Skip to content U.S. Department of Transportation/Federal Highway AdministrationU.S. Department of Transportation/Federal Highway Administration

Office of Planning, Environment, & Realty (HEP)
Planning · Environment · Real Estate

HEP Events Guidance Publications Glossary Awards Contacts

Influence of Transportation Infrastructure on Land Use

December 6-8, 2004
Washington, D.C.
A ULI Advisory Services Workshop Report
ULI-the Urban Land Institute
1025 Thomas Jefferson Street, N.W.
Suite 500 West
Washington, D.C. 20007-5201

ULI-the Urban Land Institute is a nonprofit research and education organization that promotes responsible leadership in the use of land in order to enhance the total environment.

The Institute maintains a membership representing a broad spectrum of interests and sponsors a wide variety of educational programs and forums to encourage an open exchange of ideas and sharing of experience. ULI initiates research that anticipates emerging land use trends and issues and proposes creative solutions based on that research; provides advisory services; and publishes a wide variety of materials to disseminate information on land use and development. Established in 1936, the Institute today has more than 26,000 members and associates from nearly 80 countries, representing the entire spectrum of the land use and development disciplines. Professionals represented include developers, builders, property owners, investors, architects, public officials, planners, real estate brokers, appraisers, attorneys, engineers, financiers, academicians, students, and librarians. ULI relies heavily on the experience of its members. It is through member involvement and information resources that ULI has been able to set standards of excellence in development practice. The Institute has long been recognized as one of America's most respected and widely quoted sources of objective information on urban planning, growth, and development.

This Advisory Services workshop report is intended to further the objectives of the Institute and to make authoritative information generally available to those seeking knowledge in the field of urban land use.

Richard M. Rosan

President

About ULI-the Urban Land Institute

©2005 by ULI-the Urban Land Institute
1025 Thomas Jefferson Street, N.W.
Suite 500 West
Washington, D.C. 20007-5201
All rights reserved. Reproduction or use of the whole or any part of the contents without written permission of the copyright holder is prohibited.

The goal of ULI's Advisory Services Program is to bring the finest expertise in the real estate field to bear on complex land use planning and development projects, programs, and policies. Since 1947, this program has assembled well over 400 ULI-member teams to help sponsors find creative, practical solutions for issues such as downtown redevelopment, land management strategies, evaluation of development potential, growth management, community revitalization, brownfields redevelopment, military base reuse, provision of low-cost and affordable housing, and asset management strategies, among other matters. A wide variety of public, private, and nonprofit organizations have contracted for ULI's Advisory Services.

Each panel team is composed of highly qualified professionals who volunteer their time to ULI. They are chosen for their knowledge of the panel topic and screened to ensure their objectivity. ULI panel teams are interdisciplinary and are developed based on the specific scope of the assignment. ULI teams provide a holistic look at development problems. Each panel is chaired by a respected ULI member with previous panel experience. The agenda for a panel assignment is intensive. It includes an in-depth briefing and meetings with sponsor representatives; discussions with key people; and a day of formulating recommendations. On the final day on site, the panel makes an oral presentation of its findings and conclusions to the sponsor. At the request of the sponsor, a written report is prepared and published. Because the sponsoring entities are responsible for significant preparation before the panel's visit, including sending extensive briefing materials to each member, participants in ULI's panel assignments are able to make accurate assessments of a sponsor's issues and to provide recommendations in a compressed amount of time.

A major strength of the program is ULI's unique ability to draw on the knowledge and expertise of its members, including land developers and owners, public officials, academicians, representatives of financial institutions, and others. In fulfillment of the mission of the Urban Land Institute, this Advisory Services program report is intended to provide objective advice that will promote the responsible use of land to enhance the environment.

ULI Program Staff

Rachelle L. Levitt
Executive Vice President, Policy and Practice
Mary Beth Corrigan
Vice President, Advisory Services and Policy Programs
Nancy Zivitz Sussman
Senior Associate, Advisory Services
Nicholas Gabel
Associate, Advisory Services
Jason Bell
Panel Coordinator, Advisory Services
Yvonne Stanton
Administrative Assistant
Nancy H. Stewart
Director, Book Program
Julie D. Stern
JDS Communications
Manuscript Editor
Betsy VanBuskirk
Art Director
Martha Loomis
Desktop Publishing Specialist/Graphics
Craig Chapman
Director, Publishing Operations

About the Advisory Services Program

Contents

ULI Panel and Project Staff
Introduction
How Development Decisions Are Made
How and When Transportation Projects Affect Local Land Use Decisions
Conclusion
About the Panel

Panel Chair

William R. Eager
President
TDA, Inc.
Seattle, Washington

Panel Members

Robert Dunphy
Senior Resident Fellow, Transportation and Infrastructure
ULI-the Urban Land Institute
Washington, D.C.

