USDOT Livability in Transportation Guidebook

April 21, 2011

Submitted by Jane-Lim Yap

The USDOT has published its first guidance document on how to incorporate livability principles in transportation projects. Jointly developed by FHWA and FTA, and in consultation with EPA, the Livability in Transportation Guidebook furthers the USDOT’s livability initiative and builds on the six principles of the DOT-HUD-EPA Partnership for Sustainable Communities. The Guidebook is intended for a broad audience, from practitioners to the general public, to learn from case studies of transportation projects that have achieved livable community outcomes.

The Guidebook incorporates fifteen major case studies that demonstrate how livability approaches can be applied on different project types at various scales, at various stages of a project process, can be led by different entities (state, regional, and local sponsors), and can occur in various community contexts (urban, suburban, and rural areas).

The Guidebook highlights how various communities throughout the country overcame challenges and pushed the envelope in incorporating livability principles in various stages of a project. It provides lessons learned and practical examples of strategies for practitioners undertaking similar projects and faced with similar barriers. The Guidebook includes Livability tools for:

• Visioning
• Planning and Process
• Policy
• Partnership
• Design
• Implementation and Funding

The Guidebook takes on a multi-modal approach and demonstrates how transportation capacity and operational issues can be resolved through a multi-modal and systems approach and how integrating land use considerations can lead to more community-supportive transportation solutions. The case studies include transit and transit-oriented development, multi-modal corridor planning, regional transportation planning, statewide policy, rural roadways, redevelopment, roadway right-sizing and traffic calming. A few of the case studies included in the Guidebook are:

• CDTC New Visions Transportation Plan (Albany, NY)
• Livable Centers Initiative (Atlanta, GA)
• Palm Canyon Drive Streetscape (Cathedral City, CA)
• Integrated Land Use and Transit Planning (Charlotte, NC)
• Riverfront Parkway Transportation and Urban Design Plan (Chattanooga, TN)
• FasTracks (Denver, CO)
• Emerald Express Green Line Bus Rapid Transit (Eugene, OR)
• Downtown Redevelopment (Fargo, ND)
• Route 50 Rural Traffic Calming (Loudoun County, VA)
• Gateway Route 1 (Maine)
• MDOT Transit-Oriented Development Initiative (Maryland)
• PennDOT Smart Transportation Initiative (Pennsylvania)
• Hillsborough Street Improvement Project (Raleigh, NC)
• Woodrow Wilson Bridge (Virginia & Maryland)
• Housing + Transportation Affordability Index

The Livability in Transportation Guidebook is available HERE and is also available in a PDF version.
An appendix to the Guidebook is forthcoming and will provide detailed information about each of the 15 primary case studies, including agencies involved, project schedules, costs, contact information, interviewees, and other related resources.


Mary Raulerson (pictured on the left) and Jane Lim-Yap (pictured on the right) are co-authors of the Livability in Transportation Guidebook. They recently presented the Guidebook at a two-day peer exchange workshop led by FHWA-Florida Division and participated by Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) and state Department of Transportation (DOT) representatives throughout Florida. Their presentation can be found below. Both Mary and Jane are actively involved in state-level policy initiatives to align transportation and land use planning and decisions throughout the country. For more information on this topic you can contact them at (407) 540-0555.


If you are unable to view the slides above, you can also reference the slides HERE.

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