recent multi billion dollar streetcar line land development experience,
speaks particularly, about a concept known as "Transit Oriented
Development", or "TOD". Let's take a quick look at what "TOD-ness"
means, as well as the "TOD- Index". For this, we refer to
extracts from: TCRP Report 95,
TRB, Chapter 17:
Transit Oriented Development (excerpts from TCRP Report 95, pg 17-2, 17-3):
TOD projects potentially involve a wider variety of stakeholders than
other development projects, reflecting in part the more extensive
involvement of transit agencies and government funding sources. TOD
stakeholders may have a wide range of complementary or competing
objectives. Travel-related objectives include:
- Increasing the opportunities for residents and
workers to meet daily needs by taking transit or walking.
- Attracting new riders to public transit,
including so-called "choice" riders—riders who could otherwise choose
- Shifting the transit station mode of access to
be less reliant on park-and-ride and more oriented to walking.
- Reducing the automobile ownership, vehicular
and associated parking requirements that would otherwise be necessary
to support a similar level of more traditional development.
- Enhancing the environment, through reduced
and energy consumption derived from shifts in commuting, other trip
making, and station access to environmentally friendly travel modes.
Non-transportation objectives may include providing desirable and
affordable housing choices, enhancing sense of community and quality of
life, supporting economic development or revitalization, shifting
development from sensitive areas, minimizing infrastructure costs, and
Suggested values for
essential indicators of a "TOD Index" to describe development project
"TODness" (excerpts from pg 17-9, 17-10, see also Tables 17-44
- Centrally located transit with walking
distances no more than 1/4 to 1/2 mile.
- Superior walkability with small blocks
and pedestrian traffic management priority.
- Extended hours of highly-reliable
transit service at 5- to 15-minute intervals.
- Land use mix to meet daily needs paired
with good transit connectivity to other activities.
- Density sufficient to support
cost-effective transit, retail services, and infrastructure.
- Managed parking with reduced supply
relative to standard development.
Table 17-44 The TOD
Development surrounds the transit station/stop and its primary edge is
within 5 minutes or about 0.25 miles of the transit node. Very high
quality transit service may support a 10-minute (0.50 mile) walk
catchment area. (See"Underlying Traveler Response Factors"—"Land Use
and Site Design").
Block perimeter lengths are walkable (no more than 0.25 miles). By way
of example, blocks in downtown Portland are 200 feet on a side (0.15
miles perimeter). Walkways are direct and attractive and buildings are
sidewalk-oriented. Moving people rather than cars should be the traffic
management priority, with easy street crossings, short signal cycle
lengths, right-turn-on-red prohibitions. Lack of street connectivity
can lead to much longer walking distances as compared to airline
distances. (See "Land Use and Site Design" and case study, "Travel
Findings for Individual Portland, Oregon, Area TODs").
Frequent, highly-reliable, and comfortable transit service is provided.
Most Transit TODs have very high frequency service during the peak
(headways of 5 to 8 minutes or less). Good off-peak service should also
be provided to make life without an automobile not only possible, but
easy (headways of 15 minutes or less). (See "Underlying Traveler
Response Factors"—"Transit Service Characteristics").
Mix of Uses
Development has elements that create a self-sufficient community where
daily needs such as grocery shopping can be accomplished without need
for a car and preferably by walking. Transit can provide connectivity
to some uses not present in the community, but located close at hand to
stops along the primary transit line, such as jobs, entertainment, and
destination retail. (See "Response by TOD Dimension and
Strategy"—"Response to TOD by Land Use Mix").
Density is sufficient to enable cost-effective transit service and
infrastructure provision, create a market supportive of utility retail,
and keep local attractions and destinations within short walking
distances. High densities are associated with numerous aspects of TOD
success. Residential density guidelines for TOD in Portland, Oregon, as
an example, range from 12 to 30 units per acre depending on distance
from the station and primary transit mode. In the Puget Sound Region,
an employment density guideline of 50 jobs per gross acre is suggested
to support LRT TOD (Cervero et al., 2004). (See also "Underlying
Traveler Response Factors"—"Land Use and Site Design"—"TOD-Supportive
Density" and in Chapter 15, "Related Information and Impacts"—"Transit
Service Feasibility Guidelines"—"Density Thresholds for Transit
Service" including Tables 15-48 and 15-49.)
Parking minimums are avoided, parking maximums are encouraged, and
parking costs are charged to users. Parking requirements are reduced
from those of standard development to account for and encourage more
transit and walking and take advantage of shared parking opportunities.
Structured parking, satellite parking, underground parking, and parking
with street-facing office or retail uses are among the techniques
employed to avoid dead blocks and enable clear walking paths providing
visibility of the transit station. (See also "Underlying Traveler
Response Factors"—"Parking Supply" and "Parking Pricing and Transit
Table 17-45 The TOD
Widths and Driveways
Streets and walks are scaled to pedestrian comfort and convenience.
Overly wide streets and intersections, along with parking between
sidewalks and buildings with its associated driveways, can discourage
pedestrian trips. Some TODs incorporate narrower streets on the basis
of the motorized trip reduction benefits of the TOD itself and/or
pedestrian preference policy.
Good highway access is provided, especially for suburban TODs, to yield
sufficient customers for vibrant retail. However, when highway access
serves the same travel market as a TOD's transit service, particular
attention needs to be paid to parking management to ensure transit is
A diversity of housing types is incorporated to accommodate residents
of different income levels. Inclusion of below-market-rate housing can
support higher levels of transit ridership. Lower income residents may
be more inclined to forgo ownership of automobiles and use the TOD's
Numerous windows on the ground floor of development are incorporated to
create inviting, active, friendly, and defensible pedestrian spaces.
Windows on the transit node and its approaches should desirably include
24-hour uses. People may be willing to walk longer distances when the
trip is safe, convenient, and interesting (Snohomish County, 1999;
Occasional access to automobiles is facilitated through organized car
sharing. Such an approach can reduce the need for automobile ownership,
leading to a variety of TOD benefits: fewer parking spaces required,
higher transit mode share, lower vehicle miles of travel, and greater
support for local retail. Car sharing ratios of one car per 20
subscribers have been used.
Transit pass programs and other Travel Demand Management (TDM) measures
are applied to tip the balance toward transit, walking, and cycling for
TOD residents and workers. Free transit passes may be made part of
sales packages to better attract those who will use transit,
particularly where the commanding travel advantages of typical HRT or
CRR in a central-place city/region are lacking, as with certain LRT,
BRT, and conventional-bus oriented TODs.
A pertinent reminder at this juncture is to note once again the
interactive nature of factors affecting TOD performance (Hendricks,
2006). It follows that the essential and the supportive indicators
proposed in the TOD Index describe characteristics that may work
together supportively as well as individually. These characteristics
will also interact with factors that are not inherently
transportation-related. Previously discussed evidence suggests that
such interaction may well be synergistic, leading—with carefully
balanced selection of characteristics—to enhanced effectiveness for
sensitively designed and implemented TOD.