A “polycentric” region consists of a network of compact developments connected with each other through high-quality transportation options. Rather than continuing the expanse of low-density development radiating from an urban core, investments can be concentrated on central nodes and transit connections. This development pattern is very popular in Europe and is linked to significant benefits. This presentation is aimed at exploring the academic literature and empirical evidence surrounding polycentric development, analyzing more than 120 regional transportation plans to see how they promote polycentric development, defining types of centers in a hierarchy of centers, quantifying the transportation benefits of polycentric development, examining a case study of best practices, and, finally, outlining context-specific strategies for Salt Lake County and the Wasatch Front region.
KEY LEARNING OUTCOMES
- Regional transportation plans suffer from a lack of consistent indicators to designate centers and guide their developments.
- On average, households living in centers tend to make fewer and shorter automobile trips, take transit more, walk more, and bike less.
- Tours (a sequence of trips that begins and ends at home) associated with centers consist of more sustainable commuting modes than ones that are completely outside the centers.
- The built environment thresholds and relevant tools provided in our presentation (and report) can enable urban and transportation planners to make informed decisions about future growth patterns, set realistic—yet visionary—goals, and improve the overall health of its residents and communities.
This webinar is based on a study funded by the National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC) and conducted at the University of Utah. Read more about the research: Reducing VMT, Encouraging Walk Trips, and Facilitating Efficient Trip Chains through Polycentric Development.
This 60-minute webinar is eligible for 1 hour of professional development credit for AICP (see our provider summary). We provide an electronic attendance certificate for other types of certification maintenance.
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Photo by AndreyKrav
This webinar is hosted by the Transportation Research and Education Center (TREC) at Portland State University. The research was funded by the Summit Foundation and the National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC), a program of TREC and one of five U.S. Department of Transportation national university transportation centers. The NITC program is a Portland State-led partnership with the University of Oregon, Oregon Institute of Technology, University of Utah and new partners University of Arizona and University of Texas at Arlington. We pursue our theme — improving mobility of people and goods to build strong communities — through research, education and technology transfer.