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8 Ways to Improve State DOTs, According to Smart Growth Advocates

8 Ways to Improve State DOTs, According to Smart Growth Advocates

State transportation departments are often criticized for being too highway-centric. Here are some suggestions for changing that.
BY DANIEL C. VOCK | MARCH 26, 2019 AT 4:00 AM

Few institutions can shape a community like a state transportation department. The agencies charged with building interstates are often deeply involved with day-to-day decisions that determine how fast cars can go, how long lights stay red and where pedestrians can cross the road.

Increasingly, though, those state departments of transportation are at the center of controversies over how they design roads and prioritize users of them. As urban areas have become more popular, so-called smart growth advocates who want walkable neighborhoods, vibrant shopping districts and safe passage for cyclists and pedestrians frequently criticize state DOTs -- which were originally called “highway departments” -- for allowing fast vehicle speeds to take precedence instead.

“In theory, DOTs are not only concerned with moving cars on highways -- they manage entire transportation systems, which include transit, biking and walking. But in practice, many state DOTs still operate strictly as highway departments,” Angie Schmitt, an author for Streetsblog, an influential site that promotes smart growth policies, wrote in 2017... FULL ARTICLE

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