photo of walkers and bicycle riders sharing a path.

Integrate Planning for All Modes

Cities and counties should plan for all transportation modes available in their communities, such as walking, biking, driving, sharing a ride, or taking a bus, streetcar, train, boat, ferry, or airplane. They should also consider the needs of different types of travelers such as commuters, students, tourists, farmers, and freight haulers.

Issue Brief

How Can Cities and Counties Plan for all Transportation Modes?
Planning for all the ways people travel improves people’s transportation choices and their ability to access jobs, shopping, health care and other services efficiently and safely. Some modes of travel, like walking and biking, can also improve the health and economic vitality of the community and reduce environmental impacts. When planning for all transportation modes available in communities, it is also important to consider the needs of different types of travelers such as commuters, students, tourists, farmers, freight haulers and people with disabilities.
View the brief.

Best Practice Actions

  1. Invite partners responsible for or interested in other transportation modes into your planning process.
  2. Engage the public and other stakeholders to develop goals and adopt policies that support an integrated, multimodal network.
  3. Select performance measures that balance available or planned transportation modes and evaluate the best investments across the network.
  4. Use models, maps, field surveys and other data collection tools to identify connection opportunities for each transportation mode and gaps in the multimodal network.
  5. Identify strategies and analyze alternatives.
  6. Establish agreements to improve connectivity among the different transportation modes.
  7. Implement the plan, including supportive community design and street networks.
  8. Design communities that encourage active transportation (e.g. buildings that face the street; careful consideration of access points and circulation to ensure safety for all modes, etc.)
  9. Design a supportive street network (e.g. grid-style network)
  10. Consider the needs of rural transportation system users and freight haulers.

Benefits of Integrating Planning for All Modes

  • Reduces environmental impacts and carbon footprint.
  • Improves land use efficiency, health, and economic vitality.
  • Improves people’s transportation choices and their ability to access jobs, shopping, and services efficiently and safely.

While revenue for multimodal transportation improvements is in short supply, greater multimodal integration maximizes transportation infrastructure and land use efficiency through high-benefit, low-cost investments to facilitate operational efficiencies, demand management programs, and improve existing facilities instead of constructing expensive new facilities.

Tools & Resources

Active Community Toolkit
Washington Department of Health
Community Planning Portal
Bicycling in Washington
Walking in Washington
Building Healthy Places
Urban Land Institute
Metro Analytics
Designing Walkable Urban Thoroughfares: A Context Sensitive Approach
The Institute of Transportation Engineering
Smart Growth and Transportation
Community Vision Metrics Web Tool
Federal Highway Administration
Smart Growth America Complete Streets Resources
Smart Growth America
U.S. Census
Freight Planning
Federal Highway Administration
Context Sensitive Solutions
Federal Highway Administration
Livability Index
Complete Streets Ordinances
Municipal Research Service Center
Transit Supportive Planning Toolkit
Puget Sound Research Council
FHWA Bicycle and Pedestrian Program
Federal Highway Administration
WSDOT Funding for Safe Routes to Schools
Guidebook for Measuring Multimodal Network Connectivity
Designing for All Ages & Abilities: Contextual Guidance for High-Comfort Bicycle Facilities
National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO)

Web Resources


PDF Resources


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