Spatial Standards for Commercial Area

  • Site must be near or at the centre of the city (CBD) 
  • Accessibility for users (Job holders) 
  • Infrastructure and utility services must be available 
  • Space left for ware houses 
  • Road and transport facilities (Bus stands, taxiways and local rail)
Table : Plot area coverage and Floor Area Ratio


Spatial Standards for Industrial Area

  • Accessibility for labors 
  • Suitable conformability for the loading and unloading of raw materials 
  • Industrial area must be away from residential area 
  • Infrastructure and utility services must be available 
  • Space for treatment of waste material 

Industry floor area requirements

Plot area coverage and Floor Area Ratio


Spatial Standards for Residential Area

  • Accessibility (mainly involve road networks for the residence or inhabitants) 
  • Availability of infrastructure (drainage, sewerage, water supply) 
  • Institutional facilities (health and education) 
  • Site must be away from industrial areas
Table 1 Residential plot sizes for towns in India

Table 2 Plot area coverage and Floor Area Ratio
(Residential Building)

Table 3 Setback for residential buildings
(Front and Rear Setbacks)

Table 4 Setback for residential buildings
(Side Setbacks)

Table 5 Housing

Table 6 Density of Dwellings


Spatial Standards for Planning

Planning Standards are formulated by the Town and Country Planning Department normally in the form of codes or regulations pertaining to space requirement, site specification, height, land use and other criteria required by the local authority for development of land or property These standards are applied during the planning/design stage of a project/preparation of layout. These standards are applied during the planning Normally in the form of codes/design stage of a project/preparation of layout. 

With the idea of having a uniform standard for reference and adoption by town planners, architects and engineers in India, the Institute of Town Planners, the School of Planning and Architecture and the Town and Country Planning Organization, New Delhi, tried to evolve certain planning standards. Planning organizations, like the Delhi Development Authority, the Bangalore Metropolitan Planning Board and the Calcutta Metropolitan Planning Organization have also adopted some standards in the preparation of master plans for the respective metropolitan cities. 

When these standards are compared, it is observed that there is disparity between them and also between the standards adopted in India and those in other countries. Hence, an attempt is made here to evolve workable standards for reference and adoption by persons concerned with urban and regional planning in India. The list is not exhaustive and there is large scope for improving the standards, taking into consideration the latest techniques and theories. The role of architects and engineers in this task is also very important, as they have rich experience in evolving such standards in their respective fields of study. It is hoped that the start made by the Institute of town planners and other organizations would be continued and town planners in India would adopt uniform standards in their profession. 

The proposed standards will be useful for ready reference by practicing town planners, architects, engineers, students and planning organizations including local bodies in their planning work. They will be of great help to those responsible for making policy programmes and recommendations on urban and regional planning and in developing town planning techniques on the ‘systems engineering’ method. In the absence of uniform standards, the authenticity of the standards adopted by any town planner in the country will be open to question. Hence, such standards, apart from being useful in the technical work, save the town planner from adverse comments and unhealthy criticisms. 

Space planning is a complex process with many factors to consider. The principles of space planning involve satisfying a defined criteria on a priority basis – as a result, space planning is frequently about compromise. That being said, there is often more than one solution to planning out the space requirements of a building.

Basic principles 

  1. Residential - Good ventilation, health safety and comfort 
  2. Parking lot - Adequate allocation appropriate lot size 
  3. Public facilities - Catchment area, ensure facilities are provided for the public, equal distribution 
  4. Roads - Hierarchy are followed according to the type of road, ensure efficient transportation system development control, planning standard 
  5. Infrastructure - Adequate provision for sewerage treatment, electricity and water supply, provision depends on forecast of population 
  6. Recreational area - Adequate provision of recreational areas, accessible to all level of society, equal distribution of recreational area 


TOD in India

Indian cities face a multitude of issues such as severe congestion; deteriorating air quality; increasing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the transport sector; increasing road accidents; and an exploding growth in the number of private vehicles (largely motorcycles). With the urban population projected to more than double in the next generation, the situation could easily get out of control and thwart India’s economic development efforts unless remedial measures are soon taken. 

The state of public transport in the majority of Indian cities has degraded over the years. Rising population and underdeveloped mass transport has led to a rapid rise of personal vehicles, traffic congestion and an increase in pollution levels. Moreover, the majority of people do not use public transport simply because of the lack of it and inaccessibility to the transit. Therefore, while augmenting public transport, planning for accessibility is the need of the hour. Increased density and improved connectivity through TOD can help achieve that. But one of the most important reasons for thinking about TOD for Indian cities is the recent emphasis on public transport at all levels of government. Scholars have argued that transport sector in India is extremely energy intensive and needs massive investments in mass transit to quell the rise of private motorized mobility. 

Post the announcement of mission based programs like Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) in 2005, Atal Mission for Rejuvenation, and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) and Smart Cities in 2015, there has been huge emphasis on investments in public transport. Transit systems like metro rail and Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) have found their way into many cities including Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai. Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Rajkot, Surat, Pune, Pimpri-Chinchwad, Hubli Dharwad, Lucknow, Kochi, Jaipur, Bhopal and Indore among many others. 

Some of these cities have gone on to leverage the huge potential accorded by the massive investments in public transit and prepared TOD plans for their cities. In western countries, TOD was used for densifying certain areas but in India the cities already have higher densities. Hence TOD in Indian cities should be looked at as a tool for improving quality of life and financial means to provide infrastructure facilities. India is taking steps towards achieving the TOD guidelines and designing a well-planned city for its people, making itself sustained and pedestrian friendly.


Approach for TOD Implementation

1) Influence Zone 

The area in the immediate vicinity of the transit station, i.e. within a walking distance, having high density compact development with mixed land use to support all basic needs of the residents is called the influence zone of a transit station/corridor. Influence zone is either established at a transit stations or along the transit corridors. It is generally up to a radius of nearly 500-800m of the transit station. Where the distance between the transit stations is less than 1 km and there is overlap in the influence area, it can be identified as a delineated zone (around 500m) on either side of the transit corridor within 10 - 12 minutes walking distance. 

2) High Density Compact Development 

TOD promotes densification in the influence area by providing higher Floor Area Ratio (FAR)/ Floor Space Index (FSI) and higher population and job density as compared to the area around and beyond the influence areas. To ensure sustainable development, the minimum FAR should be 300 - 500%, and can be higher, depending on the city size. This will promote higher concentration of people within the walking distances of transit station, thereby increasing the ridership of the public transport and resulting in increased fare revenue, pollution and congestion reduction.

3) Mixed Use Development 

Mixed land use should be stipulated for development/redevelopment in the TOD zone as it would reduce the need for travel by providing most of the activities such as shopping, entertainment and public amenities such as schools, parks, playgrounds, hospitals etc. within the walking distance of the residents. It would also improve the accessibility of the transit facilities and at the same time link origins and destinations, i.e. residences with work places or activity nodes. This would ensure better utilization of transit fleet by distributing loads in both directions, rather than creating unidirectional peak hour flows. 

4) Mandatory and Inclusive Housing 

The cities should fix a minimum percentage (30% or higher) of allowed FAR for affordable housing (for example up to 60 area) in all development/redevelopment in the influence zones. Housing in the influence zone should have a mix of all economic groups/sections. The development control regulation should stipulate housing for Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) in the influence area to give an opportunity to the people who depend on public transport for daily commuting to live in walkable neighborhoods. 

5) Multimodal Integration 

The influence area should have high quality integrated multimodal transport system for the optimum use of the facilities by the residents/users. The system should have seamless physical connectivity, information integration and fare integration across modes so that the first and last mile connectivity does not become a bottleneck in the use of public transit systems by the citizens. The transit system, including its stations, should be designed to provide high quality services that assure user satisfaction in terms of safety and comfort. The citizens should have barrier free access to all the required amenities in the transit system as well as around the transit centers. 

6) Focus on Pedestrians, Cyclists and NMT Users 

The streets should be designed for users of all age groups and for all types of commuters including pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and transit riders. They should be safe and accessible by all. The influence zone should have development in smaller blocks with a finer street network having provision for pedestrians, bicyclists and NMT (Non-Motorised Transport) users. This will create a grid of small, traversable blocks which has sidewalks and amenities like lighting and information signage etc. and ensure accessibility of the transit stations by pedestrians and cyclist. 

7) Street Oriented Buildings and Vibrant Public Spaces 

Retail and other ‘active uses’ should be supported on the ground floor along the main streets, key intersections, stations and parking garages to ensure high quality pedestrian environments. To promote natural surveillance of public spaces, all boundary walls and setbacks should be removed and buildings should be permitted up to the edge of the street. Also, the orientation of the buildings should be such so as to face the pedestrian facilities. The streets should have a natural surveillance system by providing mixed use active frontage, vending zones and avoiding opaque wall, which would ensure a safe environment for pedestrians, especially women, children and elderly. 

8) Managed Parking 

To discourage the use of private vehicles and to manage parking in TOD, it is essential that the supply of the parking is reduced and made expensive within the influence zone. On street parking should be prohibited within 100 m of the transit station, except for freight delivery and pickup or drop off of the differently abled. The use of parking spaces within the influence zone can be maximized by sharing of spaces between uses that have demand during different times of the day. For example parking requirements for office/work can be shared with the parking spaces for residences as their hours for demands do not coincide with each other.


