Smart Growth America and the State Smart Transportation Initiative have just released a great resource for state departments of transportation looking to pursue forward-thinking policies. The report [pdf], entitled “The Innovative DOT: A Handbook of Policy and Practice”, outlines a variety of progressive transportation ideas and highlights that many innovative policies—like reforming the way DOTs make road capacity decisions and switching to context-sensitive design or practical design approaches—may actually conserve limited departmental resources.
The report also recognizes the crucial connection between transportation and development policy and makes the case for DOT involvement in land use decision-making:
If DOTs can foster land use decisions that create less Single Occupancy Vehicle (SOV) travel demand and allow for more compact development, both through their own actions and by partnering with land use authorities, they can reduce infrastructure costs, reduce vehicle miles traveled (VMT), and improve transportation choices. At the same time, local governments can grow their tax base without creating new infrastructure construction and maintenance costs that Greenfield development requires.