Transportation Planning

Transportation Planning is essentially the confluence many different disciplines coming together in the first stages of the development of plans, policies and legislative activities, funding, and project development. In, Designing Walkable Urban Thoroughfares: A Context Sensitive Approach, Transportation Planning is defined as "a collaborative and participatory process involving agencies, organizations and the public in a comprehensive look at national, state, regional and community needs…It examines demographic characteristics and travel patterns for a given area, shows how these characteristics will change over a given period of time and evaluates alternative improvements for the transportation system."



In the Transportation Planning Handbook, Third Edition, transportation planning practice is defined as improving coordination between land use and transportation system planning; providing cooperative interaction between planning, design, and operation of transportation services; maintaining a balance between transportation-related energy use, clean air and water, and encouraging alternative modes of transportation that will enhance efficiency while providing high levels of mobility and safety. 

ITE has developed numerous resources on sustainable transportation hat can help transportation professionals make transportation more sustainable:

  • Quick Bite on Sustainable Transportation – Sustainable transportation as an organizing principle considers the ability to provide for society’s current needs without compromising the interests of future generations. The techincal brief explores what sustainability means to the profession as a whole, how it affects the transportation professional, and takes a look at the current state of the sustainability practice.
  • Sustainable Traffic Signal Development – The report provides summaries and examples of sustainable practices in planning, designing, and constructing traffic signals are presented in this report. The report also takes a brief look into the future and the convergence of automated vehicles, wireless communications, alternative energy sources, application of data and automated performance measurement systems.
  • Sustainable Transportation: State of the Practice Review – Provides a “snapshot” of the state of sustainable transportation engineering as applied by transportation practitioners, based primarily on a survey of ITE members.
  • Smart Growth Transportation Guidelines – ITE Recommended Practice presents concepts meant to assist transportation and development agencies, planners and designers, developers, elected officials, and others to understand and implement smart growth transportation-related concepts, policies and practices.
  • Promoting Sustainable Transportation Through Site Design – This report recommends site design practices that can be applied through the site development process to promote the use of more sustainable modes of passenger transportation, such as walking, cycling and transit.  Its primary purpose is to assist policymakers and professionals involved in the preparation, review and approval of nonresidential or mixed-use development proposals to identify and incorporate features that make sites more accessible to travel modes other than the single-occupant vehicle (SOV).


The Parking Standing Committee was formed to identify, educate and promote effective practices in the planning, design, operations and management of parking facilities. The council will focus on the following areas in the coming years: the relationship between land use and parking supply, (parking generation), parking management programs and transportation engineering issues associated with parking. The council sponsors numerous sessions at ITE’s Technical Conference and Exhibit and Annual Meeting and Exhibit. The council also assisted in updates to the Parking Generation Manual, which can be found on ITE's Trip and Parking Generation page.

Transportation and Health

Transportation and health are closely linked concepts. As a derived demand, the choice of transportation modes that people have access to can often dictate whether they will be actively moving for a significant part of the day (e.g., walking, biking) or engaging in more sedentary forms of travel (e.g., driving). Transportation options can also dictate level of access to health support facilities such as hospitals and clinics, public recreational facilities, and even such daily essentials as fresh produce and other food resources. For more information, visit the Transportation and Health Resource Page.

Accessibility and Transportation for All Users

Roadways are not designed for one type of vehicle, and a one size fits all approach to pedestrian design does not work either. Pedestrians have varying abilities. One in every five people in this country has a disability, and one third of our population does not drive. These numbers alone reveal the diversity we have in this country and the need for a variety of transportation choices. A large segment of the disabled population cannot leave home and travel to their destination independently. Many people with disabilities have low vision or are blind. Accessibility is a paramount safety issue to individuals with vision disabilities. Roadway designs have changed over the past 30 and 40 years, and many of these changes have made the simple task of crossing the street much more difficult, for example:

  • Larger curb radii create longer crossing distances
  • Pedestrian signals may be difficult to read from longer distances
  • Curb ramps built at low grades can be difficult to detect for a person who is blind

Following tools and activities are of significance within the accessibility area of practice for transportation professionals

Traffic Impact Analysis

The first two editions of the ITE Recommended Practice on Transportation Impact Analyses (TIASD) in 1996 and 2010 focused on describing details within the traditional transportation impact analysis approach commonly used throughout the USA and Canada,  based on a review of the 2010 edition  from approximately 200 jurisdictions and a similar effort supported the 1996 edition. Click for the current edition of Recommended Practice on Transportation Impact Analyses for Site Development.

ITE is in the process of updating the Recommended Practice on Transportation Impact Analyses for Site Development and re-branding it as a Recommended Practice on Multimodal Transportation Impact Analysis for Site Development (MTIA). The update is proposed to address emerging industry considerations that include both alternative approaches for public and private sector contributions to planned transportation infrastructure and services and a greater focus on multimodal measures of effectiveness. Click to learn more about the MTIA update project.

For more information on incorporating safety in the transportation impact analysis process, view the Technical Brief on Essential Components of Incorporating Safety in Transportation impact Analysis.

Councils and Committees

Transportation Planning Council

Parking Standing Committee

Sustainabily Standing Committee

Transportation and Health Standing Committee

Projects and Publications

Transportation Planning Handbook

Traffic Impact Analyses for Site Development

Electronic Toolbox for Making Intersections More Accessible for Pedestrians Who are Blind or Visually Impaired webpage

Planning and Funding Accessible Pedestrian Facilities webpage


Transportation Planning Council Best Project Award


US Access Board website

Trip and Parking Generation