Reconnecting America and the Community Transportation Association of America (CTAA) examine how smaller communities and rural regions are using transit and other mobility investments to revitalize their economies and connect residents to local and regional opportunities.
In October 2010, the Center for Transit-Oriented Development published a report exploring the role community development finance institutions could play in promoting equitable transit-oriented development. This document is an initial effort to frame the context of TOD and equity, and to encourage a more robust discourse on the connection between the agendas of CDFIs and TOD.
Reconnecting America, Enterprise and the National Housing Trust have released a collection of case studies examining what cities are doing to ensure that affordable housing isn't lost as cities pursue transit-oriented development.
The Center for Transit-Oriented Development (CTOD) has released the "Creating Successful Transit Oriented Districts in Los Angeles: A Citywide Toolkit for Achieving Regional Goals" report, which assesses opportunities to improve land use and transportation linkages in communities surrounding 70 existing and planned transit stations in the City of Los Angeles. The report identifies strategies to help communities around transit stations achieve high transit ridership, increase mixed-income and mixed-use housing opportunities and create sustainable neighborhoods while offering its residents a wealth of travel options.
The latest booklet in the Center for Transit-Oriented Development's series of "100" and "200" manuals has been added to the website. These booklets explain the theory and best practices of transit-oriented development. The TOD 201 booklet "Mixed-Income Housing Near Transit: Increasing Affordability With Location Efficiency" discusses how providing for a mix of incomes in walkable, mixed-use neighborhoods near transit improves the already considerable benefits of having mixed-income neighborhoods by significantly reducing transportation costs. Creating mixed-income TOD deepens the affordability of housing because families can get by with one less car or no cars -- resulting in the savings of thousands of dollars per household annually. The book includes 11 strategies for encouraging mixed-income TOD housing, with studies an photos illustrating successful examples.
In June 2009, the Obama Administration announced a new interagency partnership on sustainable communities between the Department of Transportation, Housing and Urban Development and the Environmental Protection Agency. An early action by the Partnership was to announce a set of Livability Principles to guide future federal investments, policy development, and programs. These include:
D.C. Surface Transit commissioned the Brookings Institution to look at funding alternatives for a proposed streetcar. Brookings then subcontracted with Reconnecting America for assistance. Out of that collaboration came “Value Capture and Tax-Increment Financing Options for Streetcar Construction.”
In the next five years as many as 160,000 renters in 20 metro areas could lose their affordable apartments near transit because the contracts on their privately-owned HUD-subsidized rental units are due to expire. The renewed popularity of urban living means that properties in walkable neighborhoods near transit have increased in value, and that property owners are likely to opt out of the HUD program and convert the housing from affordable to market rate.
Changing demographics and housing preferences as well as concerns about quality of life are boosting the demand for walkable urbanism and transit-oriented development in the Minneapolis-St. Paul region as elsewhere in the U.S. The Twin Cities’ real estate market must be able to provide for this demand in order to preserve the region’s economic competitiveness, but a recent study by the Brookings Institution found the Twin Cities ranked below average in the number of “regionally significant walkable places.” Brookings found only two such existing places – the downtowns in both Minneapolis and St. Paul.
Reconnecting America is co-publishing the book Moving Minds: Conservatives and Transit, a collection of studies by renown conservative transit advocates Paul Weyrich and William Lind. Weyrich, who in 1977 founded the Free Congress Foundation, a conservative Washington, DC, think tank that focused on grassroots political organizing, died this past year. The studies that he and Lind did on public transportation helped conservatives understand why transit should be an essential part of the conservative agenda: because it enhances national security, promotes economic development, helps maintain conservative values including a sense of community, and provides welfare recipients with access to jobs.