In 1999, the Florida legislature amended Chapter 163, Florida Statutes, commonly known as the Growth Management Act, authorizing local governments to establish multimodal transportation districts. The purpose of the legislation was to provide a planning tool that Florida communities could use to systematically reinforce community design elements that support walking, bicycling and transit use. It also enabled Florida communities to advance transportation concurrency—a policy requirement that transportation facilities be available concurrent with the impacts of development— through development of a high quality multimodal environment, rather than the typical approach involving road widening for automobile capacity. Multimodal transportation districts (MMTDs) are to be carried out through local comprehensive plans, land development regulations, and capital improvements programs. This report provides model comprehensive plan amendments and model regulations for multimodal transportation districts to assist local governments in Florida. It is based on a national review of multimodal policies, ordinances, and practices at the local level and a synthesis of best practices.
The report begins with an overview of the purpose and statutory requirements for multimodal transportation districts in Florida, and continues with model comprehensive plan amendments and land development regulations to assist local governments in implementing MMTDs. What is a Multimodal Transportation District? A multimodal transportation district is an area where primary priority is placed on “assuring a safe, comfortable, and attractive pedestrian environment, with convenient interconnection to transit” (1). Communities must incorporate community design features that reduce vehicular usage while supporting an integrated multimodal transportation system. Common elements include the presence of mixed-use activity centers, connectivity of streets and land uses, transit-friendly design features, and accessibility to alternative modes of transportation. The Florida Department of Transportation has developed a Multimodal Transportation Districts and Areawide Quality of Service Handbook (FDOT 2004) to provide guidance on the designation and planning of MMTDs as provided in Florida’s growth management legislation.
The handbook provides for MMTD designation in a downtown or urban core area, regional activity center, or traditional town or village in accordance with certain criteria. In these areas, planning efforts would focus on enhancing multimodal elements, guiding redevelopment, and encouraging appropriate infill. An MMTD could also be applied to a new or emerging area, where adopted plans and regulations would need to ensure the internal and external connectivity, a mix of uses, densities, and urban design features necessary to support alternative modes of transportation. Why Establish an MMTD? Establishing a successful MMTD can provide many benefits to a community and its residents.
The MMTD provides an alternative to the typical disconnected, auto-dependent developments that are commonly seen throughout Florida. Shortened distances between work, home, and shopping areas promote walking and bicycling; greater emphasis on transit boosts ridership; and increased pedestrian activity heightens security. With automobile dependency reduced, expenditures that would otherwise be dedicated to building and widening