Interconnectivity: A Review of the Current Status and Steps Necessary to Increase the Level of Interconnectivity of Future Development in Delaware

This study is an attempt to gauge the benefits of designing for interconnectivity, particularly as it relates to future development in Delaware. Since World War II, residential development has largely occurred through a process by which a private developer subdivides a large tract of land into many smaller lots upon which homes are subsequently built. The most common result is neighborhoods or communities that only access arterials roadways, and are not directly linked by a local road system. Over time, this reliance on the state network of roads results in longer trips and unnecessary congestion: and inefficient and inconvenient system. In the extreme, people may drive a mile or more to visit friends who live only hundreds of feet away. The central question then is: can altering this recurring pattern of development reduce the dependence or residential vehicular traffic on external roadways; lessen traffic congestion; and shorten travel times and overall travel distances? To address this question, the following steps were taken: a review of the literature, a series of interviews with policymakers at relevant agencies, and an analysis of trip data from the Delaware Travel Monitoring System (DTMS), administered by the Center for Applied Demography and Survey Research (CADSR). Concurrently, the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) drafted a set of interconnectivity guidelines, suggesting standards for the location and design of residential streets. These guidelines are strongly supported by the literature and interviews. However, while the quantitative analysis generally tends to support the connectivity cause, its results cannot be viewed as entirely conclusive, particularly with regard to external trips. In fact, the entire methodology for measuring connectivity may need refinement. Therefore, the proposed implementation plan must be viewed as a point from which to continue study and refinement, not as an end unto itself.