by T Litman · 2020 · Cited by 82 — Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota, for the American Institute of. Architects; at cts.umn/pdf/CTS-07-10.pdf. John
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PAGE – 1 ============ 250 – 508 – 5150 T odd Alexander Litman © 2006 – 2011 You are welcome and encouraged to copy, distribute, share and exc erpt this document , provided the author is given attribution. Please send your corrections, commen ts and suggestions for improvement . 2 April 2020 by Todd Litman Victoria Transport Policy Institute Abstract Planning refers to the process of deciding what to do and how to do it. This paper summarizes key principles and practices for effective planning , particularly land use and transportation planning . E ffective planning takes into account diverse perspectives and impacts, a llowing decision – makers to identify and implement the most effective ways to achieve goals. A vision without a plan is just a dream. A plan without a vision is just drudgery. But a vision with a plan can change the world. P roverb

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Planning Principles and Practices Victoria Transport Policy Institute 2 Preface Planning is a noble but underappreciated profession. Planners help communit ies create their preferred future good planning make s progress toward paradise while bad planning leaves a legacy of problems and dispute heavy lifting by anticipating and resolving community conflicts . Good planning requires special skills and perspectives: Most people prefer to ignore problems until they become unavoidable. Planners are professional worriers who seek out potential problem s so they can be mitigated. Most people look at a problem from a single perspective. Planners are responsible for considering multiple perspectives Most people prefer simple problems and solutions . Planners learn to appreciate complexity , and search for deeper meanings and underlying causes . Planners learn to work with uncertainty and ambiguity. Most people consider compromise a sign of weakness and failure. Planners are passionate about compromise because i t resolves conflict s and often leads to better solutions . Most people prefer to consider one issue at a time . Planners apply integrate d analysis , so individual, short – term decisions are consistent with multiple, long – term goals . According to Harvard Univ ersity Professor Daniel Gilbert (2006), the human species greatest and most unique ability is to imagine and anticipate objects and episodes that do not currently exist, that is, to plan for the future . That is our individual and collective strength. Planners are the coaches. Traditional communities relied on shaman and priests to help maintain balance between the human and natural worlds. In modern communities these responsibilities are borne by planners. Yet, planners often re ceive little respect . Our successes are taken for granted, and we are often blamed for failures beyond our control . As coordinators of public decision – making , planners are lightening rods to criticism. Our role as unbiased facilitators is often misinterpreted as heartless burea ucrats . Stakeholders frequently hold planners personally responsible when dissatisfied with outcome s . Planners need diplomatic skills and a thick skin: if we do our job well we are criticize d approximately equally by all sides . A family physician who emph asizes preventive health strategies ( reducing tobacco consumption, eating balanced diets , regular exercise , etc.) often provide s far greater total benefits with far less total cost s than a surgeon who intervenes during a critical illness . Yet the family do ctor is considered an annoying nag while the surgeon is considered a hero. Similarly, good planning tends to be undervalued because it prevents problems, so the people who benefit are unaware of their gains. So go forth and toil noble planners ! Take heart that your efforts, although underappreciated, are and creation of earthly paradise .

