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Smart Land Use
Updated August 2016
Evaluating Transportation Land Use Impacts This guide examines how transportation decisions affect land use, and the economic, social and environmental impacts that result. It describes specific methods for incorporating these land use impacts in transportation and land use planning.
Evaluating Criticism of Smart Growth This report evaluates various criticisms of Smart Growth. It defines the concept of Smart Growth, contrasts it with sprawl, and describes common Smart Growth strategies. This analysis indicates that many claims by critics are inaccurate and misrepresent Smart Growth issues.
Understanding Smart Growth Savings: What We Know About Public Infrastructure and Service Cost Savings, And How They are Misrepresented By Critics This report summarizes estimates of Smart Growth economic savings, including reduced infrastructure and transportation costs, and critiques claims by critics that such savings are insignificant.
Analysis of Public Policies that Unintentionally Encourage and Subsidize Sprawl This major report for the New Climate Economy defines and estimates various costs of sprawl, and identifies Smart Growth policies that can help correct these distortions. Sprawl increases land consumption, infrastructure and transportation costs. Total incremental costs are estimated to exceed a trillion dollars annually in the U.S. Based on this analysis the report provides guidelines for optimal urban expansion, densities and vehicle ownership rates in various types of cities.

This report was cited by Felipe Calderon, former President of Mexico and current Chair of the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate, in the Economist Magazine, the Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post, among other media, and generated public debate, as described in Response to "Putting People First: An Alternative Perspective with an Evaluation of the NCE Cities 'Trillion Dollar' Report".

Selling Smart Growth: Communicating The Direct Benefits of More Accessible, Multi-Modal Locations to Households, Businesses and Governments Households often make trade-offs between housing and transport costs. This report shows how Smart Growth tends to increase household's long-term wealth generation and economic resilience, reduces drivers' travel costs and chauffeuring burdens, increases safety, and improves fitness and health. Smart Growth also supports local economic development. Summarized in Selling Smart Growth
Affordable-Accessible Housing In A Dynamic City: Why and How To Increase Affordable Housing In Accessible Neighborhoods This report examines ways to evaluate housing affordability, identifies problems caused by inaffordability, and describes affordable-accessible housing, which refers to lower priced homes located in areas with convenient access to essential services and activities, which minimizes household cost burdens. Demand for affordable-accessible housing is growing. Increasing affordable-accessible housing development can help achieve various economic, social and environmental objectives. Many current policies discourage such development, leading to shortages, particularly in growing cities. Policy and planning reforms described in this report can increase affordable-accessible housing development.
Affordable-Accessible Housing Photo Essay This photo essay illustrates various types of affordable-accessible housing. It highlights specific design features that can make such housing more acceptable to neighbors. It is an appendix to the report, Affordable-Accessible Housing In A Dynamic City.
Welcome To Our Neighborhood: A Manifesto for Inclusivity This short document summarizes key conclusions and recommendations from the report, Affordable Accessible Housing in a Dynamic City.
Urban Sanity: Understanding Urban Mental Health Impacts and How to Create Saner, Happier Cities This report examines how urban living affects residents' mental health and happiness, and ways to use this information to create saner and happier cities. Some often-cited studies suggest that urban living increases mental illness and unhappiness, but a critical review indicates that much of this research is incomplete and biased, and the issues are complex, involving trade-offs between risk factors. This report examines specific mechanisms by which urban living can affect mental health and happiness, and identities practical strategies that communities and individuals can use to increase their urban mental health and happiness. This analysis suggests that it is possible to create saner and happier cities.
Why and How to Reduce the Amount of Land Paved for Roads and Parking Facilities This article estimates the amount of land that is paved for roads and parking facilities in typical urban areas, examines the full economic, social and environmental costs of this impervious surface, discusses the amount of road and parking land area that can be considered optimal, and describes specific policy reforms that can reduce the amount of land paved for transport facilities.
