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Putting it All Together

As livability and sustainability principles become engrained with M&O practices, the future of M&O is likely to look quite different than current practice. This section describes a vision for a future where livability and sustainability goals are driving forces behind M&O practices and M&O is fully integrated into community plans and projects. While the examples shown are comprehensive and far-reaching, they also describe an achievable vision. Taken individually, each strategy is based on real-world examples from current practice; in some cases, several elements have been implemented together.

Multimodal Corridor Strategy: Urban/Suburban Roadway Transition

The vision for reengineering and revitalizing a typical urban or suburban multimodal corridor incorporates an interconnected system of projects that can be implemented incrementally—project by project— over time as funding is available. A new network of local roads parallel to the main corridor can be built by developers as new development occurs, or as part of redeveloping existing “greyfield” shopping centers. Available public funding can be targeted toward “connecting the dots” of private investment. The strategy can support improved transit using a transit-ready development approach. Using the corridor as a transit target and a magnet to focus a public and private investment along with supportive M&O strategies can multiply the effectiveness of limited dollars and staff time.

Integrated transportation and land use planning, including a focus on effective system operations to support livability and sustainability, can help prioritize other public and private investments (State, local, Federal, and private) in housing, community development, brownfield revitalization, parks, schools, healthcare, and senior centers. An engaging public process can be an ideal opportunity for education and outreach on how M&O strategies can help support and maximize strategic capital investments. For instance, presenting details on a variety of cost-effective M&O strategies, like ridesharing programs, transportation demand management strategies, pedestrian countdown signals, real- time transit information, and transit system scheduling and reliability improvements, within a corridor planning process can increase awareness and support for redevelopment and transit initiatives. Even if the vision is grand, relatively small incremental actions can start to add up—completing the sidewalk and bicycle networks to connect apartments, schools, and shopping; making every street walkable and bikeable within a ½ mile of every transit stop; or just making the street safe to cross at each bus stop.

U.S. DOT’s Integrated Corridor Management Systems initiative45 is researching and testing effective M&O strategies for coordinating multimodal transportation operations along congested travel corridors. The graphics on the following pages describe how a similar approach can work on typical urban and suburban non-limited-access arterial corridors:

Multimodal Corridor Strategy

Suburban Corridor

'Before' photo of a suburban corridor featuring: A. Through travel priority, B. Crossing conflicts, C. Limited transit, D. No alternate routes (no roads parallel to main corridor), E. Poor sidewalks, and F. Surface parking. Photo source: H.B. Rue.

'After' photo of a suburban corridor featuring: A. Balanced through and local travel, B. Safer crossings, C. Enhanced transit, D. Multimodal network (local roads parallel to main corridor), E. Great sidewalks, and F. Smart parking. Photo source: Urban Advantage, CD+A, & H.B. Rue for the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission, Albemarle County, and Virginia DOT.


A. Through travel priority. Typical suburban corridor; signals timed to prioritize through traffic; extended delays for crossing traffic; limited pedestrian crossing time and crosswalks.

B. Crossing conflicts. Mix of four through-travel lanes and two to three turn lanes on each side makes pedestrian crossings hostile and difficult; conflicts with turning and through-travel movements.

C. Limited transit. Limited transit service, no transit stop amenities; no transit signal preference or real-time traveler information.

D. No alternate routes. No nearby parallel roads. All local and through traffic mixes on main corridor, causing over-sized facility and negative impacts on operations and business access

E. Poor sidewalks. Sidewalks present, but no separation from fast-moving traffic. Limited pedestrian access to businesses. No bicycle lanes or trails on or adjacent to corridor. No shade or lighting for pedestrians.

F. Surface parking. Excessive surface parking for each business inhibits customer access by walking and transit, due to street set-backs and separation between buildings.

No integrated traveler information system for drivers, transit users, and car sharing. Limited detour routes available for incident management and no traveler information system for use in incidents.


A. Balanced through & local travel. Tight urban grade separation provides free flow for through traffic and improves cross-traffic. Multimodal bridge supports walk and bicycle crossings and local circulator transit. Adaptive traffic signal control balances through and local traffic, pedestrian, and bicycle travel.

B. Safer crossings. New landscaped pedestrian islands and left turn lanes provide pedestrian refuges and separated crossing movements from turning and through traffic.

C. Enhanced transit. Expanded transit or BRT to serve new development includes transit signal priority, shelters and seating, real time traveler information, and bicycle sharing stations.

