Trip InImpact ees
Laura B. Firtel, AICP a
INTRODUCTION renovation as long as the project creates new
impacts. The fees can not be used to perform
In the past decade, communities across the nation, operationsand maintenance activities. Some of the
particularly those experiencing rapid growth, have othermajor legal requirementsinclude:(1)the fee
been much more aggressive in developing non- can not generatemore revenue than is needed to
traditional methods of generating local revenue to buildthe capacity; (2) the fees must be earmarked
finance infrastructure. Impact fees have become to pay for facilities that will directly benefit the
an increasingly popular source of funds to build fee payer; and (3) the fees can not be established to
capacity in capital-intensive services such as correct past deficiencies.
transportation, fire service, and parks.
States without impact fees legislation derive the
fundamental parameters on the basis of case law. Two years ago, KimIey-Horn & Associates
A limited few states have legislation that conducted a survey of over 20 communities across
establishes some of the basic requirements of an the nation, all of which had transportation impact
impact fee. Even states that do have legislation fee systems in place. Reflecting where many of the
addressing impact fees do not always prescribe a active impact fees are in effect, half the
specific formula or methodology for calculating communities surveyed were located in Florida.
them. Consequently, the methods and data used in Communities in California, Colorado,
their formulation are quite varied and the degree w
Pennsylvania,Maryland, Texas and Illinois ere
of sophistication and accuracy varies as well. alsosurveyed.
This paper will address issues relating to both the The purpose of the survey was to document how
development of transportation impact fees and the communities handled a variety of administrative
data that goes into the impact fee calculation. In and technical issues in constructing their impact
particular, trip generation will be discussed and fee systems. To obtain this information, each
specific problems that have arisen in the use of the community’s transportation impact fee ordinance
ITE trip generation data will be addressed. Results was reviewed. The following administrative and
of a national survey of communities having technical aspects were documented.
adopted transportation impact fees Will be
discussed in highlighting trends in the Adminktrathe
administrative and technical aspects of impact
fees. 1. adopted?
When was the ordinance
BACKGROUND ON IMPACT FEES containedintheordinance?
3. Does the community have an
Before addressing the key issues on which this procedures
paper is based, it is important to establish a 4. s have
lncountyystems, cities “opted
common understanding about impact fees; what outorin”tothe system?
they are and are not; how they can be used and 5. to
ln addition transportation,has
some established legal requirements. the a i f
community doptedmpact ees
Transportation impact fees are one time charges 6. the a
Whendoes communityssess the
paid by developers who are developing projects f
that will create new impacts on the transportation 7. Whenk payment required?
system. The jee, to be distinguished from a general 8. How many landusecategories are
purpose tax, is specifically to allow local containedinthesystem?
government to build the transportation capacity 9. f
How many impact eedistrictshas
made necessary by new development. New the c
development can be either “brand new” or 10. Do thefeesvary bydistrict?
11. Are there any landuses thatare
1991 International Conference Compendium Papers 83
exempt from paying impact fees? districts in their systems, but in most
12. What credits are offered in the cases the fees do not vary by
13. Is there a credit given specifically 6. A variety of credits are given; credit
for Transportation Systems for gas tax is the most common. Few
Management (TSM) programs? communities give a credit for TSM.
14. By policy, is the impact fee 7. In Florida, communities give a
discounted? refund if the impact fee is unused
15. Is there an incentive offered to use after from 5-10 years. In California,
the standard impact fee schedule as no refund is given.
opposed to calculating an 8. Most communities allow the fee
independent impact fee for a payer to conduct a study to
specific project? If yes, what is the determine the fee if the fee payer
incentive? believes the standard fee is too high.
16. How many years does a community 9. Most communities, where it was
have before they must refund possible to determine, had conducted
unused impact fee revenues? a study of needs prior to developing
17. In #l 6 above, is “unused” defined as the impact fee.
unspent or unencumbered? 10. Most communities require a periodic
18. Does the ordinance permit a fee review/update of the system and
payer to conduct a study to calculate most call for this to be done
a fee specifically for the project or annually.
must everyone accept the fee in the 11. Most Florida communities do retain
adopted fee schedule. a percentage (l-3%) for
19. Did the community conduct a needs administering the system. Outside
study upon which the impact fee is Florida, this is not typically done.
