Key Transportation Planning Resources

This section highlights third-party guidebooks and references that are frequently used by transportation planning professionals across the country. Some of these materials may be available for free via the internet or for loan from the MDT library. Other material may only be available via purchase from the publisher.

In addition to transportation planning resources noted above, this section provides links to relevant research reports published by the Transportation Research Board, as well as introductory resources related to climate change and transportation finance. Links to MDT's publications can be found on the Transportation Planning 101 page.

AASHTO Green Book: A Policy on Geometric Design of Highways and Streets
The single most authoritative publication used by state and local roadway engineers is "A Policy on Geometric Design of Highways and Streets," universally known in the transportation community as the AASHTO Green Book. The AASHTO Green Book has historically focused largely on interstate and intercity roads. Over the past ten years, in response to the concerns of those planners and engineers who have sought road design guidelines that more effectively address the needs of multimodal urban areas, AASHTO has developed supplementary guidance for pedestrian and bicycle accommodations. While published under separate cover, these guides are considered important components of the Green Book.

AASHTO Guide for the Development of Bicycle Facilities (2012)
The AASHTO Guide for the Development of Bicycle Facilities addresses bicycle facilities on shared roadways, signed shared roadways, bike lanes, shared use paths (trails), bicycle planning, and other issues. Usage of the Guide has grown rapidly as more bikeway projects have been funded and developed. The guide is currently under review and revision to better reflect updated national references such as the "Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices" (MUTCD), the AASHTO "Policy On Geometric Design of Highways and Streets," (AASHTO "Green Book") and from pertinent research reports on specific bicycle topics.

AASHTO Guide for the Planning, Design, and Operation of Pedestrian Facilities, 1st Edition (2004)
The AASHTO Guide for the Planning, Design, and Operation of Pedestrian Facilities focuses on identifying effective measures for accommodating pedestrians on public rights-of-way. Appropriate methods for accommodating pedestrians on varying roadway and facility types are described in this guide. This guide also recognizes the profound effect that land use planning and site design have on pedestrian mobility and addresses these topics as well.

FHWA Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) (2003)
The Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, or MUTCD guides activities by road managers nationwide to install and maintain traffic control devices on all streets and highways. MUTCD 2003 Edition with Revisions 1 and 2 is the most current edition on the MUTCD Web site. The speed with which technology, traffic control, and traffic operations change makes the MUTCD a dynamic and constantly changing document.

ITE Trip Generation Handbook (2004) and Report (2008)
The ITE Trip Generation Handbook (2004) and Report (2008) provide guidelines for the application and interpretation of trip generation data for individual developments and an entire community.

ITE Traffic Engineering Handbook, 7th Edition
The ITE Traffic Engineering Handbook, 7th Edition covers topics ranging from road users, vehicle characteristics, statistics, planning for operations, communications, safety, regulations, traffic calming, access management, geometrics, signs and markings, signals, parking, traffic demand, maintenance, and studies.

ITE Transportation Planning Handbook, 4th Edition
The ITE Transportation Planning Handbook, 4th Edition is a reference for practicing transportation professionals involved with the administrative, technical and legal aspects of transportation planning. Application chapters focus on various planning contexts such as statewide, corridor, metropolitan, activity centers and site impact analysis, rural and tribal, transportation terminals, and recreational areas.

ITE Design and Safety of Pedestrian Facilities (1998)
The Institute for Transportation Engineers has long been a leader in addressing pedestrian and bicycle issues. In 1998 the Institute published Recommended Practice guidelines for the design and safety of pedestrian facilities to provide safe and efficient opportunities for people to walk near streets and highways.

The Americans with Disabilities Act Public Rights-of-Way Accessibility Guidelines (2005)
The 2005 draft Public Rights-of-Way Accessibility Guidelines (PROWAG) serves as the current best practice for accessible pedestrian design (as identified by the US DOT). It provides guidance on all types of public right-of-way, and provides a useful summary of ADA and ADA Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG) regulations as well as industry design practices on bus stops, curb ramps, pedestrian crossings and street furniture relevant to bus stop accessibility.

Highway Capacity Manual
The Highway Capacity Manual is a widely used reference that addresses a broad range of topics related to highway capacity and operations. This manual provides specific impact analysis techniques for all types of transportation facilities and systems.

Transit Capacity and Quality of Service Manual
TCRP Report 100: Transit Capacity and Quality of Service Manual, 2nd Edition contains provides a framework for measuring transit availability and quality of service from the passenger point of view, and is widely viewed as a companion to the Highway Capacity Manual. The report contains quantitative techniques for calculating the capacity of bus, rail, and ferry transit services, and transit stops, stations, and terminals.

Transportation Research Board

The Transportation Research Board (TRB) sponsors research projects, facilitates the dissemination of information, and encourages the implementation of research results. The research results are published in a number of publications including reports, syntheses, and digests from the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) and the Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP). The following list highlights a few documents that may be most applicable for Montana's transportation and land use planners.

Climate change

Climate change has rapidly gained attention in recent years in transportation and land use planning discussions. While there has been significant research and activity related to vehicle and fuel technology, the understanding of how local communities can effectively address climate change through travel activity and transportation system strategies is still in its infancy. This field of study is rapidly evolving, particularly in California and some northeastern states, and the resources cited below should be viewed as an introductory list on the topic.

  • The USDOT's Transportation and Climate Change Clearinghouse provides information on greenhouse gas (GHG) inventories, analytic methods and tools, GHG reduction strategies, potential impacts of climate change on transportation infrastructure, and approaches for integrating climate change considerations into transportation decision making.
  • The Climate Change Activities at the Transportation Research Board page serves as a gateway to TRB activities and products addressing transportation and climate change.
  • The Moving Cooler report was released in July 2009. Moving Cooler was sponsored by a diverse group of stakeholders representing transportation experts, industry, Federal agencies, and environmental organizations and other Non-Governmental Organizations. The report examines the effects, costs, and benefits of the deployment of a variety of technologies, techniques, and policies for reducing mobile-source GHG emissions from on-road vehicles. Moving Cooler specifically focuses on land use, travel activity, system capacity, pricing, and vehicle and system operation strategies for reducing Greenhouse Gas emissions.
  • The Impacts of Climate Variability and Change on Transportation Systems and Infrastructure -- Gulf Coast Study provides a case study of analytic techniques and data that can be used to assess the vulnerability of critical transportation infrastructure due to climate change effects. The ultimate goal of this research is to provide knowledge and tools that will enable transportation planners and managers to better understand the risks, adaptation strategies, and tradeoffs involved in planning, investment, design, and operational decisions.

Transportation finance

General infrastructure finance
The Montana Infrastructure Finance Center provides summary information for the most significant financing resources available from state, federal, and local institutions. It includes a section on public infrastructure and links to third-party technical assistance on specific topics. The site covers a broad array of financing tools available for use in Montana.

Impact Fees, maintained by Duncan Associates, is a comprehensive and current collection of online information relating to impact fees and infrastructure financing. This site includes surveys of national and regional practice related to impact fees, links to impact fee statutes, and reports and fee schedules for county and municipal governments across the country.

The National Impact Fee Roundtable provides an information exchange forum on impact fees as an infrastructure finance tool. It includes access to a discussion listserv and links to external reports related to impact fees across the country.

This site provides information on Missoula's transportation impact fee, including a link to the 2007 Transportation Impact Fee Study.

Tax Increment Financing
This website, run by the Council of Development Finance Agencies (CDFA), provides an extensive resource library on all aspects of TIF and other types of special assessment districts. Multiple reports are provided that summarize state-by-state experience along with case studies of individual TIFs.

The Montana West Economic Development Associations provides a brief overview of tax increment financing in Montana, and information on the three TIF districts in Kalispell.