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Key Topics

This page provides information about key topics related to the TGM program's objectives, as well as links to documents and sites where users can find additional information. Topics are listed alphabetically. We welcome suggestions for additional topics of interest. If you would like to suggest a topic, please contact Constance Beaumont at constance.beaumont@state.or.us.

Active Transportation

Given the obesity epidemic and other health problems associated with sedentary life styles, public health officials are promoting the concept of "active transportation" - travel modes that involve physical exercise, such as walking and bicycling. The following links and reports address this issue:


Climate Change and Land Use

Transportation emissions, mostly from cars and trucks, account for 38 percent of Oregon's carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, according to the Oregon Governor's Advisory Group on Global Warming (PDF) (see p. 30). CO2 is a greenhouse gas (GHG). By making it easier for people to take short trips by foot or bicycle - and longer trips by public transit - state and local governments can help communities reduce CO2 emissions.

The Oregon Sustainable Transportation Initiative (OSTI) is an integrated statewide effort to reduce GHG emissions from transportation while creating healthier, more livable communities and greater economic opportunity. The effort is the result of several bills passed by the Oregon Legislature, and it is designed to help the state meet its 2050 goal of reducing GHG emissions by 75 percent below 1990 levels. The OSTI website is a great source of information about ongoing efforts, and includes a toolkit and case studies communities can use when thinking about GHG emissions.

Additional resources that address the role of land use, transportation choices, and community design in reducing greenhouse gases are listed below:


Complete Streets

Well-connected, well-designed streets give people more transportation choices. They also encourage people to walk more frequently while enhancing the vitality of cities and towns. Ways to enhance the design of local streets are discussed in these publications:



A balanced transportation system provides for good connections between local destinations. Ideally, connections include pedestrian and bicycle paths as well as streets. Conversely, the cumulative effect of not connecting local streets between development parcels is traffic congestion on surrounding collectors and arterials. Ideas for enhancing the "connectivity" of local communities can be found in the resources listed below:


Density and Design

Density and Housing Design

High-density development, especially when coupled with mixed land uses, is critical to the success of public transportation and walkable neighborhoods. Not only does higher density provide the ridership needed to make public transportation financially viable, but it also offers a market for small local businesses located within walking distance of residential neighborhoods. When well-designed and respectful of the character of surrounding neighborhoods, high-density development is more likely to win community acceptance. When poorly designed, however, high-density development often generates strong opposition. The resources noted below discuss how communities in Oregon and around the country have addressed the design and other issues that can arise when high-density development is proposed:

Design Guidelines for Downtowns and Transportation Corridors

Many communities have found that well-designed development in downtowns - or in transportation corridors leading into city centers - can help to encourage revitalization and new investment.

Design Review Guidelines and Code Provisions


Grants and Services Provided by Others


Main Street

Vibrant main streets are an important part of a community, as they offer a place for commercial activity and social interaction. Because of the prominent role that main streets play in a community, the TGM Education and Outreach program offers workshops that focus on main street and downtown revitalization. The links and resources below also offer information on main street revitalization:

  • Stanfield Main Street Revitalization (PDF): Presentation by MIG, Inc. summarizing a June 18, 2014 TGM workshop held in Stanfield, Oregon. Click here for the full report.
  • Weston Main Street Revitalization (PDF): Presentation by Alison Wildman, SERA, Inc., and Bob Wise, Cogan Owens Cogan, at a TGM workshop in Weston, Oregon, in February 2011.
  • Toward a Thriving Downtown (PDF): Presentation by Tim Smith, Director of Urban Design at SERA Architects, at a TGM workshop in Monmouth, Oregon, in 2007.
  • Wood Village Workshop (PDF): Presentation by Alison Wildman of SERA, Inc., and Bob Wise of Cogan Owens Cogan at a June 7, 2011 TGM outreach workshop in Wood Village, Oregon. Addresses town centers and main streets.
  • Main Street: When a Highway Runs Through It (PDF): A TGM handbook for Oregon communities that addresses road design, special transportation areas, pedestrian-friendly streets, couplets, bypasses, and other transportation topics that often challenge main street revitalization efforts.