20. Are vested rights discussed in the Technical Issues
21. Does the ordinance mandate A number of technical issues were documented in
periodic reviews and updates of the the survey. They included:
22. Does the ordinance establish a 1. What is the impact fee equation?
percentage of the fees that can be 2. Is trip generation used in the
used by the community to formula?
administer this system? If so, what 3. Is peak hour or daily trip generation
is the percentage? used?
4. Is trip length used in the formula?
Table 1 is a summary of the results of the 5. Is percent of new trips used in the
administrative surveyj Significant findings formula?
include the following. 6. What unit cost is used in the
1. Most communities include some 7. Does the community have an
administrative procedures in their adopted Capital Improvement
ordinance but the majority do not Program (CIP)?
have administrative manuals, perse. 8. What are approximate fees for single
2. In most county systems in Florida, family, retail, office and industrial
the cities opt in. land uses?
3. Of communities that have other
impact fees besides transportation, Table 2 is a summary of the results of the technical
most have impact fees for parks. survey.
4. About half of the communities
surveyed require payment of the Communities that are contemplating development
impact fee at the time of building of an impact fee may find the approaches taken by
permit. others of some general interest. However, caution
5. Communities in Florida, more than should be exercised in using the approaches
in other states, use impact fee without first confirming that state legislation
84 institute of Transportation Engineers
1991 international Conference Compendium Papers 85
86 Institute of Transportation Engineers
(where applicable) or case law will allow a given Trip Generation Manual, 4th Edition contains trip
approach. generation data for over 90 land use categories. In
addition to the obvious concerns associated with
TRIP GENERATION ISSUES R2 values nd thelike,
small sample sizes, low a
therere c t ITEdata
inusing he that
One of the variables that is used in the vast are relevant
majority of impact fee systems is trip generation. fee. a summarized
Trip generation data is used in transportation
impact fees to measure the demand that different Changing Technology. Since the first ITE Trip
land uses create for roadway capacity. Generation Manual was published using data that
went as far back as 1966, there have been
In developing a transportation impact fee system, numerous technological as well as industry changes
most communities limit the number of land use in the way businesses are set up and operate. For
categories to a few in each of the following general example, service stations have certainly
categories: residential, commercial, industrial, experienced enormous changes in both the service
institutional, office, recreational and services. they offer and the Way it is provided. The
They do this, not because of a lack of trip independent variable that is commonly used when
generation data, but rather because of the discussing service stations is “pump”. Yet, what is
administrative difficulties involvedin maintaining a pump? Is it the number of hoses, the entire
a system that contains a long list of land use casing around the hoses, the number of service
categories. positions? As pump technology has changed, it has
become more difficult to determine how the
A number of difficulties have been encountered in independent variable should be applied.
using ITE trip generation data. In addition, many Additionally the services provided at today’s
communities have wrestled with the concern of service stations vary greatly from the services
whether the ITE rates are, in fact, applicable in provided in years past. Sometimes, service stations
their community. The balance of this paper will of today look more like convenience stores than
address some of the more common problems places where gas and auto repairs can be
associated with using the ITE data and some purchased. Another common problem deals with
recommendations will be offered. Further, issues how car washes that are part of a service station
related to the use of ITE versus locally compiled are handled. The ITE includes trip generation
trip generation data will be discussed. rates specifically for car washes. But is it
reasonable to calculate a separate trip rate for car
ISSUES INVOLVED IN USING ITE TRIP washes when the car wash is part of the service
GENERATION DATA station? Probably not. As for the definition of
“pump”, we believe that the number of service
Many of the problems encountered in the use of positions is the best interpretation. In some cases
ITE trip generation data in impact fee systems are where the project is half service station, half
no different than the problems encountered in the convenience store, it may be desirable to take a
use of the ITE data for other purposes. The special traffic count to establish trip generation.
principal difference has more to do with the direcf According to ITE, a 2,500 sf convenience store will
effect trip generation has on the fee, itself, and generate over 2,000 trips per day. A 10 pump
consequently, the data tends to be more carefully service station will generate approximately 1,300
scrutinized in the impact fee than it is, perhaps, in trips per day. How you classify a hybrid will be of
other applications. In most systems, if the trip enormous concern to the developer! It is probably
generation rate increases by 10%, as an example, a not reasonable to calculate the trip generation for
10%increase in the impact f ee (before credits) will each use separately since common sense would
result. With impact fees over $3,500 per single dictate that many shared trips will occur. The 5th
family unit (in some communities) a 10-15% change Edition of the Trip Generation Manual may resolve
in the trip generation rate can make a significant some of this.
