Office of Planning, Environment, & Realty (HEP)
The following series of fact sheets provide information and examples of how considering livability during the transportation decision-making process can benefit communities. The fact sheet topics include development, safety, health, land use, housing, management & operations, economic development, freight, FHWA programs, and the role of state DOTs.
To view PDF files, you need the Acrobat® Reader®.
Also available for download as PDF (263 KB)
How we plan and develop communities and choose to travel affects environmental quality. Providing more travel options in compact, connected communities leads to fewer car trips, which improve air and water quality. Developing more compactly, and reusing existing properties, can preserve rural lands and protect natural resources. Coordinating land use and development decisions with transportation investments can produce clear results.
Also available for download as PDF (351 KB)
Over the past 50 years, most roadways have been designed primarily for safer automobile and truck travel, which can make them less safe for pedestrians, older adults, children, people with disabilities, or bicyclists. More than 4,600 pedestrians and bicyclists died on U.S. roads in 2009 and more than 108,000 were injured. People who do not drive or have access to private vehicles, such as children and older adults, are disproportionately represented. Making roads safer for all users can have the added benefits of improving access jobs and services, reducing congestion, and sparking business and neighborhood investment.
Also available for download as PDF (163 KB)
Communities that make it safe and easy to get around by walking, bicycling, and taking transit can generate a number of health benefits, such as reduced obesity; reduced cases of asthma/heart disease/cancer; increased safety, and improved access to schools, parks, and recreation and community facilities.
Also available for download as PDF (214 KB)
Communities benefit when decisions about transportation and land use are made at the same time. Deciding to build houses, schools, grocery stores, employment centers, and transit stations close to one another—while providing a well-connected street network and facilities for walking or biking—provides more transportation choices and convenient access to daily activities. It also ensures community resources and services are used efficiently.
Also available for download as PDF (320 KB)
Transportation is the second largest expense for most households after housing. Households living in auto-dependent locations spend 25 percent of its income on transportation costs. Housing that is located closer to employment, shopping, restaurants and other amenities can reduce household transportation costs to 9 percent of household income.
Also available for download as PDF (246 KB)
Transportation system management and operations (M&O) coordinates systems to make them more efficient, more convenient, more reliable, safer, and easier to use. M&O strategies make systems work better, allowing us to do more with less - less congestion, less money, less fuel, and less frustration. They support livability by increasing travel choices and efficiency—including transit, bicycling, and walking—while reducing emissions and resource use.
Also available for download as PDF (232 KB)
Livability and economic development are intertwined: livability draws businesses and businesses contribute to community quality of life through investments in the built environment, culture, and philanthropy. Businesses are choosing to locate in more accessible locations that combine transportation and housing choices, good schools, gathering places, and natural amenities. Targeted transportation investments can improve access to jobs, education, shopping, and goods movement, while providing construction and operations jobs.
Also available for download as PDF (293 KB)
Incorporating livability approaches into transportation, land use, and housing policies can help improve public health and safety, lower infrastructure costs, reduce combined household transportation and housing costs, reduce vehicle miles traveled, and improve air and water quality, among many other benefits.
Also available for download as PDF (229 KB)
Livability in rural areas focuses on the towns, villages, working lands and natural resources that surround and connect them. Rural communities vary widely based on location, geography, economic and resource base, and other factors. "Rural" can describe farming, destination, gateway, resource-based, recreational, or other types of communities. Transportation investments that support rural livability also vary depending on location and context. For rural areas between towns, livability can mean safer highways and intersections, context-sensitive roadway design, multi-purpose trails, or rural on-demand transit and carpool information linked to smartphones. In small towns and villages, livability can mean a revitalized Main Street, sidewalks and improved crossings, a gateway entry, senior housing in walking distance to a redeveloped shopping district, or new neighborhoods built on the town's existing walkable street network.
Also available for download as PDF (284 KB)
Getting goods to people and businesses is an essential part of building stronger regional economies, increasing community quality of life, and maintaining the nation's role in a global economy. While freight movement can impact livability and community quality of life, careful planning can help balance freight and livability needs. Communities can be aesthetically pleasing, safe, and walkable, while still providing efficient access for large trucks, rail lines, and other modes of transportation. The HUD-DOT-EPA livability principles call for enhancing economic competitiveness, through reliable and timely access to jobs and services, and expanded business access to markets, as well as for supporting existing communities and valuing communities and neighborhoods.
Also available for download as PDF (175 KB)
Livability in transportation is about leveraging the quality, location, and type of transportation facilities and services available to help achieve broader community goals such as access to a variety of jobs, community services, affordable housing, quality schools, and safe streets. Livability is an outcome of a multimodal transportation planning process that involves nontraditional partners and advances policies and projects that integrate transportation solutions into broader community goals. FHWA funding programs provide opportunities to incorporate livability principles and to better align projects with local interests and needs.
Also available for download as PDF (144 KB)
State DOTs play a vital role in advancing livability and supporting local community livability initiatives. Through planning, policy and guideline development, project support, and funding, state DOTs are helping local communities to identify and achieve broader goals, and to implement an integrated, multimodal transportation network.