Mobility Standards

Mobility standards define acceptable speed, convenience, comfort and security of transportation facilities and services. Historically, mobility standards have focused almost exclusively on roads and highways, but more and more jurisdictions are modifying their mobility standards to encourage greater use of the active transportation modes - i.e. walking, bicycling, and using transit. Traditional mobility standards have often discouraged community design and urban form concepts that enable the use of alternative transportation modes, so it is important to reconcil mobility standards with land use goals and community objectives. The resources below provide information about mobility standards and efforts to improve them:


Multi-Modal Mixed-Use Areas

Oregon's Multimodal Mixed-Use Area (MMA) designation may be applied by local governments to downtowns, town centers, main streets, or other areas inside Urban Growth Boundaries where the local government determines that there is:

  • High-quality connectivity to and within the area by modes of transportation other than the automobile;
  • A denser level of development than in surrounding areas, with a variety of commercial and residential uses;
  • A desire to encourage these characteristics through development standards; and
  • An understanding that increased automobile congestion within and around the MMA is accepted as a potential trade-off.

In areas designated as an MMA, a local jurisdiction does not need to apply local or state congestion performance standards when evaluating proposed plan amendments against the TPR in OAR 660-012-0060. The act of designating an MMA is also not subject to significant effect evaluation requirements under the rule. See the MMA Information and Guide for Local Governments (PDF) for more information.


Oregon's Plans and Policies

Transportation Planning Rule

The Oregon Land Conservation and Development Commission adopted the Transportation Planning Rule (TPR) in 1991 with support from the Oregon Department of Transportation. The TPR seeks to ensure that Oregon ’s transportation system supports a pattern of travel and land use in urban areas that avoids the air pollution, traffic and livability problems faced by other areas of the country. The rule aims to improve the livability of urban areas by promoting changes in land use patterns and transportation systems that make it more convenient for people to walk, bicycle, and use transit, and drive less to meet their daily needs. These changes support other state objectives, including reducing the cost of public services; protecting farm and forest land; reducing air, water, and noise pollution; conserving energy; and reducing greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global climate change.

Among other things, the TPR:

  • Requires the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) to prepare a state transportation system plan (TSP) and identify a system of transportation facilities and services adequate to meet identified state transportation needs;
  • Directs counties and metropolitan organizations to prepare regional transportation system plans that are consistent with the state TSP;
  • Requires counties and cities to prepare local transportation system plans that are consistent with the regional plans.

More information on the TPR

Oregon Transportation Plan

The Oregon Transportation Plan (OTP) is the state's long-range multimodal transportation plan. The OTP considers all modes of Oregon's transportation system as a single system and addresses the future needs of airports, bicycle and pedestrian facilities, highways and roadways, public transportation and railroads through 2030. The plan was officially adopted by the Oregon Transportation Commission on September 20, 2006.

The Oregon Department of Transportation's 2006 Transportation Plan Survey (PDF) (Feb. 2006) found that an overwhelming majority, 78%, of Oregonians believe public transit is needed in their community.

Oregon Bicycle & Pedestrian Plan

The Oregon Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan was adopted by the Oregon Transportation Commission in 1995. Standards and designs shown in the plan are ODOT standards used on state highway projects.

Oregon Highway Plan

The Oregon Transportation Planning Rule requires regional and local transportation system plans to be consistent with the Oregon Highway Plan. Besides setting forth policies on such matters as highway mobility standards, freight traffic, and traffic safety, the Highway Plan addresses the relationships between land use and transportation in its Land Use and Transportation Policy. This policy encourages compact development patterns that can yield the following benefits:

  • Reduction of local trips and travel on state highways;
  • Shorter vehicle trips;
  • More opportunities to walk, bicycle, or use available transit services;
  • Increased opportunities to develop transit; and
  • Reduction of the number of vehicle trips to shop and do business.

