Innovation and best practices

We deliver exceptional value to our clients by providing access to the most effective and innovative tools and approaches, drawn from contemporary practices in the US and internationally.

A multi-dimensional approach

Transportation, urban design, land use and social frameworks are intertwined components of people's experience of a place or community. We work collaboratively with community members, public officials and representatives to create mutually beneficial action plans that provide step-by-step guidance for implementation. We meld civil engineering and public health, philosophy and planning, architecture and geography, urban design and education, and art and journalism to support the creation of humane, interesting, healthful, thriving and sustainable environments.

Innovation and best practices in non-motorized transportation planning

We bring a national and international best practices perspective to addressing pedestrian and bicycle mobility. We are recognized for the innovative methods and practices we've recommended for introduction into our region, including the adoption of colored bicycle lanes, bicycle-oriented signal optimization and detection, a complete range of end-of-trip facilities, and deeper transit integration at transit hubs.

  • A complete streets approach: Deeply embedded in all our work is the principle that any transportation system improvement must consider the needs of all present and potential transportation network users, including pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and transit riders, and that streets should be designed and operated to provide safe space and access to meet the needs of people of all ages and abilities, including older people, children, and people with disabilities.
  • National innovations and best practices: We closely track the latest developments in national best practices for pedestrian and bicycle facility design, operational and management practices, and social marketing / educational components for non-motorized transportation. We are deeply familiar with national best practices and closely monitor the introduction of innovative international practices into the US transportation context.
  • An international best-practices approach: We have great familiarity with international best practices and relevant design guidelines, and we keep abreast of developments outside the US. We travel to observe, experience and document these improvements so we may modify and adapt them to our specific context. We regularly consult international references containing state-of-the-art practices.

A broad placemaking perspective

Our placemaking approach marries the several urban systems that taken together make up our experience of place. Land use, transportation, economic development, housing and urban design, are taken together with innovative arts-based community development, community health, and public safety strategies and recommendations to foster the creation of memorable places and spaces that support economic vitality, community interaction well-being, and sustainable development.

Public engagement

Our tools and processes increase meaningful participation while avoiding the "meeting fatigue" that many planning projects encounter.

Some of our public engagement tools include:

  • Listening sessions: Focused "listening sessions" gather the comments and ideas of civic groups, institutions and businesses at their customary meeting places, and begin two-way conversations with citizens and institutions that allow us to learn about their visions for the future.
  • "Streets and Places" workshop materials: Our "Streets and Places" toolbox is a set of hands-on, experiential workshop materials and activities that open doors to understanding and foster learning, invite conversation and engage community members in discussion of design concepts relevant to walking, bicycling and community design. These materials allow us to substantively engage average citizens who are not currently engaged in transportation and/or community design and planning processes, and to do so in a way that is fun and builds continued participation.
  • Web-based interactive tools: Interactive, collaborative and open web-based tools allow easy distribution of project information and allow citizens to submit comments and questions as a project progresses. Interactive mapping capabilities allow citizens to upload photos and relevant descriptions of the project area to highlight issues for the project team.
  • Experiential "Bike & Walkabouts" and "Place Impressions": Fun and engaging public events obtain participant impressions of a place (e.g. a neighborhood, a commercial node, or transportation corridor) by providing a context for experiencing it with others and an opportunity to explore assets, opportunities for improvement, and observed issues. These events gather valuable information and begin building a relationship with participants for their continued engagement in and guidance for the project at hand.
  • Friendly, jargon-free communications: Accessible, jargon-free project materials, numerous graphics (including photorealistic visualizations and three-dimensional renderings), and effective multimedia communications help invite participation, present and summarize a Plan's goals and recommendations, and make it easier to communicate with the larger public to dispel misconceptions and build project support. Materials and videos can be downloadable from the Plan's site and be made available for distribution through community television, public access channels, and as DVDs for mailing to project participants.

Implementation

The purpose of plans is action. Our plans and policy documents facilitate approval and implementation by including substantive opportunities for citizen engagement, close consultation with our clients, and providing clear, step-by-step guidance on phasing, funding and potential partners for funding and development.