Why apply the LEED ND mobility planning

An exemplary sustainable mobility strategy takes shape in the preliminary stages of planning, observing the territory, considering the aspects of climate change and the social and economic trends. Experience and competence are the best tools for mobility planning specialists to interpret phenomena and databases. The creative and the analytical aspects are elements of a recursive loop of planning design in which the tests provide modeling elements to support strategic choices; the same strategies – sufficiently extended and integrated – offer optional scenarios to be evaluated in detail. The meaning of sustainability can ‘be interpreted with different facets and this is often an excuse to use the term sustainable in an approximtive and extensive way.


Those -professionally and competently – involved in mobility consultancy, often has an adversarial relationship with the standards and certification systems, which are struggling to grasp the human user’s decision. How to validate a mobility project as really sustainable?
The evaluation scheme LEED Neighbourhood ( http://www.usgbc.org/articles/getting-know-leed-neighborhood-development) offers – for the writer – an interesting trail, with which, despite the distrust to the rigors of certification, it would be advisable to learn to deal.
Unlike other schemes the LEED system is considered “open” – accessible at all – in the principles that are made available through downloadable summary or complete manuals for sale. The idea is that you can apply the principles of the rating system in the planning / design phases, regardless of the will to get the “label” certification. For this reason it should be considered a good method to be applied diffusely.

The system also considers a discrete spectrum of integrated themes of good planning: the mobility issues (directly or indirectly) affect a significant number of the prerequisites and credits (45 points out of 110 available points) proposed in an integrated fashion with related themes and multi-level strategies.What emerges is a process of reflection that exceeds the integrated scientific approach to sectoral area. Scrolling through the main items of the requirements and options worth dwelling on some, hereinafter briefly touched.

The system emphasizes and promotes strategies “sprawl-proof” that bind the developments in the areas of already developed land , is filling that adjacent, providing specific definitions of what should be considered “already developed.” Also the UNI reference practices (http://www.uni.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2573&Itemid=2460# ) and the Italian system ITACA (http://www.itaca.org/valutazione_sostenibilita.asp) focus on this same theme, although in the latter case the measurement is carried out differently (based on the need to prolong existing service infrastructures).


Another interesting parameter that drives various credits and prerequisite of the rating system, is the organization of the blocks and their connection scheme. Simply the numerosity of the intersections by area is a good parameter to give a level to the degree of urbanity. Even UN-Habitat (http://unhabitat.org/the-relevance-of-street-patterns-and-public-space-in-urban-areas/ ) addresses this issue by analyzing 30 world cities. The idea that a neighborhood is permeable and easily accessible (and not an enclave) requires a high level of interconnectivity (internal and external). Obviously this is not sufficient, but it is certainly a necessary condition.

The importance of mass transit (and consequently reducing of private car use) is tackled considering the presence of public transport , both in terms of stops of services available in different peak and off-peak periods). The stops itself , almost an interchange node, must provide minimum equipment to provide a sufficient level of quality service to users. Moreover – like the concept of PTAL London (see http://data.london.gov.uk/dataset/public-transport-accessibility-levels/resource/86bbffe1-8af1-49ba-ac9b-b3eacaf68137 ) and the TOD’s principles (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transit-oriented_development )- areas well served by public transport should enhance this potential, guaranteeing minimum density of development, above average.

Great attention is given to urban design of the accessibility system, not only in terms of minimum size, but also to focus on the reduction of the critical points (percentage of the distance concerned from driveways) for bicycles and pedestrians, shading of the paths and proportions of height manufactured than the size road. Attempting to minimum requirements for cycling is a particularly interesting because, regardless of the consistency of the numerical standards – considered in an integrated paths, staging points, long-term parking need and distance from parking to final destinations.

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A line of reasioning about demand management is introduced with the organization of mixed neighborhoods, where the areas of residence shall be proportional and functionally organized for the jobs offered by the tertiary and industrial surfaces of the same project. Additional points are creditable with strategies to support the spread of public transport passes for future settled.
The attempt to quantify the quality of a project is definitely a difficult challenge, which must consider different habits and geographical conditions; if there is still legitimate skepticism about the thresholds identified, only a widespread application of the method and analysis of indicators will allow the improvement of the certification scheme and probably will offer the public – as feedback – a greater credibility of the planning strategies.