Characteristics and Design Principles of Transit Oriented Development

 Factors Driving the Trend Toward TOD 

  •  Rapidly growing, mind numbing traffic congestion nation wide 
  •  Growing distaste for suburbia and fry pit strip development 
  •  Growing desire for quality urban lifestyle 
  •  Growing desire for more walkable lifestyles away from traffic 
  •  Changes in family structures: more singles, empty nesters etc.
  •  Growing national support for smart growth 
  •  New focus of federal policy

Components of Transit Oriented Development 

  •  Walkable design with pedestrian as the highest priority 
  •  Train station as prominent feature of town center 
  •  Public square fronting train station 
  •  A regional node containing a mixture of uses in close proximity (office, residential, retail and civic) 
  •  High density, walkable district within 10-minute walk circle surrounding train station 
  •  Collector support transit systems including streetcar, light rail and buses, etc. 
  •  Designed to include the easy use of bicycles and scooters as daily support transport 
  •  Large ride in bicycle parking areas within stations 
  •  Bike share rental system and bikeway network integrated into stations 
  •  Reduced and managed parking inside 10 minute walk circle around town center / train station 
  •  Specialized retail at stations serving commuters and locals including cafes, grocery and dry cleaners 

Benefits Of TOD 

  •  Higher quality of life with better places to live, work and play 
  •  Greater mobility with ease of moving around 
  •  Increased transit ridership 
  •  Reduced traffic congestion, car accidents and injuries 
  •  Reduced household spending on transportation, resulting in more affordable housing 
  •  Healthier lifestyle with more walking and less stress 
  •  Higher, more stable property values 
  •  Increased foot traffic and customers for area businesses 
  •  Greatly reduced dependence on foreign oil, reduced pollution and environmental damage 
  •  Reduced incentive to sprawl, increased incentive for compact development 
  •  Less expensive than building roads and sprawl 
  •  Enhanced ability to maintain economic competitiveness 
  •  Incorporation of public and private sector engagement and investment 
  •  Revitalization of neighborhoods 
  •  Improved safety for pedestrians and cyclists through non-motorized infrastructure
TOD principles cannot be applied uniformly across an entire city or transit network, since densities of jobs and people vary widely across the urban space. In fact, experience has shown that only about 15% of transit stations and their surrounding area can support very high density development. 
To make informed decisions about TOD, research institutions and governments have developed a variety of methodologies that can help identify which station areas are good candidates for TOD, determine what level of density the area around a given station can absorb, and figure out what kind of development mix makes sense in a particular area, looking to strike the right balance between jobs, housing and other amenities. 
Building on these approaches, the report proposes a new framework for guiding TOD plans, by simultaneously assessing the “three values” (3V) of transit stations and surrounding areas:
  • The Node value describes the importance of a station in the public transit network based on passenger traffic, connections with other transport modes and centrality within the network. 
  • The Place value reflects the quality and attractiveness of the area around the station. Factors include the diversity of land use; the availability of essential services such as schools and healthcare; the proportion of everyday amenities that can be accessed by walking or cycling; pedestrian accessibility and also the size of urban blocks around the station. 
  • The Market potential value refers to the unrealized market value of station areas. It is measured by looking at the major variables that can influence the demand for land (current and future number of jobs in the vicinity of the station, number of jobs accessible by transit within 30 minutes, current and future housing densities) as well as the supply (amount of developable land, possible changes in zoning policy, market vibrancy etc.). 
The report presents an approach to identify and address potential imbalances between node, place and market potential values to create new economic opportunities, for example, by improving the urban environment around a major transit hub, or by improving public transit service to a booming area. The tool provides a common framework of assessment for urban, transport, and economic planners, thereby facilitating conversations needed for better economic, land use, and transport integration.

Design Principles of TOD 

The eight Principles of the TOD standard for designing better streets and better cities. 
  1.  Walk - Develop neighborhoods that promote walking. 
  2.  Cycle - Prioritize non-motorized transport networks. 
  3.  Connect - Create dense networks of streets and paths. 
  4.  Transit - Locate development near high quality public transport. 
  5.  Mix - Plan for mixed use. 
  6.  Density - Optimize density and transit capacity. 
  7.  Compact - Create regions with short commutes. 
  8.  Shift - Increase mobility by regulating parking and road use.

Principles for Transit Oriented Development

Cities can ensure TOD by focusing on the following seven principles. 

1) Quality Public Transit 

Public transit is strongly linked to urban development. High quality, convenient transport depends on dense and connected neighborhoods. The goal of a transport system is to connect a high number of riders with the city in a comfortable, efficient and affordable way. 

