State and Local Policy Database

Location Efficiency

Policies which encourage compact, mixed-use communities improve the overall efficiency of the transportation system. Changes to zoning regulations can direct investment and development toward high density, mixed-use construction around existing transit facilities promoting the creation of walkable, mixed-use communities. Removing minimum parking requirements prevents sprawl and develops compact construction and walkable areas. Complete streets policies foster the increased use of alternatives to driving by creating a comprehensive network of connected streets, sidewalks and bicycle lanes or by connecting transit facilities.

This sub-category includes information on four topics: Adoption of a location-efficient zoning code and its applicability (to the whole jurisdiction or certain neighborhoods); adoption of residential parking policies requiring no more than one parking space per residential unit; formal adoption of a complete streets policy ; incentives in place for location-efficient development and/or policies for disclosure of location efficiency information.

Alirngton County's General Land Use Plan encourages location-efficient development throughout the city.  Additionally, this county offers incenctives to encourage compact, mixed-use development such as the Green Building Program Density Incenctive, a form based code to encourage mixed-use development in the Columbia Pike Corridor, and allowable ground floor uses for major planning corridors in Arlington's densest areas. This county has not yet removed minimum parking requirements for new developments. 

Last updated: May 2017

Atlanta has mandatory neighborhood form-based codes in addition to citywide floating zones that have been in place since 1999. The city also has transit-oriented development-specific codes for the Doraville and Edgewood neighborhoods. The city allows one or more parking spaces per residential unit. As an incentive to promote location-efficient real estate development, Atlanta provides density bonuses to developers who build in Buckhead in an effort to create a denser, more compact neighborhood.

Last updated: January 2017

Subchapter E of Austin’s zoning code adopted in 2009 includes form-based code elements to ensure street connectivity and mixed-use development in certain neighborhoods. The city has removed minimum parking requirements for certain zoning districts (e.g. Central Business District). As an incentive to promote location-efficient real estate development, Austin’s Safe, Mixed-Income, Accessible, Reasonably Priced, Transit-Oriented (SMART) housing program provides fee waivers, expedited review, and support to projects that provide certain levels of affordable housing and are transit-accessible.

Last updated: January 2017

Transform Baltimore is a citywide transect-based code with a mixed use overlay to encourage the development of mixed-use neighborhoods. The city requires one parking space per residential dwelling. There are no incentives available through the city to promote location efficiency.

Last updated: January 2017

Birmingham has mandatory Downtown and Triangle District form-based codes that were written as optional, but became mandatory in 2007. The city requires a minimum of one parking space per residential unit in some neighborhoods, and one and a half spaces in other neighborhoods. There are no incentives available through the city to promote location efficiency.

Last updated: January 2017

Articles 87 and 87a of Boston’s zoning code includes smart growth overlays to promote compact, mixed-use communities in specific neighborhoods. Boston has one or more neighborhoods with 0.5 required parking spaces. In downtown districts, “parking freezes” go into effect. Article 37 of the zoning code also encourages buildings subject to Large Project Review to integrate transportation demand management measures. The city encourages dense mixed-use development through density bonuses for greener buildings, affordable housing, and transit oriented development by way of Article 80

Last updated: January 2017

Boulder has not yet implemented location efficient zoning codes to be used across the city or in any specific neighborhood. The city allows one or more parking space per residential unit. Boulder adopted its complete streets policy in 2008, through the Transportation Master Plan. The adoption of the guidelines encourages the inclusion of complete streets principles in all road construction and maintenance projects. As an incentive to promote location-efficient real estate development, Boulder provides density bonuses in certain zoning districts where growth is anticipated.

Last Updated: October 2015

Burlington has not yet implemented location efficient zoning codes to be used across the city or in any specific neighborhood. The city allows one or more parking space per residential unit. Vermont adopted its complete streets policy in 2011, through H 198. The adoption of the guidelines encourages the transportation systems of Vermont to include complete streets principles in all road construction and maintenance projects. There are no incentives available through the city to promote location efficiency.

