American Planning Association Meeting
Road Ecology is Well Received at American Planning Association Meeting
Posted October 15, 2007
Three research collaborators from UC Davis and California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) presented an overview of road ecology impacts on regional transportation planning at the annual meeting of the California Chapter of the American Planning Association in San Jose, where over 1,700 city and regional planners gathered on September 30, 2007.
Katie Benouar, senior transportation planner, Caltrans, and former coordinator of the UC Davis Road Ecology Center (REC) introduced the panel and presented an overview of road ecology’s importance to regional and integrated planning such as California’s regional blueprint planning program. REC collaborator Fraser Shilling, Ph.D., a researcher in the Department of Environmental Sciences and Policy, UC Davis, presented concepts in habitat connectivity, corridor ecology and the critical region adjacent to roads termed the “road effect zone.” His talk focused on applications of road ecology science to transportation and land use planning at ecosystem, regional and corridor scales. Amy Pettler, AICP, senior endangered species coordinator and wildlife biologist with Caltrans, presented examples of implementing road ecology research sciences in transportation projects. She announced that Caltrans is recruiting biologists for road ecology, of interest to several students who sought her out after her presentation.
According to Benouar, “the panelists were pleased with the large turnout, given the other excellent sessions available in the same timeframe.” City and local land use planners were interested in how road ecology could be applied earlier in the decision-making stages to avoid environmental impacts or to enhance the roadside environment. “The talks explained how planners can balance the goals of environmental stewardship while delivering transportation projects to a growing population,” she said, “There were many questions and people lingered to continue their dialogue with the speakers at the conclusion of the session.” Several planning students from various California universities indicated that they are interested in pursuing the use of collaborative, integrated planning processes at regional and ecosystem scales in their future careers.