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Sustainable Communities and Transportation

GOAL: Adapt to the impacts of climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by reshaping where and how to build and move from place to place.

The Compact’s Unified Sea Level Rise Projection and preliminary vulnerability analysis reveal the region’s vulnerabilities to the impacts of climate change and inform pathways for immediate action to protect assets and invest wisely. As climate science, monitoring, and modeling continue to be refined, the RCAP integrates the latest climate change considerations into existing and future policy decision-making processes, including municipal and county comprehensive plans and transportation plans. The ultimate goal is to achieve resilience, limit risk, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The recommendations in this section are related to comprehensive planning, including the designation and implementation of adaptation action areas (AAAs), which will direct technical assistance and funding opportunities to areas especially vulnerable to the impacts of sea level rise and associated coastal flooding. In 2011, the Florida Legislature amended state law to create AAAs as an optional designation in local comprehensive plans for those areas experiencing coastal flooding due to extreme high tides, storm surge, and the related impacts of sea level rise. The law also provides for the development of adaptation policies for the purpose of prioritizing funding opportunities. In 2015, the Florida Legislature amended state law to require local governments to include development and redevelopment principles, strategies, and engineering solutions that reduce flood risks and losses within coastal areas into their comprehensive plans.

In addition to comprehensive planning, this section provides recommendations to promote effective engagement of the multiple public- and private-sector entities involved in the provision and maintenance of transportation infrastructure and the delivery of transportation services in the region for climate adaptation and mitigation. Currently, the transportation sector contributes 45% of the region’s greenhouse gas emissions. The plan’s strategies—such as reducing vehicle miles traveled by shifting trips taken from autos to walking, biking, or public transportation—will work to reduce emissions and realize the cross-cutting benefits of more livable and desirable communities in the region.

To accomplish the goal, current and evolving coordination efforts between transportation and planning entities rely significantly on data sharing and analyses, from studies and tools identifying vulnerable and/or at-risk transportation infrastructure to performance metrics. This section highlights the need for local and regional planning and decision-making processes to ensure a complementary approach to developing and maintaining a system of land use and transportation that is more resilient, while also reducing vehicle miles traveled, providing more transportation choices, and dealing with future uncertainty.

Incorporate unified sea level rise projections, by reference, into all city, county, and regional agency comprehensive plans, transportation and other infrastructure plans, and capital improvement plans.
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Ensure locally produced maps for planning and project documents include the latest storm surge and sea level rise projections.
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Use vulnerability and risk assessment analyses and tools to identify priorities for resilience investments.
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Designate adaptation action areas, restoration areas, and growth areas as a priority-setting tool for vulnerable areas, and as a means to maximize benefits to natural systems while guiding people and commerce to less vulnerable places in the region.
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Ensure beneficial social equity outcomes in considering the impacts of land use policy, public infrastructure, and public service decisions on high-vulnerability populations.
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Develop localized adaptation strategies for areas of greatest climate-related vulnerability in collaboration with appropriate agencies and jurisdictions to foster multi-jurisdictional solutions and maximize co-benefits.
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Incorporate strategies to reduce risk and economic losses associated with sea level rise and flooding into local comprehensive plans, post-disaster redevelopment plans, building codes, and land development regulations.
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Consider the adoption of green building standards to guide decision-making and development and to provide an incentive for better location, design, and construction of residential, commercial, and mixed-use developments and redevelopment.
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Implement best practices for the identification, evaluation, and prioritization of threatened resources to preserve historic and archaeological resources and increase resource resilience.
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Employ transit-oriented developments and other planning approaches to promote higher-density development capable of supporting more robust transit.
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Modify local land use plans and ordinances to support compact development patterns, creating more walkable and affordable communities.
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Develop and implement policies and design standards that recognize the transportation system’s most vulnerable users and incorporate sustainable elements.
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Conduct an assessment of unused or underutilized properties and develop an approach for utilizing such properties that enhances overall resilience goals.
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Adopt social equity policies that support equitable economic growth and increase affordable housing opportunities near critical infrastructure.
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Develop policies to enhance the urban tree canopy to protect pedestrians and bicyclists from heat and pollution exposure.
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Phase out septic systems where necessary to protect public health and water quality.
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Ensure investments reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and increase the resilience of the transportation system to extreme weather and climate impacts.
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Increase the use of transit as a transportation mode for the movement of people in the region.
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Expand, connect, and complete networks of bicycle and pedestrian facilities, including those supporting access to transit.
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Expand the use of transportation demand management strategies to reduce peak period and single-occupant vehicle travel.
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Address resilience, maximize efficiency, and increase the use of low-carbon transportation modes for the movement of freight in the region.
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Implement transportation system management and operations strategies to maximize the efficiency of the existing transportation system in a coordinated manner across local governments and agencies in the region.
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Use evidence-based planning and decision-making for transportation system investments and management.
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