Planning Comes of Age
Urban transportation planning came of age with the passage of the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1962, which required that approval of any federal-aid highway project in an urbanized area of 50,000 or more in population be based on a continuing, comprehensive urban transportation planning process carried out cooperatively by states and local governments. This was the first legislative mandate that required planning as a condition to receiving federal capital assistance funds. The BPR moved quickly to issue technical guidance interpreting the act’s provisions.
Through the mid-1960s, urban transportation planning went through what some have called its “golden age.” Most urban areas were planning their regional highway system, and urban transportation planning methodology had been designed to address this issue. The BPR carried out an extensive program of research, technical assistance, and training to foster the adoption of this process and the new methodologies. These efforts completely transformed the manner in which urban transportation planning was performed. By the legislated deadline of July 1, 1965, all 224 then-existing urbanized areas that fell under the 1962 act had an urban transportation planning process underway.
This also was a period in which there was early recognition of the need for a federal role in urban mass transportation. This role, however, was to remain limited for a number of years to come.
In March 1962, a joint report on urban mass transportation was submitted to President Kennedy, at his request, by the secretary of commerce and the housing and home finance administrator (U.S. Congress, Senate, 1962). This report in-