Last updated: October 2015

Carrboro’s Land Use Ordinance promotes mixed-use developments in several zoning districts.  To rezone to a Village Mixed Use Development (Sec. 15-176.2), applicants must adhere to 10 mixed-use principles including preservation of open space, pedestrian preference and accessibility, and proximity of uses.  On average, the town requires one or more parking spaces per residential unit.  A complete-streets-like policy is included in the Carrboro Land Use Ordinance (Sec. 15-216).  As an incentive to promote location-efficient real estate development, Carrboro provides density bonuses and parking requirement flexibility for location-efficient developments.

Last updated: April 2014

Charlotte’s zoning code includes both pedestrian and transit-supported overlay districts in an effort to create transit-oriented communities. The city requires 2 or more parking spaces per residential unit. There are no incentives available through the city to promote location efficiency.

Last updated: January 2017

Charlottesville’s zoning code established mixed-use corridor districts (City Code Chp 34, Art. VI) to encourage location-efficient developments. There are areas around the city that are zoned as Planned Unit Development (allowing for more compact development in neighborhoods), mixed-use zones, and medium and high density areas around the University of Virginia. Parking requirements have been removed in at least three neighborhoods (the Corner, Urban Core, and West Main).  Charlottesville implemented a complete streets policy in 2010. As an incentive to promote location-efficient real estate development, Charlottesville provides density bonuses and expedited permitting to developers.

Last updated: October 2015

Chicago has adopted a Transit Oriented Development Ordinance. The city’s zoning ordinance includes parking reductions for development around transit stations, in some developments parking reduction can be zero. The city offers density bonuses and expedited review of parking requirements for developments choosing to locate in transit-oriented zones.

Last updated: January 2017

Cincinnati adopted the Cincinnati Form-Based Code in May 2013. Four neighborhoods — College Hill, Madisonville, Walnut Hills and Westwood — will be the first communities to implement this code to support the revitalization of their neighborhood business districts. Residential developments with 20 or fewer housing units do not have to provide parking and developments with more than 20 units must provide 0.75 spaces per each housing unit over the 20th unit. There are no incentives available through the city to promote location efficiency.

Last updated: January 2017

Cleveland recently established its’ first form-based zoning district, called an urban overlay. Cleveland also has a Pedestrian Retail Overlay District that allows for reduced parking requirements. There are no incentives available through the city to promote location efficiency.

Last updated: January 2017

The Columbus municipal planning code includes citywide commercial zoning overlays to encourage pedestrian- and transit-friendly development in existing corridors while traditional neighborhood development zoning encourages a mix of residential types and commercial properties. The city requires at least 0.75 to 2 parking spaces per residential unit depending on the number of dwelling units per building. As an incentive to promote location-efficient real estate development, the zoning code includes the use of tax incentives in the downtown zoning district to attract high-density development to the downtown area.

Last updated: January 2017

Dallas’s Chapter 51A Article XIII uses mixed-use districts on the neighborhood scale to implement transit-oriented communities and mixed use development in area plans. The city requires 2 or more parking spots per single family lodging but allows one or more parking spaces per residential unit in certain areas. There are no incentives available through the city to promote location efficiency.

Last updated: January 2017

Denver has a form-based/context-sensitive zoning code to encourage mixed uses in urban centers and around transit-oriented development. Form-based elements regulate all building types. Denver requires 1.25 parking spaces or less per unit in suburban neighborhoods, with a complete removal of minimum requirements in some areas. Downtown developments must provide .75 spaces per unit, with a complete removal of minimum requirements in some areas. There are no incentives available through the city to promote location efficiency.

Last updated: January 2017

Detroit has not yet implemented location-efficient zoning codes to be used across the city or in any specific neighborhood, nor has the city made an effort to remove parking requirements either citywide or in specific neighborhoods. We could not confirm if there are incentives available through the city to promote location efficiency.

Last updated: January 2017

Dubuque has not yet implemented location efficient zoning codes to be used across the city or in any specific neighborhood. Dubuque allows one or more parking space per residential unit. Dubuque adopted its complete streets policy in 2009, through the Historic Millwork District Master Plan. The adoption of the guidelines encourages the inclusion of complete streets principles in road construction and maintenance projects throughout the historic district. There are no incentives available through the city to promote location efficiency.

Last Updated: October 2013

Plan El Paso implements a smart code for the city with a focus on walkable development around the city’s transit stations. The city's parking code requires 2 parking spaces per dwelling across the city, with 100% reduction allowed in historic districts and downtown area. We could not confirm if there are incentives available through the city to promote location efficiency.

