Access management refers to coordination between roadway design and landuse planning to improve transportation. It includes the placement and design of driveways and sidestreets to minimize conflicts and hazards, and the design and location of development to improve access by different modes and minimize traffic problems.
Access management tends to reduce the number of and width of driveways and access roads on highways and arterials. This can benefit cyclists and pedestrians by reducing points of conflict and making vehicle traffic more predictable. It is also important to incorporate pedestrian and bicycle planning into access management programs to avoid problems that can result from increased traffic speeds.
U.S. National Transportation Library, Access Management Publication (www.bts.gov/ntl/subjects/access.html).
Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments, Access Management: A Policy for Local Communities, United States Department of Transportation, 1988.
Joanne Lazarz, Corridor Preservation And Access Management Guidance; Guidelines to Assist Metropolitan Planning Organizations in Addressing Corridor Preservation and Access Management Concerns in their Communities, Wisconsin Department of Transportation (www.bts.gov/ntl/data/plan-policy/access/00223.html), 1994.
Land Development and Subdivision Regulations that Support Access Management, Center for Urban Transportation Research, University of South Florida (www.cutr.eng.usf.edu), 1995.
Livable Community Planning
Recently, there has been growing interest in efforts to create “livable communities,” also called “neotraditional planning,” “New Urbanism,” and “sustainable community planning.” It can also include “Transit Oriented Developments” and “Pedestrian Pockets,” which represent the application of some of these design concepts at the neighborhood level. These incorporate a number of design features that help facilitate walking and cycling:
A “modified grid” street system (a dense network of connected streets with many “T” intersections).
Relatively narrow streets and short block lengths.
Low vehicle traffic design speeds.
Small curb radii.
Pedestrian and bicycle facilities.
Traffic calming strategies.
Although these represent a change from design standards used in most North American communities, they are well accepted by transportation professionals. Publications by Institute of Transportation Engineers,53 the American Society of Civil Engineers, and the National Association of Home Builders54 endorse such standards. For example, they recommend 22-24 ft. widths for local streets, and 26-28 ft. widths for subcollectors, rather than the 36-feet that are commonly used.
The basic unit of a livable community is a walkable neighborhood, with streets and other public spaces that encourage community interaction. Neighborhoods are clustered to form towns and cities. A variety of compatible land uses are mixed to improve access to employment, retail, and community facilities and services. An interconnected network of lower speed streets is designed for safe and pleasant walking, cycling, and driving, with consideration for transit and people with disabilities. Automobile traffic is discouraged. A mix of residential forms exists to meet diverse housing needs. Livable community designs are energy efficient and respect the natural environment. Planning for nonmotorized transport is essential for development livable communities.
Livable Community Planning
The American Planning Association (www.planning.org) is a professional society for planners that sponsors a “Growing Smart” initiative and provides many useful materials.
Carfree.com (www.carfree.com) explores carfree cities past, present, and future, and provides practical solutions to the problems of urban automobile use.
Center for Livable Communities (www.lgc.org/clc) helps local governments and community leaders to be proactive in their land use and transportation planning.
Congress for New Urbanism (www.cnu.org) is a movement to develop urban communities built to a human scale.
The International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (www.iclei.org) is the “international environmental agency for local governments” which provides tool to help communities become healthier and more environmentally responsible.
LMN Architects, Model Code Provisions; Urban Streets and Subdivisions, Washington State Community, Trade and Economic Development (Olympia; www.wsdot.wa.gov/hldr/pdf/cted.pdf)
The National Trust for Historic Preservation (www.nationaltrust.org) focuses on preserving downtown areas and historic buildings.
Planners Web (www.webcom.com/pcj), maintained by Planning Commissioners Journal, includes a sprawl resources guide, a primer for citizen planners, a tour of 12 key planning related sites, and a section on conservation design for subdivisions.
Project for Public Spaces, Inc. Transit-Friendly Streets: Design and Traffic Management Strategies to Support Livable Communities, TCRP Report 33, Transportation Research Board (Washington DC; www4.nationalacademies.org/trb/homepage.nsf), 1998.
Rhys Roth, Redevelopment for Livable Communities, WSDOT (Olympia; www.wsdot.wa.gov/ta/t2/t2pubs.htm), 1995.
The Smart Growth Network (www.smartgrowth.org) includes planners, govt. officials, lenders, community developers, architects, environmentalists and activists.