Tag: Reports

Learn all about the third edition of “The Innovative DOT”

innovative-dot3-cover-thumbEarlier this month we released the third edition of The Innovative DOT: A handbook of policy and practice. The new and improved guide includes tools for state DOTs working to improve safety, alleviate congestion, improve system reliability, accelerate project delivery, preserve valuable assets, reduce environmental impacts, and enhance economic opportunities—all in an era of constrained budgets.

We want to make it as easy as possible to use the new guide, so Smart Growth America and our co-authors the State Smart Transportation Initiative are hosting a free webinar all about it.

Join us tomorrow, January 27, 2015 at 3:00 PM EST to learn about new features of the 2015 edition and to discuss how transportation professionals have applied the manual. Hear from panelists Billy Fields, Assistant Professor of Political Science at Texas State University; Roger Millar, Vice President of Smart Growth America and Director of Smart Growth America’s Leadership Institute; Adetokunbo “Toks” Omishakin, Deputy Commissioner/Chief of Environment & Planning at the Tennessee DOT; and Chris Spahr, SSTI Project Assistant. The speakers will highlight new features in the third edition, and how state DOTs across the country are already putting the manual into action.

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Third edition of “The Innovative DOT” provides new tools for states looking to improve transportation while reducing costs

innovative-dot3-cover-thumbState transportation officials across the country are facing the same challenges: Revenues are falling and budgets are shrinking but transportation demands are continuing to grow.

Innovative approaches can help transportation officials succeed in the face of these challenges, and an updated resource from Smart Growth America and the State Smart Transportation Initiative (SSTI) outlines how.

The third edition of The Innovative DOT, released today, provides 34 strategies that transportation officials can use to position their agencies for success in a new era of constrained budgets. Originally released in 2012 and developed with input from top transportation professionals and agency staff from around the nation, the handbook documents many of the innovative approaches state leaders are using to make systems more efficient, government more effective and constituents better satisfied. The second edition was released in January 2014, and provided three additional tools and 20 new case studies.

“State DOTs across the country are using the tools in this guidebook with great success,” said Roger Millar, Vice President of Smart Growth America. “The third edition contains even more ideas for how DOT staff can lead and improve their agencies’ work.”

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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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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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Ideas for creating better DOTs at Good Jobs, Green Jobs 2013

How can state departments of transportation (DOTs) cut costs while creating better transportation choices and creating quality jobs?

That’s what Smart Growth America’s Vice President Roger Millar will discuss at this year’s Good Jobs Green Jobs conference, on April 16, 2013 in Washington D.C. Joining Millar for a panel discussion called “Not Your Father’s DOT” will be Eric Sundquist, Managing Director, Smart State Transportation Initiative and Douglas Shinkle, Senior Policy Specialist, National Conference of State Legislatures.

Many state DOTs face falling revenues but rising demand for services. In response to these challenges, DOTs across the country are changing the way they do business. Agencies are taking new approaches to transportation that fit the unique demands of their states and that provide greater benefits at less cost. They are improving existing services in the short term and planning effectively for the long term. They are adopting innovative yet pragmatic reforms. They are reevaluating and retooling traditional practices to ensure that those practices continue to provide users with a robust, economically beneficial transportation network.

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New report calls for examination of federal real estate spending

Federal financing of and spending on real estate impacts millions of Americans on every street, in every neighborhood, town and rural community in the country. From loan guarantees to commercial tax credits, these programs help those most in need pay their rent, help families purchase their first home, and provide financing for commercial development. The federal government impacts where and how homes and even whole neighborhoods are built in the United States.

Federal Involvement in Real Estate: A call for examination surveys this spending, which encompasses approximately $450 billion each year. Through a combination of direct spending and commitments, this funding supports loans and loan guarantees, grants, and tax credits.

This spending has an enormous impact on the U.S. real estate market. Though usually viewed as a “free” market, the U.S. real estate sector is heavily influenced by direct and indirect government intervention. Taken as a whole, these expenditures and investments impact where real estate is developed and what kind of product is built.

Even a cursory analysis reveals this impact is uneven. For example, small multifamily buildings are less likely to receive financing, despite the fact that most renters in the United States live in these smaller buildings. Viewed as whole, federal funds are not targeted to those most in need, are not targeted to strengthen existing communities and are not targeted to places where people have economic opportunities.

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Webinar highlights new guide for state transportation officials

On Friday, Smart Growth America participated in a webinar to highlight our new resource for state transportation officials, released recently in partnership with the State Smart Transportation Initiative.

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New research highlights rising demand for homes and businesses in walkable neighborhoods

A new report from The George Washington University’s Center for Real Estate and Urban Analysis, in partnership with LOCUS: Responsible Real Estate Developers and Investors and ULI Washington, reveals how walkable urban places and projects will drive tomorrow’s real estate industry and the U.S. economy, and outlines what actions are needed to take advantage of these market trends.

The report was released at an event yesterday in Washington, DC. Governor Parris Glendening, President of Smart Growth America’s Leadership Institute, gave the kickoff keynote of the day-long event. Glendening discussed the megatrends shaping the real estate market today, including changing demographics, new demand among consumers and emerging economic factors. These trends are all influencing the real estate market, Glendening explained, and are shaping how developers think about the built environment and economic development.

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New report and companion workbook highlight successful Complete Streets policies from across the United States

Communities across the United States adopted 146 Complete Streets policies in 2011, and over 350 policies are now in place across the country. A new report looks at some of the best of these policies, and a new resource can help community leaders bring these practices to their town or city.

The National Complete Streets Coalition’s 2011 Policy Analysis surveys the over 350 Complete Streets policies that have been approved by communities across the country. These policies are working to make streets safer, more livable and more welcoming for everyone, and the 2011 Policy Analysis surveys the most successful and robust.

“It’s great to see such a surge in Complete Streets policy adoption over the past year,” said National Complete Streets Coalition Director Roger Millar. “But this growth is also reflective of changing times and attitudes about transportation.”

Local policies of particular note are highlighted throughout the report, providing a comprehensive examination of best policy practices across the country. Complete Streets policies in New Jersey, Louisiana, California, Minnesota, and Connecticut are among the report’s most successful examples.

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From Vacancy to Vibrancy: A guide to redeveloping underground storage tank sites through area-wide planning

A new guide for town, city and county leaders outlines a new tool they can use to build the financial and political support needed to reclaim and redevelop the thousands of abandoned gas stations, auto body shops, and industrial facilities nationwide.

From Vacancy to Vibrancy focuses on underground storage tank (UST) sites – properties with buried or partially buried tanks that have been used to store petroleum or other hazardous substances. When gas stations, auto body shops, industrial facilities or other types of development close down, these tanks are often left behind. As they age, the tanks are prone to leakage and can contaminate both soil and groundwater, posing a serious environmental threat. The new guide takes aim at one of the primary reasons these types of properties remain vacant for so long: many officials just don’t know what to do with them.

The regulatory issues associated with vacant properties containing a UST, as well as the time and money involved in cleanup, often makes revitalization seem like more trouble than it is worth. These challenges are overshadowed, however, by UST sites’ potential for neighborhood revitalization. From the Executive Summary:

UST sites are often both small and centrally located, and both these traits make them unique opportunities for revitalization. As demand rises for housing in neighborhoods close to town and in city centers – persisting in spite of larger challenges in the real estate market nationwide – UST sites are in a position to catalyze reinvestment and redevelopment initiatives.


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