School Siting & Transportation Study Leads to Development of Online Module & Workshops
Wednesday, September 14, 2016
Elementary and secondary school enrollments in the United States are expected to increase by 7 percent between 2010 and 2021, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. As communities struggle to meet growing numbers of students, local officials must consider a wide range of factors when planning new education facilities. Despite its importance, school siting has typically been disconnected from transportation and local land use planning.
A new online tool, School Siting: An Introduction to the School Transportation and Land Use Nexus, seeks to bridge this gap by providing planners, school officials, and policymakers essential information about the impacts of schools siting decisions. The centerpiece of the module is The School Travel Cost Calculator, a public and private cost analysis tool that estimates upfront public capital costs and annual public and private operational and maintenance costs based on a school site’s locational attributes.
The developers of this tool, Noreen McDonald, associate professor and chair, Department of City & Regional Planning, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Ruth Steiner, professor, Department of Urban and Regional Planning, University of Florida, and Doctoral Candidate W. Mathew Palmer, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, noted that “this is the first resource of its kind. It pulls many threads of research together to help solve school siting problems.”