When designing transportation programs, it is important to consider the environmental impact that the
transportation system will have on the local community and region. Natural resources are abundant in
many rural parts of the country, and many national monuments, nature preserves, forests, and national
parks are located in rural areas of the U.S.
Many public transportation programs have been shown to
have a positive environmental impact, in some cases through a decrease in the number of cars on the
road, which limits emissions and reduces pollution. Increasing the walkability of rural areas and
providing alternative modes of transportation, such as bike share programs, can reduce the impact of
transportation on the environment.
Resources to Learn More
Approaches to Sustainable Development
Shares sustainable methods of development in rural and small metropolitan communities by considering the
natural ecosystem and resources in the planning process. Included in the document are case studies on
best practices and means of collaborating with planning agencies for mutually satisfactory
Authors(s): Nothstine, K.
Organization(s): National Association of Development Organizations
in Small Towns and Rural Communities
Provides a listing of resources related to the Smart Growth initiative of several federal agencies
which seeks to support sustainable development in rural areas.
Organization(s): U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Supporting Sustainable Rural Communities
Includes information about federal programs that support the ‘Livability Principles' which are
sustainable development initiatives in rural communities. It also includes performance measures that
can be used to evaluate the impact of these activities.
Organization(s): U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, U.S. Department of Transportation,
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency