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TGM Topic Library

This page provides information about key topics related to the TGM program's objectives. If you would like to suggest a topic, contact Bill Holmstrom at

Most Americans own a bike. For many of us, getting our first bike was a major step towards independence. Yet bicycles aren't just toys -- people riding bikes represent between five and 15 percent of trips taken in Eugene, Corvallis, Portland, and Boulder. In Davis, California, residents make more than 20 percent of trips by bike.

Bike Facility & Infrastructure Guidelines

Fundamentals of Bicycle Boulevard Planning and Design, by the Initiative for Bicycle and Pedestrian Innovation with Alta Planning + Design and Portland State University. July 2009

NACTO Urban Bikeway Design Guide, a guide by the National Association of City Transportation Officials to provide cities with state-of-the-practice solutions that can help create complete streets that are safe and enjoyable for bicyclists. The guide covers treatments not directly referenced in the current versions of the AASHTO Guide to Bikeway Facilities or the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD).

Local Bicycle/Pedestrian Planning (in Oregon)

Research Organizations

State Bicycle/Pedestrian Efforts

Bicycle Data Collection

The Bicycle and Pedestrian Travel Assessment Report compares Oregon's bicycle and pedestrian data collection practices with state goals and national trends. It provides an overview of national best practices, describes state agency use of data, and recommends appropriate next steps.

Land use planning for climate change information is located on the Planning for Climate Change page.

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 major streets.

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, high-density development is more likely to win community acceptance. When poorly designed, high-density development can strong opposition. Resources for addressing 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

In response to numerous health problems associated with sedentary life styles, public health experts are promoting the concept of "active transportation" - travel modes involving physical exercise, such as walking and bicycling (or transit, as people usually combine transit with walking).

TGM has developed a separate page devoted solely to the intersection of planning and health.

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:

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

Mobility standards define acceptable speed, convenience, comfort and security of transportation facilities and services. Historically, mobility standards focused on roads and highways, and have often discouraged healthy community design. But more and more jurisdictions are updating their mobility standards to encourage walking, bicycling, and transit use. Also, the 2010 Highway Capacity Manual includes Level of Service and Quality of Service measures for walking, biking, and transit. The following resources provide information on how to improve mobility standards in your community.

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 for more information.

Improving community parking rules can boost business revenues, decrease housing costs, improve health and quality of life, and lead to cleaner air and water. While parking reform can raise questions and concerns, cities can build the community support needed to improve their parking management policies. Parking Management: A Powerful Tool to Meet Community Goals will provide resources and information for your community to get started.

The Transportation and Growth Management team is here to help you amend zoning codes for parking. We also offer a Model Development Code for Small Cities. For more guidance on common challenges from parking minimums to parking design, see our 82-page publication, Parking Management Made Easy (2013). We also published Parking Management Made Easy: A Guide to Taming the Downtown Parking Beast (2001).

If you're ready to do more, contact our Education and Outreach team to request a free parking management workshop in your community. Call (503) 934-0059.

For more information, TGM has developed a separate page devoted solely to parking management.

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.

As the cost of transporting students to and from school has risen, so has interest in locating schools on sites to which students can walk or bike safely and easily. School districts are re-examining outdated acreage standards that often force schools onto large, remote sites accessible only by motor vehicles. The publications noted below discuss new approaches to re-creating (or simply preserving and upgrading) walkable neighborhood schools that give students transportation choices while serving their time-honored role as centers of community.

  • Schools at the Heart of Communities, a joint effort by the Oregon Transportation and Growth Management Program and the Oregon School Boards Association. This Fall 2006 issue of the OSBA's Critical Issues publication includes case studies on well-sited schools to which students can walk or bike. It also discusses recent changes in thinking about site sizes.
  • Oregon School Siting Handbook, a resource developed jointly by the Oregon Transportation and Growth Management Program (TGM) and the University of Oregon's Community Planning Workshop. Grants for local projects to improve the safety of biking and walking routes to school are available through the Oregon Safe Routes to School Program.

Acreage Standards for School Sites

The Arizona-based Council of Educational Facility Planners International (CEFPI) used to recommend large sites for new schools. CEFPI's old guidelines called for a minimum of one acre of land for every 100 students plus 10 acres for an elementary school, 20 acres for a middle school, and 30 acres for a high school. Thus an elementary school with 300 students would need 13 acres; a middle school with 600 students, 26 acres; and a high school with 2,000 students, 50 acres.

But more recent guidelines (Creating Connections: CEFPI Guide for Educational Facility Planning/2004 Edition) published in 2004 encourage school districts to base the size of school sites on educational program needs instead of on arbitrary acreage standards. This more flexible approach has the potential of reducing "school sprawl" and of making it easier for communities to build (or preserve and renovate) schools on smaller sites located in walkable neighborhoods, as opposed to constructing stand-alone facilities on large, remote sites accessible only by car or bus. Other publications by CEFPI include: A Primer on the Renovation and Rehabilitation of Older/Historic Schools and Schools for Successful Communities: An Element of Smart Growth.

Smart Growth Schools

Information resources on the topic of Smart Growth and Schools have been developed by several organizations, including the National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities and Smart Growth America. Special reports and major articles on this subject include:

Renovation of Older/Historic Schools

Many older and historic schools are located in walkable neighborhoods. According to one study (Wait for the Bus), students are four times more likely to walk to schools built before 1983 than to those built after 1983. The renovation and modernization of older schools can often offer communities a way to keep student transportation costs down.

Historic Neighborhood Schools, a section on the National Trust for Historic Preservation's web site, provides links to numerous resources on ways to renovate older schools. These resources include 40 case studies on successfully renovated historic schools, a power point presentation, a report on state policies and school facilities, and a guide to restoration/replacement of schools.

Neighborhood Schools: by Thomas Hylton, author of Save Our Land, Save Our Towns. Site includes link to Renovate or Replace: The Case for Restoring and Reusing Older School Buildings.

Other Resources

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 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 links below provide data and statistics about transportation in America:

Well-designed streets serve people of all ages and abilities, allowing everyone from young kids to grandmothers to get around.

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.

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.

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 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 global warming pollution.

Among other things, the TPR:

  • Requires the Oregon Department of Transportation 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 consistent with the state TSP;
  • Requires counties and cities to prepare local transportation system plans consistent with the regional plans.

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.

Oregon Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan

The Oregon Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan was adopted by the Oregon Transportation Commission in 1995. It is currently being updated and is paired with an updated Bicycle and Pedestrian Design Guide.

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 Public Transportation Plan

OR Plan

Not sure how it all fits together? OR Plan​ is an online tool for searching all the statewide modal and topic plans for particular policies and strategies. This tool is helpful for locals developing TSPs and other plans to be consistent with the statewide transportation policy framework. In OR Plan you can search by “issue area”, such as health or accessibility/connectivity and see what is included in the statewide plans to address these topics.

​Vibrant Downtowns publication page​ summarizing project, process and overview, chapter contents, case studies, links to further resources.

People Walking

Making it easier and more pleasant for people to walk places 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 environmental problems, such as air pollution, water pollution, and global warming pollution.