J. Kevin Lawler
Managing Partner
N-K Ventures, LC
West Palm Beach, Florida

Joseph R. Molinaro
Manager, Smart Growth Programs
Community Outreach Department
National Association of Realtors®
Washington, D.C.

Roger Platt
Senior Vice President and Counsel
The Real Estate Roundtable, Inc.
Washington, D.C.

Karina Ricks
Urban Planner
D.C. Office of Planning
Washington, D.C.

Julia Trevarthen
Director
The Institute for Community Collaboration, Inc.
South Florida Regional Planning Council
Hollywood, Florida

Allan R. Winn
Managing Partner
Ballard Spahr Andrews & Ingersoll, LLP
Washington, D.C.

ULI Project Director

Mary Beth Corrigan
Vice President, Advisory Services and Policy Programs
ULI-the Urban Land Institute
Washington, D.C.

ULI On-Site Coordinator

Jason Bell
Panel and Workshop Coordinator
ULI-the Urban Land Institute
Washington, D.C.

ULI Panel and Project Staff

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and transportation planning agencies have been grappling with the correlation between transportation and land use decisions.

Often cited as the reason for suburban sprawl, roadway projects frequently are opposed by members of the general public, who assume that if roads are built, development will always follow. The support for this assumption is most often anecdotal, and the FHWA does not believe this is always true. Other factors, such as local and regional land use and economic development policies, also play an important role in suburban growth. However, this assumption also is based on anecdotal information.

The Federal Highway Administration asked ULI to convene a group of real estate and planning professionals to provide a better understanding of the correlations between the approval of transportation infrastructure projects and local land use patterns. In requesting the assistance of ULI, the FHWA sought a better understanding of local land use decision making-as well as of the decision-making process that the private sector uses when deciding to develop a real estate project-so that the FHWA and transportation agencies can more logically discuss the correlations between transportation and land use when analyzing projects. In addition, this understanding also can help transportation agencies more effectively communicate to decision makers the role that transportation projects play in land use patterns and how local and regional governments can work with transportation agencies to achieve each entity's goals.

The ULI Process

ULI conducted an Advisory Services workshop titled ?Location Decision Making: The Role of Transportation Infrastructure.? Six ULI members with relevant expertise and experience in the implications of transportation decisions on land use gathered in Washington, D.C., for two days to discuss this issue with FHWA representatives. Panel members represented both the public and private sectors and included developers, local government officials, land use planners, transportation planners, and environmental professionals. The purpose of the workshop was to facilitate discussions among public and private land use decision makers and to promote a dialogue that will allow the FHWA and transportation agencies to better understand the correlation between transportation planning and land use decisions. Hearing both public and private sector views on this subject can help the FHWA and transportation agencies become more aware of the impact of transportation decisions on land use. The questions addressed included the following:

FHWA officials met with the panel and provided an overview of the different programs and policies involved in the FHWA project approval process. The panel spent the balance of its first day discussing and formulating its recommendations, which it presented on the second day. This report is a summary of the panel's findings and recommendations. It is organized into two main sections. The first discusses how development decisions are made and describes the private sector perspective on where, when, and how private development occurs, as well as how local and regional government policies factor into these decisions. The second section discusses how and when transportation projects affect local land use decisions.

Introduction

This section describes the development decision-making process from the private sector perspective, as well as the role that local and regional government entities play in the process. It provides a framework for understanding the relative importance of transportation accessibility, describes the role of local and regional government actions and policies, and outlines the private developer's decision-making process.

The Public Process

Most local land use decisions and outcomes start with a public process. Regional and local policies have the greatest impact on how land use decisions are made. The typical components of the public process are described below. It is important to remember that this is a general discussion and that, just as localities are different, so are local and regional decision-making processes.

Following or Leading

Development will occur, as discussed later in this report. Local governments play a critical role in determining how, when, and where this development will take place, as well as in the quality of the development. Local government therefore can be a follower-reacting to development pressures and making ad hoc decisions on a project-by-project basis-or a leader-determining its own vision and future; putting in place the goals, objectives, and policies necessary to achieve that vision; and standing by its vision over the long run. If planning is done well in a collaborative, open process, both the private sector and the community at large will have more confidence in the development decision-making process.