Policy 1B of the Oregon Highway Plan addresses the relationship between land use and transportation, and states in part:

"It is the policy of the State of Oregon to coordinate land use and transportation decisions to efficiently use public infrastructure investments to:

  • Maintain the mobility and safety of the highway system;
  • Foster compact development patterns in communities;
  • Encourage the availability and use of transportation alternatives;
  • Enhance livability and economic competitiveness; and support acknowledged regional, city and county transportation system plans that are consistent with this Highway Plan."

In support of Policy 1B, Action 1B.1 of the Highway Plan encourages:

  • Transit, bicycle, and pedestrian facilities, including street amenities that support these modes;
  • Design and orientation of buildings and amenities that accommodate pedestrian and bicycle use as well as automobile use;
  • Provision of public and shared parking;
  • Infill and redevelopment;
  • Expansion of intensive urban development guided away from state highways rather than along state highways; and
  • Other supporting public investments that encourage compact development and development within centers.

Action 1B.7 of the Highway Plan describes highway segment designations that influence decisions made by the Oregon Department of Transportation. Key designations are:

  • Special Transportation Areas (STAs): The primary objective in STAs is to provide access to community activities, businesses, and residences and to accommodate pedestrian movement along and across the highway in a downtown, business district, or community center. (See Action 1B.9-1B.11 of the Highway Plan.)
  • Commercial Centers: The primary objective in Commercial Centers is to maintain through traffic mobility.
  • Urban Business Areas: The primary objective in UBAs is to maintain existing speeds while balancing the access needs of abutting properties with the need to move through traffic.
  • Urban: The primary objective is to efficiently move through traffic while also meeting the access needs of nearby properties.

Oregon Rail Plan

Oregon Rail Plan

Oregon Public Transportation Plan

Oregon Public Transportation Plan


Other Resources

The following reports are not sponsored by TGM, but address transportation issues of interest to the TGM program.

  • In a Rockefeller Foundation funded report, Driven Apart: How Sprawl Is Lengthening Our Commutes and Why Misleading Mobility Measures Are Making Things Worse, Portland economist Joe Cortright examines the Texas Transportation Institute's Urban Mobility Report and how mobility measures lead to construction of more roads and highways. Cortright observes that the UMR ignores the impact of sprawl and travel distances on traffic congestion and calls for a greater focus on accessibility - the proximity and convenience of destinations.
  • On June 2, 2011, the Livable Communities Task Force released a report entitled Freedom from Oil which describes policy options for reducing the United States' reliance on expensive foreign oil. The report argues that improving such transportation options as transit, walking, and bicycling would help to reduce community vulnerability to oil price shocks.
  • The U.S. Department of Transportation released new data on June 16, 2010 showing that both bicycling and walking trips have increased by 25% since 2001. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)-funded Pedestrian & Bicycling Information Center included this data in The National Bicycling and Walking Study: A 15-Year Status Report.


Good parking management is a critical, but often overlooked strategy for attaining numerous goals. Among them: revitalizing downtowns and main streets, reducing congestion, cutting greenhouse gas emissions, and promoting active transportation. Effective parking management strategies are discussed in the resources listed below:


Schools: Safe Routes to School and School Siting

Schools are often the focal point of a neighborhood, and new schools can stimulate a significant amount of traffic and residential development. Likewise, growing communities create the need for expanded or additional schools. For these reasons, school siting requires the involvement of many stakeholders, and can be challenging. Resources for further information on school siting are listed below:


Smart Codes

Smart codes encourage a mix of land uses, preservation of open space and environmentally sensitive areas, varied housing and transportation options, and predictable development review processes. Many local zoning codes unintentionally discourage the creation or preservation of traditional neighborhoods and Main Streets, which give people meaningful transportation choices. To help small communities in Oregon promote development that enables people to get around more easily, the TGM program created the Model Code and User’s Guide for Small Cities.

Form-based codes are one type of smart code which can improve the mobility as well as the appearance of communities. Form based codes emphasize building types, dimensions, parking locations and facade features over land uses. This type of code also favors mixed-use development, which brings local destinations into closer proximity to each other. Traditional zoning codes, on the other hand, emphasize land uses over a building's physical form. By rigidly separating land uses, zoning codes have often increased the auto dependency of communities while reducing their pedestrian friendliness. The TGM Model Code for Small Cities is a hybrid code, with some features of a form-based code.

