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Urban community development -- Utah -- Salt Lake City, Transportation -- Planning, City planning-- Utah -- Salt Lake City, Regional planning -- Utah -- Salt Lake City, Land use -- Planning


Compact development can result in many benefits for communities and residents. Areas can connect compact developments through high-quality transportation options, creating a network of centers, or a “polycentric” region. This development pattern is very popular in Europe and is linked to significant benefits. Salt Lake County has organically developed several small centers, and with the right strategies could continue to fuel this kind of growth. The metropolitan planning organization (MPO) for the region, the Wasatch Front Regional Council, has been planning for polycentric development since the Wasatch Choice for 2040 Vision was released in 2010. Our research is aimed at exploring the academic literature and empirical evidence surrounding polycentric development, analyzing more than 120 regional transportation plans (RTP) to see how they promote polycentric development, defining types of centers in a hierarchy of centers, quantifying the transportation benefits of polycentric development, examining a case study of best practices, and, finally, outlining context-specific strategies for Salt Lake County and the Wasatch Front. The resulting report will enable the county and MPO to make informed decisions about its future growth patterns, set realistic—yet visionary—goals, and improve the overall health of its residents and communities.


This is a final report, NITC-RR-1217, from the NITC program of TREC at Portland State University, and can be found online at:

The Project Brief associated with this research can be found at:



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