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4 I N T E G R AT I N G S U S TA I N A B I L I T Y I N T O T H E T R A N S P O RTAT I O N P L A N N I N G P R O C E S S tions about the state of the practice with regard to sus- areas, such as road ecology, some effects are considered, tainability concepts and transportation. These are orga- such as the presence of endangered species in the nized into two categories: (a) political, legislative, and planned corridor. Other effects, however, such as the regulatory findings and (b) transportation planning impacts of noise on the breeding and migration patterns process findings. of birds, are not commonly considered. A more coher- ent and integrated road ecology approach is needed. Transportation planning, particularly in urban areas, is Political, Legislative, and Regulatory Findings based on already adopted land use plans and objectives. Integrated transportation and land use decision making Lack of a National Sustainable has not been realized. Land use planning and zoning Transportation Policy remain the prerogative of local governments that strive to optimize their own objectives, which often directly There is no effective national policy with regard to the relate to maximizing local tax revenue. Planning sustainability of transportation. A national policy on processes also do not give appropriate importance to the need to integrate sustainability concepts into trans- the role of freight and its impact on sustainability. portation planning could facilitate the development of legislation, regulation, guidance, and other tools. The new tools would support changes in current practices Existing Institutional Structure Permits that are unacceptable because they fail to emphasize or Integrating Sustainability into Planning ignore notions of sustainability. Sustainability objectives can be introduced into the trans- portation planning process within the current institu- Innovative Solutions Often Discouraged by tional structure. State departments of transportation and Current Standards and Regulations metropolitan planning organizations, for example, are capable of incorporating sustainability into their plan- Innovative transportation solutions that could address ning processes. Indeed, sustainability practices and tools sustainability issues are often discouraged by inflexible do exist and are utilized by some states and planning and outdated regulations, rules, codes, and standards. organizations, but not widely. The barriers to implement- Examples of such innovative solutions are improved fuel ing sustainable transportation planning within current economy standards, full-cost pricing, certain transporta- organizations are more cultural than institutional. tion infrastructure and vehicle technologies, and alterna- tive energy sources and fuels. Flexibility must be provided to enable minimization of adverse sustainability impacts. STRATEGIES FOR INTEGRATING SUSTAINABILITY CONCEPTS INTO TRANSPORTATION PLANNING Transportation Planning Process Findings In line with its findings, the committee developed a set of recommendations focused on updating and improv- Transportation Planning Horizons Not ing the planning process, providing public and profes- Long Enough sional education, and identifying areas for further research. Given the complexity and scale of the sustain- Federal regulations relating to transportation and air qual- ability challenge, the committee first pointed to three ity require states and metropolitan planning organizations areas where broadly based action is needed to achieve to complete long-range transportation plans and pro- greater coherence and consensus on sustainability, both grams for a 20-year forecast period. For transportation nationally and internationally: planning processes to integrate sustainability objectives, the forecast period must be at least 40 years. Some plan- · Adopting a national statement of values and defi- ning organizations have begun to extend their planning nitions on sustainability, including a transportation com- horizons, but the practice remains limited. ponent with specific national objectives and performance measures that can support review and revision of the objectives. Possible objectives include the reduction of Assessment of Transportation Impacts Not greenhouse gas emissions from transportation sources Sufficiently Broad via energy efficiency, reduction in the use of nonrenew- able transportation fuels, and support of nontechnologi- The effects of transportation on climate change are not cal solutions such as incentives for use of nonmotorized usually considered in the planning process. In certain transport and public transportation.
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C O M M I T T E E F I N D I N G S A N D R E C O M M E N D AT I O N S 5 · Building consensus on a sustainability policy across accommodated to enable the incorporation of sus- all levels of government--federal, state, regional, and tainability-friendly solutions such as integrated land local. To lead effectively in communication and consensus- use and transportation planning, cross-modal plan- building activities across relevant agencies at all levels ning, and full-cost pricing. These solutions require of government, the U.S. Department of Transportation transportation planners to reach beyond their tradi- will need to determine how to bring about this collab- tional areas of expertise and work collaboratively with oration and how best to support the efforts of local other agencies. Moreover, to enable accountability for governments to tackle transportation sustainability. transportation investment decisions, transportation · Cooperating with other nations to address the planning institutions should be given budgetary and global dimensions of sustainable transportation. With management authority. impacts that are global as well as local and regional, this inherently international issue requires that the United States work cooperatively with other nations to address Adopt Use of Inclusive Long-Term Visioning sustainable transportation effectively. in Planning The committee made the following recommendations Adopting longer horizons and visioning techniques in for integrating sustainability concepts into transportation the development of transportation plans will enhance planning. the ability of planning processes to integrate sustainabil- ity objectives. Standard 20-year planning horizons need to be extended to at least 40 years to incorporate sus- Planning Process Recommendations tainability concepts. In addition, public involvement should be expanded to enable plans that reflect a com- Adopt Sustainability as a Primary Objective munity's vision, have support from a broad constituency, of Transportation Planning and are therefore more likely to be implemented success- fully. Underrepresented groups such as children, the At all levels of government--federal, regional, state, and elderly, and those with low income should be included in local--use of sustainability criteria should be a central public involvement, along with industry, educators, and feature of transportation planning. A goal of trans- public health officials. In conjunction with visioning and portation planning should be to address transporta- longer planning horizons, backcasting should be encour- tion's unsustainable impacts, including depletion of aged. Backcasting involves working backwards from a nonrenewable fuels, climate change, air pollution, fatal- particular desired future, or set of goals, to the present. ities and injuries, congestion, noise pollution, low A handful of planning institutions have begun imple- mobility, biological damage, and lack of equity. These menting these practices, and their experiences can be criteria should be built into planning guidelines and valuable to other agencies. processes. In addition, transportation planning should be proactive and promote sustainability through prac- tices such as integrated land use and transportation Evaluate the Broad Range of Effects of planning and cross-modal planning. Transportation Transportation Investments in the planning also should conduct forward-looking analyses Planning Process of demographics, market preferences, and job location trends to be responsive to the emerging needs of future Transportation investments have a wide range of effects generations. on the economy, the environment, and our culture. A broad transportation planning perspective should be implemented to enable planners to address more fully Use Existing Institutional Structure but unsustainable effects such as congestion, lack of equity, Address Cultural Issues climate change, air pollution, ecological degradation, and resource depletion. In tackling these effects, plan- The existing institutional structure of transportation ning agencies should consider applying "triple bottom planning--state departments of transportation, met- line" analysis to transportation planning. Triple bot- ropolitan planning organizations, and local planning tom line analysis gives environmental quality and social agencies--is capable of integrating sustainability justice equal weight with financial considerations. objectives into the transportation planning process. When transportation's full range of effects is consid- Planning agencies nevertheless face cultural chal- ered in the planning process, innovative solutions can lenges that must be overcome to address unsustain- be developed that enable reasonable growth while able transportation impacts. Cultural issues must be addressing sustainability.