Smart Growth Reforms This report identifies specific policy, planning, regulatory and fiscal reforms that support smart growth.
Land Use Impacts on Transport: How Land Use Factors Affect Travel Behavior This report examines how various land use factors such as density, regional accessibility, mix and roadway connectivity affect travel behavior.
Where We Want To Be: Home Location Preferences And Their Implications For Smart Growth This report investigates consumer housing location preferences and their relationship to smart growth. It examines claims that most households prefer sprawl-location housing and so are harmed by smart growth policies. Market research indicates that most households want improved accessibility, land use mix, and diverse transport options and will often choose small-lot and attached homes with these features. Demographic and economic trends are increasing smart growth demand, causing a shortage of such housing.
Pavement Busters Guide: Why and How to Reduce the Amount of Land Paved for Roads and Parking Facilities This guide describes ways to reduce the amount of land required for roads and parking facilities.
Parking Requirement Impacts On Housing Affordability This report describes how current minimum parking requirements tend to increase costs and reduce housing affordability. It describes alternative ways to supply parking that increase housing affordability.
Parking Management: Strategies, Evaluation and Planning This report describes more than two-dozen strategies that result in more efficient use of parking resources, and explains how to assemble them into an effective parking management program.
Parking Management Best Practices This book, written by VTPI Director Todd Litman and published by Planners Press, will change the way you think about and solve parking problems.
PMBP Table 2-1 This is the corrected version of Parking Management Best Practices Table 2-1.
Parking Cost, Pricing and Revenue Calculator This set of Excel spreadsheets calculates parking facility costs, pricing, and revenue generation, taking into account land, construction and operating costs, and load factors.
Parking Costs, Pricing and Revenue Calculator - Developing Country Edition This version of the Parking Cost, Pricing and Revenue Calculator developed by Yash Saxena includes default cost values based on developing country conditions
Parking Taxes: Evaluating Options and Impacts This report describes and evaluates various types of parking taxes, including commercial parking taxes (a special tax on parking rental transactions), per-space parking levies (a special property tax applied to parking facilities), and pricing of more publicly-owned parking facilities.
Evaluating Seattle Parking Tax Options This report By Todd Litman, Daniel Carlson, Aaron Blumenthal and John Lee describes and evaluates parking tax options for possible implementation by the City of Seattle.
Parking Pricing Implementation Guidelines: How More Efficient Pricing Can Help Solve Parking Problems, Increase Revenue And Achieve Other Planning Objectives Parking pricing refers to direct charges for using a parking space. Efficient parking pricing can provide numerous benefits including increased turnover and therefore improved user convenience, parking facility cost savings, reduced traffic problems, and increased revenues. This report provides guidance on parking pricing implementation. It describes parking pricing benefits and costs, ways to overcome common obstacles and objections, and examples of successful parking pricing programs.
Critique of the National Association of Home Builders' Research On Land Use Emission Reduction Impacts This report critiques National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) research concerning how various land use factors affect travel activity and pollution emissions, and therefore the impacts and benefits of smart growth policies. The NAHB contends that smart growth is an ineffective emission reduction strategy, but these conclusions are based on an inaccurate summation of its own research.
Planning Principles and Practices This report summarizes key principles and practices for effective land use and transportation planning.
Recommendations for Improving LEED Transportation and Parking Credits This report describes ways to improve LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) transportation and parking credits. It proposes a new approach that can significantly increase LEED encouragement of transportation and parking management strategies.
The Trouble With Minimum Parking Requirements This article by Professor Donald Shoup describes how minimum parking requirements are determined, how they result in economically-excessive parking supply, and the problems that result.
Arapahoe County Parking Utilization Study Concerning Residential Transit Oriented Development This study by Christopher Topp surveyed Denver area transit-oriented developments concerning factors such as vehicle ownership, travel options, parking space utilization rates, and residents' community design preferences. It identifies various factors that affect parking demand including location, income and transit service quality. It recommends reforms to better match parking supply and demand.