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Planning Principles and Practices Victoria Transport Policy Institute 3 Introduction Planning refers to the process of deciding what to do and how to do it. Planning occurs at many levels, from day – to – day decisions ma d e by individuals and families, to complex decisions made by businesses and governments . This paper focuses on community land use and transport planning, but most principles described apply to any planning activity . Planners a re professionals who facilitate decision – making. P lanners do not make decisions themselves; rather, they support decision – makers (managers, public officials , citizens) by coordinating information and activities . Their role is to create a logical, systematic decision – making process that results in the best actions . such as love, hope and beauty. Planners translate theoretica l goals into specific actions. Planning is an art as well as a science. It requires judgment, sensitivity and creativity. Planning often deals with in – between issues and so requires perception of what artists call negative space (spaces between objects). F or example, architects are concerned with building designs while planners are concerned with the spaces between buildings. Similarly, planners are responsible for integrating various transport system components (walkways, parking facilities, driveways, roa ds, terminals, ports, etc.) . The y create connections between different agencies, sectors and jurisdictions . As a result, planners must collaborate with diverse interest groups. Planners facilitate change and so must overcome entrenched practices and interests. We often encounter resistance from people who assume that what they consider normal must be good , that is, people who look back to the past rather than forward to the future . For example, efforts to improve transport sys tem efficiency by encouraging use of alternative modes often face resistance from people accustomed to automobile travel just want to be able to drive where I they ar gue, implying that such a demand is reasonable, even if accommodating additiona l vehicle traffic is increasingly costly . In their role as objective negotiators , planners are often in the middle of conflicts. They often have the most knowledge about a project and its likely im pacts of a particular decision, and so are often responsib le for anticipating unintended consequences and representing the interests of people who are underrepresented in the decision – making process, such as children, the poor and future generations . Of course, planners are not infallible ; we can mak e inaccurate predictions and bad recommendations , and a planning process can encounter unexpected problems . But planning failures stand out because they are unusual . P lanners who follow professional practices generally do a pretty good job of identifying the best course of action . Be warned: planning can be frustrating! There are many ways that a planning process can fail, including inadequate resources, inadequate public or official support , and unresolved conflicts. Planners often work for years on projects that are implemented ineffectively or not at all.

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Planning Principles and Practices Victoria Transport Policy Institute 4 Planning Principles Good planning requires a methodical process that clearly defines the steps that l ead to optimal solutions. This process should reflect the following principles: Comprehensive all significant options and impacts are considered. Efficient the process should not waste time or money. Inclusive people affected by the plan have oppor tuni ties to be involved. Informative results are understood by stakeholders ( people affected by a decision) . Integrated individual, short – term decisions should support strategic, long – term goals . Logical each step leads to the next. Transpa rent everybody involved understands how the process operates . A principle of good planning is that individual , short – term decisions should support strategic , long – term goals. This requires comprehensive evaluation and negotiation to help people accept sol utions that may seem difficul t and costly in the short – term. Comprehensive transport planning provides a foundation for m ore integrated transport services, fares and ticketing, user information, infrastructure provision and management, institutions (transp ort and public transit agencies), transport and land use planning, and other public policies such as road, parking and fuel pricing (Preston 2012). Good planning is insightful, comprehensive and strategic. Planners should strive to truly understand proble ms, not just a single perspective or manifestation. Effective planning requires correctly defining problems and asking critical questions. A planning process should not be limited to the first solution proposed or the concerns of people who attend meetings . For example, downtown merchants might complain of inadequate customer parking near their stores. This problem can be defined in various ways inadequate parking supply, too many vehicles, or inefficient management of available spaces each implying dif ferent solutions. Here are questions to ask to help understand this problem: How much parking exists, including spaces currently unavailable to customers? What problems exist and w ho encounters th ese problem s , when and where? How is parking currently manag ed (including regulations and prices)? What is the cost of increasing parking supply? What alternative solutions might address th ese problem s ? How well do various solutions integrate with strategic planning objectives? Planners should strive to understand factors that will affect the future . For example, rather than simply showing how traffic congestion has grown in recent years and extrapolating that trend into the future, a better analysis identifies specific factors t hat increased vehicle travel (population growth, rising incomes, declining real fuel prices, etc.), projects their future, and ffic is te planner might Vehicle t raffic grew 4% annually during the last decade but this is likely to decline somewhat in the future due to aging population and higher future fuel prices , and could be avoided altogether if we implement certain mobility mana gement st r ategies .

