Smart Growth

More Efficient Land Use Management


TDM Encyclopedia

Victoria Transport Policy Institute


Updated 6 September 2019

This chapter describes various local and regional land use management practices that create more accessible, multi-modal, efficient and livable communities. People who live and work in such communities tend to drive less and rely more on alternative modes than in more automobile-dependent locations.




Smart growth (also called New Urbanism and Location Efficient Development) is a general term for policies that integrate transportation and land use decisions, for example by encouraging more Compact, mixed-use development within existing urban areas, and discouraging dispersed, automobile dependent development at the urban fringe. Smart Growth can help create more Accessible land use patterns, improve Transport Options, create more Livable communities, reduce public service costs and achieve other Land Use Objectives. Smart Growth is an alternative to urban sprawl. Major differences between these two land use patterns are compared in Table 1.


Table 1            Comparing Smart Growth and Sprawl (SGN 2011)


Smart Growth



Compact development.

Lower-density, dispersed activities.

Growth pattern

Infill (brownfield) development.

Urban periphery (greenfield) development.

Land use mix

Mixed land use.

Homogeneous (single-use, segregated) land uses.


Human scale. Smaller buildings, blocks and roads. More detail, since people experience the landscape up close, as pedestrians.

Large scale. Larger buildings, blocks, wide roads. Less detail, since people experience the landscape at a distance, as motorists.

Public services (shops, schools, parks)

Local, distributed, smaller. Accommodates walking access.

Regional, consolidated, larger. Requires automobile access.


Multi-modal transportation and land use patterns that support walking, cycling and public transit.

Automobile-oriented transportation and land use patterns, poorly suited for walking, cycling and transit.


Highly connected roads, sidewalks and paths, allowing relatively direct travel by motorized and nonmotorized modes.

Hierarchical road network with numerous loops and dead-end streets, and unconnected sidewalks and paths, with many barriers to nonmotorized travel.

Street design

Streets designed to accommodate a variety of activities. Traffic calming.

Streets designed to maximize motor vehicle traffic volume and speed.

Parking supply and management

Limited supply and efficient management,

Generous supply, minimal management.

Planning process

Planned and coordinated between jurisdictions and stakeholders.

Unplanned, with little coordination between jurisdictions and stakeholders.

Public space

Emphasis on the public realm (streetscapes, pedestrian environment, public parks, public facilities).

Emphasis on the private realm (yards, shopping malls, gated communities, private clubs).

This table compares Smart Growth with sprawl land use patterns.



Because their impacts tend to be synergistic (total impacts are greater than the sum of their individual impacts) Smart Growth usually requires a number of integrated changes. For example, more compact development, improved walkability or increased transit service quality by themselves cannot be considered Smart Growth; true Smart Growth requires that all of these policies be implemented together to take advantage of their synergies.


Smart Growth emphasizes Accessibility, meaning that the activities people use frequently are located close together. For this reason, the basic unit of planning is the local community, neighborhood or “village,” that is, a mixed-use, Walkable area, one-half to one mile in diameter, with commonly-used public services (shops, schools, parks, etc.) Clustered into a central commercial area. This is in contrast to conventional planning, which tends to emphasize mobility as a solution to transport problems, and so tends to plan communities at a larger scale which relies primarily on motor vehicle travel, with little consideration to pedestrian access.


Except in very geographically constrained cities such as Hong Kong and Singapore, Smart Growth does not eliminate single-family housing or private automobile travel; rather, it generally maximizes Accessible and Affordable Housing options, and diverse Transport Options (as opposed to Automobile Dependent or Car-Free Planning transport systems), so residents can choose the best transport option for each trip: walking and cycling for local errands, public transit when travelling on major urban corridors, and automobile travel when it is truly most efficient overall, considering all impacts.


There is growing convergence of support for Smart Growth among a variety of professions and interest groups, ranging from transportation planners concerned with a variety of economic, social and environmental issues. For example transportation planners increasingly support Smart Growth as a way to improve Accessibility (ITE 2002), public officials support it as a way to reduce public infrastructure and service costs, some people support it as a way to reduce environmental impacts, and others as a way to create more Livable communities.


Smart Growth includes a number of individual policies and practices, such as those listed in the box below. Which are implemented and how they are applied depends on the specific situation. Smart Growth is a relatively recent concept (although many of its practices are old), and so is developing and evolving as practitioners gain experience.


Smart Growth Practices

(Ewing 1996; Trohimovich 2001; Smart Growth Network 2002; Smart Growth Policy Reforms; Holian and Kahn 2012)


·         Strategic planning. Establish a comprehensive community vision which guides individual land use and transportation decisions.


·         Create more self-contained communities. Reduce average trip distances, and encourage walking, cycling and transit travel, by locating a variety of compatible land uses within proximity of each other. For example, develop schools, shops and recreation facilities in or adjacent to residential areas. Mix land uses at the finest grain feasible.


·         Maximize Accessibility and Transportation Options. Try to locate associated land uses close together (such as locating schools and commonly-used retail businesses within or next to residential neighborhoods), and support transportation diversity, including walking, cycling, ridesharing, public transit, Delivery Services and Telework.


·         Create Walkable neighborhoods. Walkability is important for Smart Growth, because it increases community Livability and travel options (most transit trips include walking links).


·         Foster distinctive, attractive communities with a strong sense of place. Encourage physical environments that create a sense of civic pride and community cohesion, including attractive public spaces, high-quality architectural and natural elements that reflect unique features of the community, preservation of special cultural and environmental resources, and high standards of maintenance and repair.


·         Encourage quality, compact development. Allow and encourage higher density development, particularly around transit and Commercial Centers. Reduce minimum lot sizes, building setbacks, minimum parking requirements, and minimum street size. Allow transfer of develop capacity of outlying areas to more centralized areas. Demand high quality designs that addresses problems associated with higher density.


·         Use Context Sensitive Design. Foster distinctive communities with a strong sense of place.


·         Encourage Cluster development. Keep clusters small and well defined, such as “urban villages” with distinct names and characters. Coordinate development to facilitate accessibility. For example, encourage employment centers near commercial centers, so employees can walk to perform errands during their breaks.


·         Encourage infill development. Reduce average trip distances, and encourage walking, cycling and transit travel, by locating new development in already developed areas, so that activities are close together. Review public costs to insure that public expenditures do not favor new, greenfield development over existing residents or infill development. Encourage redevelopment of older facilities and brownfields.


·         Reform tax and utility rates. Structure property taxes, development fees and utility rates to reflect the lower public service costs of clustered, infill development, and focus economic development incentives to encourage businesses to locate in more accessible locations (Smart Growth Policy Reforms).


·         Concentrate activities. Encourage pedestrian and transit travel by creating “nodes” of high-density, mixed development that are linked by convenient transit service. Concentrate commercial activities in these areas. Retain strong downtowns and central business districts. Use access management to discourage arterial strip commercial development.


·         Encourage Transit Oriented Development. Increase development density within walking distance (0.25 to 0.50 miles) of high capacity transit stations and corridors, and provide high quality pedestrian and cycling facilities in those areas.


·         Manage parking for efficiency. Encourage Shared Parking, and other Parking Management strategies. Reserve the most convenient parking for rideshare vehicles.


·         Avoid overly-restrictive zoning. Reduce excessive and inflexible parking and road capacity requirements. Limit undesirable impacts (noise, smells and traffic) rather than broad categories of activities. For example, allow shops and services to locate in neighborhoods provided that they are sized and managed to avoid annoying residents.


·         Good roadway Connectivity. Create a network of well-connected streets and paths, with short blocks and minimal cul-de-sacs. Keep streets as narrow as possible, particularly in residential areas and commercial centers. Use traffic management and traffic calming to control vehicle impacts rather than dead ends and cul de sacs.


·         Site design and building orientation. Encourage buildings to be oriented toward city streets, rather than set back behind large parking lots. Avoid large areas of parking or other unattractive land uses in commercial areas.


·         Improve nonmotorized travel conditions. Encourage walking and cycling by improving sidewalks, paths, crosswalks, protection from fast vehicular traffic, and providing street amenities (trees, awnings, benches, pedestrian-oriented lighting, etc.). Improve connections for nonmotorized travel, such as trails that link dead-end streets.


·         Implement TDM. Use transportation demand management to reduce total vehicle traffic and encourage the use of efficient modes. This includes parking and road pricing, commute trip reduction programs, policies that favor high-occupancy vehicles, and other strategies.


