Reconnecting America People * Places * Possibility

Resource Center

Moving Toward Implementation: An Examination Of The Organizational And Political Structures Of Transit-Oriented Development

Explores the costs and impacts of Transit Oriented Development and addresses the rationale for designing transit-oriented neighborhoods

Executive Summary

Transit Oriented Development (TOD) serves as a planning tool creating more livable, pedestrian-friendly communities, where people can reduce their use of single-occupancy vehicles by increasing the convenience of other mobile or non-motorized alternatives to include walking, bicycling, mass transit, vanpools and carpools. A central purpose of Transit Oriented Development is to reduce the use of single-occupancy vehicles by increasing the number of times people walk, bicycle, carpool, vanpool, or take a bus, street car or rail (TCRP, 2002).

Transit Oriented Development, if designed correctly, brings potential riders closer to transit facilities. This option of building closer as opposed to building further away from transit nodes brings the neighborhood together and facilitates its lesser dependence on roads and automobiles. If designed properly, TOD should not only help transit investments work more efficiently, but also reduce external trip making since residents have more options available within the TOD community.

While each transit designed community reviewed was different in design and basic components, they shared the central theme to encourage transit use, reduce dependency on automobiles and create more livable communities by better designing neighborhoods. Important TOD characteristics are as follows:

  • Transport oriented communities each have distinctive characteristics, as well as commonalities.
  • TOD neighborhoods typically include some type of public transit and may include parking features.
  • Size is not an issue in the development of a TOD project. Large or small communities can benefit from implementing TOD. The smallest project in this research cost $20 million and the largest $2 billion.
  • When considering implementing a TOD project, it is important that there are incentives to help make the TOD project more attainable.
  • Tax incentives, grants, proactive planning and infrastructure construction are some of the strategies used by local governments to attract developers and interest them in TOD.
  • Land use laws and policies must be considered when contemplating TOD and may or may not need revision.
  • Successful TOD generally represents collaborative liaisons between public and private entities; a variety of funding sources may have been accumulated to fund the development.

Federal, state local officials continue to support transit-oriented and more livable communities. Residents, developers and public officials report satisfaction with the TODs assessed as part of this research.