Smart Growth Reforms

Changing Planning, Regulatory and Fiscal Practices to Support More Efficient Land Use


TDM Encyclopedia

Victoria Transport Policy Institute


Updated 18 July 2017

This chapter describes various planning, regulatory and fiscal reforms that help create more efficient land use. These reforms can help correct existing practices that encourage automobile-dependent land use development patterns. For additional information see the more detailed report Smart Growth Reforms.




Introduction.. 1

Smart Growth Reforms. 3

Comprehensive Community Planning. 3

Intergovernmental Coordination. 4

Location Efficient Development 6

Location-Based Fees. 8

Smart Tax Policies. 8

Locate and Design Public Facilities For Smart Growth. 10

Reform Zoning Codes. 11

Encourage Urban Redevelopment 13

Growth Controls and Openspace Preservation. 13

Transport Planning Reforms. 16

More Neutral Transport Funding. 19

Mobility Management Programs. 20

Parking Management 21

Educate Development Professionals. 21

Land Use Impact Evaluation Tools. 22

Summary. 24

References And Resources For More Information.. 24




Smart Growth Reforms includes a variety of changes to current land use policies and planning practices to support Smart Growth development. This chapter describes various policy and planning reforms that support Smart Growth.


These reforms are justified to correct current practices that unintentionally encourage sprawl and Automobile Dependency, as summarized in Table 1. Although individually these market distortions may appear modest and justified from a narrow perspective, their impacts are cumulative, exacerbating many problems including traffic congestion, accidents, infrastructure costs, consumer costs and pollution emissions.


Table 1            Market Distortions That Favor Sprawl (Market Principles)

Market Distortion


Smart Growth Reforms

Underpricing Location-Related Costs

Although public service costs tend to be higher for sprawl development, development charges, utility fees and local taxes do not generally reflect these location-related costs.

Implement utility pricing, public service fees and taxes which reflect differences in the costs of supplying public services due to differences in location accessibility.

Excessive Parking and Roadway Requirements

Most zoning codes and development standards require generous road and parking capacity. This encourages lower-density, urban fringe development where land is cheaper, and underprices vehicle travel.

Reform zoning codes, particularly parking requirements and roadway design standards.

Roadway Right-of-Way

By convention, land use for public roads and parking facilities is exempt from rent and taxes. Economic neutrality implies that land used for roads should be priced and taxed at the same rate for competing uses.

Collect additional roadway user fees and parking charges to represent rent and property taxes on roadway rights-of-way.

Brownfield Development Barriers

Many potential infill sites are considered “brownfields,” and face barriers to private development far greater than the true risk of harm, inhibiting infill development.

Encourage urban redevelopment and brownfield rehabilitation. Encourage development that reflects Smart Growth principles.

Undervaluing Nonmotorized Modes and Transit

Transportation planning practices tend to undervalue nonmotorized transport modes and transit services, and so underinvest in them.

Improve the evaluation of alternative modes to better recognize their full value to society.

Residential Lending Practices

Mortgage lenders usually treat automobile ownership as a financial asset rather than a liability. As a result, lower-income households are encouraged to purchase homes in automobile-dependent suburban areas rather than in multi-modal urban locations.

Reform residential lending practices to reflect the additional transportation costs of sprawled housing locations, and implement location-efficient development and mortgages.

Underpricing Automobile Travel

Automobile travel is underpriced through underpricing of road use, free parking, fixed insurance and registration fees, and various external costs.

Correct transportation market distortions that underprice automobile travel, including more direct charges for the use of roads and parking facilities, distance-based insurance and registration fees, and special charges for external costs imposed by automobile use.

This table describes some market distortions that encourage sprawl and automobile dependency, and reforms that can help correct these distortions.



Smart Growth policies tend to correct these distortions, and can help achieve various planning objectives including reduced external costs (such as automobile traffic congestion, accident risk and pollution emissions), benefits to disadvantaged people (for example, by improving accessibility for non-drivers), public service cost saving (for example, reducing unit costs for providing emergency services, mail delivery and schools), consumer cost savings, openspace preservation, and the creation of more livable communities (Litman 2004).


This indicates that, at a minimum, Smart Growth reforms are justified to the degree that they correct and offset current sprawl-encouraging market distortions or achieve other planning objectives. Because existing distortions are well established, with decades of cumulative effects, it may be inadequate to simply eliminate them and let the market work toward efficiency at its own pace. More aggressive policies that favor higher-density, infill development and alternative modes may be justified to more quickly achieve planning objectives. Because these reforms provide multiple benefits, they tend to be undervalued by conventional planning, which tend to consider just a few impacts and objectives at a time.


Smart Growth Reforms

Various categories and specific types of Smart Growth reforms are described below.


Comprehensive Community Planning

Establish a Comprehensive Plan that includes a community vision, inventory and projections (what currently exists and what growth is expected) covering residential and employment populations, land uses, economic development, and facilities and public services. It can include strategic planning for public polices and activities related to economic development, transportation, natural resources, education, social services, affordable housing, public safety, emergency preparedness and health. Comprehensive plans can determine the appropriate location and timing of public and private development, and coordinate policies, programs and services. Such plans can be established at the state/provincial, regional or municipal level. To be effective, comprehensive plans must be updated regularly.


For example, a comprehensive plan should identify the future location of Commercial Centers, higher density neighborhoods, lower density neighborhoods, industrial centers, and areas for openspace preservation. This information is then used to identify the development practices that should be applied in each area, and what, where and when public services will be provided. Such plans should include specific objectives and targets (performance measures) which individual planning decisions should support. For example, a community might establish targets for preserving openspace or for the portion of regional employment that will be located in transit-oriented developments. These targets then guide the location and type of development, the implementation of supportive policies and programs, and assessments of whether planning efforts are effective and successful.



Below are specific strategies for implementing Comprehensive Community Planning:


·         Develop Tools For Measuring Urban Development. Various mapping tools can be used to measure sprawl and track it over time (EEA 2016).


·         Comprehensive Plan Requirements. Higher levels of government can require regional and local governments to produce a comprehensive plan in order to qualify for infrastructure grants and other funds, in order to insure that such investments are well planned.


·         Planning Funds. Higher levels of government can provide funding to help regional and local governments implement comprehensive plans.


·         Capital Improvement Programs. Capital improvement programs (CIPs) establish a schedule and funding basis for extending and improving public infrastructure and services (e.g., streets, water and sewer lines, schools, libraries, parks, and other government services) based on comprehensive development plans. This tends to reduce public costs (particularly extra costs resulting from dispersed development), minimize unreasonable expectations by urban fringe residents, and encourage more efficient development.


·         Planning Policy Assessment. A planning policy assessment is a detailed analysis of agency policies, rules, and regulations to determine whether they are in conflict with strategic plans. The location of public investments, tax incentives, land development regulations, and the criteria for receiving governments grants all contribute to shaping development patterns. A planning policy assessment can help identify and correct policies that are inconsistent with overall development goals.


