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NextGen Trip Reduction: Mitigating Development-Related Trips

NextGen Trip Reduction: Mitigating Development-Related Trips

Honor Award: General Planning Project

Jessica Garrow, AICP
City of Aspen

As planners we’ve all been there. You’re working on a significant land use application and think you have it all buttoned up and ready for a City Council decision when “Bam!” out of the blue comes a new issue. In Aspen, this happened repeatedly over transportation and traffic. Planners would hear: “How can you prove there won’t be more traffic?” “This project is going to cause speeding and increased traffic and degrade my quality of life.” “I don’t trust the applicant and their team of so-called experts.” After years of seeing the same issues related to transportation impacts come up at the eleventh hour, the City of Aspen decided to do something about it.

Using momentum from the Aspen Area Community Plan, staff and City Council made it a priority to create a clear, fair, and consistent system for mitigating the traffic impacts from new development that at the same time would help the community meet its trip reduction goals and greenhouse gas reduction goals. With help from consultants Fehr & Peers, the result was the City of Aspen Transportation Impact Analysis (TIA) Guidelines. A boring title for a transformational process.

So what is this great system? It’s a set of customizable Transportation Demand Management (TDM) and Multi-Modal Level of Service (MMLOS) requirements based on Aspen-specific trip generation numbers. An applicant simply plugs in their proposed use mix and gets the number of new trips generated by the development. They then select TDM and MMLOS measures that make sense for their site to mitigate those trips. No more studies, no more guessing, and no more traffic-related last minute delays in the review process.

Before this system, Aspen’s development applicants relied solely on staff members to identify transportation-related requirements and solutions. It resulted in a last minute negotiation with review bodies, and created an adversarial relationship between the applicant and staff and neighbors.

The new system is easy to use and results in real transportation and infrastructure improvements in the form of improved transit stops, improved sidewalks, and the implementation of proven TDM measures such as subsidized bus passes and shuttles. Equally important, it results in a clear and reliable set of transportation-related review criteria for all projects, and means most applicants no longer need to hire a traffic engineer to conduct trip counts or to identify mitigation options because the system does it for them. In Aspen, the next generation of trip reduction is here.

To learn more about the system or process visit:
http://www.aspenpitkin.com/Departments/Community-Development/Planning-and-Zoning/Current-Planning/

 

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