Transportation is the vital link that connects residents with their communities and the elements of a vibrant and engaged life. Although Connecticut has a strong presence of car-dependent land use patterns, our state also has strong town centers that can be built upon to create a broader array of transportation options. Benefits of broadening transportation options include:
- Healthier, more active lifestyles for everyone;
- Lowered vehicular congestion and air pollution because of reduced driving;
- Improved connectivity between residents and economic opportunities; and
- Reduced household transportation costs, freeing up income for other purposes.
Creating diverse, accessible and affordable transportation choices benefits everyone, but is especially critical for the third of the population that does not drive, including older adults, children, individuals with disabilities, and those who do not own a vehicle.
Fixed Route and Demand-Responsive Transportation Systems
A fixed route transportation system is one that operates along a prescribed route and on a fixed schedule. Such systems can include buses, subways, and light rail systems. Demand-responsive systems have timing and routes more individually tailored to the needs of the user and can include para-transit, shared transit or dial-a-ride services, as well as vans, other shuttle bus systems and taxis.
- Demand for these transportation systems and services is expected to increase as Connecticut’s population continues to age.
- Transit vehicles must be comfortable and accessible to the populations served.
- Fiscal constraints require a need to creatively identify funding sources to sustain and grow these systems.
- Regional transportation coordination across towns and across provider types is critical to ensuring that people get where they need to go efficiently.
Complete Streets are designed and operated to safely accommodate all users, including pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and transit-riders of all ages and abilities.
- There is no singular Complete Streets design principle, with urban, suburban and rural communities encouraged to adopt different plans to suit their unique community contexts.
- Complete Street elements may include sidewalks, bicycle lanes or wide paved shoulders, dedicated bus lanes, comfortable and accessible public transportation stops, frequent and safe crossing opportunities, median islands, curb extensions, curb cuts, narrower motorist travel lanes, and roundabouts, among other possible elements.
- Universally, Complete Streets promote safety and convenience for everyone using the road, ensuring that residents can access all available transportation options.
Recommendations for Communities
_____ Promote public awareness of and information about existing transportation services.
_____ Develop or enhance mobility management programs to help older adults and other community members learn how to access and navigate transportation options.
_____ Engage in transit-oriented development to ensure that compact, walkable, mixed-use, mixed-income communities are located within a half-mile of quality, dependable public transportation.
_____ Identify funding streams to sustain and grow both fixed route and demand-responsive transportation options.
_____ Conduct a walkability audit to assess sidewalks, crosswalks, and pedestrian linkages to essential services.
_____ Adopt and implement complete streets to accommodate all users, regardless of age or ability.
- NACTO Urban Street Design Guide
- Evaluating Complete Streets Projects: A Guide for Practitioners
- TransformCT: What’s Your Vision for Transportation in Connecticut?
- Connecticut Department of Transportation Complete Streets Policy Statement
- Connecticut 2014 Bike-friendly, Walk-friendly Town Scorecard
- Connecticut Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Board Annual Report (2013)
- Complete Streets in a Box Toolkit: Connecticut
- National Complete Streets Coalition
- Change Lab Solutions: Model Laws and Resolutions for Complete Streets
- Change Lab Solutions’ Pedestrian Friendly Code Directory
- City of New Haven Complete Streets Design Manual
- Dangerous by Design: 2014
- Smart Mobility for a 21st Century America
- Building Equity: Race, Ethnicity, Class and Protected Bike Lanes
- Improving Public Transit Options for Older Persons
- Aging in Place, Stuck without Options: Fixing the Mobility Crisis Threatening the Baby Boom Generation