The Importance of Regional Planning That Matters

Author: Kaid Benfield

The Places to Grow land use plan for the region of Ontario around Toronto and Hamilton (image above) is one of the best I have seen. I will discuss it more below, but you can tell how well-conceived it is just by looking at the amount of protected land it saves while accommodating a tremendous amount of regional growth in population and jobs.

Planning at the regional scale is critical. As our economic, land use and transportation patterns have evolved over the last century, metropolitan areas have become increasingly important. In most parts of the country, the political boundaries established by municipalities long ago are no longer relevant to businesses’ or residents’ activities, to say nothing of environmental media such as air and water.

As a result, to meaningfully influence environmental impacts associated with development, land use, and transportation, we must act at a level where central cities and suburbs can be considered together. As President Barack Obama has put it, “that is the new metropolitan reality and we need a new strategy that reflects it.”

Read the full article at


Bicycling Access and Egress to Transit: Informing the Possibilities

Read this report from the Mineta Transportation Institute at


NACTO Urban Bikeway Design Guide

The NACTO Urban Bikeway Design Guide is based on the experience of the best cycling cities in the world. The designs in this document were developed by cities for cities, since unique urban streets require innovative solutions. Most of these treatments are not directly referenced in the current versions of the AASHTO Guide to Bikeway Facilities or the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD), although many of the elements are found within these documents. The Federal Highway Administration has recently posted information regarding approval status of various bicycle related treatments not covered in the MUTCD, including many of the treatments provided in the NACTO Urban Bikeway Design Guide. All of the NACTO Urban Bikeway Design Guide treatments are in use internationally and in many cities around the US.

Find the guide at


Job Opportunity: Graduate Transportation Planning Intern at City of Ann Arbor

Once again an opportunity emerges for a Transportation Planning Intern/Work-Study Student with the City of Ann Arbor. We are looking for someone for this summer with the potential to continue through next winter. We would like to fill this position quickly and would welcome applications ASAP. Interested applicants can forward their expression of interest and resume to In a few days, a formal position posting and application will be available on the city’s website. All applicants will be advised to complete the formal application when it becomes available. The position description follows.

The Transportation Planning Intern reports to the Transportation Program Manager in the Systems Planning Unit at the City of Ann Arbor. Systems Planning is responsible for infrastructure planning for the city. Its sister unit, Project Management, is responsible for the engineering of infrastructure in the city. The City’s transportation plan update can be found on the web at: The transportation planning group works on all areas defined in that document. Significant project coordination with external stakeholders is also a fundamental part of this position. Seeking graduate level students with an undergraduate degree or background in transportation planning or related field. Work Study eligibility and working knowledge of specialty software including GIS, CAD, and desktop publishing preferred.

Start timeframe May 2011.

Tasks include:

  • Implementation activities related to the City’s Transportation Plan
  • Continued implementation of the City’s Non-Motorized Plan, including
    • Research of policy issues relating to Non-Motorized transportation
    • Develop materials for public information and education as part of the Walk, Bike, Drive campaign
    • Data collection of pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorists in the City
    • Coordination between Systems Planning and Project Management
    • Planning and layout for on-road bicycle facilities – GIS or CAD skills a plus!
  • Facilitation of the Alternative Transportation Committee
  • Support on the City of Ann Arbor’s Model for Mobility concept
  • Assist in executing the City of Ann Arbor employee transportation options program.
  • And all other tasks as assigned – of course!

For more information, contact Eli Cooper at


Project for Public Spaces Training Sessions

PPS training programs introduce new ways of looking at public spaces and provide both practical skills and inspiration to people who want to improve the public environment in their city, town or neighborhood. Training includes building awareness of public space issues and opportunities, understanding how people use public spaces, building internal capacity to implement place-based projects, observation and data gathering techniques, and public space design and management skills.

PPS trains a variety of audiences, nationally and internationally, including community members, civic leaders, city planners, transportation professionals, managers of private, public and federal properties, landscape architects, architects, urban designers, academics, and many others.

  • How to Turn a Place Around – May 5-6, 2011
  • Streets as Places – April 28-29, 2011
  • How to Create Successful Markets – May 20-21, 2011
  • Placemaking: Making It Happen – June 9-10, 2011

For more information:


Transport Matters

Addressing the principles of sustainability, spatial planning, integration, governance and accessibility of transport, this book focuses on the problem of providing efficient and low energy transport systems which serve the needs of everybody.

It explores many of the new arguments, ideas and perceptions of mobility and accessibility in city-regions. Looking at evidence from Denmark, Sweden, The Netherlands, Germany and the UK, it considers the meaning of the key concepts of sustainable accessibility, the spatial planning model, and integrated territorial policies.

For more information: