Chapter 1: Annual Highlights

Chapter 1: Annual Highlights

Aerial view of highway
Chester Ford

Livable Communities and Environmental Sustainability

The Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) has been actively involved in various efforts to support the U.S. Department of Transportation's (USDOT's) new strategic goals of Livable Communities and Environmental Sustainability, as well as providing support for the U. S. Department of Transportation - U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development - Environmental Protection Agency Partnership for Sustainable Communities (established in June 2009). BTS assists with collecting, analyzing, and reporting key data and statistics that support national and local efforts to improve livability.

BTS created a Livability Program page on its website, available at http://www.bts.gov/programs/livability, to identify numerous resources of potential interest to policymakers and transportation planners in their efforts to better understand, assess, and evaluate transportation's role in creating livable communities. The USDOT has also established a departmental Livability website providing a wealth of information on departmental initiatives and accomplishments, grants and programs, case studies, recent publications and news stories, contacts, and other relevant material. This website is available at http://www.dot.gov/livability.

BTS annually conducts the Omnibus Household Survey (OHS) to gather information on the public's satisfaction with various topical aspects of the Nation's transportation system. As part of the 2009 OHS, BTS asked survey respondents to report the importance of several transportation-related neighborhood features thought to contribute to livable communities. Specific features included:

  • sidewalks, paths, or other safe walking routes to shopping, work, or schools;
  • bike lanes or paths to shopping, work, or schools;
  • reliable local bus, rail, or ferry transportation that can be reached without driving;
  • reliable long-distance bus or train transportation to and from major metropolitan areas;
  • major roads or highways that access and serve your community; and
  • adequate parking in the downtown or central business district.

Figure A-2, Importance of Community Transportation Options: 2009 Omnibus Household Survey, illustrates the relative importance of ratings as reported by respondents from the 2009 OHS.

For the complete report, please visit the Household Survey website at http://www.bts.gov/programs/omnibus_surveys/household_survey/.

In addition, the Research and Innovative Technology Administration's University Transportation Center program, along with the Transportation Research Board, hosted the Transportation Systems for Livable Communities conference on October 18-19, 2010, in Washington, D.C. This conference brought together a diverse group of researchers and practitioners to discuss and share issues and challenges, projects, and research results, and identify new directions for future research.

The chapters on Livable Communities and Environmental Sustainability in this report present additional information on this important topic.