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Integrating Context Sensitive Solutions in Transportation Planning

New Visions 2021

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Graphic. Logo of the Capital District Transportation Committee, Albany Region, NY.

Capital District Transportation Committee
Albany Region, New York

"New Visions 2021" is the long-range plan for the capital region of New York State. The plan addresses dramatic increases in travel demand in the region from recent decades. These increases have been tied to dramatic residential and employment suburbanization, a pattern that reflects a developing knowledge/high-tech sector. Other important employment sectors are education and government, with large numbers of workers employed by State government and the region's universities and colleges. The region has a number of unique natural areas and parklands that are important recreational and environmental resources for the Northeast.

The Capital District Transportation Committee (CDTC), the region's MPO, directs comprehensive regional planning in several dimensions. This is complicated, however, by the presence of 79 general purpose units of government in the region that are primarily responsible for land-use decisions. Still, the region has been able to develop a vision of enhancing quality of life, building strong communities that are connected in a cohesive metropolitan area, supporting economic and social interaction, and improving environmental quality, while reducing the per capita costs for transportation investments. CDTC's work on a New Visions 2030 plan includes a greater effort to integrate transportation planning and design with land-use development and economic initiatives at the regional and local level.

CSS Highlights

In Harmony with the Regional and Communities' Visions, and Sensitive to the Human and Natural Environment: The CDTC recognized that building infrastructure to accommodate the upward trend in auto travel demand was clearly incompatible with the regional vision. A strong regional consensus emerged from the "New Visions" plan that the region's quality of life, mobility, and economic vitality are all dependent upon improved land-use planning and on better integration of land-use development and the transportation system. Using a creative technique called "backcasting," CDTC determined that it could meet its future social, economic, and environmental goals only if transportation actions were combined with aggressive land-use and demand-management actions. The policy of using traffic backcasting keeps the plan in step with the vision. It assumes success of the plan, and as goals and objectives are met, the region is kept on track to achieve its vision.

Process Includes Identification and Consideration of Adopted Plans Relevant to Transportation Planning: Beyond the coordination with community and economic development plans, transit plans, and traffic demand management programs, the plan gives substantial consideration to the transportation-land use connection. Through a program called Linkage, the CDTC has deepened this connection in the planning process by providing assistance with local jurisdictions' planning efforts. Thus far, CDTC has funded 50 collaborative, jointly-funded studies, valued at over $3 million, under the Linkage program. Recognizing that collaborative and coordinated planning is crucial to achieving regional transportation system goals, Linkage is considered part of implementing the plan.

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Updated: 07/01/2014
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