Reconnecting America People * Places * Possibility

Portland & TOD Typologies

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Yesterday we released the Portland Metro TOD Strategic Plan.  The value of this plan is to show where investments should be targeted that will actually move the market in the right direction.  The goals of the Metro TOD program include creating market comparables and cultivating developers to build higher density mixed use developments.  A lot of times outside of downtowns, these folks are somewhat rare so the program seeks to develop that skill set as well as influence local markets.

But not all markets in a region, no matter how many neat looking plans have been created, are ready for more urban types of development.  So what this plan does is it shows what types of investments are right for the different types of places that exist in the Metro region.  Every place is ready for some type of investment, but doing a specific plan for each one could be time consuming and spend a lot of money needlessly. 

By mapping urban form and transit orientation against the market strength of a transit district, a typology of place and investment types emerges.  The image below shows the Portland Typology. 

But how is this developed?  

How does one capture the unique physical characteristics of every neighborhood at the regional scale? This was one of the key challenges Metro staff, CTOD, and Nelson\Nygaard worked through to create the implementation typology for the strategic plan. To truly understand the potential for each station area and frequent bus corridor to support future TOD, we looked at a number of factors including:

Transit Connectivity:

  • Proximity to Light Rail
  • Proximity to Frequent Bus

Pedestrian and Bicycle Connectivity:

  • Intersection Density
  • Proximity to Trails
  • Low Traffic Streets
  • Dedicated Bicycle Lanes
  • Sidewalk Density
  • Overall Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety at Intersection Crossings

Land Use Characteristics

    To compile these many factors into a single, meaningful, and measurable indicator of urban form and “TOD Readiness,” Metro staff created a GIS Model that quantifies each of the above, weighs their impact on TOD potential, and overlays them into a single measure.  The result looks a lot like this:

    We believe this can be replicated in cities around the country to look at areas in and around a region that have frequent transit access via transit and access to local ammenities.  To find out more about this work, you can visit the explanatory page on the CTOD website or read the report.   Additionally, learn more about TOD typologies that have been created by different organizations for cities around the country on our featured topic pages focused specifically on this subject.