·         Improve street design to create complete streets. Use road space reallocation, access management, road diets, and traffic calming to insure that walking, cycling and public transit are convenient and comfortable, and to accommodate other street activities such as strolling, playing, shopping, sightseeing, eating and special events.


·         Preserve greenspace. Preserve open space, particularly areas with high ecological and recreational value. Channel development into areas that are already disturbed.


·         Encourage a mix of housing types and prices. Develop affordable housing near employment, commercial and transport centers. Develop second suites, apartments over shops, lofts, location-efficient mortgages and other innovations that help create more affordable housing.


·         Utility Management. Use on-site stormwater drainage systems. Encourage water conservation.



Smart Growth policies can be implemented in urban, suburban and rural conditions:

·         Urban: In urban areas it emphasizes redevelopment and infill of existing urban neighborhoods, improving mixed-use design features (such as Traffic Calming of urban streets and Location Efficient Development), and enhancing multi-modal transport systems, particularly walking and public transit.

·         Suburban: In suburban areas it creates medium-density, mixed-use, multi-modal centers (sometimes called Transit Villages), either by incrementally developing existing suburban communities or by master-plan developments that reflect Smart Growth principles. It encourages more complete suburban communities (more local services and employment in suburban jurisdictions), and improved regional travel options such as Ridesharing and Transit Improvements. It supports greenspace preservation.

·         Rural: In rural areas Smart Growth involves policies that help channel development and public services into accessible, mixed-use villages (for example, having schools, stores and affordable housing located close together and well connected by good walking facilities), and implementation of Rural Community TDM (Twaddell and Emerine, 2007).



Smart Growth can help achieve strategic land use objectives, including increased Accessibility, Transportation Options and Affordability, more cost effective infrastructure, reduced impervious surface, and greenspace and historic preservation (Land Use Evaluation). Smart Growth does not eliminate urban expansion or suburban development but it changes such development to help achieve resource efficiency and community Livability goals. Smart Growth reflects Sustainable Development objectives. Smart Growth incorporates many efficiency and amenity features private developers apply to “master planned” communities, such as incremental expansion of development to minimize infrastructure costs, and coordination between land uses to maximize access. It allows such features be implemented in existing communities and in new communities with multiple developers.


There is debate concerning the desirability of Smart Growth (Gordon and Richardson 1997 and counterpoint by Ewing; Burchell, et al. 2000; Litman 2012 and 2015), although there is growing consensus among most experts (Ewing, et al. 2014). Critics argue that Smart Growth provides little real benefits, increases congestion, makes residents worse off, and is unpopular with consumers (Cox 2015). Proponents counter that the total economic, social and environmental benefits are substantial and preferred by many households (Litman 2009), and point to the popularity of New Urbanism developments and to surveys indicating that consumers prefer communities with coordinated planning and Smart Growth design features.

For example, a National Association of Realtors survey (NAR 2013) found that, although approximately three quarters of households prefer single-family over attached or multi-family homes, a majority (55% to 40%) would choose a home with a smaller yard if it provided easy walks to schools, stores and restaurants over a home with a large yard that requires driving to get to schools, stores and restaurants. An even larger majority (57% to 36%) prefers houses with smaller yards but a shorter commutes over houses with larger yards but a longer commute to work. Similarly, a majority of respondents  (60% to 35%) prefer neighborhoods with a mix of houses, stores and businesses that are easy to walk over a neighborhood with houses only that requires driving to stores and businesses. These preferences for more accessible, multi-modal neighborhoods appears to be increasing: Handy (2008), found that consumer support for traditional community design increased from 44% in 2003 to 59% in 2005. A study by the Urban Land Institute, a professional organization for real estate investors and developers, reached similar conclusions (ULI 2015), indicating that Smart Growth policies which support development of more compact, multi-modal neighborhoods responds to consumer demands.



How It Is Implemented

Smart Growth is usually implemented as a set of policies and programs by state/provincial, regional or local governments. It can be incorporated into land use development, often in exchange for reduced development fees and parking requirements (Seggerman, Hendricks and Fleury 2005). Implementation often requires Policy, Institutional and Regulatory reforms. To be effective it requires multi-jurisdictional coordination. Many professional and non-profit organizations involved in planning, urban development and quality of life issues support Smart Growth, including the American Planning Association, the National Governor’s Association, and citizen-based environmental groups. The Table below indicates the level of government action that can implement specific Smart Growth measures.


Table 2            Smart Growth Implementation

Smart Growth Measure

Implementation Mechanism


Increased Density and Infill Development

State growth controls.

State development incentives.

Local growth controls.

Local incentives.


Transit Oriented Development

State development incentives.

Local growth controls.

Local incentives.


Jobs/Housing Balance

State growth controls.

State development incentives.

Local growth controls.

Local incentives.


Land Use Mixing

Local growth controls.

Local design controls.

Local incentives.


Tax, Development Fees and Utility Pricing Reforms

State tax policy.

Local development and tax policy.

Utility rate structure.


Neotraditional Design

Local growth controls.

Local design controls.

Local incentives.

Site Design and Parking Management

Local zoning codes.

Local design controls.



Travel Impacts

Smart Growth does not eliminate automobile travel, but it can significantly reduce per capita automobile travel compared with sprawled development patterns, as discussed in the chapters on Land Use Impacts and Transportation Price Elasticities. Smart Growth tends to reduce automobile travel through specific mechanisms described below.


·         Clustering of population and employment, which increases Accessibility (e.g., proximity to employment, shops and schools), and travel choice (better transit, ridesharing, and better pedestrian facilities).


·         Land use mix, such as commercial and public services located within or adjacent to residential areas, which increases access and travel choice.


·         Parking Management and Parking Pricing can reduce automobile travel, encourage use of alternative modes, and reduce the amount of land paved for parking facilities, creating accessible and pedestrian-friendly landscape (see Evaluating Nonmotorized Transport).


·         Traffic Calming and other measures that reduce automobile traffic speeds, which reduces driving and improves conditions for walking, cycling and transit use.


·         A more Connected street network improves access.


·         More attractive, safer streets, and pedestrian-oriented land use, encourages nonmotorized travel.


·         An effective transit system tends to reduce per capita automobile travel, particularly when integrated with supportive land use (high-density development with good pedestrian access within half-kilometer of transit stations).


·         Other TDM strategies can be incorporated into Smart Growth, including Commute Trip Reduction, School and Campus Trip Reduction, Carsharing and Road Pricing, to further reduce per capita vehicle travel.



A USEPA study (2004) found that regardless of population density, transportation system design features such as greater street Connectivity, a more pedestrian-friendly environment, shorter route options, and more extensive transit service have a positive impact on performance, (per-capita vehicle travel, congestion delays, traffic accidents and pollution emissions). The USEPA Smart Growth Index (SGI) Model ( is a tool for predicting the impacts that various land use factors such as density, mix, roadway design, transit service and regional accessibility have on personal travel.


Table 3 summarizes the effects of land use factors on travel behavior. Actual impacts will vary depending on specific conditions and the combination of factors applied, as discussed in Litman, 2005.


Table 3            Land Use Impacts on Travel (CARB 2010-2015; Ewing and Cervero 2010; Litman 2005)



Travel Impacts


People or jobs per unit of land area (acre or hectare).

Increased density tends to reduce per capita vehicle travel. Each 10% increase in urban densities typically reduces per capita VMT by 1-3%.


Degree that related land uses (housing, commercial, institutional) are located close together.

Increased land use mix tends to reduce per capita vehicle travel, and increase use of alternative modes, particularly walking for errands. Neighborhoods with good land use mix typically have 5-15% lower vehicle-miles.

Regional Accessibility

Location of development relative to regional urban center.

Improved accessibility reduces per capita vehicle mileage. Residents of more central neighborhoods typically drive 10-30% fewer vehicle-miles than urban fringe residents.


Portion of commercial, employment, and other activities in major activity centers.

Centeredness increases use of alternative commute modes. Typically 30-60% of commuters to major commercial centers use alternative modes, compared with 5-15% of commuters at dispersed locations.

Network Connectivity

Degree that walkways and roads are connected to allow direct travel between destinations.

Improved roadway connectivity can reduce vehicle mileage, and improved walkway connectivity tends to increase walking and cycling.

Roadway design and management

Scale, design and management of streets.