Vision and Community Aspirations

The public process typically begins with setting a vision and a ?road map? for where the community wants to go, as well as by describing the steps needed to achieve that vision, to get where the community wants to go. By having a vision, a community can set the stage for its future land uses as well as build some predictability into the planning and development process. A community typically uses the following three steps to set its vision:

Public Sector Infrastructure Investments

Development is not the sole responsibility of the private sector. The public sector plays a key role in the development process by setting the stage for development through its infrastructure investments. These include water, sewer, and storm water management systems as well as schools, roads, transit, parks and open space, and social services. The level of a community's commitment to its infrastructure needs sets the stage for future land uses and demonstrates the community's commitment to high-quality development.

How Development Decisions Are Made

The Developer's Process

The developer goes through a much different decision-making process when deciding to build or not build. While its decisions are made within the context of the local planning process, it is generally tandem to and not necessarily a result of local planning decisions. When determining whether a project is a good decision or not, a developer typically uses a general checklist like the following.

Market Demand

First and foremost, the developer needs to determine if a market exists for the product he or she is considering building. Market studies are conducted to determine a proposed project's market feasibility, absorption rates, and anticipated costs/benefits. Developers, like most people, are in business to make a profit. They usually will not build something that is not going to sell and therefore will cause them to lose money. Market determination-from a developer's perspective-is typically evolutionary, not revolutionary. In other words, a developer looks to see what type of product already has succeeded in the market, rather than try to break into the market with a totally unconventional product. Local and national development cycles play a key role in market determination. For example, one national trend is the growing number of households with no children under the age of 18-a demographic group that currently includes almost 75 percent of U.S. households-which has created a growing market for smaller homes that require less upkeep and maintenance. This trend, however, also needs to be looked at on the local level. While more and more ?empty nesters? may be found living near large cities, smaller communities may still have more families with small children looking for the traditional single-family house with a yard. In other words, what works and sells in one area may not sell in another.

Local demographics therefore play a key role in the market. The population growth rate-which dictates how well a development project will do and at what rate it will be absorbed-the employment base, and the age and education level of the population all play a role in market demand. Highend office development is not going to take place in an area that has not seen any major new businesses in a while and that has no prospects of seeing any in the near future.

Competition from existing and anticipated development also is a market factor. A high-end retail developer most likely will not build a new shopping mall with upper-end stores if a similar mall exists within a certain distance of the proposed site. However, if the area lacks mid-level retail and its population demographics support that use, a mid-level retail project may be a more feasible development for the site.

Site Suitability

The next thing a developer will look at is the suitability of the site or sites available for the project. Size, access, amenities, and environmental opportunities and constraints all play a role in determining site suitability. A residential developer, for example, will consider how many units can be built on the site; its location in relationship to transportation infrastructure, including transit; its proximity to and the quality of amenities such as schools, retail, recreation, and health care facilities; the nearby market and competition; physical features such as topography, natural resources, and environmental constraints; and any issues that could adversely affect the perception of the project, such as proximity to undesirable land uses, which could include landfills, airports, or manufacturing facilities. Site access also factors into the site suitability equation, but it is not the primary factor, just one of many.

Economic Feasibility

A proposed project needs to ?pencil out,? that is, be economically feasible, before a developer will decide to move forward. If the project does not make sense economically, it usually is not going to happen. For example, if the costs of purchasing the land, improving the roads, bringing in building materials, extending water and sewer services to the site, and labor cannot be absorbed in the cost of the product-that is, if the houses will not sell for a price high enough to enable the developer to reclaim those costs and still make a profit-then the project does not make good economic sense.

The timeline for the project also factors into economic feasibility. A developer's typical timeline is less than five years-generally three to four years -from start to finish. While this will vary depending on the size of the project, any project that will take longer than five years usually is built in phases so that it can be developed in manageable pieces and evaluated at certain points along the way.

