Rethinking the Florida Transportation Concurrency Mandate

Project Year: 2007

Prepared by: 

  • Timothy S. Chapin, Associate Professor, Department Chair, Department of Urban & Regional Planning, Florida State University 
  • Gregory L. Thompson, Professor, Deparment of Urban & Regional Planning, Florida State University
  •  Jeffrey R. Brown, Associate Professor, Department of Urban & Regional Planning, Florida State University

Prepared for: Florida Department of Community Affairs

Project Summary:

The overall objective of the original concurrency mandate was to create a situation where there traffic congestion would not be a consequence of new development. However, achieving this objective is possible only by allowing low density development in the midst of large arterial roadways and substantial freeway networks. The preferences of Floridians clearly indicate a widespread desire for patterns of urban development that, by definition, will result in traffic congestion. As designed, the current system leads to outcomes that run against other publicpolicy objectives, such as promoting more compact development. This paper has documented the fundamental flaws in the state’s transportation concurrency mandate, flaws that rest in both the design and implementation of the mandate.

The paper presents alternatives to the current regime that address its potential weaknesses and allow policymakers the ability to tradeoff the reduction of traffic congestion against other policy objectives, objectives that lay at the heart of Florida’s commitment to manage growth. In conclusion, the land use and transportation literature, our experiences in working with local governments, and the on-the-ground evidence all indicate that the Florida’s transportation concurrency mandate is in dire need of attention from the state government. Beyond minor changes to the status quo, the Department of Community Affairs should strongly consider the utility and viability of transportation concurrency as a means for managing growth in the state.