Land Use Assumptions

The TRANSDEF Smart Growth Alternative sought to redistribute growth in the region within existing cities and within the footprint of existing development. Many existing neighborhoods did not receive new development, so they remain at 2000 census values. The land use is patterned on the Network of Neighborhoods Alternative of the Regional Agencies Smart Growth Strategies/Regional Liveability Footprint Project. Development is clustered along transit corridors and at transit nodes.

Over the next 25 years, the increasing value of land will lead to the densification of arterial corridors all around the region. Strip malls, underutilized parking lots, under-developed downtown areas, areas close to rail transit stops, and passed-over vacant infill land will redevelop into mixed-use housing with integrated retail. To enable the Alternative to be comparable with the MTC Alternatives, the totals for jobs, employed residents, households and household population are the same as the Projections 2003 regional totals. The TRANSDEF Alternative saves about 58,600 acres (91.5 square miles) of greenfield land that converts to suburban development in the MTC Alternatives. Densities remain in the same ranges as the MTC Alternatives. Maps in the DEIR (starting on Appendix page D-35) indicate the differences in development intensity between TRANSDEF and MTC Alternatives.

TRANSDEF places the new growth where new residents or new employees would least negatively affect the region and existing residents, because they are more likely to find transit a viable means of getting around. A main strategy for accommodating new growth is the redevelopment of low-intensity uses along existing arterial streets into mixed-use commercial and housing. Muffler shops and burger joints with large parking lots give way to townhomes and apartments. The land use for the TRANSDEF Alternative has not been reviewed by local governments or by the public.

For purposes of modelling future traffic conditions, MTC divided up the 9 Bay Area counties into 1454 travel analysis zones (TAZs). Land use assumptions (employed residents, jobs, residential acres and commercial/industrial acres) were developed for each of the zones. These assumptions can be viewed on a spreadsheet. Also available is a description of the abbreviations for the spreadsheet column headings.

Many cities and counties are already implementing Smart Growth. MTC can help by conditioning its flexible funding decisions on land use that supports its transportation investment. MTC should develop an incentive system by which cities qualify for regional funding by benefitting the region through Smart Growth planning decisions. MTC can also assist with support for Specific Plans integrating transportation and land use planning around transit, as part of the ongoing Transportation for Livable Communities and Housing Incentive Programs.