What is Transit Oriented Development (TOD)?

    Transit Oriented Development is a type of community development that includes a mixture of housing, office, retail and/or other commercial development and amenities integrated into a walkable neighborhood and located within a half-mile of quality public transportation.

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    What are TOD placetypes and how do they work?

    Some transit stations are located in bustling downtowns at the heart of the regional economy; others are in residential neighborhoods where transit provides a convenient means for commuters to travel to and from work and other destinations. Some stations are located in areas that are experiencing rapid growth and change, while others are in more established, built-out neighborhoods where any change will be incremental. Every station area, whether existing or proposed, faces unique challenges and will require specially tailored strategies to create high-performing TOD projects. However, many different types of station areas share similar characteristics. 

    There is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to TOD.  A TOD typology is a way to group together different transit zones that have a common set of characteristics. A typology has several place types, and all of the station areas within one place type have some elements in common. The characteristics that define a typology can differ depending on what outcomes the typology is meant to accomplish, and not every station area in one place type will be exactly the same. Typologies are useful tools because they increase understanding of characteristics that contribute to place, establish measurable performance benchmarks, and provide a framework to set goals for better performance.

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    Why are job concentrations an important part of TOD?

    TOD planning has generally been focused on developing dense mixed-use residential buildings near stations to increase transit ridership. However, research shows that transit ridership is more closely tied to the density of the workplace (destination), than to the density of the residential neighborhood (origin). Furthermore, the work trip comprises 59 percent of all transit ridership in the United States. Therefore, it is clear that dense employment centers, whether they are in urban or suburban locations, are key to transit performance. Corridors that connect higher density job centers as well as residential neighborhoods have strong potential to support high-capacity transit. In addition, the transformation of single-use suburban job centers to compact, mixed-use districts also increases the likelihood that workers will forego the car for short, mid-day convenience trips. Planning for transit-accessible job centers can also help to broaden economic opportunities for workers, particularly low-wage employees that rely on transit to get to work, as well as improve mobility for all residents. 

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    Why should I get involved in the planning of TOD?

    The introduction of rapid transit to a neighborhood can be a powerful opportunity for reinvestment to occur. It is important that all community representatives -- residents, businesses, property owners, and civic organizations -- participate in the planning of the rail station areas to assure that community values are reflected in the development projects. We are shaping our communities for generations to come. 

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