·         Adequate Public Facility (APF) Standards. Adequate Public Facility (APF) standards limit development to areas adequately accommodated by critical public facilities and services, such as water, sewer, drainage, and traffic capacity, or require developers to pay the costs of upgrading facilities that have inadequate capacity. APF standards ensure that urban growth is cost effective and does not overburden municipal facilities and reduce current service. APF ordinances encourage more cost effective development, and direct development toward facility-rich areas, which often consists of urban infill (JCSC, 2001).


·         Specific-Area Development Plans. It is useful to develop plans for urban neighborhoods, downtowns, and other business centers, historic areas, and areas of environmental significance that are consistent with strategic plans.


·         Establish Performance Indicators. Establish specific targets and identify indicators for evaluating progress toward those targets. For example, a comprehensive plan might include targets for the portion of jobs that will be accessible by transit and for openspace preservation.



Intergovernmental Coordination

Smart Growth requires effective coordination among various levels of government, including vertical coordination (between different levels of government, such as state/provincial, regional, municipal and special districts), and horizontal coordination (between neighbors of the same level of government, such as adjacent municipalities). This can be achieved through comprehensive plans, which require suitable institutional structures, incentives and education. This coordination can be voluntary, encouraged or mandated.



Various strategies and tools for improving intergovernmental coordination are described below.


·         Regional Planning Councils (also called Metropolitan Planning Councils or MPOs) are regional agencies that coordinate planning activities and provide related services (such as data collection and transportation modeling). Municipal governments may be required to adopt local plans that are consistent with the regional plan. Regional councils may use various mechanisms to resolve disputes between jurisdictions.


·         Comprehensive Plan Consistency Requirements ensure that local zoning and land use decisions are consistent with higher-level comprehensive plans.


·         Vertical Consistency Requirements ensure coordination between local, regional and state/provincial development plans. States or provinces generally act as coordinator and mediator of sub-state conflicts, although local governments are generally given considerable leeway to adopt their own development goals.


·         Horizontal Consistency Requirements ensure coordination between the plans of adjacent local jurisdictions. It is normally achieved either by giving a state or regional organization the authority to require local governments to amend their plans to achieve consistency or by providing a process whereby local jurisdictions consult each other about land use issues.


·         Interjurisdictional Agreements coordinate planning between jurisdictions on development, standards, and infrastructure extensions, and other activities. Such agreements may be informal, contractual or mandated by higher levels of government.


·         Regional Service Agreements give a single regional agency responsibility for major public services (e.g., water supply, sewage treatment, roads and public transit) which tends to reduce costs, improve interjurisdictional coordination and support Smart Growth.


·         Expert Panels involve knowledgeable professionals from various disciplines (real estate experts, developers, environmentalists, bankers, and planners) who evaluate the land use impacts of specific planning decisions, such as new roads or zoning requirements


·         Cross-Acceptance Processes develops compatibility between local and state plans. The process results in a written statement that specifies how plans will be coordinated.


·         Developments of Regional Impact (DRI) policy enables regional review of larger development projects that have impacts beyond their local jurisdiction. Review is designed to improve communication among governments on large-scale developments and to provide a means of identifying and assessing potential development impacts before conflicts arise. 


·         Regional Revenue Sharing means that local governments share the tax revenue from major new development, in order to reduce interjurisdictional competition for development which may contradict strategic land use plans.



Location Efficient Development

Location Efficient Development means that development is located and designed to maximize Accessibility. Planning practices can encourage location-efficient development by designating areas for development where public infrastructure will be provided, and limiting development outside these areas or requiring developers to pay the incremental costs for infrastructure in non-designated areas.


Current zoning codes often prohibit or discourage location-efficient development (particularly more compact, mixed-use development), and current residential lending practices fail to recognize the transportation cost savings to households that choose more accessible locations. Smart Growth policies encourage more multi-modal and accessible location, including rewards, reduced parking requirements and lower development fees for projects that generate fewer vehicle trips (Seggerman, Hendricks and Fleury, 2005).


Current infrastructure investment practices often favor suburban expansion over infill development. For example, Schneider and McClelland (2005) found that between 1998 and 2001, per capita state infrastructure expenditures in Wisconsin averaged $1,250 in suburban Oakland County, $303 in Pontiac, and only $25 in Detroit. This results because infrastructure funding is allocated based on “needs,” which fails to reward residents for choosing locations that avoid infrastructure expansion.


Concurrency requirements imposed in some jurisdictions limit development based on the projected capacity of available infrastructure, including roadway capacity. For example, developers might be required to pay for roadway expansion if a project is projected to increase traffic so that local road Level-of-Service degrades from C to D. This tends to discourage infill development and encourage dispersed, automobile-dependent sprawl. Multi-Modal Level-of-Service Indicators take into account the reduced per capita traffic generation, shorter trips and improved travel options in urban areas, and so allow more infill development.


Jobs-housing balance refers to the ratio of jobs to residents in a community, particularly housing that is affordable to the people who work in the community. Increasing jobs-housing balance tends to reduce commuting distances, and by increasing local services used by residents (shops, restaurants, schools, etc.) it can reduce travel for other activities. Residents of areas with jobs-housing balance have lower average commute mileage than residents of single-use communities. Suitable planning strategies include more mixed-use commercial development incentives (so more jobs are located close to residential areas) and more affordable housing (so more workers can locate near their employment centers).


Implementation Strategies


·         Designate where public services will be provided based on Smart Growth principles. For example, indicate where utility lines, paved roads, professional fire services, and schools will be provided during the next twenty years. Require developers to pay for any additional infrastructure outside these designated areas.


·         Remove unjustified regulations that limit density and mixing. Offer incentives such as higher densities, additional building heights and other bonuses for location efficient development.


·         Encourage development of affordable housing near commercial areas.


·         Use public-private partnerships to create location-efficient development.


·         Reward neighborhoods that accept infill with amenities such as street and sidewalk improvements, traffic calming, parks, lower tax rates, and school improvements.


·         Expedite permit approvals for developments that support smart growth objectives. This can take the form of fewer regulatory and review requirements and faster scheduling for projects that meet certain criteria.


·         Reform development financing practices to allow innovations such as mixed-use and higher density buildings with reduced parking supply.


·         Encourage lenders to apply location-efficient mortgage principles, so transportation cost savings are recognized when calculating a household’s borrowing ability.


·         Reduce parking requirements and implement parking management strategies to encourage location efficient development.


·         Establish flexible, multi-modal concurrency requirements to encourage infill development and discourage sprawl. Reduce restrictions on increased traffic generation in more compact, mixed-use, multi-modal areas were there are good alternatives to automobile travel.


·         Encourage development of district heating and cooling plants, which provide space heating and cooling to numerous facilities in an area (


·         Limit the size of retail businesses so they are more broadly distributed throughout the community and sized to fit into residential neighborhoods. This reduces travel distances and improves walking and cycling access for common errands.


·         Regulate impacts (noise, pollution, parking demand) rather than land use types (commercial or industrial buildings), which gives businesses greater flexibility and an incentive to reduce negative impacts at their source.



Location-Based Fees

The cost of providing public services such as roads, utilities, schools, emergency services tends to be lower for clustered, urban development than for more dispersed, sprawl (Land Use Evaluation). Most property taxes and fees do not reflect these location-related cost differentials, and so overcharges clustered, infill development and undercharges dispersed, exurban development. Location-based taxes and fees tends to be more equitable (it reflects the “user pays” principle) and gives consumers an incentive to choose more cost effective land use patterns.


Implementation Strategies


·         Structure development impact fees and utility connection charges to reflect actual costs (Blais 2010; Blewett and Nelson, 1988; Slack 2002; Coriolis Consulting, 2003). This means that development fees reflect the higher costs of providing services to more dispersed locations. For example, development fees might be $10,000 per unit for infill residential development where there is infrastructure capacity, $20,000 per unit in lower density suburbs, and $40,000 per unit for dispersed locations that require infrastructure expansion.


·         Provide development fee discounts or exemptions for urban infill development, high performance buildings (buildings that have water-efficient plumbing, on-site stormwater management, energy efficient features, etc.).


·         Charge rates for utilities such as water, sewage and power that reflect the higher costs of serving more dispersed locations (Blais 2010; Slack 2002).


·         Structure property tax rates to reflect the higher unit costs of providing public services such as roads and traffic services, emergency response, and street lighting to dispersed locations.


·         Apply stormwater management fees or taxes based on a facility’s impervious surface area, to reflect stormwater management costs, heat island effects and other impacts of pavement.


·         Fund local roadway costs through use-based fees, or offer property tax discounts to households that do not own an automobile, reflecting the lower local roadway costs they impose. Similarly, unbundle parking, so building occupants only pay for the amount of parking they actually need.



Smart Tax Policies

Some current tax policies favor suburban development over Smart Growth, by favoring lower-density development, single-family over multi-family, new construction over redevelopment of existing buildings, and development outside of urbanized areas over construction within existing urban areas (England, 2003; Slack, 2002)


State and local governments sometimes make poor land use decisions due to interjurisdictional competition for tax revenues. This encourages governments to attract development even when it contradicts other economic development and land use objectives, which reduces net benefits (Wassmer 2001). For example, many suburban communities offer incentives to attract commercial activity in order to obtain sales tax revenue, even though this leads to sprawl. Holian and Kahn (2012) conclude that, since urban areas have higher rates of multi-family housing and renters, current policies intended to encourage home ownership tend to encourage sprawl.


Smart Growth tax reforms are designed to correct current tax policies that encourage sprawl, and reward more accessible, compact development, particularly to the degree that Smart Growth reduces public service costs, reduces external costs, benefits disadvantaged people, or supports other strategic planning objectives.


Property taxes can be structured to favor more compact, infill development over sprawl in order to reflect the lower cost of providing public services within existing urban areas, the reduced per capita transport externalities generated in areas with reduced per capita vehicle travel, and strategic planning objectives such as greenspace preservation.


Implementation Strategies


·         Structure property taxes to favor more compact, infill development. For example, impose lower tax rates on properties within an urban growth boundary than for development outside of the boundary.


·         Apply special taxes on vacant land and parking facilities in appropriate urban areas to encourage infill development and reduce the amount of land devoted to parking facilities.


·         Correct any tax policies that favor new construction over redevelopment of older buildings.


·         Offer lower tax rates for development that reflects Smart Growth principles. For example, reduce sales and property taxes on redevelopment projects in blighted urban areas, and for mixed-use development.


·         Evaluate economic development programs to determine to what degree they simply shift businesses from one location to another within a region, rather than stimulating an overall increase in regional economic activity.


·         Establish “anti-piracy” rules that discourage a jurisdiction from using subsidies to lure businesses from neighboring jurisdictions. Use regional tax-base sharing strategies to avoid conflicts among neighbouring municipalities that contradict strategic land use objectives.


·         Impose special taxes on blighted and abandoned properties.


·         Offer special tax incentives for brownfield redevelopment.


·         Introduce a special tax on greenfield development or when farmland is converted to non-agriculture uses.


·         Reduce capital gains taxes on gifts and sales below market value of ecologically sensitive openspace to conservation trusts.


·         Apply special taxes on parking facilities or on impervious surface.


·         Make capital investments in community energy systems (including investments in generation equipment, underground pipes and thermal host systems) eligible for the accelerated capital cost allowance.


·         Fund local roads through Road and Parking user fees rather than property taxes.


·         Reform tax laws to provide equal or lower tax rates (relative to assessed value) on higher-density and commercial housing.


·         Ensure that housing funding and tax policies make older buildings as attractive as new construction. For example, make used homes and residential renovations equally eligible for grants, tax discounts and first-time-buyer programs as new homes.


·         Allow exemptions or deferrals in the taxation of capital gains from the sale of urban land to encourage urban redevelopment.


·         Allow developers to defer tax payments on rental construction until units are occupied, rather than as a lump-sum payment.


·         Allow the deferral of tax on depreciation and capital gains upon the sale of a rental property if another rental property is purchased.


·         Allow the rollover of profits for investment in additional rental housing.



Locate and Design Public Facilities For Smart Growth

Governments are large employers and service providers, and can directly support Smart Growth by favoring more accessible locations, designs and management practices for publicly funded facilities, including government offices, schools, and affordable housing projects.


Implementation Strategies


·         Choose accessible, multi-modal locations when constructing or leasing buildings for public agencies.


·         Apply Smart Growth design principles to public facilities, particularly those that generate large numbers of trips or attract clients who often have limited ability to drive, such as schools, medical centers and social service agency offices.


·         Take into account consumer transportation costs when evaluating location options. For example, government agencies should be willing to pay higher rents for more accessible locations if the extra cost is offset by transportation cost savings to clients.


·         Insure that public facilities are accessible by people with disabilities and other special needs.


·         Make public facilities and government agencies examples of Smart Growth and sustainable building design.



Reform Zoning Codes

Most communities use zoning to control local land use, including the location, type, density, size, lot coverage and design of development, and requirements. Conventional codes tend to encourage lower-density, single-use, automobile-dependent land use by mandating generous parking supply, limiting density, and in many ways prohibiting innovative urban development (Levine 2006; Lewyn 2005). Many communities are now changing their zoning codes to reflect Smart Growth objectives.


Alternative Development Standards (ADS) encourage Accessible, Clustered, mixed land use patterns, with public services (stores, schools, parks, etc.) located within neighborhoods; diverse housing types (single-family, multi-family, apartments above retail stores, secondary suites, etc.); a walkable scale (i.e. many destinations are within convenient walking distance of each other); a grid-pattern for streets with a high degree of connectivity (i.e., streets connected at a fine scale, as opposed to large blocks with many dead-ends), narrower road widths, smaller lots, and alley car access (New Urbanism). Square footage of buildings, and residential and commercial capacity can remain the same, but compact design and clustering reduces building footprints and individual lots and road dimensions.


Table 2            Conventional and Alternative Development Standards



Benefits of ADS

Large-lot development

Compact development, narrower lots.

More efficient infrastructure

More affordable housing

Wide roads

Few sidewalks


Front driveways

Narrower roads


Roads in a grid pattern

Rear lanes/on-street parking

Less dependence on cars

Traffic ‘calming’


Improved streetscape

Increased safety

Openspace preservation

Single use

No neighbourhood shopping or employment opportunities

Mixed-use “main street”

Increased community cohesion.

More accessible shopping and jobs.

Lower road grades (road cuts through land)

Higher road grades (roads follow natural topography)

Less disturbance to natural land forms.

Reduced grading costs

This table compares conventional and alternative development standards, and describes ADS benefits.



Form-based codes (also called performance zoning and district-based zoning) are zoning codes that indicate the type of development desired in a particular area, allowing more flexibility and encouraging more unique and context-sensitive designs. Form-based codes focus on streetscapes and the public realm. They tend to be highly illustrated and involve a significant level of public participation. Current zoning codes tend to be designed for the convenience of regulators. They divide land uses into specific categories, such as commercial, residential, industrial, etc., with rigid rules applied to each. This tends to discourage or even prohibit mixed-use development, such as housing over retail, and other design innovations.


Implementation Strategies


·         Revise existing zoning codes to reflect Alternative Development Standards.


·         Educate planners and developers concerning ADS.


·         Adopt special flexible performance-oriented zoning that accommodates urban infill, redevelopment and reconstruction of older buildings while still safeguarding the public health, safety and welfare.


·         Create smart growth and transit-oriented development land-use guidelines and design manuals which include recommended codes, standards and design practices that support smart growth.


·         Encourage flexibility through innovative planning strategies such as Planned Unit Developments (PUDs), which offer flexible options to developers for determining uses, densities, building placement, and other factors, based on overall parameters for development, such as average densities and open space requirements, but does not specify how these must be achieved within the site. This allows much greater design flexibility than ordinary zoning. PUDs usually require special design reviews processes.


·         Enact minimum density zoning in certain areas, such as units per acre or maximum lot sizes, as opposed to only regulating maximum densities. Minimum density zoning can promote compact urban development in targeted areas. Such a target can be implemented by regulation or informally in the development review processes.


·         Employ inclusionary zoning practices to encourage development of low-income housing in all neighborhoods (Fox and Rose 2003). These strategies include removal of barriers that limit affordable housing, and incentives or requirements to include affordable units in new developments.



Encourage Urban Redevelopment

Urban redevelopment faces a variety of obstacles, including extra construction costs and uncertainty, particularly if an area may contain contaminated industrial lands (called brownfields). These obstacles encourage private developers to choose suburban, greenfield development over urban redevelopment, although cleanup and redevelopment of existing urbanized areas is generally more desirable from society’s perspective. Redirecting development into existing urban areas helps create more accessible, multi-modal communities and preserve open space.


Implementation Strategies

A variety of policies and planning strategies can be used to encourage urban redevelopment and brownfield rehabilitation (NGA 2000; Eichenfield and Associates 2002; NRTEE 2003; WCEL 2004).


·         Renovation Tax Incentives. These are special tax discounts, credits and deferrals for the renovation of vacant or underused urban buildings. This can be particularly appropriate for investments required to make properties meet current safety standards, such as seismic upgrading (earthquake reinforcement) and improved accessibility for people with disabilities (such as elevator installation).


·         Rental Property Taxes. Special tax policies can encourage the provision of more affordable, rental housing. Depreciation and capital gains taxes on rental properties can be structured to favor more affordable housing, taxes can be deferred on the sale of rental property if another rental property is purchased, and pooling of such deferrals can be allowed across properties, so a developer can expand from multiple smaller properties to larger property.


·         Vacant Building Tax. Special taxes can be applied on vacant land and abandoned buildings within urban areas.


·         Specific-Area Development Plans. Special development plans can be created for older urban neighborhoods, downtowns, historic areas, tourist centers, and areas of environmental significance.


·         Brownfield Redevelopment. Develop special programs to cleanup and redevelop urban brownfield sites.


·         Downtown Revitalization (also called Main Street Programs). Implement policies and programs to redevelop and revitalize downtowns and other Commercial Centers, and create more mixed-use, infill development reflecting New Urbanist principles.



Growth Controls and Openspace Preservation

Growth controls limit the amount of development that may occur in an area. Openspace (also called Greenspace) refers to agricultural and undeveloped lands, including farms, forests, parks and gardens. Smart Growth often involves policies and programs to preserve openspace.


Implementation Strategies

Specific strategies for preserving openspace are described below (Nelson and Duncan, 1995; DCA, 1998). These policies are important to offset development pressures on urban fringe lands, which may otherwise increase property taxes on openspace lands, forcing land owners to develop or sell to developers.


·         Urban Growth Boundaries. Establish a boundary within which development is encouraged and outside of which development is restricted. This might include a limit on the maximum number of additional units or floor area that can be built outside of existing urbanized areas.


·         Growth rate caps. These limit the number of new residential units or commercial space that may be constructed each year. Such caps have generally been enacted by urban fringe communities experiencing rapid population growth and significant development pressures. They are most effective if implemented as part of a regional plan to encourage more infill development and urban redevelopment as an alternative to sprawl.


·         Openspace and Agricultural Zoning. This type of zoning favors land uses such as parks, farming, livestock, forestry and sometimes golf courses, and restricts other types of development. It is applied in areas where growth is undesirable.


·         Conservation Easements. Conservation easements involve the transfer of development rights from a property owner to a third party, such as a foundation or government agency. This preserves resource lands as open space, and often enables landowners to continue using their land in traditional ways without facing higher property taxes.


·         Greenfield Development Taxes. This applies special taxes on greenfield development (conversion of farms and forests to residential and commercial land uses), as a way to discourage urban expansion recover the costs of providing public services to dispersed, urban fringe development.


·         Tax Breaks for Openspace Preservation. Tax breaks can be provided to owners who donate openspace lands or their development rights for conservation and preservation. Property sales axes can be based on actual sale prices rather than assessed value when openspace property is sold to conservation organizations.


·         Differential Assessment Programs. Farmland and other openspace can be assessed at its agricultural or conservation use value rather “fair market value” based on potential development. Property owners can be required to repay total tax savings if the land is developed in the future.


·         Openspace Conversion Tax. Special taxes can be applied to land when it is developed from openspace (farms, woodlands and other wildlife habitat). The tax revenues can be used to purchase conservation easements and development rights, and so insures the preservation of additional openspace and compensation to land owners who do not develop.


·         Land Acquisition and Banking. Openspace acquisition can consist of the purchase or donation of land, conservation easements and development rights, for governments or nonprofit groups that hold it in trust for conservation purposes. Such land can be left undeveloped, or used in ways that preserve their environmental attributes, such as parks, watersheds, farming and natural harvesting. Land banking refers to holding land for future uses, such as providing government services (e.g., utility rights-of-way), redevelopment or future schools. Many states, regional governments and municipalities have funds dedicated to conservation lands acquisition.


·         Transfer Development Rights (TDR). TDR separates the value of potential development of land from the value of the current use of that parcel and transfers that development value to another site. A TDR program permits owners of land in development-restricted areas called sending districts to sever the development rights from their property and sell those rights to property owners in specified receiving districts. Landowners who purchase development rights are then able to increase the amount of development that can be built on the receiver site. TDRs can be used to save historic structures from demolition, prevent urbanization of farmland, and preserve unique environmental areas and scenic vistas.


·         Right-to-Farm-Policies. These policies insure that laws limiting noise and smells are not applied to normal farming activities on existing farmlands due to increased urban fringe residential and commercial development.


·         Farmland Preservation Credits. Farmers can be offered income tax credits to offset their local property tax bills. The credits encourage farmers to continue farming rather than sell their land for development.


·         Downzoning/Upzoning. Downsizing urban fringe lands to exclusive farm and forest uses with large lot zoning (often more than 10 acres per housing unit) reduces property tax burdens and development pressure. This can be offset by upzoning (increasing maximum development densities) within urban areas.


·         Sensitive Area Zoning. Special zoning can be applied to areas with special environmental or social attributes, such as unique ecosystems or historic sites.


·         Urban Growth Boundaries. Urban Growth Boundaries (UGBs) define where urban development is allowed, and urban services will be provided. UGBs are generally designated to accommodate growth for a significant period of time - typically 20 years or more and they are updated periodically.


·         Urban Service Areas. Urban Service Areas (USAs) define where urban services (public water, sewage, paved roads, schools, libraries, parks, professional fire fighters, etc.) will be provided, in order to reduce public service costs, make public services more rational and equitable, and encourage more efficient development patterns. This is often implemented in conjunction with Comprehensive Plans and Urban Growth Boundaries.


·         Water Protection Programs. These programs are designed to protect water supplies, water quality and aquatic life in creeks, lakes, and aquifers. This often includes restriction on development along shorelines and other vulnerable areas. This may restrict urban fringe development to what can be accommodated by available water supplies (particularly in desert areas), or restrict potentially harmful activities within watersheds.


·         Flood and Fire Protection Policies. Governments can restrict development on floodplains, along rivers and in other areas vulnerable to flooding, either directly, through zoning regulations, or by restricting publicly-subsidized flood insurance compensation in vulnerable areas. Similar policies can apply to areas threatened by wildfires.


·         Development Exactions. Development exactions require developers to contribute resources for public facilities, which often include land for parks and other forms of openspace.



Transport Planning Reforms

Current transport planning tends to focus on a limited set of planning objectives and transportation improvement strategies, which tends to favor automobile transportation over nonmotorized travel and public transit, and therefore automobile-oriented suburban development over more compact, multi-modal urban redevelopment. More Comprehensive, flexible and multi-modal planning tends to support Smart Growth. Transport planning reforms avoid overbuilding road and parking facility capacity, and allow TDM strategies such as Traffic Calming, New Urbanism, Location Efficient Development, and Nonmotorized Improvements to be implemented.


Smart growth policies both support and are supported by more efficient Road and Parking pricing. Guo, et al. (2011) found that households in denser, mixed use, dense, 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.


Accessibility refers to people’s ability to reach goods, services and activities. Accessibility is affected by both land use accessibility (the distribution of destinations) and mobility (physical movement). Planning decisions often involve trade-offs between these two factors: decisions that improve land use accessibility by clustering destinations and encouraging infill within existing urban areas may increase traffic and parking congestion, while decisions to improve motor vehicle mobility by increasing road and parking capacity and locating destinations along suburban highways tend to disperse destinations and reduce accessibility. For example, locating a school in the center of a neighborhood within walking and cycling distance of most homes, with speed controls on local streets will maximize accessibility but may seem inconvenient to motorists. Locating the school at the edge of the community, along a major highway, with abundant parking supply may seem convenient to motorists but reduces accessibility, increasing the distance that people must travel to access the school and reducing travel options. 


Current planning practices tend to favor motor vehicle mobility over accessibility. For example, transportation system quality is often evaluated primarily in terms of roadway Level-of-Service (LOS), a grading system from A to F, indicating the ease of travel by motor vehicle. Roadway LOS is often used to prioritize transport improvements and constrain infill development. For example, many communities have concurrency requirements that limit the amount of development allowed in a particular location based on its predicted generation of vehicle trips and whether that will reduce the LOS on nearby roads. Similarly, generous minimum parking requirements encourage automobile travel and the dispersion of destinations, and discourage compact and infill development.


Current planning practices also tend to undercount and undervalue alternative modes such as walking, cycling, public transit and telework. This occurs because conventional travel surveys tend to overlook short trips, non-commute travel, travel by children, and nonmotorized links of trips that involve motorized travel (for example, a bike-transit-walk is often categorized simply as a transit trip, and a walk-drive-walk trip is simply categorized as an automobile trip; the cycling and walking links do not count), and because conventional economic analysis tends to focus on a limited number of planning objectives, and so overlooks many benefits of reduced vehicle traffic and increased use of alternative modes (for example, the parking cost savings and reduced accident risk that results when travelers shift to transit, and the health benefits of increased walking and cycling are generally ignored in transport planning).


Described differently, conventional planning evaluates transportation system performance based mainly on vehicle traffic speeds and congestion delay, but ignore travel distances and travel options (such as whether travelers can choose walking, cycling or transit rather than driving), and qualitative factors such as the ease of obtaining transit information, the comfort and cleanliness of transit vehicles, and whether Streetscapes are pleasant for walking. As a result conventional planning contradicts Smart Growth planning, forcing development to spread out into automobile-dependent locations, rather than build up into multi-modal centers.


Accessibility-oriented transportation planning involves changing planning practices to Measure accessibility rather than mobility, and to better evaluate the quality and full benefits of improvements to alternative modes (Comprehensive Transport Planning).


Implementation Strategies


·         Access Management includes special programs designed to improve coordination between transportation and land use planning. For example, this may include funding for land use planning, and requirements that transportation investments support strategic land use planning objectives.


