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Tools and Practices for Land Use Integration

Development Management and Urban Design

Description: Aerial view of the East Washington Corridor, showing the parkway, adjacent neighborhood plan, preservation area, and the study area.

East Washington Avenue Capital
Gateway Corridor Plan
(Project context map) | City of Madison

Planners engage in various types of development management and urban design activities in order to coordinate transportation investments with private development activity. This page explores how planners use small area planning and zoning ordinances to achieve land use and transportation objectives at a variety of scales. Small area plans (otherwise known as specific plans, subplans, or district plans) are detailed plans for defined areas of a community. With an emphasis on design, participatory process, and detail, they form a specific and solid basis for the commitment of resources to implement proposals, particularly capital improvements. Because they explore fine-grained issues, problems, opportunities, and priorities not usually evident in community-wide land use plans, small area plans are uniquely suited to integrate transportation and land use considerations. These planning activities are often closely coordinated with other approaches listed in this Toolkit.

Corridor Planning

Description: Map of the Bel-Red corridor and neighborhood plan. The map shows transportation linkages between three development areas.
Bel-Red Vision | City of Bellevue, WA

Corridor planning is a collaborative process that looks at existing land use and transportation conditions along a roadway corridor and explores opportunities for improvements to meet long-term needs. The process includes discussions of existing and projected travel patterns and social, environmental, and economic issues within the corridor. It requires analysis of potential infrastructure improvements as well as land use and system-management actions.

A corridor plan defines a comprehensive package of recommendations for managing and improving the transportation facilities and services within and along a specific corridor, typically based on a medium- to long-term planning horizon. Recommendations may include a mix of strategies and improvements, and may relate to multiple travel modes.

Examples in Practice

Bel-Red Corridor Plan
City of Bellevue, Washington
The City of Bellevue, Washington's Bel-Red Corridor Plan outlines strategies to convert a 900-acre light industrial and retail area into a mixed-use, transit-oriented neighborhood. The Plan calls for changes to zoning and development regulations to encourage high density and mixed use development in infill areas connected to a future light rail corridor. The City is working with private developers, property owners, and city funds to invest $500 million in strategic infrastructure needs related to the plan, including bicycle and pedestrian facilities, parks and stream enhancements. The Puget Sound Regional Council (PSRC), a regional growth and transportation planning agency, presented its Vision 2040 award to the City of Bellevue for its commitment to transit-oriented planning.

Contact: Paul Inghram, City of Bellevue Department of Planning & Community Development (425) 452-4070.

East Washington Avenue Capitol Gateway Corridor Plan
City of Madison, Wisconsin
The City of Madison, Wisconsin developed a planning framework in the East Washington Avenue Capitol Gateway Corridor Plan to address significant land use and design issues for its Capitol Region. The Plan centers on four core development principles: protect and enhance the iconic view of the Capitol, respect and strengthen existing neighborhoods, establish the corridor as an employment center supported by transit, and create an inviting and vibrant boulevard. To achieve these principles, the Plan outlines recommended techniques involving modification to the existing land use, bulk standards, design guidelines, public facilities, business development, transportation, and parking strategies. The East Washington Avenue Capitol Gateway Corridor Plan is also coordinated with adjacent neighborhood and rail corridor plans.

Contact: Al Martin, City of Madison Department of Planning and Community Development (608) 267-8740.

New Jersey Future in Transportation Program
NJDOT (New Jersey DOT)

As part of its Future in Transportation (FIT) program, New Jersey DOT (NJDOT) is working with communities to integrate land use and transportation issues into corridor-level planning. The DOT-funded studies address issues such as circulation systems, access management, and zoning, as well as multi-modal transportation improvements. On the Route 31 corridor through Raritan Township and Flemington Borough, an NJDOT conceptual study resulted in a "smart growth alternative" to a previously proposed bypass, consisting of local road network improvements, which can be built sooner, at lower cost, and with fewer environmental impacts. The NJ Office of Smart Growth followed up with a grant to Raritan Township to complete the Route 31 Land Use and Transportation Plan to accommodate the proposed roadway system. Following the adoption of the plan in 2008 by the Town, NJDOT continues to work to preserve the alignment of the proposed parkway and develop a street network.

Contact: David Kuhn, NJDOT (609) 530-3855.

Resources and Guidebooks

NCHRP 8-36-86 Corridor Plans Integrating Transportation and Land Use:This research identifies successful innovations in the integration of transportation and land use planning for transportation corridors. This report includes a literature review and synthesis of notable practices by state DOTs and other agencies who are integrating land use and transportation to improve the management and function of regional transportation corridors and better serve communities, and six case studies on the integration of land use and transportation.

Bluegrass Corridor Planning Management Handbook: The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) developed the Bluegrass Corridor Planning Management Handbook, which describes a comprehensive approach to corridor planning that also addresses land use issues. The handbook outlines a six-step process for conducting a corridor planning study, including getting organized, knowing the corridor, developing choices, selecting a preferred choice, implementation, and sustaining the vision. The handbook's principles have been applied in cities such as Bowling Green, where an overlay district was adopted in conjunction with a planned arterial road realignment.

Other Resources

District, Sector, and Neighborhood Planning

Description: Rendering of potential changes to the Five Corners intersection in Rotterdam, NY. The map illustrates a proposed alternative for development and access management at the intersection of five roads.

Five Corners urban design and access management recommendations | Town of Rotterdam

MPOs and local jurisdictions lead planning processes focused on redeveloping built-up parts of a jurisdiction or managing new urban and suburban development on the urban fringe. Some use small area plans and zoning ordinances to protect natural resources from development. District, sector, or neighborhood plans may include both multi-modal transportation and land use considerations to address issues such as traffic circulation and transit service, parking, downtown revitalization and urban design, and pedestrian and bicycle access. Plans are implemented through capital improvements, changes to zoning including overlay districts, and other strategies and generally have a strong design element.

Examples in Practice

Baltimore Maritime Industrial Zoning Overlay District
Baltimore, MD
The City of Baltimore's Maritime Industrial Zoning Overlay District (MIZOD) is an example of a zoning tool that preserves waterfront land for industrial uses in the face of a mixed-use real estate boom that has applied considerable pressure to convert waterfront industrial properties to mixed-use. The City enacted the MIZOD in 2004 to preserve maritime properties with deep water, rail and highway access in order to protect maritime-dependent uses and intermodal freight movement. The goal was to balance the needs of both mixed use and maritime shipping, maximizing each to the extent possible without harming the other. The City categorized its waterfront into two general districts: Mixed-Use and Maritime Industrial. In the first, mixed use would be allowed, enabled and encouraged. In the second, the MIZOD would protect maritime uses by prohibiting conversion of land to non-industrial uses. Establishing clearly defined mixed-use and maritime industrial areas streamlined the development by avoiding costly and time-consuming delays associated with site-by-site decision-making regarding changes of use. It is also credited with protecting the integrity of the maritime area by avoiding the "leapfrogging" of mixed uses into maritime areas.

Contact: Tammy Scroggins, City of Baltimore, Department of Planning (410) 396-7526.

Downtown Collierville Small Area Plan
Town of Collierville, TN
The Town of Collierville developed its 2010 plan for Downtown Collierville to create a formal vision for the future of the town's historic square and surrounding neighborhoods. The plan identifies sites for new residential units and retail space strategically connected to the existing downtown train station and historic areas. The plan emphasizes placemaking and wayfinding, through shaping development form, maintaining street and sidewalk connectivity, and encouraging active open spaces.

Contact: Jason Gambone, Town of Collierville (901) 457-2300.

Five Corners Transportation and Land Use Linkage Study

Town of Rotterdam, New York

The Town of Rotterdam's Five Corners area serves as a gateway to the community and a major commercial center, but is unfriendly to both motorists and pedestrians. Most of commercial area was dominated by parking, which minimized the economic opportunity available in the area. The town completed a Transportation and Land Use Linkage Study in 2011 to explore compact development options and transportation interventions that would help ease traffic congestion in the area. The study recommends re-zoning commercial areas to mixed-uses and presents re-zoning strategies to improve access to parcels and shared parking, thereby improving traffic flow in the area. Paired with these land use changes, the study also recommends transit and nonmotorized transportation improvements, including provisions for new sidewalks, crosswalks, bicycle lanes, and bus stops. The Capital District Transportation Committee's Community and Transportation Linkage Planning Program, which funded the study, is designed to assist local governments in aligning their plans and ordinances with the regional long-range transportation plan, New Visions 2035. The Five Corners study helps support several of the program's TDM-related strategies for the region.

Contact: Vince Romano, Rotterdam Public Works

New Jersey Scenic Overlay Districts
New Jersey DOT
The New Jersey DOT (NJDOT) is working with municipalities along Route 57 to develop Scenic Overlay Districts, which would help preserve scenic viewsheds from Route 57. The districts would establish standards to reduce visual impact of new development, signs, or other physical construction along Route 57. NJDOT encourages municipalities to adopt form-based versions of a scenic overlay district. The overlay district will not change the existing zoning, but rather, add additional standards to meet an aesthetic goal.

Contact: NJDOT (609) 530-5228.

Portland Central City Management Plan
City of Portland (OR)
The City of Portland's Central City Transportation Management Plan is a policy plan based on the theme of "growth with livability," which calls for concentrated development within the Central City area. The plan uses transportation strategies, such as parking management, transit service, pedestrian and bicycle improvements, and traffic circulation improvements to promote the city's land use objectives. The plan includes "pedestrian districts" and pedestrian safety data collection, special studies, and targeted improvements to the pedestrian network within the Central City.

Contact: Steve Iwata, City of Portland, (503) 823-9904.

Other Resources

Interchange Area Planning

Description: Rendering of I-485 subject interchanges in Charlotte, NC. The map illustrates existing conditions of key intersections on the city's beltline road.
I-485 Interchange recommendations | City of Charlotte

Agencies at various levels develop land use plans and zoning overlay ordinances to guide land development around freeway interchanges. Interchanges often attract significant land development necessitating coordinated land use planning. Unmanaged access can quickly lead to a deterioration of traffic conditions in the vicinity of the interchange, affecting both safety and capacity.

State agencies, community groups, and nonprofits have sponsored the development and adoption of model codes and regulations for interchange areas, while regional agencies and local jurisdictions have sponsored the development of interchange area plans that address access, local circulation, land uses, site design, buffers, and landscaping.

Examples in Practice

Oregon Interchange Area Management Plans
ODOT (Oregon DOT)

The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) creates an Interchange Area Management Plan (IAMP) for every major newly constructed interchange in the state. IAMPs are created to reduce potential conflicts that can result from increased development around interchanges by ensuring that growth and development can occur without overloading the capacity of the new infrastructure. ODOT develops the IAMPs in collaboration with residents, property owners, community stakeholders, and local government officials. The plans must be adopted by local governments and the Oregon Transportation Commission before a Final Tier 2 Design Environmental Impact Statement will be published. The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) developed an Interchange Management Area Land Use Overlay Zone in order to preserve the capacity of the Woodburn interchange on Interstate 5 by linking land use zoning to specific trip budgets. The Interchange Overlay District can be used by the State as a tool to manage development within the immediate area around the interchange.

Contact: Andrea Bridge, ODOT Planning and Implementation Unit (503) 986-4121.

Northwest Parkway Interchange Area Planning
Cities of Broomfield, Lafayette, and Louisville, and Boulder County (CO)
In Denver's northwest suburbs, four communities came together in the 1990s to preserve open space while addressing common mobility needs. The communities established a nonprofit authority to construct a toll road as a link in Denver's circumferential highway system, while at the same time implementing concerted land use planning and strong land protection measures to ensure that the road would not simply become another conduit for suburban sprawl. Through intergovernmental agreements and funding from anticipated toll revenues, the communities designated and acquired 2,400 acres near the alignment to preserve as open space. The communities revised zoning to focus development in two areas near planned interchanges.

Contact: Dave Shinneman,City and County of Broomfield (303) 438-6297.

Charlotte I-485 Interchange Analysis
Mecklenburg-Union MPO (Charlotte, NC area, MPO)
The Mecklenburg-Union MPO developed an interchange analysis as a framework to guide land use and transportation improvements at interchanges along the I-485 outer loop freeway in Charlotte, North Carolina. At the time the study was undertaken, approximately one-third of the freeway was completed, with the other two-thirds in various stages of planning, design, or construction. The I-485 Interchange Analysis made recommendations to help ensure that future interchanges would function effectively and that the area around those interchanges would develop in accordance with the community vision. Recommendations included: eliminating one interchange and delaying construction of some others; changing the design of some interchanges; constructing roundabouts; improving access management and connectivity; realigning and improving roads near the interchanges; improving conditions for bicyclists and pedestrians; changing adopted land use plans; and completing more detailed area plans for some interchanges. Since the completion of the analysis, many of these recommendations have been implemented, resulting in a transportation facility that will better serve existing and future development.

Contact: Garet Johnson, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Planning Department (704) 336-8364. See theCharlotte, NC I-485 Interchange Case Study.