Last updated: January 2017

Fort Worth has implemented form-based codes to govern development in the Near Southside and Trinity Uptown neighborhoods. The city allows one or more parking spaces per residential unit. There are no incentives available through the city to promote location efficiency.

Last updated: January 2017

Hartford has not yet implemented location-efficient zoning codes to be used across the city or in any specific neighborhood. The city requires a minimum of one and a half parking spaces per residential unit in all districts, but one and a quarter in B1 and B2 zones. Across the city, parking may be reduced by 10% if rideshare is promoted and by 30% if a multifamily residence submits a transportation management plan. One space may be removed if a shuttle to downtown is provided. Hartford has not yet written or codified a Complete Streets Policy. There are no incentives available through the city to promote location efficiency.

Last updated: January 2017

Houston has not yet implemented location-efficient zoning codes to be used across the city or in any specific neighborhood. Reduced parking requirements are provided and shared use parking agreements are allowed in areas around transit stations and other mixed-use projects where reduced parking requirements are most appropriate for further encouraging the accommodation of other non-vehicular modes of transportation. In addition, Houston’s parking rules allow the creation of special parking areas for the purposes to businesses, reduced parking rations, and sharking purposes. As an incentive to promote location-efficient real estate development, the city passed Ordinance 2012-739 in 2012, establishing and economic development program called the Downtown Living Initiative Chapter 380 Program. The program promotes economic development and stimulates business and commercial activity in the target area by providing economic and other development incentives for new multifamily residential mixed-use developments.

Last updated: January 2017

Indianapolis has adopted a Consolidated Zoning/Subdivision Ordinance that encourages compact and mixed-use development. The ordinance includes a provision that allows increased building height for mixed-use buildings that allocate a percentage of floor area toward residential use. The city has reduced parking requirements in areas located in proximity to public transit. Downtown districts may set their own parking rules. Indianapolis has two incentives that allow developers to exceed height restrictions if they allocate a set percentage of the space for residential use.

Last updated: January 2017

Jacksonville’s Traditional Neighborhood Development ordinance is a citywide form-based ordinance that has been in place since 1987. The city allows two parking spaces, at a minimum, for single-family homes, and 1.5 spaces per multifamily unit. There are no incentives available through the city to promote location efficiency.

Last updated: January 2017

Kansas City has had a form-based code for its downtown area since 2007. The city also has a traditional neighborhood design district (TND) to create a mixed-use environment with walking as the predominant form of transportation. In addition, the zoning code requires short-term and long-term bike parking for commercial and industrial developments and any residential development in excess of 12 units. One parking space is generally required per single-family residential unit and 4 spaces per multifamily unit. There are exemptions and reductions for locations within the downtown area, along the proposed streetcar route, within the Crossroads, and in Westport. There are no incentives available through the city to promote location efficiency.

Last updated: January 2017

Knoxville has not yet implemented location efficient zoning codes city wide, but there are form-based codes in the South Waterfront and Cumberland Corridor districts. Several projects have no minimum parking requirements for nonresidential use. Knoxville adopted its complete streets policy in 2009, through Resolution R-287-09. The adoption of the guidelines encourages the inclusion of complete streets principles in all road construction and maintenance projects.

Last updated: October 2015

Las Vegas has adopted individual zoning plans for certain neighborhoods around the city, including the Downtown Centennial Plan and Las Vegas Medical Center Plan, to encourage compact development, and accessibility for pedestrians. Las Vegas has not removed minimum parking requirements. Downtown has reduced parking. The city offers an expedited plan check and permitting program in general for applicants.

Last updated: January 2017

Lawrence has not yet implemented location efficient zoning codes to be used across the city or in any specific neighborhood. The city allows one or more parking spaces per residential unit. Lawrence adopted its Complete Streets policy in 2012. The adoption of the guidelines encourages the inclusion of complete streets principles in all road construction and maintenance projects.

Last Updated: October 2013

Los Angeles has 37 pans and implementation overlays across the city. 15 of these plans are location-efficient, allowing for mixed-use. The city’s forthcoming zoning code overhaul (re:code LA) will move the city toward a mixed form-based and use-based zoning model. The city requires 2 parking spaces per residential unit. As an incentive to promote location-efficient real estate development, Los Angeles provides density bonuses for affordable housing projects located within 1,500 feet of a transit stop.

