Adopt an overall strategic plan
State departments of transportation play a critical role in how cities and towns grow and develop, and where stores and residences, sports stadiums and manufacturing plants, and every other imaginable type of land use is located. How people travel from place to place influences what is built and where. As a result, state transportation departments should develop strategic approaches that encourage creation and maintenance of a balanced transportation system, offering residents and businesses a variety of transportation choices. In doing so, state transportation plans should take into consideration the State's fiscal capacity to provide the types of projects envisioned in the plan; the potential effects of transportation projects on air and water quality and other environmental resources; how transportation projects meet the long-range residential and economic development goals of their state; and how they can assure that specific projects fit the context and scale of the communities they are designed to serve.
Although state departments of transportation are already required under federal law to develop long-range transportation plans, requirements for what should be included in such plans are minimal. As a result, some states produce thick, detailed documents about every aspect of their transportation planning for the future, while others produce thinner, more conceptual plans. The Federal Highway Administration says state long range transportation plans generally fall into six categories or combinations of these categories: needs-based plans; vision-based plans; policy plans; project-based plans; corridor plans; and fiscally realistic plans.
Whatever the approach, transportation planners should fully integrate their work with state and local land use and environmental protection plans. State transportation agencies are uniquely situated to assess and address regional (if not statewide) transportation needs. To do so, planning must assess each project's effect on air quality; understand the effect specific projects will have on local plans for future growth and development; and whether transportation or other infrastructure can be built on a timetable consistent with the construction of new residential developments or redevelopment of older communities. Departments of transportation should be prepared to provide technical assistance and training, demonstrate effective land use planning examples, or do other work with local governments that may not have the planning capacity to effectively link transportation improvements with preferred development patterns. To the extent possible, state and local governments should strive to understand both the anticipated and potential unintended costs of transportation project decision-making.
- Oregon Transportation Planning Rule
The Oregon Transportation Planning Rule implements state land use planning goals for transportation. This program includes targets for reduction of vehicle miles traveled (VMT), which is important to efforts to reduce greenhouse gases. The rule also requires local governments to evaluate the impact of land use plan amendments on existing or planned transportation facilities, and it sets minimum guidelines for performance of roadway systems. The Oregon Department of Transportation must provide findings that its projects are consistent with local land use plans.
— Oregon's Transportation Planning Rule
- Florida's Transportation Concurrency Requirements
The State of Florida has put in place a growth management strategy that is designed to ensure that transportation facilities and services are in place concurrent with the impacts from planned development. To implement this measure, local governments must determine the appropriate level of service for transportation facilities and whether the impact of proposed development will exceed existing capacity. If adequate capacity is not available, developers must either provide the additional capacity, pay an amount toward the required improvements, or wait for government to build the necessary facilities.
— Florida's Transportation Concurrency Requirements
- New Jersey's Transit-Oriented Development Program
The State of New Jersey has fully embraced the concept of transit-oriented development (TOD). In addition to transit-friendly policies, the state's department of transportation has developed a handbook on "transit friendly land use" for New Jersey communities; developed a transit-oriented development pilot program as well as a transit villages program; a joint development program with the private sector; and a program designed to help home buyers qualify for a mortgage based, in part, on savings on transportation costs from living near transit stations.
— New Jersey Transit