More multi-modal streets increase use of alternative modes. Traffic calming reduces vehicle travel and increases walking and cycling.

Walking and Cycling conditions

Quantity, quality and security of sidewalks, crosswalks, paths, and bike lanes.

Improved walking and cycling conditions tends to increase nonmotorized travel and reduce automobile travel. Residents of more walkable communities typically walk 2-4 times as much and drive 5-15% less than if they lived in more automobile-dependent communities.

Transit quality and accessibility

Quality of transit service and degree to which destinations are transit accessible.

Improved service increases transit ridership and reduces automobile trips. Residents of transit oriented neighborhoods tend to own 10-30% fewer vehicles, drive 10-30% fewer miles, and use alternative modes 2-10 times more frequently than residents of automobile-oriented communities.

Parking supply and management

Number of parking spaces per building unit or acre, and how parking is managed.

Reduced parking supply, increased parking pricing and implementation of other parking management strategies can significantly reduce vehicle ownership and mileage. Cost-recovery pricing (charging users directly for parking facilities) typically reduces automobile trips by 10-30%.

Site design

The layout and design of buildings and parking facilities.

More multi-modal site design can reduce automobile trips, particularly if implemented with improved transit services.

Mobility Management

Policies and programs that encourage more efficient travel patterns.

Mobility management can significantly reduce vehicle travel for affected trips. Vehicle travel reductions of 10-30% are common.

This table describes various land use factors that can affect travel behavior and population health.



Although individual strategies may have modest travel effects, typically reducing total vehicle traffic by just a few percentage points, their impacts are cumulative and synergetic. A comprehensive Smart Growth program using cost-effective strategies (i.e., strategies that are fully justified for their direct economic and consumer benefits) can reduce total per capita automobile travel by 20-40% compared with conventional, automobile-dependent land use patterns and transportation policies.


The table below summarizes estimated travel impacts that can typically be achieved by Smart Growth. Of course, these impacts can vary significantly depending on specific policies, geography, demographics, and time frame.


Table 4            Travel Impact Summary

Travel Impact



Reduces total traffic.


Results in more efficient land use and improved travel alternatives.

Reduces peak period traffic.


Reduces automobile commuting.

Shifts peak to off-peak periods.



Shifts automobile travel to alternative modes.



Improves access, reduces the need for travel.


Results in more efficient land use.

Increased ridesharing.


Clustered employment supports ridesharing.

Increased public transit.


Supports public transit.

Increased cycling.


Supports bicycle transportation.

Increased walking.


Supports walking for transportation.

Increased Telework.



Reduced freight traffic.


May include some freight management.

Ratings range from 1 (minimal impact) to 3 (significantly contributes to this impact).



Benefits And Costs

Smart Growth can provide a variety of economic, social and environmental benefits, as summarized in Table 5. Many consumers value Smart Growth features such as improved accessibility and walkability (Litman 2009). The actual benefits of a particular Smart Growth program depend on the components of the program and the conditions in which it is implemented.


Table 5            Smart Growth Benefits (Burchell, et al. 2000; Litman 2004 and 2014; USEPA 2004)




Reduced development and service costs.

Consumer transportation cost savings.

Economies of agglomeration.

More efficient transportation.

Improved transportation options, particularly for nondrivers.

Improved housing options.

Community cohesion.

Increased physical activity and health.

Greenspace and wildlife habitat preservation.

Reduced air pollution.

Reduce resource consumption.

Reduced water pollution.

Reduced “heat island” effect.



Smart Growth tends to support economic development by increasing economic productivity and reducing overhead costs (USEPA 2013 and 2014). Published research indicates that doubling urban population density produces approximately 6% increase in productivity (Haughwout, 2000). This occurs because Clustering of common destinations reduces the costs of activities that require frequent interactions.


A number of studies indicate that Smart Growth can reduce costs for public services, such as water and sewage, roads and schools (Burchell, et al. 2000; Muro and Puentes 2004). ). A study for the City of Madison, Wisconsin investigated how these fiscal impacts vary by development pattern (SGA and RCLCO 2015a). The analysis indicates that annual net fiscal impacts (incremental tax revenues minus incremental local government and school district costs) are $6.8 million net revenue ($203 per capita and $4,534 per acre), compared with $4.4 million ($185 per capita and $1,286 per acre) for the low density scenario. A similar study for West Des Moines, Iowa predicts that, to accommodate 9,275 new housing units, a compact development scenario designed to maximize neighborhood walkability would generate a total annual net fiscal impact of $11.2 million ($417 per capita and $17,820 per acre), about 50% more than the $7.5 million ($243 per capita and $2,700 per acre) generated by the lowest density scenario (SGA and RCLCO 2015b).


Smart Growth tends to benefit consumers by improved housing and transportation Options and Affordability. It tends to reduce parking demand, allowing substantial facility cost savings (Lee, Rees and Watten 2010).  Residents of communities with more efficient land use save thousands of dollars annually in transport costs (Bernstein, et al. 2004; CTOD and CNT 2006).


Smart Growth can provide substantial energy conservation and pollution emission reductions (Mehaffy, Cowan and Urge-Vorsatz 2009; JRC 2011), although it may increase pollutant concentrations and therefore exposure to pollutants with localized impacts, such as noise and carbon monoxide. Per capita energy savings can be substantial. According to one study, designing all new communities on Smart Growth principles could reduce total U.S. energy consumption by about 10% after a decade (Burer, Goldstein and Holtzclaw 2004).


Smart Growth tends to increase traffic congestion intensity (the delay that motorists experience when driving during peak periods) but tends to reduce per-capita Congestion delays because residents drive less and take shorter trips. Compact development supports Road Pricing. Guo, et al. (2011) analyzed data from the 2006-2007 Oregon Road User Fee Pilot Program, which charged motorists for driving in congested conditions. The study found that households in denser, mixed use, transit-accessible neighborhoods reduced their peak-hour and overall travel significantly more than comparable households in automobile dependent suburbs, and that congestion pricing increase the value of more accessible and multi-modal locations.


Smart Growth can increase community Livability, Traffic Safety and Health by reducing total per capita vehicle travel, encouraging shifts to safer modes, and reducing traffic speeds. Smart Growth can help preserve cultural traditions and unique communities. Smart Growth communities tend to have much lower per capita traffic fatalities compared with sprawl (Litman and Fitzroy 2005). Some studies indicate that more pedestrian-oriented land use patterns can increase community cohesion and reduce crime, particularly if there are special programs and design features to Address Security Concerns. Untermann and Vernez Moudon (1989) studied traffic impacts on neighborhoods and conclude,


“A deeper issue than the functional problems caused by road widening and traffic buildup is the loss of sense of community in many districts. Sense of community traditionally evolves through easy foot access--people meet and talk on foot which helps them develop contacts, friendships, trust, and commitment to their community. When everyone is in cars there can be no social contact between neighbors, and social contact is essential to developing commitment to neighborhood.”



Smart Growth is sometimes criticized because land use change is slow, and so impacts and benefits take many years to be achieved. In most communities only 1-4% of land is developed or redeveloped during a typical year, so it often takes decades before significant regional travel impacts are achieved. But these changes can provide many benefits and are extremely durable once implemented.


Smart Growth costs can include additional planning, construction and operating costs needed to develop higher density facilities and increase travel choices. Higher-density, infill development may increase local traffic congestion and exposure to noise and air pollution, although regional traffic and pollution tends to decline if residents drive less, as discussed in the chapter on Land Use Impacts (also see discussion in Litman, 2001). Increased density can reduce the amount of greenspace within an urbanized area, although it can increase total regional greenspace by reducing per capita area of land development. These negative impacts can be reduced with appropriate design features (such as noise insulation and carefully located parks), but these mitigation activities may also involve additional costs.


Many higher-density urban neighborhoods have higher rates of social problems (crime and poverty) than lower-density suburban neighborhoods. Although studies find an association between crowding (density measured in residents per residential room, an indication of poverty) and social problems, there is no such association with density measured in residents per acre (1000 Friends 1999). This suggests that the association between density and social problems reflects the tendency of distressed households to concentrate in higher-density, urban neighborhoods, not that higher-density development causes social problems. This indicates that increasing middle-class housing density does not increase social problems, and urban infill could reduce such problems if distressed households become less segregated.


Table 6            Smart Growth Housing Affordability Impacts (Litman 2010)

Reduces Housing Affordability

Increases Housing Affordability

·         Urban growth boundaries (reduce developable land supply).


·         Increased building design requirements (curbs, sidewalks, sound barriers, etc.).

·         More accessible housing reduces total transportation costs (leaves more money for housing expenses).


·         Reduced parking and setback requirements (reduces land requirements per housing unit).


·         Higher density development and (reduces land requirements, increases land supply for housing.)


·         More diverse, affordable housing options (secondary suites, apartments over shops, loft apartments).


·         Reduced property taxes and utility fees for clustered and infill housing.

Many Smart Growth can increase housing affordability.



Another objection to some Smart Growth measures, such as urban growth boundaries, is that they increase housing costs by reducing the supply of land available for residential development (Litman 2001). However, other Smart Growth strategies increase affordability by allowing more diverse housing types (such as multi-family and secondary suites) and by reducing development costs (Arigoni 2001). Smart Growth can also reduce households’ transportation costs, which can offset increased housing costs (Location-Efficient Mortgages). More Smart Growth reduce rather than increase household costs, as illustrated in Table 7. This suggests that Smart Growth can increase overall housing affordability, or at least cannot be blamed for reduced housing affordability.


Table 7            Benefit Summary




Congestion Reduction


Higher density may increase local congestion, other Smart Growth features tend to reduce congestion.

Road & Parking Savings


Reduces automobile trips and travel, although it may increase some costs (such as more structured parking).

Consumer Savings


Reduces household transportation costs, and some infrastructure costs.

Transport Choice


Increases alternative travel choices.

Road Safety


Reduces per capita vehicle mileage, and traffic speeds.

Environmental Protection


Reduces automobile travel and land devoted to roads and parking.

Efficient Land Use


Reduces automobile travel and land devoted to roads and parking.

Community Livability


Creates more livable communities.

Rating from 3 (very beneficial) to –3 (very harmful). A 0 indicates no impact or mixed impacts.



Equity Impacts

Smart Growth includes many specific components that have various equity impacts. Some impacts may affect certain groups more than others, such as the effects of infill on existing neighborhoods. Smart Growth includes some measures, such as variable development fees that reflect the costs of a particular location, which internalize economic and environmental costs associated with development. This reduces horizontal inequity by reducing cross-subsidies (for example, by reducing subsidies from residents for existing urban housing to residents of new suburban housing to finance the higher public service costs of such development).


Smart Growth increases land use Accessibility and Transport Options, which benefits lower income households and non-drivers. Sprawl reduces transportation Affordability. In Automobile Dependent communities, households have no alternative to owning an automobile. For middle- and upper-class households this is not a major burden, many spend much more than they need for extra automobile comfort and prestige features, but for lower-income families automobile dependency tends to impose significant financial costs. Smart Growth tends to benefit transportation disadvantaged people and provide Basic Access. Some Smart Growth measures (particularly urban growth boundaries) can increase housing costs, and cause “gentrification” (displacement of existing low-income urban communities), but it can also improve community Livability, increase economic opportunity and development among low-income populations, and help preserve the unique features of existing urban communities. When transportation and housing costs are considered together, Smart Growth tends to benefit lower-income residents overall (Location-Efficient Development). Organizations such as the National Neighborhoods Coalition and PolicyLink provide resources on how to insure that Smart Growth Policies support vertical equity objectives.


Table 8            Equity Summary




Treats everybody equally.


Mixed. Uneven distribution of impacts is often a major concern of Smart Growth programs.

Individuals bear the costs they impose.


Tends to reduce externalities associated with automobile use and lower density development.

Progressive with respect to income.


Increases affordable transport options. Mixed impacts on housing affordability.

Benefits transportation disadvantaged.


Increases access and travel choices for non-drivers.

Improves basic mobility.


Increases access and travel choices for non-drivers.

Rating from 3 (very beneficial) to –3 (very harmful). A 0 indicates no impact or mixed impacts.




Smart Growth is appropriate in most geographic areas, particularly those that experience strong growth. Smart Growth strategies are primarily implemented by regional and local governments, although some require state/provincial support. Developers can implement some Smart Growth design features.


Table 9            Application Summary





Large urban region.


Federal government.


High-density, urban.


State/provincial government.


Medium-density, urban/suburban.


Regional government.




Municipal/local government.


Low-density, rural.


Business Associations/TMA.


Commercial center.


Individual business.


Residential neighborhood.




Resort/recreation area.


Neighborhood association.






Ratings range from 0 (not appropriate) to 3 (very appropriate).




Land Use Management



Relationships With Other TDM Strategies

Smart Growth supports and is supported by nearly all other TDM strategies. Smart Growth includes Pedestrian and Cycling Improvements, Traffic Calming, Public Transit Improvements, and any incentive to reduce automobile use. Smart Growth particularly supports and is supported by Clustered Land Use, Parking Management, Parking Pricing, Commute Trip Reduction, School Trip Management and Campus Trip Reduction, and Carsharing. New Urbanism, Transit Oriented Development, Clustering and Location Efficient Development are specific components of Smart Growth. Policy Reforms and Context Sensitive Design are important for implementing Smart Growth.




Smart Growth involves many stakeholders. Most Smart Growth efforts are implemented by regional and local governments, often as result of the community’s strategic plan. Neighborhood associations, business associations and developers are also important stakeholders with regard to many specific Smart Growth policies and projects.



Barriers To Implementation

Smart Growth often requires changing land use policies and development practices, including zoning codes, road design standards, and the location of public services (such as schools). Professionals and agencies often resist these new approaches. Transportation funding may favor highway widening over other transportation investments. Residents often oppose infill development and may demand mitigation measures.


Infill development is often discouraged by environmental contamination or the fear of such contamination (called “brownfields”), and by the unique location and shape of such sites. As a result, infill development often requires special Policy Changes and Change Management to support environmental clean up and encourage development, and special efforts by developers to create profitable projects.


Individual Smart Growth projects are often opposed by residents who dislike higher density, mixed-use development. Much of this opposition reflects residents concerns about increased vehicle traffic and parking problems. If infill development can be implemented with measures that reduce per capita vehicle use, and with amenities that benefit existing residents, such opposition may be reduced. Campoli and MacLean (2003) argue that many residents oppose density out of misguided negative perceptions, and offer visual resources to help illustrate what well-planned urban density looks like.


Wit and Humor

“It's taken us 50 years to really screw up our neighborhoods. (Smart growth) is not an overnight fix.” - Bill Wilkinson, Executive Director, National Center for Bicycling and Walking



Best Practices

Ewing (1996) and the Smart Growth Network (2002) provide the following recommended Smart Growth practices:

·         Develop comprehensive strategic community development plans.

·         Take advantage of existing community assets.

·         Mix land uses.

·         Create a range of housing opportunities and choices.

·         Foster “walkable” close-knit neighborhoods.

·         Promote distinctive, attractive communities with a strong sense of place, including the rehabilitation and use of historic buildings.

·         Preserve open space, farmland, natural beauty, and critical environmental areas.

·         Strengthen and encourage growth in existing communities.

·         Provide a variety of transportation choices.

·         Make development decisions predictable, fair and cost effective.

·         Locate employment within existing developed areas. Set aside land for commercial and industrial development within cities.

·         Encourage citizens and stakeholder participation in development decisions.

·         Implement a comprehensive Smart Growth program, rather than just one of two measures.

·         Insure that transportation and land use policies are coordinated.

·         Coordinate Smart Growth efforts between jurisdictions within a region.

·         Encourage cooperation between public and private decision makers to facilitate Smart Growth development.



Examples and Case Studies

Various organizations such as the Congress for New Urbanism ( and the Smart Growth Network ( provide numerous case studies.


Portland Region (;

The Portland, Oregon region is implementing numerous Smart Growth measures, including urban growth boundaries, multi-modal transportation, and incentives for higher-density, infill development. The Region has shifted transportation investment funds away from highway capacity expansion into rail development, with supportive land use policies to create transit-oriented development. It has made a major commitment to improve walking and cycling conditions and to implement TDM measures.



Washington State Growth Management (

The Washington State Growth Management Act (GMA), passed in 1990, provides coordination among state and local governments to encourage more resource efficient development. Most communities are using their GMA plans and development regulations to make and stick to decisions about growth and development, while continuing to monitor, update and improve their growth management work. State grant and loan resources are increasingly given to jurisdictions having GMA plans and the projects being funded are consistent with those plans.



