Integrating land use and transportation planning : metropolitan planning organizations’ efforts and challenges
The role played by Metropolitan Planning Organizations in regional transportation planning across the United States is steadily growing, and with Congressional reauthorization looming, experts expect that role to further expand. Increasingly, MPOs are looking to land use and transportation planning integration as a logical step to address multiple pressing issues, including congestion and air quality. This report investigates selected regional entities across the nation that are engaging in various efforts to influence land use in addition to transportation facilities. Such efforts are usually referred to as “sustainable development,” “smart growth,” or “livable communities.” Historical investigation, combined with a look at agency structure, politics, and regional growth inform the discussion. Stakeholder interviews from each agency provide a unique perspective of challenges from professional staff themselves. Several trends are identified in best practices. Comprehensive findings are developed in the context of institutions, politics, finances, and technology. Relationships with the state department of transportation, strong leadership and goal establishment, dedicated sources of funding, and innovation in activity center visualization, are found to be key trends in MPOs that are producing successful outcomes in their land use and transportation integration programs.