·         Contingency-Based Planning, which identifies solutions that will be deployed if needed to address future problems.


·         Increased Connectivity means that roadways and pathways multiple routes and more direct travel between destinations. Special efforts can be applied to improve nonmotorized connectivity by removing barriers and providing shortcuts for walking and cycling.


·         More comprehensive travel surveys and data collection, particularly with regard to the Measurement of nonmotorized travel demand and the Basic Accessibility needs of disadvantaged people.


·         Comprehensive Transportation Planning takes into account a wider range of impacts (benefits and costs) and solutions than typically considered in transportation planning. For example, it takes into account indirect and downstream impacts that result from roadway capacity expansion and other policies that increase vehicle traffic, and additional benefits that result form improved travel options and reduced automobile traffic.


·         Transportation Operations refers to transportation programs that improve management of existing transportation infrastructure (particularly roadways), often as an alternative to capacity expansion.


·         Transportation Growth Management includes special programs designed to improve coordination between transportation and land use planning. For example, this may include funding for land use planning, and requirements that transportation investments support strategic land use planning objectives.


·         Improve public participation in transport planning means that citizens and stakeholders are more involved in transportation planning and funding allocation decisions.


·         Develop methods to quantify Accessibility, taking into account people’s abilities (e.g., ability to walk and drive), time and monetary budgets (Marcus, 2005). For example, determine the number of jobs and services within a 30-minute commute time for area residents, taking into account the mobility options available to those who cannot use an automobile.


·         Establish multi-modal performance indicators, including Level-of-Service ratings for walking, cycling, driving, public transit and telecommunications.


·         Apply variable congestion thresholds in areas with quality walking, cycling and public transit service quality, recognizing that people who live and work there are able to reduce their automobile travel.



Identify the reduction in estimated vehicle trip and parking generation rates for various factors such as proximity to transit, land use mix, parking pricing and commute trip reduction programs.



More Neutral Transport Funding

Current transportation funding practices tend to be biased in various ways that favor sprawl and automobile use. More balanced and efficient practices tend to support Smart Growth and more balanced transportation investments.


Highway funding is generally much larger, has higher matching ratios match (U.S. federal highway programs usually provide 80% match, compared with 40-60% for transit), and fewer planning requirements, than funding for other modes (Puentes and Prince 2003). This encourages public officials to favor highway solutions to transportation problems, encourages automobile-oriented land use development, and results in higher per-capita transportation funding in suburban areas than in more urbanized areas.


Transport funding practices also tend to favor capital expenditures over operations and maintenance. For example, many federal and state funds may only be used for new highway construction, and cannot be transferred to maintenance or demand management programs. This encourages jurisdictions to expand infrastructure beyond what is optimal, even when they lack adequate resources to operate and maintain existing facilities. It also tends to favor development of new facilities over incremental improvements to existing facilities or demand management strategies, even when they are more cost effective.


Because current transport funding practices tend to favor highway over other modes, they usually result in less transportation funding per capita in urban than in suburban or rural areas. This is unfair and stimulates sprawl and automobile dependency.


Implementation Strategies


·         Least-Cost Planning (also called Integrated Planning) is an approach to resource planning that considers demand management solutions equally with strategies to increase capacity, and considers all significant impacts (costs and benefits), including non-market impacts. When applied to transportation planning it tends to shifts more planning and investment resources to alternative modes and mobility management programs.


·         Fix-It-First Policies mean that priority is given to maintenance, operations and incremental improvements of existing facilities, and major capital projects are only implemented if there are adequate additional funds (SELC and ELI, 1999; NGA, 2004; Lyles, 2005).


·         Flexible Funding means that transportation funds can be used for whatever type of program is most cost effective and beneficial overall.


·         Alternative Transportation Program Funding means that significant funds are dedicated to alternative modes and transportation management programs.


·         Contingency-Based Planning, which identifies various solutions that can be deployed if needed to address future problems, rather than implementing major capacity expansion in anticipation of future needs.


·         Urban Transportation Funding allocates tax funds towards existing urban areas, to insure that urban residents receive a fair share of transportation resources, and to support smart growth development patterns.


·         Comprehensive Transportation Planning takes into account a wider range of impacts (benefits and costs) and solutions than typically considered in transportation planning. For example, it takes into account indirect and downstream impacts that result from roadway capacity expansion and other policies that increase vehicle traffic, and additional benefits that result form improved travel options and reduced automobile traffic.



Mobility Management Programs

Transportation Demand Management (also called Mobility Management or Trip Reduction) includes a variety of strategies and programs that encourage more efficient use of transportation resources by changing travel behavior. TDM is often implemented as an alternative to road and parking facility capacity expansion. It both supports and is supported by Smart Growth.


Implementation Strategies


·         Create TDM Programs within transportation agencies.


·         Commute Trip Reduction programs that include Alternative Work Schedules, Telework and Guaranteed Rides Home.


·         Develop cooperative relationships with other organizations that may influence travel. For example, transportation agencies can work with planning agencies to implement Parking Management strategies, and with education agencies to help implement School Trip Management programs.


·         Develop Rideshare Programs.


·         Improve and Encouragement public transit travel.


·         Improve and encourage Nonmotorized Transportation.


·         Marketing and Promotional Campaigns.



Parking Management

Parking Management includes a variety of strategies that encourage more efficient use of existing parking facilities, improve the quality of service provided to parking facility users, and address specific problems associated with current parking facility design. Parking management supports Smart Growth by allowing greater flexibility in parking facility location and design, reducing the total amount of land needed for parking, reducing the costs of infill and compact development, by creating more walkable communities, and by encouraging the use of alternative travel modes.


Implementation Strategies (Parking Management)


·         Shared Parking. Share parking facilities among a group of users, rather than assigning each motorist an individual space.


·         More accurate requirements. Reduce minimum parking requirements at sites with lower parking demand.


·         Trade-off with TDM strategies. Reduce parking requirements at facilities with TDM programs.


·         Parking Pricing. Charge motorists for using parking facilities.


·         Cashing Out Free Parking. Provide the cash equivalent of free parking to commuters who user alternative modes.


·         Unbundle parking. Rent and sell parking facilities separately, rather than automatically included with housing and commercial leases and purchases.


·         Improve User Information. Provide convenient information on parking availability and price.


·         Develop overflow parking plans. Use overflow parking plans, rather than excessive supply, to address occasional events.


·         Address spillover problems. Use management, pricing and enforcement strategies to address spillover problems.


·         Tax parking. Impose taxes on parking facilities and their use. Apply workplace parking levies on unpriced parking provided by employers to employees.


·         Bicycle parking. Provide bicycle parking as a substitute to automobile parking facilities.



