A New Approach to Transportation Planning

For too long, transportation departments have built roads instead of communities. The results of these policy choices -- congestion, pollution, high rates of traffic fatalities, and destinations that are only accessible by car -– are seen throughout the New York, New Jersey and Connecticut region.

The Tri-State Transportation Campaign works to reverse the impacts of this car-dependent development and develop more compact, walkable communities where people have safe and attractive alternatives to cars and a variety of housing choices. TSTC often focus our efforts on reforming State Departments of Transportation. These agencies control the bulk of the state’s infrastructure resources, and how each decides to spend money matters.

State DOTs must work with localities to develop collaborative approaches to the congestion and development pressures facing communities. And state elected leaders need to guide progressive changes, support policies that support the agency’s innovation, and provide it with the resources it needs to maintain and expand our region’s infrastructure.

To truly encourage sustainable communities that are ready for the environment and economic challenges of the 21st Century, a state transportation department must:

Here are some of our campaigns where we are working to transform transportation planning:

Reform at NJDOT

Changing the basic terms of transportation planning and breaking the vicious circle of road widening, sprawl development and traffic congestion is one of Tri-State's core missions. We advocate for reforms that connect land use and transportation, and fight projects that threaten the region with sprawl.

Garden State Parkway and NJ Turnpike

The New Jersey Turnpike Authority plans to widen the Garden State Parkway and New Jersey Turnpike, which will spur additional sprawl development, quickly recongesting the roads. NJTA has performed only cursory review of alternatives to widening (such as congestion pricing) and has not analyzed secondary impacts like sprawl.

Reform at NYSDOT

The New York State Department of Transportation has not adopted a comprehensive smart growth approach, but it has begun a few initiatives to design more balanced roadways and connect land use to large transportation projects. Much more needs to be done.

Reform at ConnDOT

After spending most of its transportation dollars on highway projects, and neglecting its transit system for years, ConnDOT has to a large extent adopted a new approach that emphasizes maintenance of existing roads and bridges and expansion of transit service over large highway capacity projects.

Federal Policy Reform

Every 6 years, Congress plays a major role in setting the country’s transportation priorities by determining how hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars can be spent. State and local governments ultimately control their own destiny, but the federal transportation bill directly influences how and where they invest in transportation.


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