I-99 Interchange Overlay District
ClearWater Conservancy (nonprofit) and local governments in Centre County, Pennsylvania
As part of planning for Interstate 99 in central Pennsylvania, the ClearWater Conservancy, a nonprofit organization, worked with local governments to conduct corridor planning and create and adopt an interchange overlay district ordinance. Local governments within four of six planning districts in the I-99 corridor adopted the ordinance, which maintains the land around the Interstate 99 as natural woodland, preserving the identity of townships, rather than encouraging the development of strip malls. The ordinance covers land within a quarter mile from the center of each lane's right of way.

Contact: Bill Hilshey, Clearwater Conservancy (814) 237-0400.

Vermont Statewide Interstate Interchange Planning
Vermont Department of Housing and Community Affairs
The Vermont Department of Housing and Community Affairs, in coordination with the Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) and other state agencies, has led the development of a state interchange planning policy to manage growth around freeway interchanges. VTrans developed an interchange guidebook which illustrates six interchange types representing different growth contexts, to help municipalities realize their desired growth pattern around interchanges, with recommendations on siting, building, and landscaping development at interchange locations.

Contact: Sue Minter, Vermont Department of Housing and Community Affairs, Planning Department (802) 828-3211.

Resources and Guidebooks

Transit Oriented Development and Station Area Planning

Description: Intersection density in the Duke University Hospital area. The map illustrates the differences in the pedestrian environment around a proposed Triangle Transit Authorit light rail station.
Station area planning | Triangle Transit Authority

Local jurisdictions, transit agencies, and MPOs lead planning processes and develop design guidelines focusing on existing or planned transit station areas. These processes often involve education and outreach on transit oriented development principles; detailed or conceptual station area planning; market assessment; development and adoption of overlay districts or other zoning changes to facilitate transit-supportive development; and application of other tools and incentives.

Examples in Practice

Burlington Transit-Oriented Design Guidelines
Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission (Burlington, VT area, RPC)
The Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission (CCRPC) in Burlington, Vermont published a Transit-Oriented Design Manual in 2002. The guidelines are intended to show how the development community and municipalities can include transit users in the market it expects to serve with large or small-scale real estate development projects. They also are intended to show planners and designers what elements may be included in their plans to create transit-oriented design including roadway design and sidewalk elements. The manual is appropriate for smaller communities that wish to design for transit.

Contact: Charles Baker, CCRPC (802) 846-4490.

Stapleton Development Plan
City and County of Denver (CO) and the Stapleton Development Foundation
The City and County of Denver adopted the Stapleton Development Plan in 1995, which established a vision of the reuse of the 4,700-acre former Stapleton Airport site in Denver, Colorado. The plan led to the construction of a network of urban villages, employment centers, and open spaces, and extends adjacent arterial and local street block patterns onto the site. The street grid, pedestrian-oriented design, mix of uses, planned connection to light rail, and continuous bikeway system support travel by alternative modes and will reduce vehicle traffic on adjacent arterials. Construction began in 2001 and will continue over a 15 to 20 year time frame. Denver further demonstrated its commitment to transit-oriented development with its 2006 Transit-Oriented Development Strategic Plan. See also Federal Highway Administration Domestic Scan Tour I: Land Use and Transportation Coordination.

Contact: Steve Gordon, City and County of Denver Transit Oriented Development Department (720) 865-2922.

Research Triangle Station Area Planning
Triangle Transit (Cary-Chapel Hill-Durham-Raleigh, NC area, transit agency)
Triangle Transit, the regional public transportation agency for the Cary-Chapel Hill-Durham-Raleigh area in North Carolina, works with local government partners on station area planning. Based on the 2030 LRTP jointly adopted by the region's two MPOs, Triangle Transit is advancing three fixed-guideway transit projects which collectively include 12 commuter rail and 37 light rail stations. The station locations were selected in part on future growth potential, supported by local land use plans which encompass the station areas. Through a TOD assessment, each station was evaluated using 19 qualitative criteria, to determine its existing or potential capacity to support infill and/or new TOD within the station area. The results will be used by local governments to enhance TOD implementation tools and strategies and inform the development community about the opportunities presented by these proposed major transit infrastructure investments. Through a master development agreement, Triangle Transit has secured a private sector partner that will assist in the implementation of TOD.

Contact: Triangle Transit, (919) 485-7425.

Other Resources

Updated: 10/20/2015
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