Educate Development Professionals

Designers, developers, builders and financing institutions are often unfamiliar with Smart Growth and New Urbanist practices and the benefits they can provide. Communities can help educate people involved in land use development decisions through presentations, workshops, publications and design contests, often in partnership with professional organizations, such as those for planners, developers, designers and building trades. Special efforts may be directed at changing development financing practices to allow more mixed-use, infill development (Leinberger, 2001), and to modify zoning codes (Otak, Inc., 1999).



Implementation Strategies


·         Develop Smart Growth and transit-oriented development land-use guidelines and design manuals.


·         Sponsor workshops, conferences and courses for public officials and professionals.


·         Encourage colleges and universities to offer courses and workshops on land use issues.


·         Establish professional development programs and information clearinghouses to support progressive development.


·         Provide contests and awards for Smart Growth programs.



Some planning agencies and transit systems (including Seattle, San Diego, Portland Tri-Met, Denver, Baltimore, etc.) have developed smart growth and transit-oriented development land-use guidelines and design manuals. Sponsor appropriate training courses and conferences for public officials and professionals. Encourage colleges and universities to offer courses and workshops on land use issues. Establish professional development programs and information clearinghouses to support progressive development.



Land Use Impact Evaluation Tools

Public officials often make decisions using transportation and land use Models that do not accurately predict long term and interactive impacts. The most commonly used transportation models do not consider land use impacts of infrastructure investments, and so underestimate the negative impacts that result from road and parking policies that stimulate sprawl, or the benefits that result from transit investments and smart growth policies that stimulate compact, multi-modal urban development.


Implementation Strategies


·         Improve travel surveys and other data collection practices to provide more detailed information on travel demand, particularly nonmotorized travel and basic mobility for disadvantaged people.


·         Develop and apply planning Models which measure land use accessibility rather than just vehicle mobility.


·         Improve and apply transportation and land use planning models to better evaluate the effects of planning decisions (CMHC 2006; Calthorpe Associates 2010).




Table 3 lists the Smart Growth reform strategies described in this chapter, and indicates the level of government at which they are typically applied. In many cases, higher levels of government (federal, state or provincial) can provide funding or incentives for strategies that are actually implemented by regional or local governments.


Table 3            Summary of Smart Growth Policy Reforms





Comprehensive Community Planning




Intergovernmental Coordination     




Location Efficient Development




Location-Based Fees




Smart Tax Policies




Locate and Design Public Facilities For Smart Growth




Reform Zoning Codes




Encourage Urban Redevelopment




Growth Controls and Openspace Preservation




Transport Planning Reforms




More Neutral Transport Funding




Mobility Management Programs




Parking Management




Educate Development Professionals




Land Use Impact Evaluation Tools




State/Pro. = State or Provincial Governments     Reg./Local = Local or Regional Governments



There are a number of justifications for implementing these reforms. Many correct existing market distortions which result in economically excessive sprawl and automobile dependency. Many support planning objectives such as reduced congestion costs, accident risk and pollution emissions, openspace preservation, and improved mobility for non-drivers. Although individual impacts tend to be modest and slow to be achieved, they provide significant, multiple, durable benefits.



Wit and Humor

A sloth was walking through the jungle one day when he was robbed by a gang of vicious snails.

Several hours later he arrived at the police station to report the crime. The police officer asked him to describe what happened.

“I really can’t tell you very much,” he replied. “It all happened so fast.”



References And Resources For More Information

For additional information see the more detailed report, “Smart Growth Reforms” (


AIA (2010), Promoting Livable Communities: Examining The Internal Revenue Code And Reforming Its Influence On The Built Environment, Smart Growth America ( )and the American Institute of Architects (; at


APA (2002), Policy Guide on Smart Growth, American Planning Association (


APA (2002), Smart Growth Legislative Guidebook and User Manual: Model Statutes for Planning and the Management of Change, American Planning Association (


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


Auckland, Evaluation of the Regional Growth Strategy, Auckland Regional Council ( This website includes comprehensive technical information on the effects and benefits of Auckland’s regional growth strategy.


Gary Binger, Richard Lee, Charles Rivasplata, Alexis Lynch and Marlene Subhashini (2008), Connecting Transportation Decision Making with Responsible Land Use: State and Regional Policies, Programs, and Incentives, Mineta Transportation Institute (; at


F. Kaid Benfield, Jutka Terris and Nancy Vorsanger (2001), Solving Sprawl: Models of Smart Growth in Communities Across America, Natural Resources Defense Council (


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


Brookings Institute (2005), The Price is Wrong: Getting the Market Right For Working Families in Philadelphia, Metropolitan Policy Program, Brookings Institute (


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


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


Calthorpe Associates (2010), Vision California - Charting Our Future, Strategic Growth Council Objectives (


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


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


CMHC (2005), Smart Growth In Canada: A Report Card, Research Highlights, Socio-economic Series 05-036, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (; at


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


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


EEA (2016), Urban Sprawl in Europe, European Environmental Agency ( and FOEN; at  


Ethan N. Elkind (2009), Removing The Roadblocks: How to Make Sustainable Development Happen Now, UC Berkeley School of Law’s Center for Law, Energy & the Environment (CLEE) and UCLA School of Law’s Environmental Law Center & Emmett Center on Climate Change and the Environment (; at


Ethan N. Elkind (2015), Moving Dollars: Aligning Transportation Spending With California’s Environmental Goals, UCLA School of Law’s Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment and UC Berkeley School of Law’s Center for Law, Energy & the Environment (; at


Richard W. England (2004), “Property Tax Reform and Smart Growth: Connecting Some of the Dots,” Land Lines, Lincoln Institute of Land Policy (, pp. 8-10.


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


FBCI (2008), Smart Code: Form Based Codes, Form Based Codes Institute (


Radhika K. Fox and Kalima Rose (2003), Expanding Housing Opportunity in Washington DC: A Case For Inclusionary Zoning, Policy Link (


Lawrence Frank, Sarah Kavage and Todd Litman (2006), Promoting Public Health Through Smart Growth: Building Healthier Communities Through Transportation And Land Use Policies, Smart Growth BC (; at


Funders Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities ( provides information on strategies to insure that Smart Growth helps achieve community development and equity objectives.