Maryland Smart Growth (

In 1997 the State of Maryland passed “Priority Funding Areas” legislation that limits most State infrastructure funding and economic development, housing and other program monies to Smart Growth Areas that local governments designate for growth. This package is intended to facilitate the reuse of brownfields and provide tax credits to businesses creating jobs in a Priority Funding Area. A new Live Near Your Work pilot program supports this effort by providing cash contributions to workers buying homes in certain older neighborhoods. And, to spur more preservation of undeveloped land, the new Rural Legacy Program provides financial resources for the protection of farm and forest lands and the conservation of these essential rural resources from development. This package is intended to:



Sustainable Community Planning (

The Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) has created a Sustainable Community Planning section on its website that provides best practices in design and development, tools for planners and designers, and other research on sustainability.


The Tool for Costing Sustainable Community Planning (henceforth, “The Tool”) was created to allow a user to estimate the major costs of community development, particularly those that change with different forms of development (e.g., linear infrastructure), and to compare alternative development scenarios (CMHC, 2006). The Tool is geared towards estimating “planning-level” costs and revenues associated with the residential component of a development, although financial impacts of commercial and other types of development can be incorporated provided that infrastructure requirements are specified correctly.


The Tool is well suited to assessing development projects ranging in size from a collection of houses, to a block-by-block infill development, to an entire subdivision. A good measure of the applicability of the Tool to a given project is whether or not alternatives can be conceived that would result in significantly different densities or infrastructure requirements, or make use of different green infrastructure alternatives. The Tool includes costing variables to allow the user to estimate costs for the following major categories:


Revenues from development charges, property taxes, and user fees are also estimated. Users can easily estimate and compare costs and revenues among a variety of development scenarios. This tool allows users to consider the lifecycle costs of development, which are calculated over a 75- year time horizon. Lifecycle costs include initial capital, annual operating, and replacement costs.



Delaware Valley (

The Delaware Valley Regional Planning Council evaluated the impacts of various land use development patterns. Table 10 summarizes the results.


Table 10          Indicator Recentralization Trend Sprawl (DVRPC, 2008)





Core Cities Population




Core Cities Employment








Average Vehicles per Household




Percent Households in Core and Developed Communities




Percent of Jobs within Core Cities




New Acres of Development from 2005 to 2035




Percent of Region Developed




Average Acres per Household




Change in the Number Households with Transit Access




Change in the Number of Jobs with Transit Access




Annual Vehicle Miles Traveled (billions of VMT)




Annual Vehicle Hours Traveled (billions of VHT)




Annual VMT per Capita




Annual VHT per Capita




Annual Vehicle Trips (billions)




Annual Crashes




Average Peak Period Roadway Speed (mph)




Annual Vehicle Hours of Delay (millions)




Annual Hours of Delay per Capita




Annual Transit Trips (millions of unlinked trips)




Annual Pedestrian Trips (millions)




Residential & Transport Energy Use Per Household (m BTUs)




Residential & Transport CO2 Emissions per Capita (tons)




 Annual Household Automobile & Utility Expenses (2008 $)

$ 14,770

$ 15,070


Infrastructure Costs per New Housing Unit (2008 $s)

$ 28,600

$ 37,400

$ 53,300

Jobs Added to Environmental Justice Communities






This analysis indicates that smart growth development can provide the following benefits:

·         Openspace (farm and woodlands) preservation.

·         Reduced per capita automobile travel resulting in reduced traffic congestion delay, energy consumption, pollution emissions and traffic accidents.

·         Increased portion of household and jobs with access to public transportation.

·         Increased walking and cycling activity.

·         Reduced utility and transportation costs.

·         More jobs located in economically disadvanted communities.



Integrated Approach to Planning (

Integrated Approach to Planning (IAP) is a is a collaborative endeavour between New Zealand transport sector agencies and Ministry for Environment to identify gaps and barriers to achieving better integration, both within and between transport and land-use planning, to help improve transport system sustainability. They project includes various studies that evaluate current planning practices and recommend improvements for more integrated planning. It used several case studies of actual transport and land use planning situations selected to represent various modes and problems, including strategic planning, regional growth, urban redevelopment, and freight transport improvements.



Plan-It Calgary (

Plan-It Calgary is a planning process to develop a comprehensive regional plan that responds to demographic changes, environmental and health objectives, consumer affordability and government fiscal constraints. A number of studies were commissioned for the plan that examined in detail planning objectives and solutions, including transportation policy reforms and smart growth land use policies. This included analysis of the economic and environmental impacts of compact and dispersed land use development patterns.


Regional Planning Affects Development Patter (Taylor and Burchfield 2010)

A comparison of growth patterns in three major Canadian cities (Calgary, Toronto and Vancouver) found a high degree of correspondence between long-term planning and urban development patterns. Each city pursued a different approach to planning which shaped growth in distinctive ways. The study concluded that planning policies are most effective if they are pursued over the long term and supported by shared objectives and planning practices by various levels of government.


Austin, Texas Smart Growth Matrix (

The Smart Growth Matrix is a tool to assist the Austin City Council in analyzing development proposals within the Desired Development Zone. It is designed to measure how well a development project meets the City's Smart Growth goals such as: 1) the location of development; 2) proximity to mass transit; 3) urban design characteristics; 4) compliance with nearby neighborhood plans; 5) increases in tax base, and other policy priorities.


If a development project, as measured by the matrix, significantly advances the City's goals, financial incentives may be available to help offset the high cost of developing in urban areas. These incentives may include waiver of development fees and public investment in new or improved infrastructure such as water and sewer lines, streets or streetscape improvements, or similar facilities. These incentives require City Council review and approval.



Community Travel and Emission Modeling (Frank, et al, 2011)

The study, An Assessment of Urban Form and Pedestrian and Transit Improvements as an Integrated GHG Reduction Strategy, by the Washington State Department of Transportation ( evaluates the effects of various urban form factors on vehicle travel and carbon emissions. It found that increasing sidewalk coverage from a ratio of 0.57 (the equivalent of sidewalk coverage on both sides of 30% of all streets) to 1.4 (coverage on both sides of 70% of all streets) was estimated to result in a 3.4% decrease in VMT and a 4.9% decrease in CO2. Land use mix had a significant association with both CO2 and VMT at the 5 percent level. Parking cost had the strongest associations with both VMT and CO2. An increase in parking charges from approximately $0.28 per hour to $1.19 per hour (50th to 75th percentile), resulted in a 11.5% decrease in VMT and a 9.9% decrease in CO2. However, the required data were only available in more urbanized communities which limited the analysis.


Based on the study results, the research team developed and tested a spreadsheet tool

to estimate the potential reduction in CO2 and VMT due to urban form, sidewalk coverage, transit service and travel cost changes suitable for neighborhood and regional planning. This tool was applied in two Seattle neighborhoods – Bitter Lake and Rainier Beach. Rainier Beach is the location of a new light rail (LRT) stop, while Bitter Lake is along a forthcoming bus rapid transit (BRT) service corridor, and both have a large degree of potential to transition into more walkable, transit supportive areas in the future. The results indicate that current policy will produce small decreases in VMT and CO2: a nearly 8% decrease in VMT, and a 1.65% decrease in CO2 for Bitter Lake; and a 6.75% decrease in VMT and a 2.2% decrease in CO2 for Rainier Beach. This indicates that more investment in pedestrian infrastructure and transit service will almost certainly be needed in order to meet VMT and CO2 reduction targets. A scenario was developed that was focused on VM2 / CO2 reduction – complete sidewalk coverage, decreases in transit travel time and cost, and increases in parking costs, and slight adjustments to the mix of land uses. In total, these changes resulted in a 48% VMT reduction and a 27.5% CO2 reduction for Bitter Lake, and a 27% VMT reduction / 16.5% CO2 reduction for Rainier Beach – substantial departures from the trend that begin to illustrate what might have to happen in order to reach stated goals for VMT reduction.



Smart Growth Travel, Economic and Health Impacts (SGA 2014)

A major study by the University of Utah’s Metropolitan Research Center developed a sprawl index that incorporates four factors: density (people and jobs per square mile), mix (whether neighborhoods had a mix of homes, jobs and services), centricity (the strength of activity centers and downtowns) and roadway connectivity (the density of connections in the roadway network); a higher rating indicates more compact, smart growth development (Ewing and Hamidi 2014). This index was used to evaluate how these land use factors affects various travel, economic and health outcomes. It indicates that:

·         People in smart growth areas own fewer cars and spend less time driving. For every 10% increase in index score, vehicle ownership rates decline 0.6% and drive time declines 0.5%.

