Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning

Committee Chair(s)

Bartlett Warren-Kretzschmar (Committee Chair)


Bartlett Warren-Kretzschmar


Richard Toth


Jordy Guth


Mobility in the western U.S. is defined primarily by the private automobile. Since the conclusion of WWII, the private automobile has become readily available to the public, and as a result, has heavily influenced the design of our modern cities in the west. In recent years the connections between high motor vehicle use and rising obesity rates, crumbling road infrastructure, and deteriorating air quality have caused city officials to reexamine the transportation systems of the west. One solution advocates, city officials, and planning professionals have begun examining is active transportation (walking, cycling, and public transit). Research suggests that a robust active transportation network not only diversifies mobility options, it also encourages compact urban development, cleaner air, and a move active population.

This thesis developed a methodology for examining and documenting the components of an active transportation network in the western U.S. This was done though a comprehensive literature review to glean important active transportation policies, infrastructure, and best practices. Then, two western U.S. case study cities with relatively high amounts of cycling, walking, and public transit use were selected and analyzed with site visits and planning professional interviews. The data gathered throughout this first phase of the research was then synthesized, and reoccurring themes about cycling, walking and public transit were identified. These themes were labeled as the prerequisites for active transportation in cities of the western U.S. and were documented and prioritized based on their potential impact. The themes were vetted by planning professionals in the two case study cities as well as in Cache Valley to insure accuracy and validity. A final version of the prerequisites was then documented.

The final phase of this research applied the prerequisites to the transportation system in Cache Valley, UT in order to insure the list was valid and reproducible under a variety of conditions. The outcome of this phase was GIS map displaying an alternative future for active transportation in Cache Valley, UT.