Reconnecting America People * Places * Possibility

TOD As A Transportation Strategy: 2001 Analysis Questions Value

Daniel Luscher's 2001 evaluation of transit-oriented development as a traffic congestion reduction strategy has been added to the Resource Center best practices database.

Lusher's Berkeley Planning Journal article comes down strongly against using TOD as a traffic congestion panacea and suggests the whole transportation value of TOD may be overblown.

"While it may be a useful supplement to other transportation policies (such as public transit improvements and pricing strategies), transit-oriented development is inappropriate as the cornerstone of transportation planning in the Bay Area," Lusher concludes.

He points out in the study that much of the reduction seen in per capita vehicle miles travelled associated with TODs can be attributed to the increase in residential density and from closer proximity to the urban core.

"It is possible that the transit access benefit of TODs has been oversold relative to its other characteristics," he suggests.

Luscher points out that his analysis only evaluates the transportation implications of TOD.

"To the extent that TODs are part of a larger scale rethinking of urban design, they are likely to have worthwhile non-transportation benefits, such as an enhanced sense of community and the preservation of open space on the suburban fringe. They may also be a useful mechanism for increasing the supply of affordable housing and revitalizing urban neighborhoods. Transit-oriented development may make a substantial contribution to urban life, despite its limited potential for reducing travel," he explains.