·         For every 10% increase in an index score, the walk mode share increases by 3.9%.

·         The portion of household income spent on housing is greater but the portion of income spent on transportation is lower, in smart growth communities. Each 10% increase in an index score was associated with a 1.1% increase in housing costs and a 3.5% decrease in transportation costs relative to income. Since transportation costs decline faster than housing costs rise, this results in a net decline in combined housing and transportation costs.

·         For every 10% increase in an index score, there is a 4.1% increase in the probability that a child born to a family in the bottom quintile of the national income distribution reaches the top quintile of the national income distribution by age 30.

·         Smart growth community residents tend to live longer. For every doubling in an index score, life expectancy increases by about 4%. For the average American with a life expectancy of 78 years, this translates into a three-year difference in life expectancy between people in a less compact versus a more compact county. This probably reflects significantly lower rates of traffic fatalities, obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes in smart growth communities, although these are somewhat offset by slightly higher air pollution exposure and murder risk.

·         Counties with less sprawl have more but less severe vehicle crashes. For every 10% increase in an index score, fatal crashes decrease by almost 15%. People in smarter growth communities also have significantly lower blood pressure and rates of diabetes.



Table 11 summarizes these results.


Table 11          Summary of Sprawl Outcomes (SGA 2014/ Ewing and Hamidi 2014)




Relationship to Sprawl

Housing affordability

Location Affordability Index (LAI)


positive and significant

Transportation affordability



negative and significant

Combined housing and transportation affordability



negative and significant

Upward mobility (probability a child born in a low-income household will live in a higher-income household by age 30)

Equality of Opportunity databases


negative and significant

Average household vehicle ownership

American Community Survey (ACS)

MSA, county, UZA

positive and significant

Percentage of commuters walking to work


MSA, county, UZA

negative and significant

Percentage of commuters using public transportation (excluding taxi)


MSA, county, UZA

negative and significant

Average journey-to-work drive time in minutes


MSA, county, UZA

positive and significant

Traffic crash rate per 100,000 population



negative and significant

Injury crash rate per 100,000 population



negative and significant

Fatal crash rate per 100,000 population



Positive and significant

Body mass index

Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS)


Positive and significant




Positive and significant

Any physical activity



Positive and significant

Diagnosed high blood pressure



Positive and significant

Diagnosed heart disease



Not significant

Diagnosed diabetes



Positive and significant

Average life expectancy

Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation


negative and significant

This table summarizes various transport, economic and health impacts associated with sprawl.



Rural Smart Growth Planning

The report, Close to Home: A Handbook for Transportation-Efficient Growth in Small Communities and Rural Areas (Morton, Huegy, and Poros 2014), analyzes how rural community residential and employment development patterns affects residents’ motor vehicle travel. The results indicate that per capita vehicle travel is minimized if new jobs and households are concentrated in areas that already have existing development, good access to the region’s commercial developments, and a mix of jobs and households, and that siting new jobs and new households together in a small area that is relatively undeveloped and isolated can lead to a large increase in daily driving per person. The document includes visualizations of small community streetscapes showing ways in which noticeable levels of growth can be accommodated without losing small town character and feel.


GreenTRIP (

GreenTRIP is an innovative certification program that rewards residential infill projects that apply comprehensive transport management strategies to reduce traffic, energy consumption and pollution emissions. Designed to complement LEED certification, which focuses on building design, GreenTRIP measures how connected a community is and what resources and incentives are provided to help use alternative transport modes, including walking, cycling, ridesharing, public transit and carsharing.


GreenTRIP certifies developments located in walkable neighborhoods near high quality public transit services that apply traffic-reducing strategies such as unbundled parking, carshare memberships, and discounted transit passes. These amenities tend to pay for themselves by reducing development parking costs, increasing housing affordability, as well as providing community benefits by reducing traffic problems and environmental impacts, helping to create more livable communities.


GreenTRIP offers third-party certification using transparent and flexible evaluation system that gives public officials and consumers confidence that developments will provide outstanding transportation performance. GreenTRIP partners with developers and local officials to ensure that new developments support community goals for creating more affordable and accessible housing. The organization works with developers to identify and implement the set of strategies that are appropriate in a particular situation, and helps explain their benefits at public hearings.


GreenTRIP Brochure (




Vancouver Industrial Land (

Although land use management policies often focus residential and commercial development, industrial location also has significant transportation and land use impacts. With this in mind, in 1993, the City of Vancouver undertook a comprehensive review of the role and function of its industrial land stock. The study resulted in a policy of industrial land retention and management.


Both the City of Vancouver and the Greater Vancouver Regional District have a policy of "planning by proximity", to minimise transport and utility costs. More centralized industrial location can help increase urban employment and economic development, reduce vehicle commuting, reduce public service costs, and increase tax revenues.


Vancouver's industrial land base comprises about 1,600 acres, representing 6% of the City's land area. The land accommodates about 2,000 firms, providing 46,000 jobs. Market demand for this industrial land is high, demonstrated by low vacancy rates, at 2% in 1998. Employment densities in Vancouver's industrial areas are three times higher than those in the suburbs. About two thirds of industrial employees who live in Vancouver work in a job located in the city. Of those, 24% commute by transit and 12% walk or cycle. Of industrial workers in Richmond, a neighbouring suburban municipality, only 5% take transit and 2% walk or cycle.



Atlantic Steel Development (

Jacoby Development is developing a mixed-use (residential, retail, office, and entertainment) transit-oriented development on a 138-acre brownfield site in midtown Atlanta, formerly the home of Atlantic Steel. To provide adequate auto and transit access, the site plan requires construction of a bridge to connect the site to the local fixed rail transit system and highway ramps to improve highway access. Because Atlanta is in a conformity lapse under the Clean Air Act, the bridge and ramps would be prohibited under standard interpretation of EPA regulations.



Applying Decision Support Tools For Eco-Industrial Park Planning (

Burlington, Vermont proposed to develop an eco-industrial park (EIP) on a 10 acre site, adjacent to which are already located a wood-burning co-generation power plant, a waste-wood depot, a community garden, and a compost facility. The case study illustrates how certain evaluation and planning techniques (Designing Industrial Ecosystems Tool, Facility Synergy Tool, and Reality Check) allow stakeholders to explore decisions, issues and tradeoffs in an interactive and flexible analytical framework. In addition to the information the tools provide (i.e., potential linkages, rough estimates of benefits, regulatory constraints), much of their value comes from the collaborative decision-making process they help to facilitate. As part of this incremental and collaborative process, in later stages of EIP planning, more detailed issues lying outside the three screening tools must be addressed, e.g., covenants, working relationships, engineering design specifications.


Wit and Humor

If exercise is so good for you, why are most athletes forced to retire by age thirtyfive?


A doctor asked a nurse, “How is that little boy doing, the one who swallowed five quarters?”

“No change yet,” was the reply.



References and Resources for More Information



1000 Friends (1999), “The Debate Over Density: Do Four-Plexes Cause Cannibalism” Landmark, 1000 Friends of Oregon (; at


AARP Livable Communities ( website provides guidance on policies and planning practices to create safe, accessible, affordable and vibrant communities suitable for people of all ages and abilities.


APA (2006), Smart Codes, American Planning Association ( These model ordinances and regulations reflect Smart Growth principles and planning objectives.


