First Principles in Transportation Law and Policy

Book chapter in A RESEARCH AGENDA FOR US LAND USE AND PLANNING LAW (John Infranca & Sarah Schindler eds., 2023)

16 Pages Posted: 4 Jan 2023 Last revised: 8 Mar 2024

See all articles by Gregory H. Shill

Gregory H. Shill

University of Iowa - College of Law; University of Iowa Tippie College of Business; University of Iowa Driving Safety Research Institute

Jonathan Levine

Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, The University of Michigan

Date Written: January 2, 2023

Abstract

The main purpose of transportation is connecting people to destinations they value. This seemingly banal statement would, if taken seriously in policymaking, upend transportation and land use planning.

Today, planning agencies rely on key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure outcomes. While ostensibly neutral and technical, these measurements in fact imply policy judgments and drive legal consequences. They operate both as a shield against litigation and as a sword to justify new projects. But the way KPIs are set up reflects confusion about basic purposes. They are used to plan and evaluate based not on the ability to reach anything but rather simply to accelerate the speed of traveling.

We seek to anchor transportation policy discussion in first principles. The shift we propose is mode agnostic in that it is relevant to all means of transportation. Even so, shifting from a goal of speed to one of reachability would be a leap. We believe such a shift suggests important open questions regarding the barriers to reform and we engage a few of them.

Note:

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Keywords: transportation, planning, land use, state and local government law, key performance indicator, KPI, traffic engineering, land use transportation interaction, LUTI, environmental review, CEQA, mobility, accessibility

JEL Classification: K23, K34, R14, R15, R41, R42,

Suggested Citation

Shill, Gregory H. and Levine, Jonathan, First Principles in Transportation Law and Policy (January 2, 2023). Book chapter in A RESEARCH AGENDA FOR US LAND USE AND PLANNING LAW (John Infranca & Sarah Schindler eds., 2023), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4316214

Gregory H. Shill (Contact Author)

University of Iowa - College of Law ( email )

Boyd Law Building
Iowa City, IA 52242
United States

University of Iowa Tippie College of Business

108 Pappajohn Building
Iowa City, IA 52242
United States

University of Iowa Driving Safety Research Institute

2401 Oakdale Blvd.
Iowa City, IA 52242
United States

Jonathan Levine

Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, The University of Michigan ( email )

500 S. State Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
United States
734-763-0039 (Phone)
734-763-2322 (Fax)

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