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Transportation and Land Use in Tennessee. Integrating State, Regional and Local Planning Processes. Phil Armor, Greater Nashville Regional Council Ken Belliveau, Tennessee Advisory Commission Ed Cole, Cumberland Region Tomorrow Ralph Comer, Dept. of Transportation

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transportation and land use in tennessee

Transportation and Land Use in Tennessee

Integrating State, Regional and Local Planning Processes

Phil Armor, Greater Nashville Regional Council

Ken Belliveau, Tennessee Advisory Commission

Ed Cole, Cumberland Region Tomorrow

Ralph Comer, Dept. of Transportation

Alan Jones, Dept. of Environment and Conservation

Jeanne Stevens, Nashville Area MPO

  • Growth planning and zoning – local governments only
  • Little coordination and no shared regional vision
  • Growth pressures mounting
    • Infrastructure costs
    • Environmental impacts
  • State budget problems, revenue constraints
    • Transportation wish list exceeds available funding
    • Inefficient infrastructure investments
  • Need to maintain mobility and provide wider range of transportation modal choices
team and purpose
Team and Purpose

Tennessee’s team, which unites state, regional, local and nonprofit stakeholders, will work to strengthen and integrate diverse planning processes and seek to coordinate regional transportation, land use and growth decisions.

tennessee s vision
Tennessee’s Vision
  • A national model of integrated planning processes across federal, state, regional and local levels
  • Local land use and growth plans and transportation plans linked and mutually supportive
  • Transportation projects support local and regional land use and growth plans to receive funding
tennessee s vision1
Tennessee’s Vision
  • Diverse and accessible transportation choices that meet citizen needs
  • Good communication networks and multiple feedback loops among planning processes
  • Governor concerned about infrastructure costs and committed to preserving special lands, farmlands and forests
  • Strong DOT - high quality roads and no road debt
  • Opportunities to change development patterns
  • Modest congestion – adequate mobility
  • Recent state growth planning law – a foundation
  • Growing public concerns - quality of life and growth issues
    • Cumberland Region Tomorrow visioning
  • Leadership and fresh ideas in Nashville

State Role

  • State growth planning law
    • Little state oversight
    • Quality of local plans vary
    • Little consideration of infrastructure
  • Land use and growth planning - local governments only
  • No state planning office, little oversight or guidance on land use planning

Growth and Development

  • Suburban sprawl dominant development pattern
    • 640,000 new households by 2025
    • Land consumption outpacing population growth
    • Low densities
    • Few models of integrated planning
    • Few incentives for desirable development
  • Extreme automobile dependence

Air Quality and VMT

  • Nonattainment looming – ozone and PM2.5
  • Projections of continued VMT growth
  • Significant increases in congestion
  • Clean air may depend upon reducing VMT growth


  • Inadequate land use planning process
    • Few standards for local land use plans
    • Local governments not required to plan
  • Insufficient communication
    • Planning processes fragmented, no collaboration
    • Utility districts not required to follow local land use plans


  • Lack of funding for regional planning
  • Lack of consultation among key decision makers
  • 25-year statewide multi-modal transportation plan
  • Growing interest in alternative transportation modes
  • Strengthen state growth planning law
  • Growing awareness of air quality issues
  • Few public participants, but they have energy and ideas


  • We love our cars
    • Transit neglected
  • Social equity for those who do not or cannot drive
  • Lack of public involvement
    • Little awareness or understanding
    • Public apathy
    • Citizens do not believe their voice is heard


  • Tennessee is the “Volunteer State”
  • Strong sentiment against regulations and land use controls
  • Strong resistance to state role in land use
  • Public opposition to taxes
  • Potential diversion of transportation funds
tennessee s growth initiative
Tennessee’s Growth Initiative
  • Work to strengthen the planning process at all governmental levels
    • Improve the quality of land use and growth plans
    • Build better linkages between plans
  • Fund only those transportation projects that support local and regional plans
  • Transfer technology to other MPOs
  • Near-Term
    • Develop an alternatives assessment system
    • Identify local barriers
    • Identify ways to improve and better link land use, transportation and growth planning processes
    • Gain support of MPO policy makers
  • Long-Term
    • Implement an alternatives assessment system
    • State dollars to planned growth areas only
    • Transportation projects support local and regional land use and growth plans
selecting priorities
Selecting Priorities
  • Address root problems, not just symptoms
  • Need near-term successes
  • Take advantage of low-hanging fruit
  • Build momentum and support
  • Develop decision-making tools to span multiple administrations
next steps
Next Steps
  • Select strategies and action steps
  • Schedule milestones
  • Identify needed components of alternatives assessment system
  • Initiate dialogue with MPO
  • Learn from other states, NGA and Academy faculty
    • Catalysts for change
    • Alternatives assessment systems
    • Methods for measuring integration of transportation and land use planning