D. Multimodal network. New local zoning codes (planned with corridor improvements) encourage transit-ready mixed-use development. New network of parallel roads, built with development, supports walking, biking, and circulator transit. Primary walking and biking routes are on adjacent roads.

E. Great sidewalks. Wide sidewalks set back from traffic provide improved pedestrian operations and business access. Street trees for shade, landscaping for separation, and lighting for security improve pedestrian comfort and safety.

F. Smart parking. New development provides ample shared use structured parking for residential and commercial use. Parking management district provides clear real-time parking availability and variable pricing information (for both on- and off-street) via web, smartphone, and signage. Parking provides car share stations (e.g., ZipCars), secure bicycle parking and lockers, and charging stations.

Integrated transportation system management provides real-time traveler information via web, smartphone, TV/radio/phone, and signs at transit stops and parking. System also tied to incident management, police and rescue systems, providing delay and detour information via new road network.

Multimodal Corridor Strategy

The pictures and captions on this page provide some details about the corridor strategy graphics on previous page. See text labeled with same letter (A through F) in the 'After' column under the corridor graphics.
Photo of an open signal control box at an intersection showing a variety of wires and circuits.
Balanced through & local travel. Adaptive traffic signal control balances queuing both for through traffic on the corridor and local traffic on the cross streets. Bicycle detector loops and pedestrian countdown signals improve bicycle and pedestrian travel. (Source: H. Liu, Assoc. Prof. of Civil Engineering, University of Minnesota)
Photo of an urban area with a well-defined channelized right turn lane separated from the through lanes by vivid lane markings and a narrow median that contains a pedestrian refuge.
Safer crossings. Channelized right and left turn lanes with landscaped pedestrian islands can provide pedestrian refuges, while separating crossing movements from turning and through traffic. (Source: Urban Advantage, CD+A, & H.B. Rue for the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission, Albemarle County, and Virginia DOT)
Photo of a covered shelter at a transit stop.
Enhanced transit. Stops include comfortable shelters and seating with real time traveler information. (Source: S. Trainor)
A concept design for a network of new roads parallel to the main corridor around planned transit stations.
Multimodal network. A network of new roads parallel to the main corridor can be built around planned transit stations as development occurs, as shown in this concept design for U.S. 29 in Charlotte, NC. (Source: F. Dockity of Charlotte, NC)
Photo of a wide sidewalk separated from the roadway by a strip of grass with trees.
Great sidewalks. Wide sidewalks set back from traffic, street trees, landscaping, and lighting provide improved pedestrian comfort, security and safety. (Source: H.B. Rue)
Photo of a sign warning that parking is for rideshare vehicles only and that vehicles without rideshare ID will be towed.
Smart parking. Active parking management can provide clear real-time parking availability and variable pricing information via signage, web, and smartphone. Priority parking for car sharing and vanpools can support increased use. (Source: F. Dock)

Multimodal Corridor Phased Operations Plan

A corridor operations plan, integrated into a regional vision for a livable, sustainable community, can be implemented over time across multiple aspects of transportation planning, safety, land use, and operations. For example:46

Regional Transportation Systems Management and Operations

The graphic on the next page outlines how the implementation of fully integrated regional transportation systems management and operations can help coordinate multiple transportation systems run by many agencies and operators, to provide seamless service across all travel modes.

Diagram depicts a regional transportation systems management and operations strategy that involves many agencies and one coordinated transportation system providing seamless service across all modes.

Getting Started

The way a transportation system is operated makes a difference to community livability and sustainability, so it is vital to incorporate M&O strategies into livability-focused vision development, planning, programming, and implementation efforts. However, it can be difficult to know where to start and how to balance the needs of system users with broader community goals.

Comprehensively incorporating livability and sustainability strategies into systems M&O can appear overwhelming to the typical roadway or transit system operator; they are not typically included in the up-front planning that establishes a broad community or regional vision and goals. Fortunately, there are many smaller steps that practitioners, policymakers, and others can take to start this process.

Some of the key themes that can help practitioners and policymakers move forward include:

45 U.S. DOT, ITS Joint Program Office, "Integrated Corridor Management Systems." Available at: [ Return to note 45 ]

46 Example phased approach is adapted from Hamilton, Paul, “Implementing A Smart Growth Land Use Pattern To Manage Congestion & Safety By Integrating Regional Transportation Futures Alternatives Analysis With A Regional Concept of Management and Operations (RCMO): A Case Study in Performance Based Planning,” presented at Intersection Safety: Achieving Solutions Through Partnerships conference, March 2004. [ Return to note 46 ]

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