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May 26, 2010 STEP Webinar

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Office of Planning, Environment and Realty's (HEP) Surface Transportation Environment and Planning Cooperative Research Program (STEP) ended on September 30, 2012. For current HEP research information, please see HEP's research web site.

The Surface Transportation Environment.and Planning Cooperative Research Program


"STEP and Livability"

May 26, 2010
12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Also available as Microsoft Powerpoint (16 MB) and Adobe PDF (4.5 MB) fornats.

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Webinar Housekeeping Tips

Webinar Moderator

Felicia Young
Team Leader, Research and Financial Service
FHWA Office of Human Environment

Welcome and Overview

Good afternoon and thank you for attending the first Surface Transportation Environment Planning and Research Cooperative Program (STEP)'s webinar on Livability.

What is STEP?

STEP Funding and Legislative Guidance

Who Gets STEP Money?

Stakeholder Involvement

Outreach and stakeholder feedback are used to refine and implement national research agenda

Examples of outreach activities

STEP Emphasis Areas

Environment, Planning, and Real Estate Services overview. Click image for text version.

STEP Emphasis Areas for Today


Shari Schaftlein
Acting Director
FHWA Office of Human Environment

Gabe Rousseau
Team Leader, Livability
FHWA Office of Human Environment


Livability is about tying the quality and location of transportation facilities to broader opportunities such as access to good jobs, affordable housing, quality schools, and safe streets.

Livability is, "investing in a way that recognizes the unique character of each community."
U.S. DOT Secretary Ray LaHood

Livability is about tying the quality and location of transportation facilities to broader opportunities such as access to good jobs, affordable housing, quality schools, and safe streets. This includes addressing safety and capacity issues on all roads through better planning and design, maximizing and expanding new technologies such as ITS and the use of quiet pavements, using Travel Demand Management approaches to system planning and operations, etc.

US DOT Secretary Ray LaHood defined livability as "investing in a way that recognizes the unique character of each community. The era of one-size-fits-all transportation projects must give way to one where preserving and enhancing unique community characteristics, be they rural or urban, is a primary mission of our work rather than an afterthought."

Livable Communities

A livable community is one in which people have multiple, convenient transportation and housing options as well as destinations easily accessible to people traveling in and out of cars.

Livable Communities are where people have access to many different forms of transportation and affordable housing..."
U.S. DOT Secretary, Ray LaHood

Livable communities are where transportation, housing and commercial development investments have been coordinated such that people have access to adequate, affordable and environmentally sustainable travel. The specific attributes that define livability in any individual community are shaped by the values of its citizens and unique local conditions.

Photos of a street car, bikers, a bus, and a person walking a dog across a pedestrian bridge.

Sustainable Communities, Partnership's Principles

3 images: a group on a bike path, a drawing of a building, a house

Provide More Transportation Choices

Coordinate Policies and Leverage Investment Promote Equitable Affordable Housing

3 photos: a woman giving a presentation to 3 people; a skyline, and a neighborhood street.

Enhance Economic Competitiveness

Support Existing Communities Value Communities and Neighborhoods

In March 2009 HUD and DOT announced an interagency partnership to promote sustainable communities to help families gain better access to affordable housing, more transportation options, and lower transportation costs. In June 2009, EPA joined with the HUD and DOT to form the Partnership for Sustainable Communities. The goal of the Partnership is to improve access to affordable housing, to provide more transportation options and to lower transportation costs, all while protecting the environment.

The Partnership developed the following set of guiding livability principles:

Provide more transportation choices. Develop safe, reliable and economical transportation choices to decrease household transportation costs, reduce our nations' dependence on foreign oil, improve air quality, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote public health.

Promote equitable, affordable housing. Expand location- and energy-efficient housing choices for people of all ages, incomes, races and ethnicities to increase mobility and lower the combined cost of housing and transportation.

Enhance economic competitiveness. Improve economic competitiveness through reliable and timely access to employment centers, educational opportunities, services and other basic needs by workers as well as expanded business access to markets.

Support existing communities. Target federal funding toward existing communities - through such strategies as transit oriented, mixed-use development and land recycling - to increase community revitalization, improve the efficiency of public works investments, and safeguard rural landscapes.

Coordinate policies and leverage investment. Align federal policies and funding to remove barriers to collaboration, leverage funding and increase the accountability and effectiveness of all levels of government to plan for future growth, including making smart energy choices such as locally generated renewable energy.

Value communities and neighborhoods. Enhance the unique characteristics of all communities by investing in healthy, safe and walkable neighborhoods - rural, urban or suburban.