Last updated: January 2017

Louisville has not yet implemented location efficient zoning codes to be used across the city or in any specific neighborhood. The city’s parking code requires 1 space minimum across urban areas, and 2 spaces in suburban areas. A 10% reduction is allowed for development near transit routes. A 30% reduction is allowed if a transportation demand management plan is submitted. A 50% reduction is allowed in Traditional Form Districts. There are no parking requirements in the downtown area. There are no incentives available through the city to promote location efficiency.

Last updated: January 2017

Madison’s Comprehensive Plan includes the zoning code to encourage location-efficient development applied to the whole city. Madison's zoning code, adopted in 2013, removes parking minimums in 12 districts. Madison adopted its Complete Streets Policy in 2009. The adoption of the guidelines encourages the inclusion of complete streets principles in all road construction and maintenance projects. As an incentive to promote location-efficient real estate development, Madison allows reduced parking requirements for infill and redevelopment projects.

Last Updated: October 2015

Memphis adopted a Unified Development Code in 2010 that incorporates form-based elements and overlays to encourage mixed-use development. The city removes minimum off-street parking requirements for certain areas of the city. There are no incentives available through the city to promote location efficiency.

Last updated: January 2017

Miami 21 is the city’s mandatory, citywide smart code that was adopted in 2009 and uses form-based zoning to encourage smart growth. The city allows two parking spaces per residential unit. There are no incentives available through the city to promote location efficiency.

Last updated: January 2017

Milwaukee has development incentive zones in neighborhoods of the city in order to create new development projects that are more compatible with existing development and are pedestrian-friendly. The city additionally has adopted an LB3 zoning code to promote compact, pedestrian-friendly development along business corridors. Milwaukee does not have required parking minimums for single-family and two-family homes, although it is unclear if there are parking requirements for multifamily housing. Parking requirements are also reduced in some districts of the city that are best served by transit. There are no other incentives available to promote location efficiency.

Last updated: January 2017

Minneapolis code incentivizes transit-oriented development, compact development, mixed-use development, street connectivity, and form-based elements. Minneapolis requires one parking space per dwelling on average, and has eradicated parking minimums for downtown zones. As an incentive to promote location-efficient efficiency, Minneapolis has a variety of mixed-use zoning categories, density and FAR bonuses, zoning overlay districts that focus on pedestrian and transit-orientation and site plan review standards. Chapters 548 and 549 of the zoning code include floor-to-area ratio premiums for development projects in downtown zoning districts and density bonuses for commercial districts.

Last updated: January 2017

Nashville has mandatory neighborhood form-based codes for the Downtown area. The city also has form-based codes for the rest of the city. The city requires 2 parking spaces at a minimum per single-family residential unit. Parking minimum requirements are removed altogether for downtown developments. The city has a Bonus Height Program for downtown developments. 

Last updated: January 2017

New Orleans has adopted a comprehensive zoning ordinance which contains provisions that promotes location-efficient development.. New Orleans requires 1 parking space, at a minimum, per multifamily unit. In 2011, New Orleans passed a complete streets policy (Ch. 146, Sec. 146-36). There are no incentives available through the city to promote location efficiency.

Last updated: January 2017

PlaNYC, New York City’s zoning code, designates a number of special-purpose districts for the creation of mixed-use development in the city. Developers are required to provide less than one/half of a parking space per each new housing unit constructed in NYC with no required parking in multiple dwelling in designated “transit zones.” To promote construction with a focus on location efficiency, New York City’s R-10 program provides density bonuses to developments in medium- to high-density commercial neighborhoods that provide a certain number of affordable housing units.

Last updated: January 2017

The City of Oakland’s 1998 General Plan includes a Land Use and Transportation Element, which directs development to Downtown and areas within a half mile of major transit corridors and commuter train stations. This strategy concentrates development where there is available land and transit, in order to reduce vehicle miles traveled and greenfield development and create compact, walkable neighborhood centers designated as Priority Development Areas in 2013. The city of Oakland offers incenctives to encourage mixed-use development; these are documented in the Housing Element.

Updated: April 2017

Oklahoma City has not yet implemented location-efficient zoning codes to be used across the city or in any specific neighborhood. The city requires two parking spaces per residential dwelling. There are no incentives available through the city to promote location efficiency.

