FDOT takes steps toward promoting livable, sustainable transportation development

June 04, 2012

On May 9 to 12, 2012, the Congress for New Urbanism (CNU) held its 20th Congress in West Palm Beach, Florida. More than 1,000 participants attended from various parts of the world. Together with the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), Kittelson & Associates, Inc. was part of the CNU’s first “innovation” track sessions on Friday, May 11. These innovation track sessions showcased cutting edge work covering a variety of topics including brand new theories of urbanism.

John Moore of FDOT and KAI’s Jane Lim-Yap presented on FDOT’s new multimodal corridor planning approach and the SR 50 Corridor Study with a topic titled “Not Your Grandfather’s DOT” as part of a panel titled From Balanced Roads to Transit Oriented Development. A webcast of the presentation can be found HERE. As with other state departments of transportation, FDOT is being asked to respond to transportation needs brought by evolving financial, environmental, technological, and social contexts. FDOT is facing increased traffic demand, changing demographics and attitudes of customers who seek more mobility options, and changing environmental concerns that require FDOT to think beyond solutions that simply increase auto capacity—all with limited resources. This shift in FDOT’s direction has caught the attention of partner agencies and is what many of the CNU members have always advocated. With an impressive turnout that left standing room only, CNU participants were clearly eager to see this change.

“A number of attendees came to us after the session who wanted to know more about FDOT’s new approach,” says Jane. “The audience really welcomed our message and it is clear that the DOT has a big role in building better, sustainable, and complete communities.”

The presentation, which can be viewed above, included a case study on how multimodal mobility can be improved along the State Route 50 Corridor in Lake County, Florida. In the last two decades, the SR 50 corridor has experienced some of the fastest suburban development in the Central Florida region, transforming this section of SR 50 from one that served regional mobility needs to one that would also have to provide for local access needs and function as a business address. FDOT has responded to this increase in traffic demand by widening SR 50 from four to six lanes. However, even with this widening, projections indicate that the traffic demand will exceed the roadway’s six-lane capacity well before the road’s 20 year design life if growth patterns continue as before.

KAI led this study and did a thorough evaluation of current trip-making characteristics which helped better define the challenges of accommodating both daily local trips and regional through trips along the corridor. Working with the stakeholders through one-on-one interviews and at an interactive charrette process, KAI developed various land use and transportation scenarios to illustrate the transportation implications of different land use scenarios. The study finds that there is tremendous opportunity to re-shape future land use patterns and community design so that the corridor can better accommodate multimodal travel.

The study, which was completed in December 2011, has been well-received by regional and local agencies and has served as a venue for numerous in-depth discussions and educational presentations on how to integrate land use and transportation planning and decision-making. The study was given the Horizon’s Award by the Lake Sumter Metropolitan Planning Organization as the 2012 Exemplary Planning Project for the region.

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