Well thought-out land use planning strategies can improve the safety and accessibility of communities.
- Safe neighborhoods where parents feel comfortable allowing children to play outside and walk or bike to school encourages social interaction, exercise, and independence.
- Genuinely walkable or bikeable communities provide adequate infrastructure including sidewalks, bike paths, and traffic calming measures, as well as attractive destinations such as shops and restaurants.
- To encourage walking, destinations should be a reasonable 5-10 minute walk.
- With destinations close by, car trips are shorter, resulting in fewer vehicle miles driven.
- Ensuring both walkability and economic viability requires a high enough density of housing to support local businesses. However, high density does not imply that entire neighborhoods or communities need to be uniformly dense. Communities that provide higher average “blended densities” featuring a mix of land uses, nearby employment centers, vibrant streets, and nearby access to common green space can make considerable gains in reducing transportation related energy use.
- Encouraging carpooling and providing park and ride lots can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by reducing the number of single-passenger vehicles on the road.
- Transit Oriented Development (TOD) is a strategy to create land use pattern that support mass-transit and reduce automobile miles traveled.
- The focal point is the transit stop (bus, train, trolley, etc.) which is surrounded by relatively high levels residential and commercial development.
- The present pattern of land use shapes the present demand for transportation, while transportation investment decisions shape the future patterns of land use.
- Improving the attractiveness of walking, biking, and public transportation in a community can improve the vitality of the city as well as affordability and environmental conditions.
- According to the American Automobile Association, the average annual cost of driving a car is $8,485. Of that amount $7,095 leaves the community in payments for finance charges, gasoline, insurance, etc.
- Transit costs the user far less (in Madison, an unlimited ride monthly bus pass is $55 – or $660 a year. That represents an annual savings of more than $7,500 over driving. That number does not including parking which can total more than $120 a month.
- Availability of bike lanes, bike parking, and distance between amenities impacts the attractiveness of using bicycles for transportation.