Keith Bartholomew (2007), “The Machine, The Garden, and The City: Toward an Access-Efficient Transportation Planning System,” The Environmental Law Reporter News & Analysis, Vol XXXVII, No. 8 (, August, pp. 10593-10614; at


Scott Bernstein, Carrie Makarewicz, Kara Heffernan, Albert Benedict and Ben Helphand (2004), Increasing Affordability Through Reducing the Transportation and Infrastructure Cost Burdens of Housing, Atlanta Neighborhood Development Partnerships (; at


Pamela Blais (2010) Perverse Cities: Hidden Subsidies, Wonky Policy, and Urban Sprawl, UBC Press (


Andrea Broaddus, Todd Litman and Gopinath Menon (2009), Training Document On "Transportation Demand Management, Sustainable Urban Transport Project ( and GTZ (


Robert Burchell, Anthony Downs, Barbara McCann and Sahan Mukherji (2005), Sprawl Costs: Economic Impacts of Unchecked Development, Island Press (


Robert Burchell, et al (2000), The Costs of Sprawl – Revisited, TCRP Report 39, Transportation Research Board (; at


Dan Burden and Todd Litman (2011), “America Needs Complete Streets,” ITE Journal (, Vol. 81, No. 4, April, pp. 36-43; at


Mary Jean Burer, David B. Goldstein and John Holtzclaw (2004), “Location Efficiency as the Missing Piece of The Energy Puzzle: How Smart Growth Can Unlock Trillion Dollar Consumer Cost Savings,” Proceedings of the 2004 Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings, American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (


CALTRANS (2004), California Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) Searchable Database, California Department of Transportation (


Julie Campoli and Alex MacLean (2002), Visualizing Density: A Catalog Illustrating the Density of Residential Neighborhoods, Lincoln Institute of Land Policy (


CARB (2010-2015), Research on Impacts of Transportation and Land Use-Related Policies, California Air Resources Board (; at


CMHC (2006), Tool For Costing Sustainable Community Planning, Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (; at


CNT (2006), Paved Over: Surface Parking Lots or Opportunities for Tax-Generating, Sustainable Development?, Center for Neighborhood Technology (; at


Complete Streets ( is a campaign to promote roadway designs that effectively accommodate multiple modes and support local planning objectives.


Wendell Cox (2015), Putting People First: An Alternative Perspective with an Evaluation of the NCE Cities 'Trillion Dollar' Report, New Geography (; at


CTOD and CNT (2006), The Affordability Index: A New Tool for Measuring the True Affordability of a Housing Choice, Center for Transit-Oriented Development and the Center for Neighborhood Technology, Brookings Institute (


DPZ (2003), SmartCode, Duany Plater-Zyberk and Company ( Also see Smart Code Central (


Reid Ewing (1996), Best Development Practices: A Primer for Smart Growth, Planners Press (; at


Reid Ewing and Robert Cervero (2010), “Travel and the Built Environment: A Meta-Analysis,” Journal of the American Planning Association, Vol. 76, No. 3, Summer, pp. 265-294; at


Reid Ewing, Keith Bartholomew, Steve Winkelman, Jerry Walters and Don Chen (2007), Growing Cooler: The Evidence on Urban Development and Climate Change, Urban Land Institute and Smart Growth America (


Reid Ewing, Harry Richardson, Keith Bartholomew, Arthur C. Nelson, and Christine Bae (2014), Compactness vs. Sprawl Revisited: Converging Views, CESifo Working Paper Series 4571; at


Reid Ewing and Shima Hamidi (2014), Measuring Urban Sprawl and Validating Sprawl Measures, Metropolitan Research Center at the University of Utah for the National Cancer Institute, the Brookings Institution and Smart Growth America (; at


Reid Ewing, et al. (2007), Growing Cooler: The Evidence on Urban Development and Climate Change, Urban Land Institute and Smart Growth America (


Reid Ewing, et al. (2016), “Does Urban Sprawl Hold Down Upward Mobility? Landscape and Urban Planning, Vol. 148, April, pp. 80-88; free at


Lawrence D. Frank , et al. (2011), An Assessment of Urban Form and Pedestrian and Transit Improvements as an Integrated GHG Reduction Strategy, Washington State Department of Transportation (; at


Chad Frederick, William Riggs and John Hans Gilderbloom (2017), “Commute Mode Diversity and Public Health: A Multivariate Analysis of 148 US Cities,” International Journal of Sustainable Transportation (


Edward L. Glaeser and Matthew E. Kahn (2008), The Greenness of Cities: Carbon Dioxide Emissions and Urban Development, Working Paper 14238, National Bureau of Economic Research; at; summarized in


George Galster, et al (2001), “Wrestling Sprawl to the Ground: Defining and Measuring an Elusive Concept,” Housing Policy Debate, Vol. 12, Issue 4, Fannie Mae Foundation (, pp. 681-717.


Peter Gordon and Harry Richardson (1997), “Are Compact Cities a Desirable Planning Goal?,” and counterpoint by Reid Ewing, “Is Los Angeles-Style Sprawl Desirable?” in Journal of the American Planning Association, Vol. 63, No. 1, Winter 1997, pp. 95-126.


Zhan Guo, et al. (2011), The Intersection of Urban Form and Mileage Fees: Findings from the Oregon Road User Fee Pilot Program, Report 10-04, Mineta Transportation Institute (; at


Susan Handy (2008), “Is Support for Traditionally Designed Communities Growing?,” Journal of the American Planning Association, Vol. 74, No. 2, pp. 209-221 (


Andrew F. Haughwout (2000), “The Paradox of Infrastructure Investment,” Brookings Review (, Summer 2000, pp. 40-43.


Matthew J. Holian and Matthew E. Kahn (2012), The Impact of Center City Economic and Cultural Vibrancy on Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Transportation, MTI Report 11-13, Mineta Transportation Institute (; at


ICMA (2014), Why Smart Growth: A Primer, International City/County Management Association and the Smart Growth Network (; at


ITE (2010), Designing Walkable Urban Thoroughfares: A Context-Sensitive Approach, ITE Recommended Practice, Institute of Transportation Engineers ( and Congress for New Urbanism (; at


ITE Smart Growth Task Force (2010), Smart Growth Transportation Guidelines, Recommended Practice, Institute of Transportation Engineers (; at


JRC (2011), Location Efficiency and Housing Type—Boiling it Down to BTUs, Jonathan Rose Companies for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (; at


Richard Lee, Robert Rees and Mackenzie Watten (2010), “Smart Growth Parking Requirements Review,” ITE Journal (, Vo. 80, No. 12, December, 34-40.


Jonathan Levine (2006), Zoned Out: Regulation, Markets, and Choices in Transportation and Metropolitan Land-Use, Resources for the Future (


Jonathan Levine and Lawrence Frank (2007), “Transportation and Land Use Preferences and Residents’ Neighborhood Choices: The Sufficiency of Compact Development in The Atlanta Region,” Transportation, Vol. 34, No. 2, pp. 255-274.


Michael Lewyn (2004), “Suburban Sprawl, Jewish Law, and Jewish Values,” Southeastern Environmental Law Journal ( , Vol. 13, No. 1; available from the Social Science Research Network (


Todd Litman (2005), “Evaluating Transportation Land Use Impacts,” World Transport Policy & Practice, Vol. 1, No. 4, pp. 9-16 (; updated version at


Todd Litman (2005), Land Use Impacts on Transport, Victoria Transport Policy Institute (; at


Todd Litman (2005b), Understanding Smart Growth Savings: What We Know About Public Infrastructure and Service Cost Savings, And How They are Misrepresented By Critics, Victoria Transport Policy Institute (; at


Todd Litman (2006), Parking Management Best Practices, Planners Press (


Todd Litman (2006), Parking Management: Strategies, Evaluation and Planning, Victoria Transport Policy Institute (; at


Todd Litman (2007), Pavement Buster’s Guide: Why and How to Reduce the Amount of Land Paved for Roads and Parking Facilities, VTPI (; at


Todd Litman (2008), Recommendations for Improving LEED Transportation and Parking Credits, VTPI (; at


Todd Litman (2008), Smart Growth Reforms: Changing Planning, Regulatory and Fiscal Practices to Support More Efficient Land Use, Victoria Transport Policy Institute (; at


Todd Litman (2009), Where We Want to Be: Home Location Preferences and Their Implications for Smart Growth, Victoria Transport Policy Institute (; at  


Todd Litman (2011), “Why and How to Reduce the Amount of Land Paved for Roads and Parking Facilities,” Environmental Practice, Vol. 13, No. 1, March, pp. 38-46;


Todd Litman (2011b), “Can Smart Growth Policies Conserve Energy and Reduce Emissions?” Portland State University’s Center for Real Estate Quarterly (, Vol. 5, No. 2, Spring, pp. 21-30; at Also see, Critique of the National Association of Home Builders’ Research On Land Use Emission Reduction Impacts, Victoria Transport Policy Institute (; at


Todd Litman (2012), Evaluating Criticism of Smart Growth, Victoria Transport Policy Institute (; at


Todd Litman (2013), Affordable-Accessible Housing in a Dynamic City: Why and How to Support Development of More Affordable Housing in Accessible Locations, Victoria Transport Policy Institute (; at


