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Transportation Master Plans

Best Practice Category:

Street and Network Connectivity Transit Prioritization, Accessibility, and Area Design Parking Management Transportation Demand Management Pedestrian and Bicycle Circulation


Transportation Master Plans serve as a roadmap for long-range transportation infrastructure investment.  They guide how a city develops its roadways, coordinates infrastructure improvements with land uses, and responds to future growth and demands on the network.  The goals and polices identified in these plans typically include strategies to improve safety, minimize congestion, preserve local character, and protect the natural environment.  They cover a broad framework of planning documents, such as, but not limited to:

  • Complete Streets Plans
  • Pedestrian Master Plans
  • Bicycle Master Plans
  • Active Transportation Strategic Plans
  • Station Area Master Plans
  • Roadway Master Plans
  • Parking Management Plans
  • Vision Zero Action Plans (Vision Zero is a global movement to reduce pedestrian deaths as a result of traffic collisions to zero)
Los Angeles Metro, Connect Us Action Plan; LA Metro
Los Angeles Metro, Connect Us Action Plan ; LA Metro

Best practices in the development of comprehensive Transportation Master Plans take into account the needs of all users of the roadway and considers strategies that enhance safety and mobility for drivers, transit riders, bicyclists, and pedestrians.  Transit supportive plans that facilitate the success of TODs typically prioritize the safe access to transit for all users regardless of age or ability and will include various policies and strategies, such as, but not limited to:

  • Multi-modal and context sensitive street design standards
  • Networks of well-connected streets and paths
  • Improved bicycle and pedestrian facilities
  • Traffic calming strategies
  • Travel demand management strategies

The framework of a successful Transportation Master Plan typically consists of an evaluation of existing conditions, identification of infrastructure needs, development of evaluation criteria to prioritize the needs, and an action plan to implement the recommended infrastructure investments or improvements.  Community outreach to convey and solicit feedback on plan goals and strategies will also be a key component in obtaining community support and eventual city council adoption of the plans.

The identification of feasible financing strategies will also facilitate the success of these plans and their goals.  Financing strategies for infrastructure improvements should be incorporated as a part of the development of any Transportation Master Plan.  Financing strategies typically include developer fees, local taxes, grant funding opportunities, parking fees, in-lieu fees, and more.


  • Improved accessibility, comfort, and safety for all users of the roadway.
  • Promotion of active transportation and transit use.
  • Improved connectivity.
  • Provision of community benefits.
  • Streets designed to provide a high-quality experience for pedestrians, cyclists, and transit users.


Connect Union Station Action Plan

Connect Us Plan; LA Metro

The Connect US Action Plan was finalized in the Fall of 2015 as a joint effort between Metro and the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG). Various stakeholders participated in its development, including various departments and agencies throughout the project Technical Advisory Committee (TAC). The plan coordinates strongly with Union Station Master Plan and Regional Connector projects.

The plan’s purpose is to enhance pedestrian and bicycle access in downtown Los Angeles to help strengthen historical and cultural connections in the area. As such, a core component of the plan focuses on access to the LA Union Station. The plan also includes a neighborhood-level assessment of arterial and collector streets, highlighting bicycle and pedestrian mobility. The plan is a notable example of community involvement, as it provides a list of community-prioritized improvement projects to improve active transportation between communities, destinations, and public transit. As cited on the Metro website, the plan’s objectives are to:

  • Create connections between Union Station and the cultural/historic sites in the surrounding neighborhoods by means of a clear primary route;
  • Develop a plan for enhancing access on foot or bicycle between the 1st/Central Station, Little Tokyo and the Arts District;
  • Improve pedestrian and bicycle linkages to/from Union Station to the destinations within each neighborhood and between neighborhoods;
  • Promote improvements that convey the unique identity of each neighborhood and street;
  • Create a sustainable Action Plan for implementation that has clear jurisdictional responsibility.

Santa Monica Pedestrian Action Plan

Pedestrians at scramble crossing in Downtown Santa Monica
Pedestrians at scramble crossing in Downtown Santa Monica; City of Santa Monica

The City of Santa Monica approved the Pedestrian Action in 2016.  This plan contains the community’s vision for overall pedestrian well-being within the city, creates policies to enhance the walking environment, and identifies a coordinated set of practices, programs, and projects that will improve conditions for walking in the City of Santa Monica over the next 15 years. The plan also introduces a vision zero program targeted towards eliminating pedestrian fatalities and reducing the severity of collisions.

Santa Monica Pedestrian Action Plan
Santa Monica Pedestrian Action Plan ; City of Santa Monica

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Berkeley Pedestrian Master Plan

Berkeley Pedestrian Master Plan; City of Berkeley
Berkeley Pedestrian Master Plan ; City of Berkeley

The City of Berkeley’s Pedestrian Master Plan identifies goals and strategies to ensure the safety and mobility of pedestrians regardless of age and ability.  A noteworthy element of the Plan is its detailed analysis of existing pedestrian conditions in order to craft solutions that are more inclined to improve and enhance safety throughout the City.

The Plan evaluates the existing pedestrian network throughout the City and identifies areas with high demand for pedestrian activity.  The Plan also ranks 100 existing intersections in the City based on safety, usage, and access to major destinations.  Once ranked, the 100 existing intersections are then grouped and prioritized into a list of 34 high priority projects, which are then recommended for improvement.

Additional recommendations from the Pedestrian Master Plan include changes to the City’s zoning and design review process, provision of design standards, and calls for increased law enforcement of pedestrian activity.  The Plan also includes implementation and funding strategies in order to ensure the fulfillment of the recommended improvements.

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Long Beach Bicycle Master Plan

Community members weigh in for the Bike Plan Update; Here Design Studio, LLC
Community members weigh in for the Bike Plan Update; Here Design Studio, LLC

The Long Beach Bicycle Master Plan is a long-range plan that guides the development and maintenance of bicycle friendly roads and bikeways throughout the City.  It identifies existing conditions, sites for future infrastructure improvement, as well as implementation and funding strategies.  The Plan’s central goal is to increase bicycle use throughout the City of Long Beach from 1% to 5% by the year 2020.

A noteworthy element of the Plan are its recommended design and operating standards for the Long Beach Bikeway system.  The Plan details design standards set forth by the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) for various bikeway facilities, provides guidelines for signing and markings on roadways, and provides guidelines for bicycle parking locations and quantities.

Local jurisdictions seeking best practices to promote active transportation near transit stations may find the guidelines for bicycle parking quantities useful in optimizing space allocation.  Long Beach identifies the following recommended bicycle parking quantities for the following locations as it relates to TODs:

Bicyclist in Long Beach; Brad Davis, AICP
Bicyclist in Long Beach; Brad Davis, AICP





Transit Stations

Near platform or security guard

Enclosed lockers

1 bicycle per 30 parking spaces

Commercial Districts

Near main entrance with good visibility

Not to obstruct auto or pedestrian movement

Staple or new technologies

2 bicycles every 200 feet

Commercial, Retail, and Industrial over 10,000 gsf

Near main entrance with good visibility

Staple or new technologies

1 bicycle per 15 employees of 8 bicycles per 10,000 gsf

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