This article was written by MPC Associates Emily Tapia and
land use and transportation professionals met inSan
Francisco for the 2008 Rail~Volution
conference. More than 1,000 people
attended the annual confab to discuss the relationship between transit and
community development, share practical experiences and ideas, and explore ways
the San Francisco region is collaborating for a more livable
It was broadly recognized at
Rail~Volution that the connectivity between transportation and climate change,
energy, land use, and housing must be explicitly linked and reinforced in our
federal policy. As part of the group’s call to action, it was clear that
planning needs to be more comprehensive in order to be globally competitive in
the 21st Century.
Federal Surface Transportation
Authorization & National Coalitions
With a new administration in the
White House and the expiration of SAFETEA-LU in 2009, transportation
professionals from across the country are working to create strong national
alliances that support multi-modal transportation investments and address our
crumbling highways, roads, bridges, freight and transit infrastructure. Limited
transportation dollars make the need to eliminate wasteful spending and
encourage transparency even more urgent.
Successful TOD does more than just
connect land use and transportation: it provides options for residents to reduce
travel times by living near work and having amenities close at hand. MPC staff who attended the conference
toured Fruitvale Village, a TOD along the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART)
line in Oakland
that includes housing, retail, and such community services as a clinic, library,
senior center, and preschool.
Developed by the Unity Council, Fruitvale Village addresses the needs of existing
residents and optimizes the public space around the train station by hosting
cultural activities and a weekly famers’ market. As a result, the development has become
a popular gathering place for residents and commuters.
New development that incorporates
transportation should be representative of the community and make life easier
for all residents. At
Rail~Volution, Daniel Lacofano, of MIG, Inc., discussed his vision for “Inclusive Cities,” an approach to
planning that promotes economic, social, environmental, and culturally sensitive
policies that provide accessibility for all residents.
Tailoring development in this way
ensures the existing population will be able to use the new development, and
encourages active usage of the public space by all residents – especially if you
add food and retail options and create a welcoming environment with benches,
lighting and signage.
Bike-Sharing of the
Bike-sharing, a popular practice in
some European countries, is starting to attract attention in America. At both
the Democratic and the Republican National Conventions this year, the insurance
company, Humana, offered more than 7,500 convention delegates and members of the
media the opportunity to participate in an one-of-a-kind bike-sharing program.
Unlike its predecessors in Stockholm
or Paris, this
bike-sharing program was designed to give participants a personalized
experience, with a detailed report of miles driven, calories lost, and emissions
reduced by traveling around the city on a bicycle. With 834 positive stories,
170 videos, and more than 42,000 miles ridden by bike – the program was an