within each study area, local planners filled out a survey that was used to inventory local land-use regulations. Development proposals within each study area were evaluated to document implementation. Interviews with local planners supplemented the survey responses and provided more detail on the types of programs, incentives, and other actions and processes used to encourage transportation-efficient development.

Findings highlighted the importance of local land-use regulation in implementing transportation-efficient development. Largely, study areas that had zoned for transportation-efficient development were able to implement it, while those that did not have regulations in place that required of continued development did not have as much success in implementation. As a basic tool for guiding development, regulations work. In addition to regulations, a variety of other actions had been used to implement transportation-efficient development in the study areas. Design review programs had been particularly effective, and several study areas had used incentives successfully as well.

This research project is the first phase of a three-phase WSDOT process titled "Integrating Land Use and Transportation Investment Decision-Making." In Phase 2, findings from this research will be integrated into a resource guide, "Guide to Transportation-Efficient Land Use and Development Patterns." The findings from this work will also serve as the cornerstone for Phase 3, a project that will examine the inclusion of more detailed land-use criteria into WSDOT’s corridor planning and programming processes.

  • Date Published: June, 2002
  • Publication Number: WA-RD 549.1
  • Last Modified: April 27, 2007
  • Authors: Sarah Kavage, Anne Vernez-Moudon, Matt Cail, Chanam Lee, Nick Pergakes.
  • Originator: Washington State Transportation Center (TRAC)
  • # of Pages: 122 p., 2,347 KB (PDF)
  • Subject: Highway corridors, Implementation, Incentives, Land use, Programming (Planning), Real estate development, Regulations, Transportation modes, Transportation planning, Travel behavior, Zoning.
  • Keywords: Transit-oriented development, land use and transportation, linkage, smart growth, land use, regulation, implementation development, codes, Puget Sound Region.
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This abstract was last modified April 29, 2008