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27 CHAPTER FIVE CHALLENGES TO INTEGRATING BUS TRANSIT SERVICE AND LAND DEVELOPMENT PLANNING There are many challenges to integrating bus service with pressure from other vital activities and staff turnover can bring land developments. Among these, the perception of transit in progress to a halt. Even with suitable networks in place, transit general and of bus transit in particular, is a significant barrier is often inadvertently omitted from the planning arena. to overcome. Bus transit does not have a positive image in many areas. To overcome poor perceptions when meeting In addition to the challenge of divided responsibilities, local with stakeholders, transit staff must present pertinent knowl- governments may have priorities and goals that differ from edge that is clear, concise, and to the point. A good presenta- those of the transit agency. At times, the goals of the two agen- tion by staff can go a long way toward making stakeholders cies may be in direct conflict with one another. There may be comfortable and more open to transit considerations. competition for financial resources. As an example, TIF funds that could be used to add amenities at bus stops may go instead This chapter will review the challenges of integrating bus toward roadway improvements desired by the city. This diver- transit and land developments in three areas: Institutional gence of goals points to the need for land use and transporta- Barriers, Resource and Financial Challenges, and Stake- tion decisions to be made concurrently. Decisions on these holder Challenges. issues should not be made independent of each other. Based on survey results, the most common method of ensuring con- current decisions on land use and transportation is through INSTITUTIONAL BARRIERS early involvement in the planning process. Areas that do not have a strong planning process are at a great disadvantage. The Institutional barriers that prevent the integration of bus tran- plans must be enforceable, either through regulation or sit service into land developments include internal issues through strong commitments by local leadership. within the transit agency and the division that typically exists between the transit agency and local government. RESOURCE AND FINANCIAL CHALLENGES A significant institutional barrier can be the transit agency's policymaking board. Many transit boards do not The greatest financial challenge to integrating bus service view land use planning as their role, and involvement in con- into land developments is associated with the resources tentious land use decisions is not desired. Board members and available at the transit agency. Resources in terms of staff even top management at transit agencies may not understand time and in terms of the operating costs associated with bus the relationship that exists between land use and transit. It route changes are in short supply at most transit agencies. may be beneficial to update transit agency decision makers on Staff resources are dedicated to planning activities associated the transit and land use connection to generate internal sup- with the direct provision of service. Transit planners may not port for appropriate land uses. Without this education, it could have the time to become involved in land use issues. If a be challenging to expend resources to advocate for good land developer or a building owner does not agree initially to the use design. Participation by staff in the land development transit planner's recommendation, it is likely that the transit process will be limited, and without internal high-level sup- planner will let the matter drop and move on to the next port, staff cannot effectively participate. pressing task. In many areas the planner may have little recourse, unless there are policies and institutional practices Another institutional barrier is the normal division of in place that support transit in these efforts. Most transit responsibilities between transit agencies and the local govern- agencies cannot force a developer to act and convincing them ments. The transit agency is typically responsible for service takes time. Time is a resource that neither the transit planner provision and service planning, whereas land use policy and nor the developer has in great supply. planning is the responsibility of local government. Effective communication networks and coordination processes between In addition to the lack of staff resources, there is a limited the two agencies are required if transit is to be consistently inte- amount of resources available to extend or improve service grated into land developments. However, establishing good levels. One transit system noted that although there has been communication networks and coordination processes is time growth and development in the area, there has been no corre- consuming. Staffs from both agencies are often squeezed by the sponding growth in the amount of funding the agency receives