Todd Litman (2013), Safer Than You Think! Revising the Transit Safety Narrative, Victoria Transport Policy Institute (; at


Todd Litman (2014), Analysis of Public Policies That Unintentionally Encourage and Subsidize Urban Sprawl, commissioned by LSE Cities (, for the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate (; at


Todd Litman (2015), Response to "Putting People First: An Alternative Perspective with an Evaluation of the NCE Cities 'Trillion Dollar' Report", Victoria Transport Policy Institute (; at


Todd Litman (2016), Understanding Smart Growth Savings, Victoria Transport Policy Institute (; at


Todd Litman (2017), Selling Smart Growth: Communicating the Direct Benefits of More Accessible, Multi-Modal Locations to Households, Businesses and Governments, Victoria Transport Policy Institute (; at


Todd Litman (2017), Evaluating Transportation Diversity: Multimodal Planning for Efficient and Equitable Communities, Victoria Transport Policy Institute (; at


Todd Litman (2017), “Determining Optimal Urban Expansion, Population and Vehicle Density, and Housing Types for Rapidly Growing Cities,” Transportation Research Procedia, for the 2015 World Conference on Transport Research; at


Todd Litman (2018), True Affordability: Critiquing the International Housing Affordability Survey, Victoria Transport Policy Institute (; at


Todd Litman and Steven Fitzroy (2005), Safe Travel: Evaluating Mobility Management Traffic Safety Impacts, Victoria Transport Policy Institute (; at


James M. McElfish (2007), Ten Things Wrong With Sprawl, Environmental Law Institute (


MDOT (2008), Sensible Transportation: A Handbook for Local and Inter-Community Transportation Planning in Maine, Maine Department of Transportation (; at


Michael Mehaffy, Stuart Cowan and Diana Urge-Vorsatz (2009), Factors of Urban Morphology in Greenhouse Gas Emissions: A Research Overview, presented at the International Alliance of Research Universities Scientific Congress on Climate Change, 10 March 2009; at


Brian J. Morton, Joseph Huegy, and John Poros (2014), Close to Home: A Handbook for Transportation-Efficient Growth in Small Communities and Rural Areas, Web-Only Document 211, National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP); at


NAR (various years), Smart Growth Case Studies, National Association of Realtors and Smart Growth America; at


NAR (various years), National Community Preference Survey, National Association of Realtors (; at


Newport Partners and Virginia Polytechnic Institute (2008), Impact Fees and Housing Affordability: A Guidebook for Practitioners, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (; at


Mark Obrinsky and Debra Stein (2007), Overcoming Opposition to Multifamily Rental Housing, National Multi Housing Council (; at


OEP (2012), Evaluating The Fiscal Impacts Of Development, Part I - Final Report and User’s Manual, New Hampshire Office of Energy and Planning (; at


PennDOT (2007), The Transportation and Land Use Toolkit: A Planning Guide for Linking Transportation to Land Use and Economic Development, Pennsylvania Dept. of Transportation, PUB 616 (3-07); at


PennDOT & NJDOT (2008), Smart Transportation Guidebook, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and the New Jersey Department of Transportation, Smart-Transportation Partnership (; at


RMLUI (2008), Sustainable Community Development Code, Rocky Mountain Land Use Institute, Strum College of Law (; at


Robert J. Schneider, Susan L. Handy and Kevan Shafizadeh (2014), “Trip Generation for Smart Growth Projects,” ACCESS 45, pp. 10-15; at Also see the Smart Growth Trip-Generation Adjustment Tool (


Karen E. Seggerman, Sara J. Hendricks and E. Spencer Fleury (2005), Incorporating TDM into the Land Development Process, National Center for Transportation Research, Center for Urban Transportation Research (


SFLCV (2003), This View of Density Calculator, San Francisco League of Conservation Voters ( This website illustrates various land use patterns, predicts their effects on travel behavior, and discusses various issues related to New Urbanist development.


SGA (2014), Measuring Sprawl, Smart Growth America (; at


SGA and RCLCO (2015a), The Fiscal Implications for Madison, Wisconsin, Smart Growth America (; at


SGA and RCLCO (2015b), The Fiscal Implications for West Des Moines , Iowa, Smart Growth America (; at


SGN (2002 and 2004), Getting to Smart Growth: 100 Policies for Implementation, and Getting to Smart Growth II: 100 More Policies for Implementation, Smart Growth Network ( and International City/County Management Association (


SGN (2006), This Is Smart Growth, Smart Growth Network ( and the International City/County Management Association (; at


SGN (2011), What is Smart Growth? Smart Growth Network and US Environmental Protection Agency (


Yan Song and Gerrit-Jan Knaap (2003), The Effects of New Urbanism on Housing Values: A Quantitative Assessment, National Center for Smart Growth Research and Education, University of Maryland (


Galina Tachieva (2010), Sprawl Repair Manual, Island Press ( 


Zack Taylor and Marcy Burchfield (2010), Growing Cities: Comparing Urban Growth Patterns and Regional Growth Policies In Calgary, Toronto And Vancouver, Neptis Foundation (; at


Ray Tomalty and Murtaza Haider (2008), Housing Affordability and Smart Growth in Calgary, Plan-It Calgary, City of Calgary (; at


TransForm (2009), Windfall for All: How Connected, Convenient Neighborhoods Can Protect Our Climate and Safeguard California’s Economy, TransForm (; summary at


Tim Trohimovich (2001), Pricing Growth & Financing Smart Growth, 1000 Friends of Washington (


USEPA (2004), Characteristics and Performance of Regional Transportation Systems, Smart Growth Program, US Environmental Protection Agency (; summarized in


USEPA (2006), Smart Growth Scorecards, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ( This website provides information on various scorecards for evaluating communities and projects in terms of Smart Growth objectives.


USEPA (2009), Examples of Codes That Support Smart Growth Development, USEPA (; at


USEPA (2009), Essential Smart Growth Fixes for Urban and Suburban Zoning Codes, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (; at


USEPA (2013), Our Built and Natural Environments: A Technical Review of the Interactions Among Land Use, Transportation, and Environmental Quality, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (; at


USEPA (2013), Smart Growth and Economic Success: The Business Case, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (; at


ULI (2015), America in 2015: A ULI Survey of Views on Housing, Transportation, and Community, Urban Land Institute (; at


Richard Untermann and Anne Vernez Moudon (1989), Street Design: Reassessing the Safety, Sociability, and Economics of Streets, University of Washington (Seattle).



M. Ward, et al. (2007), Integrating Land Use and Transport Planning, Report 333, Land Transport New Zealand (; at



AASHTO Center for Environmental Excellence (, American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials.


American Planning Association ( has extensive resources for community and transportation planning, including a book ordering service.


Center for Applied Transect Studies ( promotes use of the SmartCode based on the rural-to-urban transect.


Center for Watershed Protection ( provides analysis and resources for minimizing hydrologic impacts and pollution.


Congress for New Urbanism ( is a movement centered on intelligent neighborhood planning, and human scale urban communities.


International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives ( is the “international environmental agency for local governments.”


Land Use and Transportation Research Website (, sponsored by the European Commission, provides information and resources for more integrated transport and land use planning, to support sustainability objectives.


NEMO Project ( provides resources for communities that want to reduce their amount of impervious surfaces.


Planners Web (, maintained by the Planning Commissioners Journal, includes a sprawl resources guide, a primer for citizen planners, and other resources.


Project for Public Spaces ( works to create and sustain public places that build communities. It provides a variety of resources for developing more livable communities.


San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association (SPUR) ( is a leading organization doing research to develop more livable urban areas. 


Smart Growth Network ( provides information and support for Smart Growth planning and program implementation.


Smart Growth Planning ( provides information on smart growth planning, particularly methods for evaluating land use impacts on transport activity.


TransAct ( is a collection of information and resources about making communities more livable through innovative transportation projects and initiatives.


Transect Planning ( defines a series of zones that transition from sparse rural farmhouses to the dense urban core.


Urban Land Institute ( is a professional organization for developers which provides practical information on innovative development practices, including infill and sustainable community planning.


USEPA Smart Growth Website ( provides information on Smart Growth strategies to reduce environmental impacts.


WSDOT (2011), Community Planning And Development, Washington State Department of Transportation (; at

This Encyclopedia is produced by the Victoria Transport Policy Institute to help improve understanding of Transportation Demand Management. It is an ongoing project. Please send us your comments and suggestions for improvement.




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