LiveMove Travel Blog

Transportation and Law at APA 2016

Rory Isbell

LiveMove Member

May 1, 2016


The 2016 APA National Conference proved to be fantastic event for this LiveMove member. As a concurrent degree student at the University of Oregon studying Law and Planning, I approached the conference with a dual mission. On one hand, I wanted to attend all sessions that discuss legal issues in planning. As a concurrent JD/MCRP student, I am keen to develop an academic and professional specialty in the law that guides and limits the efforts of planning. On the other hand, I wanted to attend many transportation-focused sessions, and especially those relating to the transportation project decision-making process and how we fund transportation. 

My exit project in the University of Oregon Department of Planning, Public Policy and Management explores how states make progress towards greenhouse gas reduction goals through their transportation planning and programming efforts.  Through those efforts, states can simultaneously promote alternative and clean transportation and mitigate the greenhouse gas emissions.  In pursuing both of these missions while attending APA, I attended over a dozen sessions.  The transportation sessions I attended included “Assessing Wider Economic Benefits of Transportation” and “M2D2 – Changing State DOT Culture to Get the Rules Right”.  These sessions gave me great insight as to how practitioners and policymakers are working to transform the way we decide which transportation projects to fund through performance-based decision-making.  I also attended law-focused sessions that discussed recent developments in planning law, including limits to the local regulation of signs under the First Amendment right to free speech, changes to Fair Housing Act law allowing statutory claims for disparate impacts on protected classes, and how the Federal Telecommunications Act requires local governments to approve most telecommunications proposals.

All in all, APA 2016 gave me a lot of great ideas to help me develop my expertise as a planner, transportation researcher, and soon-to-be attorney.  Thank you to NITC and LiveMove for the opportunity to attend this year’s conference.