Transit-oriented development (TOD) – typically defined as compact, mixed-use development within walking distance of a transit station – has emerged in recent years as a key strategy for fostering quality neighborhoods and reducing auto dependence. Despite the emphasis on TOD in many policy discussions, however, only limited information is available to help communities understand the likely development impacts of new transit investments. This report builds on a 2010 study by the Center for Transit-Oriented Development (CTOD), Rails to Real Estate: Development Patterns along Three Recently Constructed Rail Lines, to examine the opportunities and challenges involved in promoting TOD in different types of neighborhoods, and the strategies that may be appropriate to catalyze TOD depending on the neighborhood context. By examining development patterns and public investment strategies through the lens of “development context” or “neighborhood type,” this report…
Transit-Oriented Development in the Chicago Region, 2000–2010
Mixed-use centers anchored by public transit are essential to the triple bottom line, or the economic, environmental, and social sustainability of the Chicago Region. With the publication of GO TO 2040 in 2010, the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) put forth a vision to grow the transit-oriented development (TOD) areas of the Region and make them communities of choice. In 2012 the Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT) built on this vision with the publication of Prospering In Place, which honored GO TO 2040 for its commitment to reconnect land use, transportation, and the economy, and recommended the locations in the Chicago Region that had the best prospects for growth—and hence warranted priority access to public and private resources. Prospering in Place was also a cautionary story of how a blueprint alone, without a place-based framework for development, will not reverse the…
Leveraging Transportation Assets to Foster Livable Communities
In the Chicago region, as in most US metropolitan areas, the dispersal of businesses and residents from settled communities to greenfield developments has created a number of socioeconomic and environmental challenges. The growth of employment centers in exurban areas inaccessible by mass transit creates strains on municipal infrastructure, depletes farmland and natural resources, increases regional congestion and pollution from cars and trucks, and exacerbates a jobs-housing mismatch as workers must drive farther and pay more at the fuel pump. These trends can be countered by creating more jobs, housing, and amenities near well-established passenger and freight transportation infrastructure in the west Cook County suburbs.
The Sierra Club reported that between 1970 and 1990, the Chicago region’s population increased by 1 percent while its urbanized area rose by 24 percent. The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for…
Public transit agencies have employed intelligent systems for determining schedules and routes and for monitoring the real-time location and status of their vehicle fleets for nearly two decades. But until recently, the data generated by daily operations in the transit system were only available to managers and engineers inside agencies. Transit riders could consult static information when planning trips, primarily through printed or online timetables or maps. Where dynamic train or bus arrival predictions were accessible, riders could only see this information on fixed signs at transit stations or stops. With the popular adoption of smartphones and other mobile technologies transit riders gained the capacity to access information anywhere and at any time. Some transit agencies have responded by publicly releasing disaggregated data files for schedules and real-time feeds of vehicle locations. These agencies have thus empowered civic entrepreneurs to…
Place matters for health in important ways. Research demonstrates that neighborhood conditions—the quality of public schools, housing conditions, access to medical care and healthy foods, levels of violence, availability of exercise options, exposure to environmental degradation—powerfully predict who is healthy, who is sick, and who lives longer. And because of patterns of residential segregation, these differences are the fundamental causes of health inequities among different racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups. This study examines the relationships between health, community characteristics, and food access in Cook County, IL, and attempts to address specific questions raised by the Cook County Place Matters Team:
What is the relationship between community-level measurements of socioeconomic status—that is, wealth, income, and/or education—and access to healthy food?
What is the relationship between access to nutritious food and the amount spent for…
Why This Book?
Transit-oriented development can be used as a tool to support family-friendly communities and high-quality education. Transit-oriented development (TOD) is a mix of housing, retail and/or commercial development, and amenities in a walkable neighborhood with high-quality public transportation. Interest in TOD has grown across the country to achieve multiple goals, including:
Reduced automobile trips and greenhouse gas emissions;
Increased transit ridership and transit agency revenues;
The potential for increased and/or sustained property values near transit;
Improved access to jobs for households of all incomes;
Reduced infrastructure costs, compared to what is required to support sprawling growth;
Reduced transportation costs for residents;
Improved public health due to increased walking and biking;
Creation of a sense of community and place.
Recent TOD projects have often catered more to young professionals, empty nesters or other households without children, as these…
The federal government, through various transportation acts, such as the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA), the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21), and, more recently, the Safe, Affordable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act—A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU), has reinforced the need for integration of land use and transportation and the provision of public transit. Other federal programs, such as the Livable Communities Program and the New Starts Program, have provided additional impetus to public transit. At the state and regional level, the past three decades have seen increased provision of public transit. However, the public transit systems typically require significant operating and capital subsidies—75 percent of transit funding is provided by local and state governments.1 With all levels of government under significant fiscal stress, new transit funding mechanisms are welcome. Value capture (VC) is once…
In recent decades, some cities have seen their urban centers lose population density, as residents spread farther out to suburbs and exurbs. Others have kept populous downtowns even as their environs have grown. Population density in general has economic advantages, so one might wonder whether a loss of density, which may be a symptom of negative economic shocks, could amplify those shocks. This paper looks at four decades of census data and show that growing cities have maintained dense urban centers, while shrinking cities have not. There are reasons to think that loss of population density at the core of the city could be particularly damaging to productivity. If this is the case, there could be productivity gains from policies aimed at reversing that trend.
When the first edition of Cities of Opportunity was developed, we made a decision to rank cities only in their 10 indicator categories and to forego showing overall rankings to avoid the misperception of a contest. That risk seemed especially significant in 2007, when the media cast New York and London in a death match for global capital market kingship.