Center for the New West
Announces El Pomar Leadership Forums on
Growth Management and Mobility in the New Economy

Colorado Springs, June 16-17, 1999

Sprawl and Congestion:
Are Light Rail, High Density Living and
“Transit-Oriented Development” the Answer?

What: Transportation and urban planning professionals, elected officials, and environmental organizations blame traffic congestion and declining air quality on sprawl — what the experts call “dysfunctional land use patterns and densities.” They believe that people and their activities are just too spread out for public transit to work. In response to this view, urban planners on the leading edge of practice are now promoting higher density residential and commercial urban development around major transit stops, a land use strategy known as transit-oriented development (TOD). Many US cities have decided to spend billions on new and improved rail transit to implement this vision. Critics call this the “new pork” and “snob zoning.”

This Forum will assemble leading experts and commentators to review TOD-related development strategies and to discuss experience in Portland, San Francisco Bay Area, and Denver, places where new mass transit lines have been built and promoted. This Forum is designed to reach a judgment on the effectiveness of transit-oriented development and whether it can make a significant difference in the living and travel choices of Americans.

When: 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, June 16, through 3:00 p.m. on Thursday June 17, 1999.

Where: El Pomar Conference Center, Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Why: How will this vision of TOD and "walking to the train" work, especially in view of the major forces that are shaping America’s New Economy? For example, market forces and technology are both dispersing the location of employment and retail shopping as they greatly increase the range of choices available to consumers. Will these forces be deflected? Will people seek fewer choices and less flexibility in their daily lives?

Also, government reports show that mass transit in the US always operates at a deficit; that is, fares do not cover the costs of operations and paying off construction bonds. Spending billions of tax dollars on more mass transit must inevitably reduce public resources available for other transportation programs and for other approaches to improving the mobility and environmental quality of urban areas. An evaluation of how much travel behavior can be changed through government spending on mass transit is a critical early step in designing the transportation component of the “smart growth” initiatives that have captured the imagination of citizens and their elected leaders throughout America.

Who: Elected officials and other public policymakers, urban planners, civic leaders, environmental activists, economic development professionals, transportation researchers and planners, business leaders.

Agenda and Hot Links to Speaker Background

Speakers and Panelists: 

- Professor James Dunn, Rutgers University at Camden, political scientist and author, Driving Forces: The Automobile, Its Enemies, and the Politics of Mobility (Brookings Institution Press, 1999).

- Emory Bundy, Executive Director, Bullitt Foundation, Seattle and environmental and transportation policy observer.

- Professor Ken Dueker, Portland State University, reporting the inside story on Portland, Oregon's MAX light rail system and the TOD ambitions of planners there.

- Tom Clark, President, Jefferson Economic Council, will discuss how demography, labor force considerations and retail practices are changing land use patterns.

- Robert Dunphy, Senior Director, Urban Land Institute, Washington DC, who has extensively researched and written on urban land use and transportation issues.

- Professor Susan Handy, Community and Regional Planning Program, School of Architecture, University of Texas at Austin with data from California and elsewhere on transportation systems, travel behavior, and patterns of land use.

- Professor David Hartgen, Coordinator, Transportation Studies, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, author of a new paper "Beltways: Boon, Bane, or Blip" that illuminates the issues in how transportation infrastructure affects growth and development.

- Professor Thomas A. Clark, University of Colorado at Denver, describing the land use and transportation vision in the Denver region's plan for metropolitan development through the year 2020.

- Rick O'Donnell, Director, Governor's Office of Policy and Initiatives, State of Colorado.

- Cal Marsella, General Manager, Regional Transportation District, Denver.

- Steve Schuck, Chairman, The Schuck Corporation, Colorado Springs.

- Louis Mraz, Regional Administrator, Federal Transit Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation

- Steve Mueller, P.E., Asphalt Institute, Littleton, Colorado, on high occupancy toll (HOT) lanes.

- Dick Nelson, Senior Fellow -- Urban Growth and Transportation, Center for the New West, and President, Integrated Transport Research, Seattle; a former Washington State Legislator, with data on the highly-dispersed, non-work trip generators emerging in the New Economy.

- John Niles, Senior Fellow -- Telecommunications and Land Use, Center for the New West, and President, Global Telematics, Seattle; Forum Director and Moderator.

- Phil Burgess, President and Senior Fellow, Center for the New West.

- Others, to be named.

Why Us: Center for the New West is an independent, nonprofit and nonpartisan policy research institute that explores trends and forces shaping the West and the nation in America’s New Economy and especially those driven by migration, technology and “big ideas." This Forum is the second in an ongoing series on Growth Management and Mobility.

Convenors: Center for the New West, Integrated Transport Research, Global Telematics, Council of State Governments (CSG-West) and Utah League of Cities & Towns.

Sponsors: America West Airlines, Arizona Public Service Company, Arthur Andersen & Co., Ballenger Strike & Associates LLC, Bowes Associates Inc., Dorsey & Whitney, El Pomar Foundation, Goldman Sachs & Co., Lucent Technologies, M.A. Mortenson Company, MediaOne, PricewaterhouseCoopers, U S West, Inc., and Wellpoint Health Networks.

Registration: $75 ($50 for members, government officials, and non-profits)

Fee waived for Major Donors, sponsors, speakers, and panelists.

Further information: Antonette Leflar, Forum Coordinator, 303-572-5498.