I asked Tumlin to outline the steps a small Midwest city would have to take to become a contender for a future slot on the Tumlin Top 10 list of sustainable cities—I had Lincoln, Neb., in mind, a city of 250,000 with a nicely developing downtown, poor public transportation, wealthy suburbs, and no appetite for emulating coastal trends. He provided a three-step process, “Engage the community in a discussion that defines community values, such as what makes this city unique and what’s most important culturally. Then begin the process of evaluating investments in transportation that support this vision. And then comes the third and most important step, develop quantitative measures to see how your transportation investments achieve the larger values. Most cities use all the wrong metrics to evaluate transportation, leading them to spend in ways that harm their goals.”

I then asked Tumlin to suggest how an individual developer might approach getting a neighborhood development right. He suggested asking, “What do women want?” Then he went on to explain that today’s successful neighborhoods, like successful shopping centers, are designed specifically for women since they make the preponderance of household decisions. If you design a place that allows women to feel safe and also socially engaged, it will be successful for everyone. In the retail arena, the creation of trendy, lifestyle centers comes in direct response to women’s disappointment with the old strip center park-and-fetch model. At lifestyle centers, you can sit at the cafe, meet friends, and talk as part of the shopping experience. It’s what people like about successful, small town living, too.

“Women drive most successful social trends. For example, case studies done to identify ways to encourage cycling found that you get improving numbers only after women start to ride. Why? Once women are doing it, everyone knows it is OK—it’s apple pie,” he said.Sustainable Transportation Planning: Tools for Creating Vibrant, Healthy, and Resilient Communities (Feb. 13, 2012).

The book features:

  • Research on correlation between transportation and mental and physical health of citizens;
  • Consideration of bike, pedestrian, automobile, and mass transit modes, as well as how these modes interrelate;
  • Parking systems and solutions for automobiles and bicycles;
  • Complete streets;
  • Applicability at varying scales, from a downtown street to a neighborhood to a regional network;
  • Case studies that look at exemplary projects across North America;
  • Detailed measures of success for both individual transportation modes and entire systems;,/li>
  • Car-sharing, transportation demand management, and transit-oriented design; and
  • Additional discussion of parking, station design, and congestion management.

Sustainable Transportation Planning is also available as an e-book (ISBN: 978-1-1181-2762-9) for $79.99.