Other resources:


Smart Growth

Smart growth enables cities to give local residents more housing and transportation choices near jobs, services, and schools. Smart growth supports local economies and helps protect the environment. The following resources focus on smart growth:

  • Moving Forward Together: A smart-growth conference held in Eugene, Oregon in 2008, sponsored by TGM with the National and Oregon Associations of Realtors. Includes links to presentations by John Fregonese, Bob McNamara, Joe Cortright, Reid Ewing, former Maryland Governor Parris Glendening, and others.

Damascus Smart Growth Conference

Building the New Damascus: A Smart Growth Conference for Realtors, Community Leaders, and Citizens took place in 2009 in Damascus, Oregon. Co-sponsored by TGM, the East Metro Realtors Association, City of Damascus, Oregon Association of Realtors, National Association of Realtors, and Damascus Christian School, the conference featured the following presentations:

New Partners for Smart Growth Conference: Conference presentations from the 2013 conference held in Kansas City, Missouri. Presentations from the 2011 conference can be found here.


Statistics and Data

The links below provide data and statistics about transportation in America:



Public transit increases transportation choices for people, lessens roadway congestion, reduces greenhouse gas emissions, and gets people where they need to go.

Transit Agencies and Resources

The following links connect to organizations and resources that provide information on ways to improve transit service and facilities.

Transit Oriented Development

Through Transit Oriented Development (TOD), communities encourage higher-density residential and commercial development near bus lines, streetcar routes, and train stations. This proximity increases the likelihood that transit services will be better used by the public. Increased usage, in turn, makes the construction and operation of transit easier for governments to finance. The following links provide information about TOD.


Transportation Demand Management (TDM)

Transportation Demand Management (TDM) refers to a variety of strategies to improve transportation system efficiency. TDM emphasizes the movement of people and goods, and prioritizes efficient modes of transport such as walking, cycling, ridesharing, and transit. In some cases TDM measures can offer an alternative to costly road and highway expansions. The following resources provide more information about TDM:

  • Transportation Demand Management Plans for Development: Guide outlining one mechanism to incorporate programmatic TDM strategies in the land use review process: requiring applicants to prepare a TDM plan that details how the applicant (and subsequent owners and/or tenants) will accomplish measures to reduce transportation impacts from the development over time. This guide contains background information about TDM, a step-by-step approach for local governments interested in implementing a TDM plan program, and model code language compatible with the Model Development Code for Small Cities.
  • Online TDM Encyclopedia: A comprehensive source of information about innovative management solutions to transportation problems. This online encyclopedia contains detailed information on demand management strategies, plus general information on TDM planning and evaluation techniques. It is produced and maintained by the Victoria Transport Policy Institute.
  • National TDM and Telework Clearinghouse: Website with TDM information maintained by the University of South Florida.
  • Washington Department of Transportation TDM Program: Website with information about transportation options in Washington.

Walking and Bicycling

Pedestrians and Walkability

Enhancing the "walkability" of a community provides many benefits. It helps to reduce traffic congestion. It enables people to integrate simple physical exercise - walking - into their daily routine. And it avoids the worsening of environmental problems, such as air pollution, water pollution, and the emission of greenhouse gases. For these and other reasons, many communities would like to make their residential and commercial areas more walkable. Resources for improving the pedestrian friendliness of cities and towns are linked below:


As the price of gasoline has risen, so has interest in more affordable transportation options. Although biking trips account for less than one percent of all trips in America, they represent between five and 10 percent of trips taken in such cities as Eugene and Corvallis, Oregon; Palo Alto, California; and Boulder, Colorado. In Davis, California, more than 20 percent of trips are made by bicycle. Information on ways to make communities more bike-friendly can be found through the links below.

Examples of Oregon Plans

The following are examples of bicycle and pedestrian plans adopted in Oregon.