INNOVATIVE PLANNING PRACTICES


Innovative planning practices advance the state of transportation planning by ensuring better, more holistic decision-making, thereby improving overall project quality. It is key for planners to remain on the cutting edge of innovation in planning and to use all available tools to implement an efficient and effective planning process, deliver high-quality projects, and make sure all voices are being heard. The items featured below serve as outstanding examples for planners nationwide to use as models for their own projects and practices.

 
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San Diego Forward: The Regional Plan - San Diego Association of Governments

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San Diego Forward: The Regional Plan - San Diego Association of Governments


OVERVIEW

San Diego’s Regional Plan was a recipient of a 2017 Transportation Planning Excellence Award (TPEA), a program run by the FHWA’s Transportation Planning Capacity Building (TPCB) Program. As a TPEA winner, the Regional Plan provides an excellent blueprint for how the San Diego region will grow and how transportation investments will provide greater choices, strengthen the economy, promote a healthy environment, and support the community. Adopted in October 2015, the Plan anticipates investments of over $200 billion over the next 35 years (2050).

WHAT MAKES THE PROJECT INNOVATIVE?

The Regional Plan provides for economic development through transportation improvements. On average, the Plan will spur about $13 billion in additional economic activity per year. Planning transportation improvements with an eye toward economic development ensures that the plan is incorporated into and consistent with greater community growth and development.

The San Diego Association of Governments' (SANDAG) Plan fosters compact, transit-oriented development patterns and encourages positive environmental outcomes.

  • By 2050, nearly 82 percent of new housing units will be attached multifamily in urbanized areas near existing or planned public transit.
  • SANDAG will invest $258 million in mobility hubs, a nationally recognized strategy, to expand the reach of regional transit.
  • The SANDAG Sustainable Communities Strategy (SCS) will result in greenhouse gas reductions that exceed what the state mandates require.

The planning process involved an extensive and inclusive public outreach effort.

  • By making investments in lower-income and minority communities, the Regional Plan gives everyone an opportunity to participate in the economy.
  • The involvement effort reached 18,000 to 24,000 people to provide input on the development of the plan and received over 8,000 comments.
  • SANDAG partnered with 14 Community Based Organizations to reach communities who traditionally may not have been involved in the planning processes.

SANDAG created a clear method for evaluating the Plan’s progress toward its goals.

  • SANDAG identified 23 “performance monitoring indicators.” These indicators will help gauge the Plan’s progress toward an increase in travel choices, expanded access to public transit, improved air quality, a more efficient and innovative use of energy, a stronger economy, and enhanced public health. SANDAG published a Regional Monitoring Reportin 2018, and will renew the monitoring report on a four-year cycle.
  • A subset of performance measures was identified for the social equity analysis. This analysis will assist in ensuring that benefits and burdens from SANDAG transportation projects are equitably distributed.

The Regional Plan can be accessed here.

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Next Generation Scenario Planning Report

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Next Generation Scenario Planning Report

OVERVIEW

The Next Generation Scenario Planning Report: A Transportation Practitioner’s Guide provides information on how to scope and design a scenario planning process to best meet the needs or challenges of a community or organization. It includes a summary of the different kinds of scenario futures – probable, desired, and exploratory – and describes how those can be used to address common issues facing transportation organizations. In a constantly changing world, scenario planning is an innovative and useful tool for planners to use to effectively consider multiple potential futures and their impacts.

HOW DOES THE REPORT HELP PLANNERS INNOVATE?

  • Emphasizes the importance of clearly setting expectations about the purpose, goals and expected outcomes of a scenario planning process.
  • Includes real-world, recent examples of addressing emerging trends, crafting a new vision or desired future, and dealing with uncertainty.
  • Provides practitioners with an expansive list of “how-to’s” and a menu of options for incorporating scenario-based planning into the transportation planning processes.
  • Enhances the knowledge base of practitioners by offering key considerations for designing a scenario-based process, which leads to informed decision making, resilient plan making, effective plan implementation, and thoughtful consensus building.
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WALK BIKE THRIVE! A Regional Vision for a More Walkable, Bikeable, and Livable Metro Atlanta - Atlanta Regional Commission

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WALK BIKE THRIVE! A Regional Vision for a More Walkable, Bikeable, and Livable Metro Atlanta - Atlanta Regional Commission

OVERVIEW

“Walk. Bike. Thrive!” is a regional walking and biking transportation plan for the Atlanta region and another 2017 TPEA award winner. Adopted in 2016, “Walk, Bike, Thrive!” serves as the active transportation component of the Atlanta Regional Commission's (ARC) long-range transportation plan for the Atlanta Metropolitan Region. This plan may act as a model for communities nation-wide that want to make their regions more bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly.

Conceptual regional walking and biking system
Source: Atlanta Regional Commission

WHAT MAKES THE PROJECT INNOVATIVE?

The Plan seeks to support the Atlanta Region’s Plan to help the region become “one of the most connected and safest regions in the United States for walking and bicycling.
  • The Plan acknowledges the role of both local and regional frameworks of governance to create a strong and coordinated vision for the future. Regional planning allows for connectivity throughout Metro Atlanta, while local planning capitalizes on the expertise of communities to implement effective and place-based networks. Specifically:
    • Project prioritization and the distribution of MPO and federal funding is based on a regional framework for walking and biking.
    • A local toolkit provides information for local communities to build safe, high-quality pedestrian and bicycle networks with policy and program support. The toolkit can be used when localities request MPO funds, develop projects using local funding, and adopt policies relevant to local needs.
  • Plan development was guided by a wide range of public input from across the region, including regional surveys, first-person interviews, and regional forums with existing advisory groups.

The regional plan can be accessed here.