The planning research digest organizes and provides access to clear, succinct research summaries written in non-technical language and indexed in an intuitive, user-friendly manner. It also functions as a portal to the wider universe of planning research: this site includes links to each publication, and to related research, externally hosted elsewhere on the internet. Together, these capabilities provide planning professionals with both an efficient means to keep abreast of recent research and a convenient way to identify and access individual resources of particular interest.

This page has answers to several frequently asked questions (FAQs) and a number of short tutorial videos. If you have questions that aren’t addressed here, please consult the website user guide or contact the site administrator directly at


How can I find relevant planning resources on the site?

The planning research digest contains a library of research summaries indexed in an intuitive, user-friendly manner. You have a few options for finding planning resources in the library:

  1. Use text search in the header of every page,
  2. Use the library search filters,
  3. Browse through the icon-based visual snapshots of each resource.

It’s also possible to use a combination of all three methods to find what you are looking for. A tutorial video on this page provides an overview. Each method is also described in detail below and in our PDF user guide.

Text-Based Search

There is a search box for text-based search in the header of every page. Just enter the search terms you’re interested in and the site will load relevant resources. Please note that there are some limitations to the text search capabilities. For example, the search term ‘bicycle’ returns a much larger set of results than its near-synonym, ‘bike.’ In addition, both the library and icon browser pages include text-based search fields that you can use in combination with the search filter controls to narrow down your results.

Search Filters

Every research summary in the site is indexed according to its research theme, transportation mode, applicable organization type, planning scope, community type, detailed planning subject, and resource type.

Both the library and icon browser pages include search filters that you can use to refine and focus the search results along these dimensions.

Icon Browser

The Icon Browser page presents a visual snapshot of each resource built from icons corresponding to its research theme, transportation mode, applicable organization type, and resource type (or format).

The key to the icons on the website homepage describes each potential value in more detail.

The icon browser page contains the same search filters as the library to enable both faceted and text-based search.

How can I submit a new resource?

You can submit a resource by completing the resource submission form. There, you can provide a link and detailed description of the resource. If the resource is not available online or accessible via a link, you can simply add a note and provide the resource directly to us at: A tutorial video on this page provides more information on this process.

How can I stay up-to-date on the newest resources?

You can stay up-to-date with the latest additions to the planning research digest by joining our monthly email newsletter using the form in the footer of each page. The newsletter summarizes the new resources added to the site over the past month. We promise never to spam you and will limit our updates to one per month!

Sign up for our monthly email to receive updates on the latest resources added to the site.


Where can I access a list of tags and search terms?

This section contains a full list of the tags and search filters that are used in the Planning Research Digest, with definitions where applicable.

Research Themes Definition
Advancing New Technologies The development and use of new technologies in transportation systems
Environment and Health Examining the public health and environmental impacts of transportation
Financial Strategies Financial strategies and techniques for transportation planning
Freight and Logistics Studying the movement of goods or commodities
Innovative Data Analysis Data analysis techniques for transportation planning
Performance-Based Planning Examining the use of performance-based planning methods and their outcomes
Planning for Pedestrians, Bikes, and Transit Planning practices for pedestrians, bikes and transit
Public Involvement Exploring methods of public involvement in transportation planning processes
Scenario Planning Examining the use of scenario planning methods and their outcomes
Traffic Operations The maintenance and advancement of traffic operation systems
Transportation Asset Management Processes of upgrading, maintaining, and expanding transportation assets throughout their life-cycles
Travel Demand Modeling Modeling travel demand

Transportation Modes



The movement of goods or commodities


The movement of people


Transportation by automobile


Transportation by bicycle


Transportation by motorcycle


Transportation on foot


Passenger transportation services

Organization Type



Membership organizations


A large urban area

Council of Governments

Regional governing bodies


Administrative subdivision of a state

Department of Transportation

Governmental agency focused on transportation 

Metropolitan/Regional Planning Organization

A federally funded transportation policy-making organization, comprised of local government representatives and transportation authorities


Planning Commission

A local government board that regulates the creation and enforcement of local zoning designations

Transit Agency

A public agency that operates and maintains passenger transportation services

Resource Type




Conference Proceedings

Documentation from a conference, symposium, or similar event

Research Article

Article from an academic or professional journal, e.g.

Research Report

Report published by a governmental body or other organization (e.g. FHWA, NAS, etc.)

Synthesis Report


Tool or Application

A digital program or other online tool


Digital audio and/or video content

Working Paper


Community Type


Planning Scope




·    Large City


Regional or Metro Area

·    Medium City


·    Border Community

·    Small City


State Level



·    Multi-State



·    Single State

Planning Subject (Detailed)


Planning Subject (Detailed)

Evaluation and Assessment


·      Mixed-Use Development

·    Analysis


·      Redevelopment

·    Deficiencies


·      Sustainable Development

·    Evaluation


·      Transit-Oriented Development

·    Needs Assessment


·    Improvements

·    Performance Management


·    Modernization

·    Ratings


·    No Build

·    Technology Assessment


·    Programming

Facility or Land Use


·    Resource Allocation

·    Land Use Planning


·    Scheduling

·     City Planning


Planning Methods

·     Master Planning


·    Decision Making

·     Regional Planning


·    Forecasting

·    Transportation Planning


·    Long-Range Planning

·     Airport Planning


·    Network Analysis

·     Highway Planning


·    Short-Range Planning

·     Sustainable Transportation


·    Sketch Planning

·     Transportation System Management


·    Strategic Planning

Plan Implementation


·    Systems Planning

·      Beautification



·      Development



·     Joint Development



Who created this site?

This website was developed through NCHRP Project 08-36/139: Planning Research Digests. It was created with input and support from TRB Committee ADA 30 on Transportation Planning for Small- and Medium-Sized Communities. Upon the conclusion of the research effort site will be maintained on an ongoing basis by ADA 30 and AASHTO, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials. For administrative questions, please contact the site administrators at

Where can I learn more about TRB Committee ADA30

The ADA30 Tools of the Trade Conference website has information on the Committee. The site includes a mission statement which reads, in part: Transportation Research Board Committee (ADA30) on Planning in Small and Medium sized Communities comprises a diverse group of around 30 professionals interested in improving transportation planning in communities across the United States . The committee organizes the “Tools of the Trade” Conference at varying locations every other year.

ADA30 was created on February 1, 1975 with the original title of “Transportation Planning Needs and Requirements: Small and Medium Size Urban Areas.” The original objective of our committee, which remains relevant today, was to provide support for planning, development, and multimodal transportation facilities in small and medium-sized communities across the United States.

The committee meets at the annual Transportation Research Board meeting each January. Since 1984, the committee also meets during the summer of each year in order to complete all the work we need to do. Core responsibilities of the committee are to collect, review, and publish journal publications as well as sponsors presentation sessions/ workshops at the TRB annual meeting. The committee often submits ideas for, sponsors, and serves on panels for NCHRP projects.

Tutorial Videos

Tutorial 1: Searching the Library

Tutorial 2: Exploring Resource Pages

Tutorial 3: Submitting a Resource