Urban Transportation Planning in the United States: An Historical Overview

By Edward Weiner | Go to book overview
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Chapter 5
Improved Intergovernmental
Coordination

As the number and scope of federal programs for urban development and transportation projects expanded, there was increasing concern over the uncoordinated manner in which these projects were being carried out. Each of these federal programs had separate grant requirements which were often developed with little regard to the requirements of other programs. Projects proceeded through the approval and implementation process uncoordinated with other projects that were occurring in the same area.

During this period, several actions were taken to alleviate this problem. First was an attempt to better integrate urban development and transportation programs at the federal level by bringing them together in two new cabinet-level departments, HUD and DOT. Second was the creation of a project review process to improve intergovernmental coordination at both the federal and local levels. States and local governments also moved to address this problem by consolidating functions and responsibilities. Many states created their own departments of transportation. In addition, states and local communities created broader, multifunctional planning agencies to better coordinate and plan areawide development.

The urban transportation planning process transitioned into the “continuing” phase as most urban areas completed their first plans. There was a new interest in low capital approaches to reducing traffic congestion, using techniques such as reserved bus lanes, traffic engineering improvements, and fringe parking lots. It was also during this time that national concern was focused on the problem of highway safety and the enormous cost of traffic accidents. Environmental issues became more important, with legislation addressing the preservation of natural areas and historic sites and providing relocation assistance for households and businesses.

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