FHWA's Livability Initiative Progress to Date

Context Sensitive Solutions (CSS) Clearinghouse sponsored a webinar on DOT's role in livability. The discussion was led by Beth Osborne, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Transportation Policy, Gloria Shepherd, FHWA's Associate Administrator for Planning, Environment, and Realty, and Robert Tuccillo, FTA's Associate Administrator for Budget and Policy.

FHWA and FTA developed and held joint training for its field planners on livability. The purpose of the training was 1) to prepare Division/Regional/Technical Service Team Planners to work with State DOTs, Transit Operators and Metropolitan Planning Organizations in implementing the Livability Initiative 2) to identify livability linkages within current programs and initiatives and 3) to discuss strategies that FHWA/FTA planners can employ to advance Livability. Speakers from the FHWA Office of Planning, Environment and Realty, the FHWA Resource Center, and the FTA Office of Planning and Environment provided information on livability's role in public participation, land use, context sensitive solutions, safety, climate change, operational strategies, bicycle/pedestrian and transit oriented development. Case studies of states implementing the principles of livability were also presented.

FHWA and FTA in conjunction with the Center for Transportation and the Environment, held a live webcast to discuss the DOT, HUD, EPA Interagency Partnership for Sustainable Communities. The webcast was held in the form of a panel discussion. Panelist included Elizabeth Wilkins, White House Policy Assistant for Urban Affairs and Mobility and Opportunity with the White House Domestic Policy Council, Beth Osborne, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Transportation Policy with the U.S. DOT, Shelley Porticha, Senior Advisor for Sustainable Housing and Communities, with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, John Frece, Smart Growth Program Director, with the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency. The webcast provided an overview of the DOT, HUD, and EPA Partnership for Sustainable Communities and highlighted the partnership's current efforts. More than 1100 people registered from all 50 states as well as people from British Columbia, Ontario, Canada, Sydney, Australia, and Madrid, Spain participated in the webcast.

FHWA held a Planning on the Web (POW) session that focused on Livability: Connecting Transportation and Land Use. Staff from FHWA's field offices, resource center and headquarters gave presentations. The session was a follow up to the October 27th Let's Talk Planning webinar on Livability

Capacity Building

Livable Communities Strategic Initiative research project was identified as a part of FHWA's strategic initiative priorities. The objective of the project is to develop tools to support livability and strategies that promote livable communities. The project includes the development of a white paper, livability workshops, toolbox of materials, regional comprehensive livability plan and a marketing plan that will support the promotion of the aforementioned tasks.

Ken will talk more about the Livability Transportation Guidebook

Strategic Initiative: Strategies for Livable Communities

STEP Funded Livability Initiatives

Livability Guidebook

Presented by

Ken Petty

FHWA Office of Planning

Livability Guidebook

Livability in Transportation Guidebook cover

America's transportation industry has built the worlds largest and best highway network that connects people, business and communities all across the country. However it is now time to complete our multi modal transportation networks and providing multiple transportation options for those they can't drive or choose not to drive.

The Livability Guidebook is intended to be used as a Guidance manual for making sure people of all ages, have real choices for walking, transit and other modes of transportation and to help improve the health and quality of life for all residents.

Livability Guidebook

As we all know, Transportation Planning is not a standalone process. While many of the concepts of Livability have been around for a long time the new concept behind Livability is to bring all these initiatives together under one big umbrella. The Livability Guidebook does just that, it shows how and where walkable communities have been successful, it looks at Smart Growth, CSS and Complete Streets and shows that Livability is not a one size fits all process.

Livability Guidebook

100% STEP funded, the Guidebook is based on a series of case studies using both rural and urban examples. We have also add case studies that look at how communities have better connected their communities through their transportation system, how mixed use development can improve the Quality of Life for its residents and a host of other topics shown here. Once the Guidebook is complete a downloadable version it will be posted on our Livability web site which is Please enjoy this new publication and we look forward to hearing back from you.

New Visions 2030: The Regional Transportation Plan for New York's Capital Region

partial view of the NY Skyline

Chris O'Neill

Sandy Misiewicz, AICP

Capital District Transportation Committee

New Visions 2030

New Visions 2030 Principles

Photo: a busy at an interesection and a crowded street corner.

New Visions 2030

Photo: a sidewalk with trees, a Walk sign, and a clock.

Protection of urban, suburban and rural character

Performance Measures

Photo: a combination brick and concrete sidewalk

Public Participation is key to making trade offs and defining community values.

Linkage Program

TIP Funding

Livable Communities Case Study

Presented By Paula Reeves, AICP

Manager, Community Design Assistance

Washington State Department of Transportation logo

Why Community Design?

WSDOT Highways & Local Programs Division

We provide educational, technical, and financial support with federal oversight to local customers to help them achieve their transportation goals...

Photo: a crowd, a crosswalk, and a bus stop.

$300 million annually includes all formula funds that go to local agencies such as: STP regional, bridge, CMAQ and congressional earmarks identified in SAFETEA-LU.

Responsible for preparing and submitting the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) to FHWA, which includes federally funded and regionally significant WSDOT and local agency projects

Our Engineering & Technical Assistance

Photo: areial shot of a group, a construction worker, and a drawing of a street grid.

Milestones in State Policy

Photo and map showing an example of State Route 14 Bingen.

WSDOT Resources

WSDOT's Community Design and Bicycle and Pedestrian Websites

Washington's Safe Routes Website

Contact WSDOT Community Design Assistance:

Paula Reeves
Manager, Community Design Assistance

Charlotte Claybrooke
Safe Routes to Schools Coordinator

Ian Macek
Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator

Ed Spilker
Scenic Byways Coordinator

Best Practices Manual on Complete Streets

Presented by:

Barbara McCann

Executive Director

National Complete Streets Coalition

Logo: National Complete Streets Coalition. Let's complete America's streets.

Best Practices Manual

A Joint project of the American Planning Association and the National Complete Streets Coalition Cover image: Complete Streets Best Policy and Implementation Practices.

Best Practices Manual

Complete Streets Policies

US Jurisdictions with Policies: 131. Policies Adopted since 2005: 100. Policies in 2009: 42.

Some jurisdictions have adopted more than one policy.

Photo: Davis, CA (Dan Burden, Walkable and Livable Communities Institute, Inc.)

Complete Streets Policy Adoption

This graph shows the rate of acceleration of adoption of complete streets policies across the country between the years 2000-2009. During this time, 40 Complete Streets policies were adopted. 50% of these policies were adopted between 2007 and 2009.

Total for 2009: 44. The acceleration in policy adoption is indicative of a nationwide movement to change the way we approach our transportation networks. People want choices, safe streets, and healthy, livable environments.

Change Plans & Process

Changing plans & process

Logo: Decatur Gets Around. A community transportation plan. City of Decatur.

Be an Opportunist

Cheyenne Blvd. Before

Photo of a treelined 4 lane undivided highway. Complete

Photo credit: City of Colorado Springs

Excellent example of incremental and low cost approach to "completing streets" - Cheyenne Blvd.

Complete Streets through resurvacing: 7-10% of network each year.

Cheyenne Blvd. After

Photo of street with repained, clearer yellow and white lines.

Photo credit: City of Colorado Springs

Converted the street to a 3-land configuration, with bike lanes and on-street parking

Very low cost - a little more solid striping and some additional signage for bike lanes

Preserved all on-street parking - even added spaces by middle school at west end of corridor

85th percentile speeds dropped from 41 mph (posted 35) to 38 mph; no diversion of traffic to parallel corridor. Temporary increase to over 13,000 vpd was handled well when parallel corridor was closed for major utility work last year.

Supported by most neighbors and very well liked now; however, there was some initial push back (2 weeks of angry emails, calls, newspaper coverage). ADVICE: Trust your professional judgment and ride it out.

NOTE: Cheyenne Blvd is still not "complete" several sections of missing sidewalk, numerous missing transit pads but these are being targeted in near future - good example of incrementalism. Cheyenne Blvd may still be somewhat incomplete but it is much better than before.

Speed (85th percentile). Posted: 35 mph. Before: 41 mph. After 36-39 mph.

Measure Results

Measure outcomes to build support and learn what is working.

Measure Results

Redmond Washington

Cover image: 2009 Mobility Report Card. Redmond's Transportation Monitoring System.

Go Figure

Numbers at your fingertips

How Much/Many? Of What? Trend
7,729 Students riding the bus to school down
862 Traffic collisions even
38 Collisions involving pedestrians or bicyclists even
7.6% Traffic growth for selected intersections since 1996 up
31% AM commuters traveling by non-single occupancy vehicle (2007) up

Data for 2008 unless otherwise noted. Log on to for more information about the above figures.

Final Lessons

Resistance fades with success
  1. Crosswalks and sidewalks near stops and stations are necessities. Every transit trip requires crossing the street. Complete streets connect transit users to their destinations.
  2. Buses get stuck in traffic, and their progress is further slowed by the constant need to merge back into the flow of traffic after pulling over to pick up passengers. Stop-and-go bus service discourages use, increasing traffic congestion by those who choose to drive instead. While solutions exist that can help speed service, transit agencies often don't have much say in tweaking road design for bus use. A complete streets policy enables decision makers to prioritize transit in roadway improvements - making trips faster and more reliable.