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Planning Principles and Practices Victoria Transport Policy Institute 5 Planners must manage information flows , including gathering, organizing and distribution (Litman, 2006). Planners should anticipate questions and provide acc urate and understandable information, using visual information (maps, graphs, tables , etc.) and appropriate examples. Although a planning process is ideally linear ( scoping data collection analysis draft plan approval final plan ), new questions and information often occur late in the process, requiring additional iteration s and adjustments . Planning requires preparing for a future that is often impossible to predict, and so must incorporate uncertainty . Forecasts should usually describe ranges and probabilities rather than point estimates, and plan s should usually i ncorpor ate contingencies. Such contingency – based plan s can include various actions, some to be implemented only if future conditions require . For example, a parking management plan might include some strategies that will be implemented immediately, some that will be implemented a few years in the future, and some that will be implemented only if warranted. Planners should strive to be objective and fair. For example, a planning process to determine the rules that dog owners must follow in public parks should not be affected significantly by Planners should insure that the planning process includes perspectives and groups that might oth erwise be ignored, such as people with lower incomes, disabilities, and future generations. Planners sometimes face undeserved criticism due to confusion about their role. Critics imply se of the community. For example, in criticizing smart growth, Utt (2005), argues that planners impose their aesthetic sensibilities on the rest of us, the philistine masses. Instead of letting the planners have their way, communities should work to resto re and strengthen individual property rights. critics claim that planners want to force people out of their cars, or change other behaviors evelop appropriate responses , similar to physicians who advise patients on how to be healthier, and financial advisors who help investors manage their wealth. For example, planners might point out that smart growth development can help achieve a community environmental objectives ; i t is up to the community to decide whether these benefits justify specific smart growth policies. In the example above, Utt (2005) argues that property owners should face fewer development restrictions , b ut t he conflict is not really between property owners and planners, it is between property owners who want a particular type of development and others who would bear resulting costs. Planners are caught in the middle. Planners must frequently shift betw een general concepts and specific applications. For example, a planner must be able to describe a general concept such as equity or safety, and apply these concepts when evaluating a specific policy or plan.

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Planning Principles and Practices Victoria Transport Policy Institute 6 Planners work at the intersection of many disci plines and so need basic knowledge of many subjects including design , economics, law and management, making it an ideal field for people with diverse interests. Planners need many skills, including the ability to: Accurately, critically and objectively eva luate problems. Collect and analyze data. Apply general concepts to specific situations. Manage complex processes. Communicate complex issues with many types of people. Listen respectfully. Planning is a social activity it involves people. Successful planning requires effective involvement of stakeholders. P lanners should be prepared to work with people from diverse backgrounds, interests and abilities. Stakeholders Users Citizens/taxpayers Impacted residents Businesses Employees/workers Public officia l s Affected organizations/interest groups. Lawyers Planners manage resources, such as people, time, money, land, and infrastructure. It is useful to carefully identify resources , constraints and conflicts . For example, land use planners may identify areas unsuited for certain types of development due to risks such as flooding, inadequate infrastructure, or their environmental and cultural values. Planning tends to evolve over tim e, with new issues and to ols . For example, in recent years social equity, environmental risk management, heritage preservation , energy planning, security, non – motorized transportation, public health, and sustainability have all become planning issues . Smart planners embrace these new issues and practices becoming the local expert on a new planning issue can be a good career move! Planning increasingly incorporates the concept of s ustainability , which refers to comprehensive , strategic planning that explicitly considers long – term and indirect impacts, such as those in Table 1 . Sustainability planning strives for development (increased quality) rather than growth (increased quantity) , and recognizes resource constraints and ecological risks such as fos sil fuel depletion and climate change . Table 1 Sustainability Issues Economic Social Environmental Affordability Resource efficiency Cost internalization Emplo y ment and business activity Productivity Tax burden Equity Human health Education Community Quality of life Public Participation Pollution prevention Climate protection Biodiversity Precautionary action Habitat preservation Aesthetics This table lists various sustainability issues.

