Category: Reports

Inside Foot Traffic Ahead: sub-urban places and the future of walkability  

Belmar-festivalFestival Italiano in walkable sub-urban Belmar, Denver, CO. Photo via Flickr.

Walkable real estate is in high demand in America’s large metros, and tomorrow’s most successful cities will be the ones that capture that market—but the walkable places they build may not look like today’s downtowns.

In Foot Traffic Ahead, our June report co-released by our LOCUS coalition and the Center for Real Estate and Urban Analysis at the George Washington University School of Business, we ranked America’s largest metropolitan areas based on their projected future growth in development of walkable places. That list of nascent future walkable real estate hot spots included surprise contenders like Atlanta, Denver, and Los Angeles—far from the usual suspects for such rankings. Meanwhile, some famously walkable cities like Portland, Pittsburg, and Baltimore were projected to fall behind.

The difference owes to walkable sub-urban places, an unconventional category that includes both historic town-center type suburbs and modern transit-oriented developments. In our highest-projected metro areas—from Washington, DC to Atlanta, GA—a large percent of new growth is expected to take the walkable sub-urban form.

Posted in California, Colorado, District of Columbia, LOCUS, Reports | Leave a comment

Foot Traffic Ahead: New report ranks metro areas on walkable urban places


A new survey of development trends will reveal which regions are building most walkable neighborhoods.
Photo via DC: The WalkUP Wake-Up Call, 2013.

Our major metropolitan regions are racing to capture the market demand for walkable urban places. Do you want to know who is winning?

Join us for the release of Foot Traffic Ahead: Ranking Walkable Urbanism in America’s Largest Metros on June 17, 2014 at 2:00 PM EDT, live streamed from Washington, DC during the 2014 LOCUS Leadership Summit.

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Dangerous by Design 2014 highlights preventable pedestrian fatalities

VA Rt 1 roadside peds credit Cheryl Cort

Every day, in communities across the country, people are killed while walking to school, to work or to the store. From 2003 to 2012, more than 47,000 people were killed while walking – sixteen times the number of people who died in natural disasters, but without the corresponding level of urgency. But these deaths can be prevented and it is past time for our state and federal leaders to act.

Dangerous by Design 2014, a new report released today by the National Complete Streets Coalition, a program of Smart Growth America, takes a look at where these fatalities happen and who’s most at risk, presenting data from every county, metro area, and state. The report also ranks the major metropolitan areas according to the Pedestrian Danger Index (PDI), which assesses the safety of walking by normalizing fatality rates by how often people walk to work, and by the share of traffic fatalities suffered by people on foot.

As in past years, Sunbelt communities that grew in the post-war period top the list of most dangerous regions according to the PDI: Orlando, Tampa-St. Petersburg, Jacksonville, Miami, Memphis, Birmingham, Houston, Atlanta and Charlotte. These areas developed rapidly, with many low-density neighborhoods overly dependent on extra wide, fast arterial roads to connect homes, schools, jobs and shops. Such roads rarely feature the facilities needed for safe travel by foot.

The report also calls out the unacceptably high number of pedestrian deaths seen in nearly every major metro region. The fact is that even our most walk-friendly communities can—and must—do more.

Posted in Blog, Complete Streets, Featured Content, Reports | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Where roads are dangerous by design

Every day, in communities across the country, people are killed while walking to school, to work or to the store. Many of these lives could be saved by building and operating streets that work for everyone who uses them.

On Tuesday, May 20, Smart Growth America’s National Complete Streets Coalition will release Dangerous by Design 2014, a report that brings attention to the national epidemic of pedestrian fatalities and the decades-long neglect of pedestrian safety.

The 2014 edition will rank the country’s major metropolitan areas using a Pedestrian Danger Index, which assesses the likelihood that a person walking will be hit by a driver of a vehicle, and by looking at overall percentage of traffic deaths suffered by people walking. In addition, it will make specific recommendations at the national and state levels to improve safety, including Complete Streets practices that ensure streets are built and operated for the safety of all road users.

Posted in Blog, Complete Streets Coalition, Reports | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

How much will your region lose when the transportation trust fund goes bust?

The national transportation trust fund—which provides funding for all kinds of transportation projects including highway maintenance, bridge repair and public transit—is predicted to go bankrupt later this year. When that happens, most states and dozens of metropolitan areas will lose …

Posted in Action, Reports, Transportation for America | 2 Comments

Hear the recap: “Measuring Sprawl 2014″ online discussion

Yesterday Smart Growth America released Measuring Sprawl 2014, a look at sprawl in the United States and what it means for Americans’ day-to-day lives.

To launch the new findings we hosted an online panel discussion with the report’s authors and local leaders from across the country. If you weren’t able to join yesterday’s event, the recorded version is now available.

Watch the archived webinar

Speaking on yesterday’s call were Alex Dodds, Deputy Director of Communications, Smart Growth America; Ilana Preuss, Vice President and Chief of Staff at Smart Growth America; Reid Ewing, Professor at the University of Utah and researcher at the Metropolitan Research Center; David Berrigan, Program Director at National Institutes of Health’s Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences; Elizabeth Tyler, Community Development Director of Urbana, IL; Bill Fruhling, Principal Planner for the city of Madison, WI; Mayor Ken Moore of Franklin, TN; and Ralph Schulz, President of the Nashville Chamber of Commerce.

Thank you to everyone who participated in yesterday’s call. The event provided great information for experts and newcomers alike about how better development decisions can help Americans live healthier, safer, more prosperous lives.

Posted in Events, Featured Content, Reports, Webinars | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Where America is sprawling and what it means

Measuring Sprawl 2014

Some regions in the United States are sprawling, some are building in compact and connected ways, and the difference between the two strategies has huge implications for the day-to-day lives of millions of Americans.

Measuring Sprawl 2014, released today Smart Growth America in partnership with the University of Utah’s Metropolitan Research Center, ranks the most sprawling and most compact areas of the country. The new report evaluates development patterns in 221 major metropolitan areas and their counties based on four factors: density, land use mix, street connectivity and activity centering. Each metro area received a Sprawl Index score based on these factors.

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Hear the recap: Repair Priorities 2014 online discussion

Yesterday we unveiled Repair Priorities 2014: Transportation spending strategies to save taxpayer dollars and improve roads. The release featured an online discussion with leaders from Smart Growth America and Taxpayers for Common Sense, as well as state transportation department representatives from Vermont, Michigan and Tennessee. Panelists shared insights and strategies for how states are managing their road repair needs in a time of constrained budgets by using tools like asset management practices; focusing repair investments on the most heavily used roads; setting aggressive targets for pavement conditions; and using cost-benefit analysis to prioritize road investments.

If you were not able to join us for yesterday’s event, an archived recording is now available.

Watch the archived webinar
Download the presentation (PDF)

Joining yesterday’s event were Roger Millar, Vice President, Smart Growth America; Steve Ellis, Vice President, Taxpayers for Common Sense; Rich Tetreault, Director of Program Development, Vermont Agency on Transportation, Polly Kent, Administer, Intermodal Policy Division, Michigan Department of Transportation; and Steve Allen, Strategic Transportation Investments Director, Tennessee Department of Transportation.

Thank you to everyone who participated. The event provided valuable insights for how states can improve road conditions for drivers and the financial outlook of America’s DOTs at the same time.

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