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Environmental Considerations

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

Regional Approaches to Sustainable Development
Document
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 outcomes.
Authors(s): Nothstine, K.
Organization(s): National Association of Development Organizations
Date: 9/2011

Smart Growth in Small Towns and Rural Communities
Website
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
Document
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
Date: 2011