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Center Identification Number:  527-07


Project Title:  Model Regulations and Plan Amendments for Multimodal Transportation Districts


Principal Investigator:                


Kristine Williams, Program Director, Planning & Corridor Management                    






Center for Urban Transportation Research

University of South Florida

Tampa, Florida


External Project Contact:    


Martin Guttenplan


I.  Project Objectives                             


This project will develop model land development regulations and comprehensive plan amendments that local governments can use and adapt to promote multimodal transportation systems and development patterns, while advancing access management objectives.


II.  Project Abstract


The Florida Department of Transportation and its partners have led the way for a more multimodal approach to transportation and development.  These efforts include the development of multimodal level of service standards as well as procedures for determining multimodal level of service and concurrency in multimodal transportation districts.  In 2000, the Florida legislature also created a Multimodal Transportation District (MMTD) alternative in Chapter 163, FS to enable local governments to address transportation concurrency through development of high quality multimodal environment.  A MMTD is an area designated within the Comprehensive Plan where the first priority is given to encouraging and enhancing non-auto forms of transportation.


However, little guidance in creating land development regulations and comprehensive plan amendments is available for local governments to assist them in implementing such districts.  The need for improved attention to multimodalism is apparent in today’s urban environment.  Conventional land development regulations are continuing to foster development and street patterns that contribute to single occupant vehicle travel.  Street systems have become much less connected and more random than the grid or modified grid networks typical of past development styles.  Low-density, single use development patterns make it difficult to support transit systems.  Mixed-use projects that are approved tend to focus on internal organization while neglecting the need for pedestrian circulation and connectivity with the surrounding street system.


Alternatively, smaller blocks and a balanced, connected network of streets will make an area more pedestrian, bicycle and transit friendly.  A denser, more diverse transportation network will also provide greater opportunities for alternative access and help remove local trips from designated through traffic routes.  Mixed-use activity centers can be provided with adequate mix, density and connectivity of uses to further encourage alternative modes of transportation.  At the same time, street connectivity guidelines must be compatible with access management objectives and standards for major arterial roadways. 


III.  Task Descriptions


The project will involve three key tasks.  These tasks include (1) an assessment of current practice , (2) preparation of draft model plan amendment, (3) preparation of draft model regulations, and (4) final report.  These project tasks are described below.


Task 1:  Current Practice Assessment. 


A review of current practice will be conducted prior to development of the planning and regulatory models to expand upon previous research.  The review will include a review of literature, land development codes, and comprehensive plans for insights into best practices in multimodal transportation and development.  Interviews will be conducted with agencies or individuals with identified expertise in specific areas to be address in the research. Site visits may be conducted to certain areas for additional insight, pursuant to budget limitations.


The assessment will culminate in a memo that summarizes suggested core topics to address in the model plan amendment and the model land development regulations.  The memo on core topics will be provided to the project manager for review and approval prior to preparation of the draft models. The schedule anticipates that the majority of the assessment will be completed in the first three months of the research, but certain assessment activities, such as interviews, will occur as needed at various points of the project.


Deliverables:  Draft and final technical memo on suggested contents of model plan amendments and model regulations.


Task 2:  Draft Model Plan Amendment. 


Building on the Task 1, draft plan amendments and commentary will be developed to provide guidance to local governments on integrating multimodal concepts into the comprehensive plan. Examples of topics for consideration include: a) goals, objectives, and policies, b) multimodal level of service standards and methods provided in the MM LOS Handbook, c) data and analysis requirements, d) land use, transportation, and community design strategies, e) Measures of Effectiveness, and f) relationship to the capital improvements element.


Deliverables:  Draft model plan amendments (2 iterations).


Task 3:  Draft Model Regulations. 


Draft model regulations and commentary will be developed that address the core topics identified in Task 1.  Examples of elements for consideration include the following:  a) connectivity of street systems, b) connectivity of proposed developments with surrounding neighborhood facilities and services, c) street spacing and block perimeter standards that conform with access spacing standards, d) transit-friendly design guidelines, and e) land use and density guidelines.


Deliverables:  Draft model regulations and commentary (2 iterations).


Task 4:  Final Report. 


The models will be finalized following review and comment by the project manager and designated peer reviewers.  The budget anticipates no more than two draft iterations per element prior to the final report. The final report will include both the model plan amendments and model regulations.  The report will be supplemented with graphics, subject to the limitations of the project budget. 


Deliverables:  Final report including model plan amendment and model regulations for multimodal transportation.


IV.  Project Schedule, Milestones


Project Start Date:  September 1, 2002

















Current Practice Assessment















Draft Model Plan Amendments















Draft Model Regulations















Final Report
















V.  Project Budget


Model Plan Amendments & Regulations for Multimodal Transportation Districts

Budget Categories

State Share

   Institute Director Salary


   Faculty Salaries


   Administrative Staff Salaries


   Other Staff Salaries


   Graduate Student Salaries


   Undergraduate Salaries


   Staff Benefits


Total Salaries and Benefits


   Permanent Equipment


   Expendable Equipment and Supplies


   Domestic Travel


   Foreign Travel


   Computer Costs


   Other Costs


Total Direct Costs


   Indirect Costs





Notes: The project team will include faculty, students, and secretarial and other support staff who will work directly on the project and whose costs are reflected in the direct costs of the project as listed above.


The project will be invoiced in four stages, with 25% of the budget payable at the completion of each task noted above.


VI.  Relationship to Other Research Projects


In 2002, CUTR conducted a research project for the Florida Department of Transportation entitled “Implementing Multimodal Transportation Districts: Connectivity, Access Management and the FIHS.”  This exploratory study was aimed at assessing the relationship between multimodal transportation districts and access management objectives for the Florida Intrastate Highway System, using the Gainesville metropolitan area as a case study.  Another objective of the study was to identify sample land development regulations that support multimodal transportation, which could help guide local governments in implementing multimodal districts.


In addition, RS&H, general consultant for FDOT, began preliminary work on incorporating multimodal LOS provisions into ordinance form.  Renaissance Planning Group has also produced a recommended strategy for implementing multimodal districts for the City of Destin.  These and other relevant research projects identified in the current practice review will provide foundation material for this project.


VII.  Technology Transfer Activities


The final versions will be produced in hard copy and .pdf format for easy distribution and posting on the internet. In addition, the researcher will conduct up to two presentations at state and/or national conferences to disseminate the information.


VIII.  Potential Benefits of the Project


It is essential that this guidance be developed as soon as possible, as the lack of attention to multimodal needs in the development process is one of the most critical impediments to efficient and cost effective multimodal transportation.  Potential barriers to implementing the research product include lack of training in application and the general difficulty in obtaining public and agency consensus on changes to land development codes or practices.  However, the potential national payoff is huge in terms of the ready availability of practical models that may be directly applied by local governments.


IX.  TRB Keywords


multimodal, access management, comprehensive plan, land development regulations, connectivity


National Center for Transit Research · at the Center For Urban Transportation Research · University of South Florida · 4202 E. Fowler Ave., CUT100 · Tampa, FL 33620-5375 · (813) 974-3120 · (813) 974-5168 · · Comments: