Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Smart Transportation Guidebook is 5 Years Old!

Happy 5th Birthday to the New Jersey/Pennsylvania Smart Transportation Guidebook! 
This remarkable document (full disclosure: I have some paternal interest) is a citizens guide to linking transportation and Smart Growth.  The subtitle says it all: “Planning and Designing Highways and Streets that Support Sustainable and Livable Communities.”  The guidebook was the product of a remarkable collaboration between PennDOT (led by Al Biehler) and New Jersey DOT (led by Jack Lettiere and later Kris Kolluri), facilitated by the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission.  Both state DOTs had been struggling for several years with the failure of the old model of building new highways as an answer to congestion and had been experimenting with new techniques of multimodal corridor planning, collaborative planning, linking transportation and land use, and environmental stewardship.  The Smart Transportation Guidebook is a distillation of that learning experience and was intended to stimulate informed, community-oriented transportation planning.
Kudos for the document go to the leadership at the time (Al Biehler, Jack Lettiere, Kris Kolluri, and DVRPC executive director Barry Seymour).  I won’t try to list all the staff and consultant team that created this extraordinary publication, but must at least mention Gary Toth, the intellectual driver of smart transportation planning on the New Jersey side of the river (and my teacher on many of these issues).
You can find the Guidebook on the NJDOT website here and on the DVRPC website here.
How is the Guidebook currently being used?  Hmmm………..I’m not sure.  Maybe it’s time for a 5th anniversary revisit?  If anything, the issues that drove its production are more pressing and its approach more compelling than they were 5 years ago

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