Professional Practice

Smart Policies for a Changing Climate: Transportation

Transportation accounts for as much as 30 percent of  greenhouse gas emissions. Therefore, smart growth solutions that promote walkability and reduce vehicle use or incentivize nonmotorized and low/zero emission vehicles can have a very significant climate benefit. The Complete Streets approach seeks to equitably include active and nonmotorized transportation choices on all rights-of-way, thereby encouraging people to get out of  their cars to the greatest extent possible. By removing vehicle travel lanes, “road diets” improve vehicle and pedestrian safety and, at the same time, enable transportation corridors to become multimodal, improving mobility and access. Vehicle use can be further reduced through disincentives such as reducing the convenience of  parking in urban cores and reducing parking requirements for various land uses. Rail, multimodal, and transit-oriented development is needed both in downtown areas and outside downtown areas. As with Complete Streets, a key consideration is ensuring convenience and connectivity that encourages people to consider alternatives to conventional automobile travel.

Design and Planning Solutions Stress equity and connectivity in transportation planning, including equitable access to rail, transit, and dedicated bicycle commuting options.

Use complete streets principles to provide safe, connected, and convenient pedestrian and bicycle routes, including routes that connect to rail and bus routes.

Incorporate green infrastructure in all transportation projects.

Use “road diets” to improve safety and reconfigure recaptured roadway areas for pedestrian and bicycle use.

Plan and design charging stations to support increased use of  electric vehicles as well as designing for other technologies that support connected and autonomous vehicles.

Promote transit-oriented development.

Policy Recommendations

Require transit-oriented development with multimodal green and Complete Streets.  

Include affordable housing as a substantial component
in transit-oriented development.

Reframe transit access as a civil right and focus on transit desert communities that have increasing demand and limited transit access.

Provide financing tools to allow equitable access
to new transportation modes and technologies.

Anticipate and plan for the infrastructure needs
of  electric bikes, buses and cars, ride sharing, and autonomous vehicles.

Provider incentives for biking and carpooling.

Develop and design technologies that create net-zero-carbon streets.

Promote transportation modes and transit-oriented development that are regional
in scope and limit destruction of  the natural environment and wildlife habitat.

Develop transportation models
that integrate pedestrian access and movement, multimodal transportation, and appropriate parking patterns.

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