Creating Livable Communities
Chapter 10: Summary
Multimodal infrastructure improvements implemented in concert with downtown revitalization efforts in Kirkland, Washington.
The existing transportation decisionmaking process can support livable community outcomes; and many highly successful projects have been developed under a conventional process. At the same time, new approaches and tools are available to bring a broader range of issues into the process, while better integrating transportation plans with related housing, environmental, and economic development processes. This integration can actually save time and money – for both agencies and the public – while producing more cost-effective outcomes. It can leverage place-based policies and investments to advance more livable community outcomes. It requires developing performance based planning approaches that can clearly demonstrate progress on key livability indicators and defining success through measurement of outcomes. While based on conventional approaches, incorporating livability principles requires a broader set of goals, while bringing multiple partners into the development of transportation plans and projects that may not have been involved before. Some of the ways to accomplish this include:
- Create partnerships. Livability solutions require input from a wider range of agencies and interests than have traditionally been involved in transportation planning. Reaching out to local planners, economic development groups, housing agencies, public health agencies, disability rights organizations, resource agencies, emergency management, businesses, landowners, and other community groups is the first step in developing effective, integrated solutions.
- Consider the full range of options. Supporting livability outcomes through the transportation planning process is not just about implementing capital improvement projects. It also includes developing interdisciplinary policies, building new coalitions, and efforts to shift agency culture to think more holistically.
- Use words that resonate locally. Drawing on locally accepted 'brand names' to foster widespread participation, livability concepts can easily be incorporated into discussion of a comprehensive vision, integrated multimodal plan, and coordinated implementation. Framing livability strategies as cost-effective, phased implementation of a broader long-term vision can help generate support from the public and policymakers.
- Take a multimodal perspective. Maximizing the capacity and efficiency of existing transportation system investments is a key livability strategy. This can often be accomplished by 'completing and connecting' the multimodal network with relatively smaller incremental investments in pedestrian, bicycle, and transit access improvements – as well as local roadway connections.
- Balance priorities. Recognizing the range of users and how their demands on the system vary – by mode, time of day, purpose, season, incidents and events – can help to plan and manage the system to balance competing priorities.
- Recognize and emphasize broader benefits of livability. Emphasizing the range of benefits associated with livability initiatives can help planners, decisionmakers, and the public to understand their role in creating better communities.
- Pick a project; pick a place. Working together on a single project in a specific place – an intersection improvement, neighborhood plan, access to a school or recreation site, regional vision, or corridor plan – can be the best way to start incorporating livability strategies into transportation agency initiatives.