difference to the developer building a 300 home
subdivision, particularly since the fee is There
Pass-by Traffic. lack
isa general ofdata
traditionally paid at a time in the development a pass-by
that ddresses While
process when cash flow is likely to be tight. inmanyland inmost
uses, ofthe type
businesseslike service fast food
The Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) andconvenience
restaurants a significant
percentage t c
1991 International Conference Compendium Papers 87
stream of traffic and consequently, when assessing of information about the sites represented in the
a project’s impact these trips should be quantified. trip rate presented problems. Part of the solution
In mixed use developments this is also critical. lies in better documentation of the trip generation
studies that comprise an ITE trip rate and ITE in
Special Operational Conditions. In a study the 5th Edition, we’re told, is making
conducted in Orlando, Florida we found a improvements in this area. Secondly, allowing
significant reduction in parking demand at a hotel developers to conduct trip generation studies using
that was located close to the airport and offered an established methodology, with good
complimentary shuttle service back and forth. We documentation, is also a potential solution.
can surmise that had we been studying trip
generation, we would have recorded a lower than In impact w
“typical” trip generation rate as well. component has
visible that adramatic effectonthe
Unfortunately, it isn’t always possible to learn fee developers pay,we are seeing increased
about the operational conditions that were present scrutiny about accuracy
andquestions the ofthe
at the study sites represented in ITE and therefore, f
triprates use. Deviationrom national
it is hard to know if the site you are concerned may a
standards produce moreequitable rate trip
with is “special” or not. One effective way to a
inagivenrea, k L s
address this issue is to allow developers who that t r t exceed TE trip ates
producerip ateshat I r
believe their projects are “special” to prove it by be
will especially vulnerable,especially ifthe
collecting data. This an equitable way to treat the number oflocalstudies inthe r
developers and a good way to get free data arefewer thanthestudies representing theITE
collection for your agency. A set of procedures for triprate. Withall theconcerns associated with
conducting these studies should be developed so t national
standard, still recognized
that you get what you need and the developer asa superior o T
sourcefdata. heuseoflocal data
knows what is expected. k reasonable butit
insomecircumstances does not
data. urther, selectingone
Land Use Segregation In Trip Generation ormorelandusecategories toconduct publicly
Estimates. Occasionally, we encounter land uses trip
funded generation studiescan“throwp a red
that are not represented in ITE, perse, but they flag” to the representatives of the land use
may contain uses for which ITE has collected data. categories that are not being studied, particularly
An example of this is a golf course clubhouse. We if the studies produce lower trip rates than those
had the experience of having an impact fee found in ITE.
assessed for the clubhouse (the golf course had
been built for years and they were finally building Having a provision for independent studies by
the clubhouse). Since ITE doesn’t have trip developers is the easiest and most efficient method
generation data for clubhouses, individually, the for dealing with questions about trip generation.
responsible agency decided to calculate the impact The data produced through these studies may or
fee for the clubhouse by segregating the individual may not be appropriate or adequate to justify
land uses that comprise a clubhouse (restaurant, changing the trip rates in your impact fee formula,
lounge, office, retail) and applying the fee for the but it at least, can be used on a case by case basis.
individual land uses. The result was a very high Developing a standard methodology for these
impact fee. The developer felt that the clubhouse studies will aid both the developer and your agency
would not, by itself, generate many new trips. so that both understand what is required and
Most of the trips to the clubhouse would be made independent studies can be reviewed and processed
by golfers who had already been accounted for in efficiently.
the golf course impact fee.
In instances like this, common sense is key. We
were able to obtain copies of the studies which This a o
paper has addressed variety f issues
comprise the ITE trip rate for golf courses. We to
relating transportationimpactfeesand in
found that they were based on courses that had thetrip
generation that gointo
clubhouses and therefore, it became clear that the calculation. generation are
their Trip rates being
trip rate in ITE included trips for both the golf moreclosely in a in
course and the clubhouse. impact fees o e
Many other examples could be cited where trip
generation data, either the absence of it or the lack
88 Institute of Transportation Engineers
National research indicates a wide range of
approaches taken to the development of impact
fees, with some consistency found statewide.
UseofITEdata commonpractice f
but a a that
therere numberofshortcomings were
discussed.Thesecan be overcome througha
approach their use
with a provision the impactfee
studies theirprojects’ trip
s will e
thesetudies promote fficiency inboth the
productionand reviewof thesestudiesy b
1991 International Conference Compendium Papers 89