Guiding Land Use

Land use, urban form, and the transportation system

The region leverages transportation investments to guide land use and development patterns that advance the regional vision of stewardship, prosperity, livability, equity, and sustainability.

Transportation Policy Plan

Guiding land use strategies in depth

The region’s long-range transportation plan, the Transportation Policy Plan, lays out six broad aims and a framework for how to achieve them. Guiding land use and the five other values are detailed in Chapter 2: Transportation Policy Plan Strategies (PDF).


  1. Focus regional growth in areas that support the full range of multimodal travel.
  2. Maintain adequate highway, riverfront, and rail-accessible land to meet existing and future demand for freight movement.
  3. Encourage local land use design that integrates highways, streets, transit, walking, and bicycling.
  4. Encourage communities, businesses, and aviation interests to collaborate on limiting incompatible land uses that would limit the use of the region’s airports.

Strategies summarized

  • The Met Council will partner with local governments responsible for planning and implementing the land use and local infrastructure needed to support Thrive MSP 2040. Local governments will prepare comprehensive plans that address the policies in Thrive MSP 2040 and system plans.
  • The plan emphasizes the importance of job concentrations and nodes along transportation corridors and the need for local governments to plan for more dense development and diverse uses especially in these areas. The plan also emphasizes the importance of freight terminals and corridors, and their relationship to land use planning.
  • The plan will ensure that local government land use policies allow for the creation of livable communities that support stewardship and sustainability of the transportation system, and the prosperity and livability of our region. This includes:
    • Planning and implementing an ample system of interconnected local highways and streets
    • Supporting higher expectations for land use around transit stations
    • Including bicycle and pedestrian elements, and supportive tools, in comprehensive plans
    • Planning for the long-term needs of freight modes such as trucks, barges, and railroads
    • Balancing the needs of the aviation system with local land use decisions

The intersection of land use, urban form, and the transportation system shapes the effectiveness of transportation investments. To guide our growth equitably, efficiently, and sustainably, the Met Council continues to collaborate with communities on local plans that support development and growth in ways that both meet community needs as well as the vision of Thrive MSP 2040.

A school bus on a two-lane road.Partnerships expand beyond local communities to MnDOT and other transportation partners. These relationships create sustainable stewardship of our natural, cultural, and fiscal resources.

Measuring performance

Performance measures used to measure the alignment of transportation and land use include:

  • Industrial land near river/rail access
  • Percentage of projected population and job growth near high-frequency transit service
  • Inclusion of transit supportive policies in local comprehensive plans