Category: Reports

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.

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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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New report examines the fiscal implications of chronic underinvestment in road repair

Repair Priorities

State departments of transportation (DOTs) are spending more money building new roads than maintaining the ones they have—despite the fact that roads are crumbling, financial liabilities are mounting and conditions are not improving for America’s drivers.

$45.2 billion
The amount states would need to spend to bring roads in poor condition into a state of good repair while also maintaining their existing systems.

Those are the findings of Repair Priorities 2014: Transportation spending strategies to save taxpayer dollars and improve roads, a new report out today from Smart Growth America and Taxpayers for Common Sense. The report examines road conditions in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, how much states currently invest in road repair and how much they would need to spend to adequately maintain America’s roads.

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Announcing the best Complete Streets policies of 2013

Livermore, CALivermore, CA is included among the top of The Best Complete Streets Policies of 2013.

A total of 83 communities adopted Complete Streets policies in the United States in 2013. These laws, resolutions and planning and design documents encourage and provide for the safe access to destinations for everyone, regardless of age, ability, income or ethnicity, and no matter how they travel.

The Best Complete Streets Policies of 2013, released today by Smart Growth America’s National Complete Streets Coalition examines and scores each Complete Streets policy enacted in 2013. The report outlines ten ideal elements of a Complete Streets policy and scores individual policies based on these ideals. Policy elements refine a community’s vision for transportation, provide for many types of users, complement community needs and establish a flexible approach necessary for an effective Complete Streets process and outcome.

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Building Better Budgets quantifies average savings and revenue of smart growth development

Building Better BudgetsLocal governments across the country have compared development strategies to understand their impact on municipal finances. These studies generally compare two or more different development scenarios, and help local leaders make informed decisions about new development based on the costs or revenues associated with them.

Many municipalities have found that a smart growth approach would improve their financial bottom line. Whether by saving money on upfront infrastructure; reducing the cost of ongoing services like fire, police and ambulance; or by generating greater tax revenues in years to come, community after community has found that smart growth development would benefit their overall financial health. Many of these findings have been made publicly available.

No national survey has examined these savings as a whole until now. This report is the first to aggregate those comparisons and determine a national average of how much other communities can expect to save by using smart growth strategies.

Building Better Budgets: A National Examination of the Fiscal Benefits of Smart Growth Development surveys 17 studies that compare different development scenarios, including a brand-new study of Nashville-Davidson County, TN, commissioned specifically for this report.

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New analysis of Nashville area development reveals opportunity for public savings

The Gulch
The Watermark restaurant in The Gulch district in Nashville. The Gulch generated far more revenue per unit than the two other development scenarios. Photo by The Gulch.

Tennessee taxpayers could save money by using smarter development strategies, according to new research published by Smart Growth America.

Fiscal impact analyses of three development scenarios in Nashville-Davidson County, TN (PDF) examines the public costs and benefits of three development scenarios in Nashville-Davidson County: The Gulch, a smart growth oriented development project; Lennox Village, a New Urbanist-style development in a ‘greenfield’ location; and Bradford Hills, a conventional suburban residential subdivision outside of the city.

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Announcing the best Complete Streets policies of 2012

Communities across the country are making roads safer and more accessible for everyone who uses them, and more communities are using these strategies now than ever before.

The Best Complete Streets Policies of 2012, released today, examines all the Complete Streets policies passed in the last year and highlights some of the best. The analysis also revealed that the Complete Streets movement grew in 2012, continuing a national trend since 2005.

In 2012, 125 communities adopted Complete Streets policies. These laws, resolutions, executive orders, policies and planning and design documents encourage and provide safe access to destinations for everyone, regardless of age, ability, income, ethnicity or how they travel.

In total, 488 Complete Streets policies are now in place nationwide, at all levels of government. Statewide policies are in place in 27 states as well as the District of Columbia and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. Forty-two regional planning organizations, 38 counties and 379 municipalities in 48 states also have policies that allow everyone to safely use America’s roads. The policies passed in 2012 comprise more than one quarter of all policies in place today.

Ten cities have led the way in crafting comprehensive policy language. Our ranking of top Complete Streets policies is intended to celebrate the communities that have done exceptional work in the past year.

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