The National Academies

SHRP 2 C16 [Completed]

The Effect of Smart Growth Policies on Travel Demand

  Project Data
Funds: $474,874
Research Agency: Resource Systems Group, Inc.
Principal Investigator: Maren Outwater
Effective Date: 3/3/2011
Completion Date: 5/31/2013

Project snapshot. More details below.
(Project Number)
Impact on Practice
Product Status

SmartGAP is a free, open-source software tool to estimate the effects of different smart growth strategies on regional peak-hour travel demand and other transportation parameters. User guide also included.
These tools equip planners with scenario-forecasting tools to estimate smart growth’s effect on peak-hour travel, sprawl, energy reduction, active travel, and carbon footprints.  They offer a practical guide to applying land use strategies to reduce congestion.
The final report is available on the following page. The SmartGAP tool is available at https://www.trb.org/main/blurbs/168842.aspx.
Responsible Staff: Jo Allen Gause

Smart growth policies are often considered by planning agencies as a strategy to reduce congestion, emissions, and other impacts on travel demand. However, while there is an abundance of literature on the transportation-land use connection and the impact of various smart growth strategies on travel demand, there is a lack of practical guidance and tools for translating these insights at key decision points in planning and project development.

This project had two objectives: (1) synthesize research about the impacts of growth on travel demand; and (2) develop a user-friendly software tool that can be used to evaluate the impact of smart growth policies on travel demand.

This project reviewed available research to determine the underlying relationships between households, firms, and travel demand. This knowledge was used to develop a regional scenario planning tool, called Smart Growth Area Planning (SmartGAP), which can be used to evaluate the impacts of various smart growth policies. The SmartGAP tool synthesizes households and firms in a region to determine the travel demand characteristics of these households and firms, based on both the characteristics of their built environment and on transportation policies affecting their travel behavior. As part of this project, three pilot tests were completed to demonstrate how SmartGAP evaluates the effect of smart growth policies on travel demand, environmental, financial and economic, location, and community impacts. 

Project Status: This project is complete.

Product Availability: The final report is available on the following page. SmartGAP is available at https://www.trb.org/main/blurbs/168842.aspx.

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