The Obama administration and leading congressional Democrats appear to be making the creation of "livable communities" -- where residents have better access to affordable housing, public transportation and employment options -- a central transportation policy goal.
In June, the administration launched a Partnership for Sustainable Communities and six "livability principles" for coordinating policy across the Department of Transportation, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the Environmental Protection Agency. Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Chairman Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., whose panel has jurisdiction over mass transit programs, in August introduced his own Livable Communities Act, while House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman James Oberstar, D-Minn., made livability one of the key objectives of the surface transportation reauthorization bill he unveiled in June.
Given this increasing focus on promoting livability, what can transportation and urban planners and others in the transportation sector do to promote greater interconnection of affordable housing and transportation options? What role, if any, is appropriate for the federal government to play?