Council plays a broad and varied role in transportation planning efforts in the Region. As stated in the Strategic Regional Policy Plan (SRPP):
“The Region’s transportation system should be one that integrates alternate modes of travel into one balanced system that supports community goals, enhances urban life, increases mobility, and provides for the safe and efficient movement of people and goods.
Any approach to achieve these multiple objectives must include an analysis of the way we use our land, the manner in which we choose to travel, and the institutional and financial arrangements we have developed to meet our travel needs. In short, these objectives can only be achieved through a better integration of transportation and land use planning.”
Towards the mission set forth in the SRPP, Council maintains extensive working relationships with the various transportation entities in the Region, collaborating with the Florida Department of Transportation, South Florida Regional Transportation Authority, various Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) and Transportation Planning Organizations (TPOs), local governments, transit providers, and others.
Improving the relationship between transportation and land use planning is a challenging goal. Vast portions of the Region are characterized by low-density suburban development patterns. The relatively low densities and inefficient land use pattern in these areas make them difficult to serve with transit, thereby limiting travel options. In the older portions of the Region, especially along the coast, local governments have capitalized on urban conditions and existing infrastructure to achieve successful redevelopment initiatives, many of which center around historic downtowns and the existing railroads. Densities in these more urban areas tend to be higher, making transit service a feasible option.
One means by which transportation and land use planning has been integrated successfully across the country and internationally is through transit-oriented development or TOD, which is generally defined as a compact, mixed use development within a quarter- to half-mile of a transit station or along a transit corridor that serves housing, transportation, and neighborhood goals. TOD is typically characterized by a high-quality pedestrian environment, urban arrangement of uses, and parking approaches that improve efficiency, all tending towards a setting which encourages residents and workers to drive their cars less and ride mass transit more.
Council is involved in many varieties of TOD projects in the Region and throughout the State.
Several of these are identified below.
Kim DeLaney. Ph.D.
Director of Strategic Development and Policy
Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council
421 SW Camden Avenue, Stuart, Florida 34994