Photo: (John LaPlante)

Available from:

Scenario Planning

Presented by

Fred Bowers

FHWA Office of Planning

What is Scenario Planning?

Scenario planning, is a process that forecasts the consequences of investing in different modes of transportation, development locations and funding strategies. When combined with visualization, citizens can really begin to see what the future holds. FHWA's Scenario Planning Program is completely STEP Funded Photos: a drawing of buildings on a street, a man, a woman, a group looking at a map, and two people looking at models.

FHWA Scenario Planning Program

  • Between 2004 and 2009, FHWA sponsored 16scenario planning workshops in 16states. Twoworkshops are planned in 2010.
    • California
    • Florida
    • Hawaii
    • Iowa
    • Illinois
    • Kentucky
    • Michigan
    • New York
    • Missouri
    • North Carolina
    • North Dakota
    • Pennsylvania
    • Rhode Island
    • Texas
    • Tennessee
    • Vermont

Locations of previous workshops are highlighted in yellow

Map of the US as described in the text.

Scenario planning is fully STEP funded and is very good way to visualize transforming a community to make it a more livable environment.

Scenario Planning Using Visualization

Photo of cars on a street.

Scenario planning in public involvement allows you get the public perception for how a community might grow or change. Through the use of visualization tools, you can demonstrate to the public how you can go from a street system that looks like this -

Photo Montage for Public Involvement

Same street with a grass and plant median.

To grow into a street system that looks like this.

Key long-term benefits from sustained scenario planning efforts can include:

Example: Envision Utah

aerial view of a community

The statewide "Envision Utah" process conducted public values research

With over 200 workshops involving more than 20,000 residents to decide their own future

Since the completion of the vision several years ago, they have continued to partner with the participating communities

They continue to monitor and steer the rural and urban growth into patterns that the residents themselves desire

Next Generation Scenario Planning

  • Traditional scenario planning efforts focus on growth-related issues or transportation investments
  • Next generation scenario planning efforts focus on a broader range of issues, such as:
    • Uses of alternative energy
    • Climate change
    • Economic shifts
    • Technological innovation
  • Next generation scenario planning efforts also use innovative methods to communicate with the public

screen shot of GO TO 2010/inent 2010

Source: Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning

Traditional land use/transportation scenario planning efforts have focused on a limited range of land use and transportation investment scenarios, with analysis and evaluation leading to a preferred scenario.

Next generation scenario planning efforts seek to capture a broader range of issues and challenges than previously considered in scenario creation and analysis, such as alternative energy, technological innovation, security, climate change, or economic shifts.


Presented by

Keith Moore

FHWA Office of Project Development and Environmental Review

Context Sensitive Solutions (CSS) and Livability

CSS Research Highlights

Screen shot example of Context Sensitive

CSS Clearinghouse - Building a Community of Practice through - Over 1000 registered site users

Webinar Series


The Dialog will be spearheaded by a series of five, one-day workshops to be held in various locations across the country. Each workshop will focus on a particular aspect of CSS, and use transportation projects or programs to highlight CSS best practices and provide a springboard for discussion and interaction. The workshop topics will vary, depending on the topics of most interest to the local workshop audience and the specific best practices selected for presentation. Potential topics could include effective and meaningful community engagement; facility design or construction that harmonizes with the existing natural and community context; or the use of a collaborative, multi-disciplinary team to develop a project design or program. The workshops will be fully documented and the documentation will be made widely available. The workshops are tentatively planned to be held from July 2009 through December 2009.

Big tent approach to the Steering Committee and Dialog - wide range of traditional partners and new ones Scenic America, US EPA Headquarters, National Center for Environmental Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Association of Regional Councils (NARC), Project for Public Spaces, Center for Neighborhood Technology, NYC DOT, American Council of Engineering Companies, Kimley-Horn and Associates, Inc., Congress for the New Urbanism, FHWA -RC, HEPN, HIPA, HSA, Arkansas ,Texas Division, North Dakota, Indiana, NCDOT Tennessee DOT, Oregon State University, Caltrans Headquarters, University of Minnesota, Center for Transportation Studies, City of Terrell, University of Connecticut, USDA Forest Service Engineering, Minnesota DOT

The goals of the dialog are to:

Livability Resources

Questions and Answer Session

For Additional Information

If you have general questions about STEP or this webinar, contact

Livability Information

Updated: 9/30/2012
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