Land use, centers and corridors
Land use defines where people need to go — the places where they live, work, shop, learn and play — and the transportation system provides options for how to get there. The close relationship between land use and transportation requires careful coordination and planning. Integrating land use, transportation and the natural environment fosters richer settings and promotes multimodal options for vibrant communities.
In 2010, regional discussion regarding the integration of land use, transportation and the natural environment began in earnest as part of the development of Transportation Outlook 2040. This discussion developed into the Greater Kansas City Policy Statement on Regional Growth and Land Use.
Financial projections for the region clearly show that maintaining existing infrastructure and expanding the system to meet community needs may be increasingly difficult due to reductions in federal, state and constrained local funding. About 66 percent of the transportation budget will be needed for operations and maintenance, leaving only 34 percent for system expansion. This constrained financial landscape requires clear cost-benefit analyses to evaluate land use, transportation and environmental choices needed to support both a high quality of life for residents and a competitive regional economy. The burden of maintaining the existing transportation system can be minimized by maximizing the use of already developed land.
Multiple strategies are in the plan to work toward the regional land-use goals:
- Use a centers-and-corridors strategy as an overarching land-use and transportation strategy.
- Continue the Planning Sustainable Places program which use Surface Transportation Program funds to support community-driven activities to catalyze development and maximize investments in placemaking.
- Prioritize investments that strengthen centers and corridors through the building of complete streets along with integration of public transit and mobility services.
- Cultivate increased density and mixed-use development as appropriate for each community.
Centers-and-corridors land-use strategy
This approach aids the integration of transportation systems with natural resource protection and land uses, while directly supporting local priorities. This approach uses local and regional policies to promote the development of commercial areas into mixed-use activity centers along key transportation corridors, with sufficient densities and amenities to support transit and other alternative modes of transportation. The full realization of these land-use concepts could result in less population decline in the urban core and inner-ring suburbs, reduced expenditure of public funds for construction of new infrastructure, and greater preservation of open space throughout the region.
This may be accomplished by:
- Fostering concentrated development in areas with existing infrastructure.
- Supporting multimodal connectivity and vibrancy through higher development densities that support more choices for transportation, housing, employment and leisure.
- Quantifying economic and environmental impacts as investment choices are analyzed.
- Prioritizing centers through coordination with local jurisdictions and other stakeholders.
- Developing a centers and corridors strategy implementation idea book.
With a financial outlook that includes limited resources, it is important for the region to leverage the built and natural environments along with existing neighborhoods and infrastructures. This allows the regional to conserve its natural resources — streams,
agricultural lands, air and natural environments.
In addition, the region can use nature's green infrastructure to create systems such as filter and
reduce stormwater flowing into streams, cool urban heat island effects and “soak up” carbon.
The adopted plan includes environmental analysis and strategies in Chapter 10: Environmental Integration.
The Natural Resources Inventory (NRI) is also available for local and regional planners and others.