This chapter introduces the substantive context for planning for and designing streets and roads; bicycle and pedestrian facilities; sewer and water systems, parks, open space and green infrastructure; schools; fire stations and other public facilities.  The related issue of planning for stormwater and some issues related to planning for pedestrian and bicycle circulation are addressed in Chapter 13. The process through which plans for public facilities are developed is the subject of Chapter 14.  Two sections of the chapter deal with planning for telecommunications infrastructure and with the effects of technology on planning.

Weblinks from Chapter


  1. Visit some of the areas of your community that have developed most recently. Why did those areas develop? Was there a major road that helped to attract growth? Try to find out when major sewer and water lines were built to those areas.
  2. Find out if your community has a plan for green infrastructure – or at least for parks and open space. Is it part of the comprehensive plan? Is it coordinated with the comprehensive plan?
  3. Using topographic maps for the area, draw a line around the top of the drainage basin in which your community is located. Find out what the maximum service elevation for water is and draw another line around the drainage basin at that level. Does most of the community fall within those two boundaries? What is the trend of growth? Does the community seem likely to grow beyond one of those lines in some direction? Why? Is it because of a major road or other growth attractor?
  4. When was the last school built in your community? How does that relate to the growth patterns of the community? Was it a logical location for a school at the time it was built? Has it turned out to be a logical location for a school? Are there new areas of the community without schools? Has the school district had to close schools in older parts of town simply because there were not enough students?

Discussion Questions

  1. Does your community seem to have a good system of green infrastructure, or parks and open space, including sections in developing areas? Are there greenway connections? Are there locations where such connections might be appropriate? How might the community improve its green infrastructure?


  1. Bloomington and Monroe County, Indiana, have adopted a joint “complete streets” policy.
  2. For a transportation plan for a region with growing challenges of traffic congestion, see the planning work of the Atlanta Regional Commission.
  3. Arlington, Virginia, has extensive web resources with details about its transportation plan.
  4. The Portland Metropolitan government also has a website with extensive material on its 2035, multi-modal transportation plan.
  5. Denver has published a booklet on its downtown, multi-modal transportation plan; it is available here.
  6. Charlotte-Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, provides details of its current Transportation Action Plan online; note that the maps are available through separate links from those to the plan.
  7. The Wilmington (Delaware) Metropolitan Area Planning Commission (WILMAPCO) is an MPO that serves one county in Delaware and an adjacent county in Maryland; it defines its role in transportation planning broadly and assists local governments in the area with a number of related issues.
  8. The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority provides web access to a variety of historic plans proposed for rail transit in this auto-oriented city.
  9. For an example of a small-area plan integrating bicycle and pedestrian transportation into the larger system, see the plan for Balboa Park Station in San Diego, California.
  10. The Rockville, Maryland, bicycle plan (discussed in chapter) is available here.
  11. The State of North Dakota has provided a template for preparing a school facilities plan, available here.
  12. For a look at the challenges of rebuilding a school system, see the Orleans Parish (New Orleans) master school facilities plan.
  13. Round Rock, Texas, has developed a detailed plan for upgrading utilities serving its downtown area.
  14. For an example of a city-wide utility plan, see the one for Sarasota, Florida.

Supplemental Resources

Common Search Terms

Use these terms in search engines to find additional examples and other resources: water quality, wastewater, combined sewer overflows, stormwater, floodplains, fire protection, complete streets, level of service, fire protection, multi-modal, transportation plan