Last updated: January 2017

Orlando zoning code includes transect-based zoning as well as form-based zoning. The city has not yet removed minimum parking requirements. As an incentive to promote location-efficient real estate development, Orlando provides discounts on impact fees up to 80%. 

Last updated: January 2017

Park City has not yet implemented location efficient zoning codes to be used across the city or in any specific neighborhood. Park City allows one or more parking space per residential unit. Park City has not yet written or codified a Complete Streets Policy. There are no incentives available through the city to promote location efficiency.

Last updated: October 2015

Philadelphia adopted a new zoning code in 2012 that encourages development patterns that reinforce walkability and transit use with a transit-oriented development overlay and mixed use zoning. The city’s parking code eradicated parking minimums for multifamily developments in the city center. Row house districts are also not subject to parking minimums. There are no incentives available through the city to promote location efficiency.

Last updated: January 2017

The Phoenix zoning code includes a transit-oriented development overlay district as well as form-based zoning for downtown development. The city allows one or more parking spaces per residential unit. Reductions in parking are allowed in the downtown, warehouse, transit, and urban districts. There are no minimum parking requirements for non-residential uses in the Business Core Character Area. As an incentive to promote location-efficient real estate development, the Downtown Phoenix Code’s sustainability section provides height and density bonuses for several types of projects.

Last updated: January 2017

Pittsburgh has not yet implemented location efficient zoning codes to be used across the city or in any specific neighborhood. The city requires one parking space per residential dwelling. 100% parking reductions are available downtown and 25-50% in other areas. There are no incentives available through the city to promote location efficiency.

Last updated: January 2017

Portland’s zoning code encourages mixed-use and infill development along nearly all portions of the city’s main commercial streets and throughout most of the central city. The zoning map also identifies specific mixed-use centers, consistent with the regional growth plan, Metro 2040. Portland has no parking minimums for residential dwellings with zero to 30 units, or within 500 feet of frequent service transit in many zones across the city, Elsewhere, a minimum of one space per unit is implemented. To promote construction with a focus on location efficiency, the Portland Development Commission runs a transit-oriented development (TOD) property tax abatement program. Portland also has removed the floor area ratio limitation on residential development within commercial zones and provides density bonuses in the central city plan district, the most location-efficient part of the region.

Last updated: January 2017

The Providence Zoning Ordinance update features new transit oriented development zones to encourage more intensive development on portions of major transit routes. The city has no parking minimums downtown, and parking maximums exist in designated transit oriented development areas. There are no incentives available to promote location efficiency. 

Last updated: January 2017

Raleigh has adopted the Raleigh Arena Area Master Plan & Code NC Neighborhood planning code. This is a form-based code applicable to some neighborhoods. Raleigh requires a minimum of one parking space be made available per efficiency residential unit, one space per bedroom, or two spaces per manufactured home. Raleigh requires at least one space be made available per single-family home. There are no incentives available through the city to promote location efficiency.

Last updated: January 2017

In its Zoning Ordinance, Richmond adopted mixed-use urban business zoning codes to promote more efficient development. The city also provides a special use permit to allow for more dense development. On average, the city requires one or fewer parking spaces per residential unit. Downtown, there is no minimum for buildings with 3 units or fewer. One space is allowed for 4 unit buildings. There are no incentives available through the city to promote location efficiency.

Last updated: January 2017

Riverside's Downtown Specific Plan Raincross District allows for mixed-use development. In early 2014, Riverside prepared a smart code specific plan that will encompass 80% of the commercial, industrial, and office zoned area. The city allows one or more parking spaces per residential unit. However, the zoning administrator may grant a mixed use parking credit for up to 15% of the spaces. As an incentive to promote location-efficient real estate development, the city’s Infill Incentive Program provides fee adjustments, density bonuses, and cost avoidance incentives for developers using the designated infill sites.

Last updated: January 2017

Sacramento has not yet implemented location efficient zoning codes to be used across the city or in any specific neighborhood. The city’s parking code removes parking requirements for residential purposes in the central business and arts and entertainment districts. Projects with a transportation management plan may achieve up to 35% reduction. As an incentive to promote location-efficient real estate development, the city has an infill program that provides developers with flexibility in floor area ratios, height restrictions, and density. Expedited review of development plans is included in the incentive package.