GQGP (2003), Smart Growth Audit Tool, Georgia Quality Growth Partnership (


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


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 (2005), Creating a Regulatory Blueprint for Healthy Community Design: A Local Government Guide to Reforming Zoning and Land Development Codes, International City/County Management Association ( and Active Living By Design (


ITE (2006), Context Sensitive Solutions in Designing Major Urban Thoroughfares for Walkable Communities, Proposed Recommended Practice, Institute of Transportation Engineers (; at


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


Curtis Johnson (2003), Market Choices and Fair Prices: Research Suggests Surprising Answers to Regional Growth Dilemmas, Center for Transportation Studies, University of Minnesota (


Michael Kodransky and Gabrielle Hermann (2011), Europe’s Parking U-Turn: From Accommodation to Regulation, Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (; at


Nico Larco (2010), Overlooked Density: Re-Thinking Transportation Options In Suburbia, OTREC-RR-10-03, Oregon Transportation Research and Education Consortium (; at


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


Michael Lewyn (2005), “How Overregulation Creates Sprawl (Even in a City without Zoning),” Wayne Law Review, Vol. 50, p. 1171; at


LGC (2003), Smart Growth Zoning Codes: A Resource Guide, Local Government Commission (


LGC (2004), Creating Great Neighborhoods: Density in Your Community, Local Government Commission (, US Environmental Protection Agency and the National Association of Realtors; at


Todd Litman (2004), Evaluating Transportation Land Use Impacts, Victoria Transport Policy Institute (; at


Todd Litman (2005a), Evaluating Criticism of Smart Growth, Victoria Transport Policy Institute (; at  


Todd Litman (2005b), Understanding Smart Growth Savings, Victoria Transport Policy Institute (; at   


Todd Litman (2006), Land Use Impacts on Transportation, Victoria Transport Policy Institute (; at


Todd Litman (2007), Smart Growth Reforms: Changing Planning, Regulatory and Fiscal Practices to Support More Efficient Land Use, Victoria Transport Policy Institute (; at


Todd Litman (2008), Recommendations for Improving LEED Transportation and Parking Credits, VTPI (; 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 (2010), 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 (2011), “Why and How to Reduce the Amount of Land Paved for Roads and Parking Facilities,” Environmental Practice, Journal of the National Association of Environmental Professionals, Vol. 13, No. 1, March, pp. 38-46;


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


Todd Litman (2015), Understanding Smart Growth Savings, VTPI (; at


Todd Litman (2016), Selling Smart Growth: Communicating The Direct Benefits of More Accessible, Multi-Modal Locations to Households, Businesses and Governments,  Victoria Transport Policy Institute (; at


Mixed-Income Transit-Oriented Development Action Guide (, developed by the Center for Transit-Oriented Development, is a comprehensive website providing information on ways to create mixed-income housing in transit-oriented development, in order to create more affordable-accessible housing.


Anne Vernez Moudon, et al (2003), Strategies and Tools to Implement Transportation-Efficient Development: A Reference Manual, Washington State Department of Transportation, WA-RD 574.1 (


Mark Muro and Robert Puentes (2004), Investing In A Better Future: A Review Of The Fiscal And Competitive Advantages Of Smarter Growth Development Patterns, Brookings Institute (


NAR (2003), Creating Great Neighborhoods: Density in Your Community, The National Association of Realtors, the Local Government Commission and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (


National Association of Realtors ( provides many resources that support New Urbanism, particularly the magazine On Common Ground (


National Center for Smart Growth Research and Education ( provides research on smart growth issues.


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


NGA (2003), Growing With Less Greenhouse Gases: State Growth Management Policies That Reduce GHG Emissions, Center for Best Practices, National Governors Association (


NGA (2004), Fix it First: Targeting Infrastructure Investments to Improve State Economies and Invigorate Existing Communities, National Governors Association (


NJDOT and PDOT (2008), Smart Transportation Guidebook: Planning and Designing Highways and Streets that Support Sustainable and Livable Communities, New Jersey Department of Transportation and Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (; at


Dom Nozzi (2003), Road To Ruin: An Introduction To Sprawl And How To Cure It, Praeger (


ODOT (1997), Smart Development Code Handbook and Appendix, Transportation and Growth Management Program, Oregon Department of Transportation and Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development (


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


Rolf Pendall, Robert Puentes, and Jonathan Martin (2006), From Traditional to Reformed: A Review of the Land Use Regulations in the Nation’s 50 largest Metropolitan Areas, Brookings Institution (; 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 (


PolicyLink ( provides information and resources on community development and equity issues, including the “Beyond Gentrification Toolkit” and publications on Smart Growth policies to benefit disadvantaged populations.


PSRC (2003), Potential Financial Incentives for Implementing Transit-Oriented Development and Regulations that Support Transit-Oriented Development, Puget Sound Regional Council (


QUEST (2010), Integrated Community Energy Solutions (ICES) Municipal Policy Toolkit, Quality Urban Energy Systems of Tomorrow (; at


Regulatory Barriers Clearinghouse (, by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, was created to support state and local governments and other organizations seeking information about laws, regulations, and policies affecting the development, maintenance, improvement, availability, and cost of affordable housing.


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


Keith Schneider and Mac McClelland (2005), Follow The Money: Citizens Pay Heavy Price For State’s Sprawl Subsidies, Michigan Land Use Institute (


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 (


Charles Siegel (2010), Unplanning: Livable Cities and Political Choices, Preservation Institute (; at


Sierra Club (2005), Healthy Growth Calculator: Where Do You Want to Live?, Sierra Club (


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


SCN (2007), Sustainable Transportation Success Stories, Smart Communities Network (


Smart Growth America ( is a nationwide coalition promoting new development patterns that protect farmland and open space, revitalize neighborhoods, keeps housing affordable, and provides more transportation choices.  


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


Jumin Song, Jayanthi Rajamani, Susan Handy and Robert Paterson (2003), Matching Smart Growth Policies to Community Needs: the Smart Growth Matrix for Transportation Planning Agencies, Paper 3892, Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting, (


A. Ann Sorensen and J. Dixon Esseks (1998), Living on the Edge; The Costs and Risks of Scatter Development, American Farmland Trust (


SP (2003), Southwestern Pennsylvania Citizens’ Vision for Smart Growth: Strengthening Communities and Regional Economy, Sustainable Pittsburgh (


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


Tonkin & Taylor Ltd (2008), Incorporating Sustainable Land Transport into District Plans: Discussion Document and Best Practice Guidance, Research Report 362, New Zealand Transport Agency (; 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 (2001), Our Built and Natural Environments: A Technical Review of the Interactions Between Land Use, Transportation and Environmental Quality, US Environmental Protection Agency (


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


USEPA (2009), Essential Smart Growth Fixes For Urban And Suburban Zoning Codes, Smart Transportation (; at (


USEPA (2015), Smart Growth Self-Assessment for Rural Communities, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (; at


Vancouver EcoDensity ( is an integrated programs to increase urban livability, affordability and environmental performance throught policy and planning reforms that encourage more compact, mixed, infill development.


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


WCEL (2004), Smart Bylaws Guide, West Coast Environmental Law Foundation ( This comprehensive guide describes smart growth practices, provides technical standards and model bylaws that can be tailored to specific municipal circumstances, and includes numerous case studies.


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.




Encyclopedia Homepage

Send Comments


Victoria Transport Policy Institute

1250 Rudlin Street, Victoria, BC,  V8V 3R7,  CANADA

Phone & Fax 250-360-1560

“Efficiency - Equity - Clarity”