Paying for Parking This 1965 paper by transportation economist Gabriel Roth is an interesting and seminal document which outlines the principles of efficient parking pricing and management. The issues it raises apply to other types of transport pricing reforms, such as congestion pricing.
Financing Transit Systems Through Value Capture: An Annotated Bibliography This report examines more than 90 studies on the land value impacts of public transit service, and particularly whether the value increases can repay some or all of public transit service costs.
The Value Capture Approach To Stimulating Transit Oriented Development And Financing Transit Station Area Improvements This report examines the feasibility of land value tax (LVT) as an effective method to promote transit oriented development (TOD) and raise revenue to finance public improvements within urban rail transit station areas. A case study of a proposed TOD special assessment district in Seattle demonstrates how changing the general property tax to a LVT would provide incentives to utilize sites more intensively. The report discusses various value capture mechanisms.
Promoting Public Health Through Smart Growth: Building Healthier Communities Through Transportation And Land Use Policies This report written by Lawrence Frank, Sarah Kavage and Todd Litman, and published by Smart Growth BC, identifies specific transportation and land use reforms that can help create healthier and more livable communities.
Transportation Land Valuation; Evaluating Policies and Practices that Affect the Amount of Land Devoted to Transportation Facilities This report investigates how current land tax and regulatory practices affect the amount of land devoted to roads and parking facilities, and how this affects transport patterns.
Setting Up Superstores and Climate Change This short paper by economist Jean-Marie Beauvais describes the results of a study indicating that shopping at large, suburban 'superstores' consumes more than four times as much transportation energy and produces more than four times the carbon emissions as local grocery store shopping.
Cities Connect: How Urbanity Helps Achieve Social Inclusion Objectives This report, presented at the June 2006 Metropolis Conference, discusses how cities support social inclusion by improving accessibility and opportunity, particularly for people who are physically, economically and socially disadvantaged.
The Value of Downtown This report describes the unique role that downtowns have in many region's economy and identify, discusses whether downtowns are really dangerous, and identifies various strategies for improving downtowns.
Review of U.S. and European Regional Modeling Studies of Policies Intended to Reduce Motorized Travel, Fuel Use, and Emissions This paper, by Professor Robert Johnston, reviews experience in dozens of metropolitan regions using integrated models to evaluate the economic and environmental effects of various transport and land use management strategies.
A Report On The Estimation Of Unit Values Of Land Occupied By Transportation Infrastructures In Canada This report, by Clarence Woudsma, Todd Litman, and Glen Weisbrod for Transport Canada, estimates the unit values (dollars per square meter) of land occupied by the different transportation infrastructure, including roads, ports and airports.
Clunker Mortgages and Transportation Redlining; How the Mortgage Banking Industry Unknowingly Drains Cities and Spreads Sprawl This paper by Patrick Hare was the first to recommend "Location Efficient Mortgages," that is, a mortgage approval procedure that allows larger mortgages for households that buy homes where they can reduce their cars expenses, and thus have more money available for mortgage payments.
Evaluating Traffic Calming Benefits, Costs and Equity Impacts Traffic calming is the popular name for road design strategies that reduce vehicle speeds and volumes. This report describes a framework for evaluating traffic calming programs, taking into account benefits, costs and equity impacts.
Evaluating Complete Streets: The Value of Designing Roads For Diverse Modes, Users and Activities 'Complete streets' refers to roads designed to accommodate diverse modes, users and activities including walking, cycling, public transit, automobile, nearby businesses and residents. Such street design helps create more multi-modal transport systems and more livable communities. This report discusses reasons to implement complete streets and how it relates to other planning innovations.
Planners' Guide To Victoria: Highlights For Urban Exploration And Discovery This short guide describes general attributes that make urban areas successful, and ways these are expressed in Victoria, British Columbia.
 
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