David vs. Goliath: Stories from Highway Removal Fights

Course Details

Highway removals have gotten a lot of press lately in light of the USDOT's Reconnecting Communities Pilot Program grants. Planners play a critical role in advocating for cities to become more equitable, sustainable, inclusive, and resilient. It's a big fight against metropolitan planning organizations and state departments of transportation — seasoned heavyweights with full-time staff, millions of dollars to be spent on consultants, expensive models, and a favorable policy. How do regular planners and communities new to the game fight the big guys' resources?

This presentation focuses on starting a highway-removal fight and recognizing the breadth of challenges those projects encounter. Presenters share a range of approaches and tactics and identify three common elements that should be included in your campaign.

Leave this course thinking about making your highway-removal effort more effective by structuring the campaign on those three elements. Within that structure, employ your own context-appropriate highway-removal tactics to build on the hard-earned knowledge of veterans of previous efforts.

Learning Outcomes

  • Structure and objectively assess the situation and develop potential strategies to win the fight.
  • Share stories about building capacity at all levels.
  • Use inclusive, equitable metrics that lead to successful city building.