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Planning Principles and Practices Victoria Transport Policy Institute 8 Incremental (also called marginal ) impacts are the changes a policy or project causes relative to a baseline (conditions that would otherwise exist , also called the base case or reference case ). It is important to clearly define the baseline, taking into account trends that may affect future conditions such as population or economic growth . It is also important to clearly define the scope of impacts. For example, parking cash out (giving commuters who use alternative modes the cash equivalent of parking subsidies ) generally reduces affected automobile trips about 20%. However, only about 2 0 % of personal vehicle travel is for commuting, so if 3 0% of employees are offered cash out total impacts are 2 0% x 20% x 3 0%, or just 1 .2 % of total personal travel. The 20% reduction in affected trips seems large, the 1% reduction in total trips seems smal l. It is important that decision – makers understand how these different results are derived. There may be several steps between a particular planning decision and its ultimate impacts, as summarized below. For example, a particular planning decision, such as an infrastructure investment or change in zoning codes, can have direct impacts on land use patterns (development density and mix), which has various impacts on land use and travel behavior (impervious surface coverage and greenspace preservation), whic h then have various ultimate economic, social and environmental impacts, such as changes in consumer and public service costs, crash risk, pollution emissions and physical fitness. Comprehensive evaluation must consider all of these effects and their ultim ate impacts. Planning Decision (infrastructure inve stment, zoning, development charges , utility fees, etc.) Land Use Patterns ( location, density, mix, connectivity, parking supply, etc.) Land Use Impacts Travel Behavior (Impervious surface coverage, (amount and type of walking, cycling, greenspace, public service costs) public transit and automobile travel) Economic, Social and Environmental Impacts (consumer costs, public service costs, crashes, pollution emissions, physical fitness, etc.) There may be several steps between a planning decision, its land use and travel behavior impacts, and its ultimate economic, social and environmental impacts. Planning can occur at various levels , scales and jurisdictions. Some reflect functional geographic boundaries and others r eflect political jurisdictions, as listed below. Table 3 Planning Scale Functional/Natural Political Site Street Neighborhood Ecosystem/watershed Regional Global Special service district Municipality/ r egional government State/provincial Federal This table lists various scales used for planning, from the smallest to the largest.

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Planning Principles and Practices Victoria Transport Policy Institute 9 It is important to define the geographic scale and area for planning . For example, when referring to a particular city somebody could mean its Central Business District (CBD) , urban neighborhoods , legal jurisdiction, or the city and its adjacent suburbs, which may be defined as a metropolitan planning area. Statistics, such as population, employment and travel data published by census or transportation agencies , may reflect an y of these scales . A planning process should cover appropriate geographic units. If a particular decision may affect people outside a jurisdiction, it is generally best to include them in the planning process, although their concerns may be given less weig ht than those of residents within the jurisdiction. The Concept of Accessibility Accessibility (also called access or convenience ) refers to the ability to reach desired goods, services, activities and destinations (together called opportunities ). For exa mple, a stepladder provides access to a high shelf, a store provides access to goods, and a library or telecommunications device provide access to information. Walking, cycling, ridesharing and public transit provide access to jobs, services and other acti vities. Access is the ultimate goal of most transportation, excepting the small portion of travel in which movement is an end in itself, (e.g., cruising, historic train rides, horseback riding, jogging). Even recreational travel usually has a destination, such as a resort or a campsite. F our general factors can affect accessibility: 1. Mobility , the speed, quality and affordability of physical travel. This can include various modes including walking, cycling, public transit, ridesharing, taxi, automobiles , etc. 2. Transportation System Connectivity , which refers to the directness of links and the density of connections in path or road network. 3. Land Use , that is, the geographic distribution of activities and destinations. When real 4. Mobility Substitutes , such as telecommunications and delivery services. These can provide access to some types of goods and activities, particularly those involving information. Conventional planning tends to evaluate transportation primarily in terms of mobility, particularly motor vehicle mobility, ignoring tradeoffs with other forms of accessibility. For example, conventional planning recognizes that highway expansion improves automobile accessibility, but generally ignores the negative impacts this tends to have on nonmotorized accessibility (wide roads with high traffic volumes and speeds are difficult for pedestrians and cyclists to cross). Since most transit trips involve w alking links, highway widening can also reduce transit accessibility. Highway improvements also tend to stimulate sprawl, which reduces overall land use accessibility, increasing the amount of travel needed to reach destinations, further reducing accessibi lity by alternative modes. These practices tend to create automobile dependency , that is, transportation and land use patterns that favor automobile travel over other modes (for this analysis, automobile includes cars, vans, light trucks, SUVs and motorc ycles). The opposite of Automobile Dependency is not a

