Providing Technical Assistance in an Environment of Uncertainty: A Case Study in Coordinating Transportation and Land Use

Report No: 05-R20

Published in 2005

About the report:

This study examined the feasibility of just one approach to coordinating transportation and land use planning. The lack of such coordination in the United States has been the subject of much criticism. In rural areas, the locality usually controls land development decisions whereas the state generally controls transportation decisions. In Virginia, Botetourt County and the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) initiated a pilot planning process to coordinate transportation and land use planning. In that process, VDOT personnel served as staff for the county, which was the client. The immediate goal of this effort was a scenarios analysis. Botetourt specified potential zoning scenarios for consideration, and VDOT estimated the likely impacts of each scenario on the immediate transportation network. Botetourt benefited from this relationship by having access to engineering staff who can provide a quantitative analysis of delay at key intersections, and VDOT benefited by helping to ensure that Botetourt had the opportunity to consider the transportation impacts in its zoning decisions. To support this scenarios development, three additional deliverables were developed: a data element protocol, an action plan, and a template for replicating this process with other Virginia counties. Seven steps comprise this template: (1) define a problem statement quickly, imperfectly, and iteratively; (2) use quick updates to resolve shortcomings; (3) maintain momentum; (4) keep everyone updated equally; (5) recognize that the county is the client; (6) dedicate staff; and (7) end the process with a tangible deliverable. Details of how these steps were accomplished are provided to facilitate the transfer of these lessons to other counties and VDOT.

Disclaimer Statement:The contents of this report reflect the views of the author(s), who is responsible for the facts and the accuracy of the data presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Commonwealth Transportation Board, or the Federal Highway Administration. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation. Any inclusion of manufacturer names, trade names, or trademarks is for identification purposes only and is not to be considered an endorsement.


Last updated: November 29, 2023

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