Transit-Oriented Development in the States
Across the United States, in large cities such as Seattle and Miami and in smaller metropolitan areas such as Hartford, Conn., and Fort Collins, Colo., new transit systems are being built to aid mobility, reduce congestion and spark economic activity. In 2012 alone, more than 30 metropolitan areas were building new transit lines, and many more projects are slated to begin in the next few years. Future transit riders may find themselves stepping onto a new light rail car in Houston, boarding a streetcar in Cincinnati or hopping on bus-rapid transit in Tampa. All these systems promise to help reshape the cities they serve and bring new transportation options to citizens. Creating new transit systems is only part of the equation, however. Transit is much more likely to enhance the overall transportation network if a neighborhood’s or city’s development patterns encourage transit ridership, a strategy referred to as transit-oriented development (TOD). Policymakers, private businesses and community advocates across the country are working to build and encourage TOD near transit lines and stops. State legislatures have taken a lead role in many states to create regulatory, planning and funding frameworks to encourage such development.
The Center for Transit-Oriented Development believes that a TOD project should “Increase ‘location efficiency’ so people can walk and bike and take transit; boost transit ridership and minimize traffic; provide a rich mix of housing, shopping and transportation choices; generate revenue for the public and private sectors and provide value for both new and existing residents; and create a sense of place.”