Land Use, Zoning, and Transportation Metrics

Saturday, May 6, 2017 | 4 p.m. - 5:15 p.m.
CM | 1.25
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You'll learn about:

  • The proper use of land use and zoning metrics
  • The value of models and drawing programs like Sketch-Up for land use
  • The use of transportation metrics
  • New data sources and a movement away from transportation level of service
  • The critical value of efficiency as a metric


This session explores land use, zoning, transportation and economic metrics critical to measuring the sustainability of communities. The planned, zoned and achievable intensity of development in density or floor area ratios are critical to sustainable development. There are  multiple definitions  that are confused or misused by planners and citizens. For example planners often use net-net densities to indicate sustainability but this ignores land devoted to roads or open space thus under estimating the amount of land needed to sustain a future population making the development pattern less sustainable. Transportation likewise is important to sustainability. Metrics on origins and destinations, service areas of uses, capacity, modes of travel, frequency of service, and level of service must be used to evaluate sustainability. Walkability is frequently used as a measure of sustainability but is of little value when applied to regional shopping and office developments where the scale dictates that users must use other modes of travel to reach the development. The concept of efficiency is introduced as a tool evaluating whether the proposed intensity metrics are actually achievable in site plans and the transportation system needed to support it. In many cases multiple metrics must be considered to measure any topic. For example the four factors that interact to determine the maximum floor area, building, parking, height, and green space. Residential, and mixed uses also require the evaluation of multiple factors and the use of models and sketch up will be illustrated. Transportation performance measures include level of service, timing, delay, origin and destinations, mode, distance, and time. Reverse-engineering to better match land use and transportation is an example of how to apply metrics to solve problems. New measures of accessibility and mobility for various travel modes may also prove useful, and ‘big data’ is changing our ability to understand existing travel patterns in ways that may unlock the keys to promoting efficiency in the transportation network. 


Lorna Parkins , AICP , Michael Baker International , Richmond , VA (see bio)
Lane Kendig , Sturgeon Bay , WI (see bio)