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Planning Principles and Practices Victoria Transport Policy Institute 10 total lack of private vehicles, rather, it is a multi – modal (also called balanced or diverse) transport system, meaning that consumers have various transportation options from which to choose (walking, cycling, ridesharing, public transit, telework, etc.), and incentives to use each for what it does best. Multi – modal planning expands the scope of solutions that can be applied to transport problems. If planning only considers automobile access, virtual ly the only solution to congestion problems is to expand road, and virtually the only solution to transport inaffordability is to subsidize driving. A broader definition allows other solutions to be considered, such as improvements to alternative modes, im proved connections between modes, mobility substitutes such as telecommuting, and policies that increase land use accessibility to also be considered transportation improvements. How an activity is measured can affect planning decisions . For example, it is generally easier to measure vehicle tr affic co nditions (such as traffic speed, roadway Level of Service, and per – mile vehicle costs) than mobility (such as door – to – door travel speeds , or the sense of security experienced by pedestrians and transit users ) , or accessibility goods, services and activities, taking into account both their mobility and land use conditions) . This tends to skew planning to focus more on automobile transportation than on other mobility and acces sibility options (Litman, 2003). This is particularly important because many automobile travel improvement strategies d e grade walking and transit conditions . Failing to account for these impacts can therefore lead to a self – fulfilling prophecy of improved driving conditions, reduced travel options and increased sprawl , as discussed later in this paper. It is important to carefully specify goals and objectives. More broadly defined goals expand the range of poss ible solutions. For example, defining transpor tation goals in terms of accessib i lity rather than mobility allows land use changes and improved telecommunications to be considered as well as mobility improvements. Plans should be as specific as possible. It is generally easier to identify the desire d direction of magnitude of – income Travel Demand Transportation Demand refers to the amount and type of travel people would choose under specific conditions, taking account factors such as the quality of transport options available and their prices. Understanding demand is important for t ransport p lanning . Transportation dem and is a multi – faceted. Table 4 lists factors various that can affect travel demand. Changes in these factors, due to external influences or by design, can affect travel behavior, and therefore impacts such as congestion, accidents and pollution.

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Planning Principles and Practices Victoria Transport Policy Institute 11 Table 4 Factors That Affect Transport Demand Demographics Economics Prices Transport Options Service Quality Land Use Number of people (residents, employees and visitors). Incomes Age/lifecycle Lifestyles Preferences Number of jobs Incomes Business activity Freight transport Tourist activity Fuel prices and taxes Vehicle taxes & fees Road tolls Parking fees Vehicle insurance Public transport fares Walking Cycling Public transit Ridesharing Automobile Taxi services Telework Delivery services Relative speed and delay Reliability Comfort Safety and security Waiting conditions Parking conditions User information Density Mix Walkability Connectivity Transit service proximity Roadway design This table indicates various factors that affect demand, which should be considered in transport planning and modeling, and can be used to manage demand. An important question in planning is the degree to which the transport system responds to consumer demands. For example , high automobile travel mode share may results fr om: A utomobile travel superior performance . Consumers have viable options (they could walk, bicycle and use public transit) but prefer driving for most trips. A utomobile travel prestige . Consumers have viable options but are often embarrassed to use them, and so choose driving for most trips. Inadequate alternatives. Distorted planning practices have reduced the quantity and quality of alternative modes, so walking, cycling and public transit are unavailable even when they are more cost effective than exist ing alternatives or consumers would willingly pay marginal costs. Mis – p ricing. Since most vehicle costs are fixed or external, once consumers purchase an result, consu mers drive more and use alternatives less than is optional overall. Described differently, consumers lack efficient pricing options, such as unbundled parking and distance – based insurance. It is likely that all four factors contribute to high levels of a utomobile travel in some situations. To the degree that automobile travel offers true superior performance, an automobile – dependent transportation system responds to consumer demands. However, to the degree that other factors (prestige, inadequate alternat ives, mis – pricing) contribute to high automobile travel mode split, the resulting travel patterns are not optimal; consumers are forced to drive more than they actually want and are unable to use preferred alternatives, due in part to inadequate options.

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