Regulatory Environment

The regulatory and permitting environment also plays a role in the developer's decision-making process. While the development community does not expect local governments to just give them everything they ask for, they do expect some predictability in the process and a level playing field for all parties. If the process is unpredictable-if it is not clear what the impact fees will be from one project to the next or if the community has a history of making arbitrary decisions on projects -developers will be wary of doing business in that community. If, on the other hand, a community's development regulations are clear, time frames and approval processes are as consistent and predicable as possible, and government staff are willing to work with developers in order to achieve the highest-quality development possible, a developer is more likely to want to do business there-and to do so in ways that benefit the community. Community support-or opposition-also is a consideration. If a developer will have to expend considerable resources on convincing the community that the project will not affect it adversely, those costs need to be evaluated as part of the feasibility process.

Capital Availability

Most developers-especially smaller ones-do not have enough capital of their own to complete a project. Therefore, they typically borrow money to do so. Lenders and investors consider the risk/reward ratio for their investment and want to know if a project will be realized within the typical five-year time frame. If the risks do not appear likely to pay off, or if it looks like the development process may be extended or delayed, they are not likely to provide capital to fund the project.

Transportation Decisions

One of the questions asked of the panel was how transportation decisions factor into land use and development decisions, both for the public sector and the private sector. While this will be expanded upon in the next section, it is important to present some preliminary conclusions at this point in the report.

First, the panel believes that transportation decisions are a component of local public sector actions/planning that are made early in the local land use planning process. Programmed transportation improvements are factored into land use planning and visioning but are not the driving force in these processes. Communities believe that they need to control their own destinies, at least when drafting their plans, and do not depend on transportation improvements. In addition, local government planning has a longer time frame than individual development projects. Therefore, it is feasible for communities to factor federal and state transportation planning activities into their own planning processes, but transportation decisions are not the driving force in these processes.

Transportation decisions may be less important to developers' decisions about individual projects, because their time frames and planning horizons are so much shorter than the public sector's. Typically, no transportation improvements are required for infill development, and therefore there is no real federal impact on such projects. For greenfield locations without any meaningful access, it usually is not feasible to wait for the public transportation decision-making process.

The panel felt it was important to understand the total context in which land use decisions are made before it tackled this issue. This will make it easier to understand how transportation infrastructure decisions affect land use decisions-or vice versa. Development decisions are incremental and the market is the key. New development and redevelopment are the result of thousands of developers making thousands of decisions. Although one hopes that these decisions are being made wisely, within a rational framework, that is not always the case.

Personal Choices

People tend to want it all: a big house on a big lot within a short commute of their workplace. They work to earn enough money to buy the house and then hope that transportation issues will take care of themselves. Recent polls have shown, however, that 50 percent of people are willing to live in a smaller house to travel less, since they cannot have it all. This number is greater than it has been in the past. In addition, the number of ?empty nesters? -people who no longer have children at home and do not need a large house or want the responsibility of keeping up a house and a yard-is increasing. Personal choices play a large role in land use decisions. People who choose to live ?out in the suburbs? expect that transportation improvements ultimately will improve their commute. They also may choose to live there because they can get more house for their money in the farther suburbs, and they value that more than a shorter commute. The market responds to these choices and delivers products that appeal to buyers.

New Capacity and the Impact on Growth

There is no doubt that new roadway capacity might cause more development to occur. However, as discussed in the preceding section, this is not the driving factor for development decisions. How much the capacity spurs development depends on market demand as well as on other factors.

Growth is occurring. The U.S. population is increasing -through both immigration and birth-and these people need to live somewhere.

The issue, therefore, is not ifgrowth will happen, but rather how and where it will happen. The crux of the issue is whether this growth will be managed or unmanaged. New roads often lead to new development, but they do not have to lead to sprawl.

Local land use policies are the key to managed or unmanaged growth. Critics who want to say ?no? to all development should instead focus their energy on saying ?no? to unmanaged development. What transportation agencies need to know when faced with opposition to projects is whether the critics are attacking the road projects or the anticipated new development. In many communities, the general public does not trust local decision makers to do the right thing when it comes to land use decisions.

How and When Transportation Projects Affect Local Land Use Decisions

bar chart of U.S. Population projections in the millions. US Population in 2000, 282,125; 2010, 308,936; 2020, 335,805; 2030, 363,584; 2040, 391,946; 2050, 419,854
Source: U.S. Census Bureau.

Transportation agencies can help local governments ?get to yes? for managed development-in other words, the desired development in the desired place at the desired time. While the panel recognizes that transportation agencies are not in the land use policy business, they can be a partner in local decision making and should be aware of how and when local decisions are made. Several resources have been developed to help create and implement sound land use decision-making processes and policies. By working with local governments as transportation decisions are being made, transportation agencies can be informed participants in the process.

Getting to Yes for Managed Growth

To become an informed player in the Decisionmaking process, transportation agencies need to understand what managed development is and how development decisions are made. When working through the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process for new projects, reviewers at state and federal agencies should be looking for certain things with regard to the local government's capacity for planning and land use decision making. ?Managed growth? may mean different things to different communities. There are, however, some ?green flags? that indicate that a local government proactively manages planning and development practices, as well as some ?red flags? that indicate that a local government does not take an active role in land use decisions, and therefore does not support managed growth.

Green Flags

The following are indicators that local government is being proactive in its management of development:

Red Flags

Just as there are indicators of managed planning and development policies, other things indicate that local government is not proactive in its planning and therefore may not be managing the growth process. These indicators include the following:

What Transportation Agencies and the FHWA Can Do

As stated previously, development decisions result from a complex interplay of actions by transportation agencies, other public sector agencies, and the private sector. This panel focused on the role of transportation agencies. A complete picture would also require recommendations for other agencies and local government, but that was not part of the panel's assignment. The recommendations to FHWA and transportation agencies should be understood in this context.

State departments of transportation, with FHWA support, can work actively with local governments to foster good planning and be part of the planning process.

Foster Partnerships and Be a Player

Sensible land use controls and managed development will occur only if there are partnerships, both formal and informal, among all the entities that have an impact on land use. These partnerships need to be creative and encompassing. By working with local governments, metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs), growth management interests, and the private sector, transportation agencies can achieve open communication and knowledge sharing from every perspective. Building on existing partnerships-as well as identifying where new ones can be formed and modeling them on partnerships in other parts of the country- will help advance transportation agencies' involvement in land use planning.

Some growth and infrastructure scenarios may not be clear-cut. Trade-offs and compromises will need to be made. The key to addressing these issues is to be involved in the planning and land use decision-making process through partnerships. Transportation agencies are responsible for transportation planning and land use agencies for land use planning, yet transportation and land use influence each other. In order to plan for the most effective use of the transportation system, all agencies that influence transportation infrastructure should be involved in the transportation planning process, which should include goals mutually agreed to by all players

Evaluate U.S. Department of Transportation Planning Programs

The panel is not recommending that the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) totally reorganize its planning programs. Rather, it is suggesting that DOT diversify the participation of staff in its planning programs, either on an ad hoc basis or through formal processes. It also should work to draw in members of the development community, to educate them about federal processes and to learn from them how they make their decisions. The FHWA should work to reward collaborative processes that produce better results in coordinating land use and transportation. This will send a message to states and MPOs that the FHWA supports projects in areas and communities where land use planning and transportation coordination occur.

Conclusion

Programmed transportation improvements are factored into land use planning and visioning but are not the driving force in these processes. Communities believe that they need to control their own destinies when drafting their plans, and not depend solely on transportation decisions to achieve the desired outcomes.

Transportation decisions may be less important to developers' decisions about individual projects because their time frames and planning horizons are so much shorter than the public sector's. For Greenfield locations without any meaningful access, it usually is not feasible-from the developers' perspective- to wait for the government transportation decision-making process.

Variables other than transportation, such as market demand, site suitability, capital availability, economic feasibility, and regulatory environment play a significant role in influencing the developer's process for determining a development's viability. Transportation has an important-although indirect -impact on land use decisions. It can have a strong influence but does not always control the outcome. This, however, does not mean that transportation agencies and the FHWA should not take an interest in land use decisions, but rather that they should be part of the planning processes and should use their resources, wherever possible, to promote land use and growth patterns that optimize the use of existing transportation infrastructure. Roadway infrastructure is just one element in the land use decision-making equation, from both the public and private sector perspectives. Yet transportation agencies can work with local governments to foster sound planning and growth decisions, and to be proactive in their involvement in land use policy decisions. The panel recommends that transportation agencies be proactive in working with local governments in their ?impact areas? and that they become part of the local government planning process as much as is feasible. By understanding how local decisions are made, transportation agencies can better understand how their decisions will affect local growth and how local land use plans will influence transportation needs.

About the Panel

William R. Eager
Panel Chair
Seattle, Washington
Eager is cofounder and president of TDA, Inc. He has more than 40 years of experience in the transportation field as an educator in transportation engineering, a researcher of commuter travel characteristics, and a consultant on projects throughout the United States and abroad. Before founding

TDA, Eager was vice president of transportation for a large economics consulting firm. Earlier, he was responsible for analysis of ground transportation systems for the Boeing Company.

Eager is a member of the Pacific Asia Travel Association and a principal of INTRA-International Tourism and Resort Advisors. He is a longtime member of the Urban Land Institute, where he was a trustee for seven years and currently serves as an honorary member of the Public/Private Partnership Council.

Robert Dunphy
Washington, D.C.
Dunphy is senior resident fellow for transportation and infrastructure at the Urban Land Institute. He created ULI's program of transportation research and has been responsible for the Institute's research, books, conferences, public policy, and public outreach on transportation and land use, transit, and parking. He has directed studies of seven large regions recognized for their efforts at implementing consistent regional transportation and development policies, as reported in his book Moving Beyond Gridlock: Traffic and Development. He is the author/project director of numerous other books, including Residential Streets, Dimensions of Parking, Parking Requirements of Shopping Centers, and Transportation Management through Partnerships, as well as a forthcoming book on transit-oriented development and the transportation chapters in Implementing Smart Growth at the Local Level and Transforming Suburban Business Districts. In addition, he created Myths and Facts about Transportation and Growth, the first in a series of popular brochures that present hard facts on often-soft issues.

Dunphy has collaborated on a number of studies of national interest. For the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), he directed-in partnership with the Texas Transportation Institute-the development of land use criteria for new transit systems, which are now being used as part of the federal approval process. Also for FTA, he teamed with the University of California to conduct a series of workshops on the development of real estate adjacent to transit facilities. He has directed ULI outreach efforts in Atlanta and Charlotte intended to engage the development community in a dialogue on strategies for implementing transitoriented development. He directed the ULI forum on balancing land use and transportation, which brought together a wide range of leaders active in local real estate, traffic, transit, and parking concerns from across the United States. Dunphy also organized ULI's first conference on technology and real estate and has directed national and regional seminars on transportation and growth, joint development, and landfill siting.

Dunphy is active in national committees of the Institute of Transportation Engineers and the Transportation Research Board, for which he chairs the Transportation and Land Development committee. He is a member of Lamda Alpha International, an honorary land economics society.

Dunphy is a frequent speaker on issues of transportation and smart growth, transit-related development, and parking to national and local groups including ULI District Councils, business and leadership organizations, transit associations, and government agencies.

J. Kevin Lawler
West Palm Beach, Florida
Lawler is the managing partner of N-K Ventures, LC, and has more than 25 years of national experience as a real estate financial and deal adviser.

N-K Ventures is principally engaged in the development of urban residential infill and mixed-use projects in southeast Florida. Founded in 2001, the company's development activities reflect the philosophy of its founding principals: the creation of high-value urban places. The company began two projects in 2001, both of which are nearing completion of preconstruction. In 2002, the firm started a multiphase urban mixed-use project, which now is in planning and permitting. Lawler is responsible for initial underwriting of all of N-K Ventures's new development projects, investor and capital relationships, and all transactional aspects of the company's ventures and investments. He also manages the firm's subcontractor relationships and, together with his partner, Nancy C. Graham, is involved in the identification and qualification of new business opportunities.

Prior to forming N-K Ventures, Lawler was a partner in the real estate advisory services practice of a major financial services firm in its Washington, D.C., and Miami offices. He had a national practice advising developers, corporations, nonprofit organizations, and public entities on financing and large-scale development transactions. Lawler's practice included REIT formations, commercial property portfolio structuring and recapitalization, corporate real estate ventures and leasing, large-scale development projects, public/private development, and financing transactions.

Lawler is a member of ULI-the Urban Land Institute's leadership group. He serves on the Institute's Policy and Practice Committee and is a member of the Multi-Family Council. He has served on numerous ULI Advisory Services panels and project analysis teams, and as a vice chair of the Southeast Florida District Council. In October 2000, ULI recognized his service with the Robert O'Donnell Award.

Lawler has lectured extensively on real estate development and financing at Harvard Business School, the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, Georgetown University Business School, George Washington University Business School, the University of Maryland, and Miami Law School. Prior to relocating to south Florida, Lawler served on the Economic Development Committee of the Washington Board of Trade for several years. He is a graduate of Michigan State University and received a MCP from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, where he also was a Mellon and Ford Foundation Fellow.