Last updated: January 2017

Salt Lake City recently updated city zoning codes through the Sustainable Code Revision Project. The adopted zoning codes (Title 21A) increase transit-oriented development, encourage mixed-use development, and codify minimum densities and heights. On average, the city requires one or more parking spaces per residential unit. There are no incentives available through the city to promote location efficiency.

Last updated: January 2017

San Antonio’s Unified Dwelling Code was adopted in 2006. The code includes use patterns for various forms of smart growth development such as traditional neighborhood development, transit-oriented development, neighborhood centers and conservation subdivisions, new infill development zones, parking caps, and street design and infrastructure options. The city allows one or more parking spaces per residential unit. As an incentive to promote location-efficient real estate development, the municipal code allows for the creation of transit-oriented development districts where flexibility in development codes is provided for new construction. The city also has an infill program that provides incentives in the form of fee waivers and other financial benefits.

Last updated: January 2017

San Diego’s municipal code includes a transit overlay and urban village overlay for the development of walkable, mixed-use communities. The city allows one or more parking spaces per residential unit. Reduced parking is allowed for studio apartments and in multifamily buildings. As an incentive to promote location-efficient real estate development, the Affordable/In-fill Housing and Sustainable Buildings Expedite Program allows expedited permit processing for affordable infill housing developments that have ten or more proposed units and are located within designated urbanized areas.

Last updated: January 2017

San Francisco does not need a location efficient zoning codes because every property parcel is already within 1/4 mile of transit. The city has eliminated city-wide parking requirements for residential purposes. In commerical areas, all parking may be reduced when additional bicycle parking is provided. As an incentive to further densify real estate development, the General Plan allows for height and floor area ratio bonuses in transit-rich areas of the city.

Last updated: January 2017

Through the Envision San Jose 2040 General Plan, the city has planned a variety of high density and mixed use development in several growth areas. In downtown San Jose, projects meeting certain criteria have parking reductions. As an incentive to promote location-efficiency in Urban Village areas, the city has provided an expedited permitting process for development that meet a certain criteria.

Last updated: December 2017

The City of Seattle has adopted an Urban Village Strategy as part of the Comprehensive Plan, which identifies and guides growth to those areas of the city that are most able to support growth and reduce GHGs due to existing and planned investments in transportation, parks, business districts, and other amenities. The urban village designations are used to support zoning and investment decisions. Additionally, the Seattle Mixed (SM) zone (chapter 23.48 of the Seattle Municipal Code) allows a mix of residential, commercial, and office uses in former industrial areas. In general, SM is most appropriate in Urban Centers and Urban Villages where density is being concentrated and a high level of transit exists or is planned. Similarly, the pedestrian zone (P Zone) designation is intended to preserve or encourage intensely retail and pedestrian-oriented shopping districts where non-auto modes of transportation to and within the district are strongly favored.

Seattle requires one parking space be built per residential dwelling, but no parking is required in areas 1/4 mile to transit stations. Seattle offers exemptions from parking requirements, and streamlined environmental review to promote location efficiency.

Last updated: January 2017

St. Louis’s Ordinance 69199 was adopted in 2012 and creates a new form-based overlay district to be incorporated into a St. Louis zoning code. The city allows one or more parking spaces per residential unit. St. There are no incentives available through the city to promote location efficiency.

Last updated: January 2017

Tampa has neighborhood form-based codes for the Greater Seminole Heights Planning Areas, 40th Street, and Tampa Heights neighborhoods. The city allows one or more parking spaces per residential unit. There are no incentives available through the city to promote location efficiency.

Last updated: January 2017

Virginia Beach requires a form code for the ocean-front neighborhoods. The code is a refinement of the Sasaki Resort Area Plan. The area under this code includes 3.5 miles of oceanfront hotels and related areas. The city requires a minimum of two parking spaces per single-family home. 2 spaces are required per mulitfamily unit for the first 50 units, and 1.75 spaces thereafter. There are no incentives available through the city to promote location efficiency.

Last updated: January 2017

Washington’s zoning code encourages mixed-use, transit-oriented, and infill development. The zones are in the process of updating to reduce minimum parking requirements. Currently, the city allows one parking space per residential unit. We could not confirm if there were incentives available to promote location efficiency.

Last updated: January 2017