Joseph R. Molinaro
Washington, D.C.
Molinaro is manager of smart growth programs for the National Association of Realtors® in Washington, D.C. In this capacity, he manages NAR's Smart Growth efforts, which include training, technical assistance on land use regulation to state and local associations, voter surveys on growth issues, research, and publication of the magazine On Common Ground. He also provides support to NAR's smart growth federal legislative agenda.

Prior to joining NAR in 2000, Molinaro was director of land development services for the National Association of Home Builders. In this position, he introduced new urbanism to educational programs for builders, and organized conferences and tours of new urbanist projects in several cities. He also was editor of Land Development magazine. Molinaro holds a master of urban and regional planning from Virginia Tech and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners

Roger Platt
Washington, D.C.
Platt is senior vice president and counsel for the Real Estate Roundtable, which represents the leaders of America's top public and privately owned real estate entities on public policy issues in Washington, D.C. Working closely with the Real Estate Roundtable's Environment and Energy Policy Advisory Committee, Platt communicates to Congress, the Bush Administration, and federal agencies the organization's views on environmental, land use, and energy issues affecting real estate, such as brownfields cleanup liability under Superfund, smart growth policies, indoor air quality controls, energy efficiency incentives, and barriers to distributed generation.

Platt joined the roundtable's predecessor organization, the National Realty Committee, as deputy counsel in 1994. He was named vice president and counsel in 1998, and became senior vice president and counsel in 2001. Before joining NRC, Platt was a senior associate at the San Francisco law firm of Coblentz, Cahen, McCabe & Breyer, where he specialized in real estate and urban land use issues.

A graduate of Harvard University and the University of San Francisco School of Law, Platt is a frequent contributor to American Bar Association and other legal and real estate journals. He is a member of the California and District of Columbia bar associations and the Urban Land Institute, where he chairs the Sustainable Development Council. Platt has been listed in the 55th through 58th editions of Who's Who in America.

Karina Ricks
Washington, D.C.

Ricks is an urban planner with the government of the District of Columbia. She joined the office as Mayor Anthony Williams began to rebuild planning as a key component of his leadership agenda in 2000. Since that time, Ricks has completed a diverse range of projects, including developing a transit-oriented development policy for the District, shaping the District's approach to community planning at the neighborhood level, representing District planning issues in regional transportation planning, and completing a number of area-specific plans along the Anacostia Waterfront, around transit stations, and in major transit corridors.

Prior to joining the District government, Ricks was a policy analyst with the Smart Growth Office of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), where she addressed the impacts of growth management policy on lower-income and minority communities. While with the EPA, Ricks participated in national forums including the Ford Foundation Roundtable on Smart Growth and Equity. In addition to her national and local work, Ricks has extensive experience internationally, including Peace Corps service in Tonga, a Fulbright fellowship and consulting in Latvia, and international elections monitoring in Bosnia Herzegovina and Ukraine.

Julia Trevarthen
Hollywood, Florida

Trevarthen is director of the Institute for Community Collaboration, Inc., at the South Florida Regional Planning Council, a planning and public policy agency serving Broward, Miami-Dade, and Monroe counties, where she is responsible for agency program management. Prior to being appointed to her current position, she managed the council's dispute resolution, facilitation, intergovernmental coordination, and development of regional impact programs.

The council's region encompasses 4,300 square miles of southernmost Florida; encompasses 69 local governments including Key West, Miami, and Fort Lauderdale; and has a population of nearly 4 million. The council works with the public, private, and nonprofit sectors to identify, analyze, and develop strategies to meet the challenges facing south Florida.

A member of the American Institute of Certified Planners, Trevarthen received her master of regional planning from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her BA from Florida State University.

Allan R. Winn
Washington, D.C.
Winn is a partner in the real estate department and managing partner in Ballard Spahr Andrews & Ingersoll, LLP's Washington, D.C., office. He also is a member of the firm's bankruptcy, reorganization, and capital recovery; housing; securitization; and transactional finance groups. He heads the firm's Washington real estate practice and concentrates on real estate finance and development, with an emphasis on commercial real estate finance, multifamily housing, and default loan situations. Winn has more than 25 years of experience with U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and other secondary market programs. He represents a number of the nation's best-known commercial and multifamily lenders and has frequently lectured and written in his areas of expertise.

Winn is a member of the American Bar Association and the District of Columbia Bar

Updated: 03/26/2013
HEP Home Planning Environment Real Estate
Federal Highway Administration | 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE | Washington, DC 20590 | 202-366-4000