2) Active Transport 

The interests of pedestrians and cyclists should be at the heart of urban planning. Decision making should shift residents, particularly car users, to active transport. Many commuters already take two non-motorized trips on a daily basis by walking to and from transit hubs to their homes or cars. It is important to build on this and encourage non-motorized transport holistically.

3) Car Use Management 

Car use and parking policies play an important role in creating a safe, human oriented urban environment. 

4) Mixed Use Neighborhoods with Efficient Buildings

A mixture of land uses enhances the local economy by densifying and diversifying the design of the community. Mixed use neighborhoods favor short trips by foot or bike. Similarly, buildings should minimize how much energy and water they consume and require for building and maintenance. 

5) Neighborhood Centers and Vibrant Ground Floors 

A built environment with adequate public space promotes social interaction between residents. Sustainable urban communities must be sufficiently dense and contain a variety of uses that are complementary to residential life. Public spaces should be connected to the urban transport network and serve as vibrant, human centered places of activity. 

6) Public Spaces 

The purpose of public space is not only to enhance public life and social interaction, but also to provide a safe environment for pedestrians and cyclists. Public space is the place of encounter, exchange, and circulation within a community. All individuals have the right to access public spaces, regardless of personal, social or economic condition. 

7) Community Participation and Collective Identity 

Community participation is essential to building a vibrant, inclusive neighborhood that is safe and equitable. Stimulating community participation creates a more equitable, harmonious relationship between varying social groups living in the same area. Respecting the unique identity of local communities results in a higher share of residents engaging in civic, cultural and economic activities, generating a sense of belonging and ownership of the city. 


Transit Oriented Development (TOD)

One of the original and most popular definitions of the transit oriented concept came from Peter Calthorpe, an architect and proclaimed urbanist. According to Calthorpe TODs are: Mixed use communities within an average 2,000 foot walking distance of a transit stop and a core commercial area. TODs mix residential, retail, office, open space and public uses in a walkable environment, making it convenient for residents and employees to travel by transit, bicycle, foot or car. 

TOD integrates land use and transport planning and aims to develop planned sustainable urban growth centers, having walkable and livable communes with high density mixed land use. Citizens have access to open green and public spaces and at the same time transit facilities are efficiently utilized. 

TOD increases the accessibility of the transit stations by creating pedestrian and NonMotorised Transport (NMT) friendly infrastructure that benefits large number of people, thereby increasing the ridership of the transit facility and improving the economic and financial viability of the system. Since the transit corridor has mixed land use, where the transit stations are either origin (housing) or destination (work), the corridor experiencing peak hour traffic in both directions would optimize the use of the transit system. 

Transit oriented development is generally considered to be mixed use development near and oriented to, public transport facilities. Common TOD traits include urban compactness, pedestrian and cycle friendly environments, public and civic spaces near stations, and stations as community hubs. Typically, a multimodal TOD neighbourhood is built around a public transport station or stop (e.g. train station, metro station, tram stop, BRT stop (Bus Rapid Transit), bus stop or even ferry stop), surrounded by relatively high density development with progressively lower density development spreading outward from the centre. TODs are generally located within a radius of 400 to 800m from the transit stop. This is considered to be an acceptable walking distance at the start or end of a journey by transit. In some parts of the world, the TOD approach reaches further than single locations towards a network or corridor approach, which aims at realigning entire urban regions around rail transport and away from the car.

Transit oriented development

Different Types of Transit Oriented Development

1) Single node TOD

This type consists of a single neighbourhood based around heavy rail stations. Its location can be urban or suburban. The development takes place in a circular pattern cantered on a train station. The radius varies from 0.5 km in the US (to allow for pedestrian access) to 2-3 km in the Netherlands (where bicycle access is more common). 

Single node TOD

2) Multi node TOD

This type is similar to the single node TOD but it reaches further than a single location to create a regional network of nodes around heavy rail stations. The nodes can be circular or semicircular. The location of TOD nodes follows a typical “beads in a string” pattern. This type of TOD aims at realigning entire urban regions around rail transport and away from the car. 
Multi node TOD

3) Corridor TOD

This type is encountered in urban areas, and is based around light rail or Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) stops (which are more frequent than heavy rail stops). The development pattern is linear or ribbon like along the transit line because the nodes (e.g., around tram stops) are near each other. TOD corridors are applicable to existing urban areas or planned urban extensions. 

Corridor TOD

In addition, the transportation hub should be located in the heart of the neighbourhood, within a 400m or 10 minute walk from residents. This central location reflects the importance of transit in the community and in the region as a whole. TOD comprises a mix of commercial, residential and institutional developments built to support a transportation hub and to encourage non motor vehicle mobility options, such as biking and walking, within the community. A TOD area could encompass a radius of as little as 0.5 miles or as much as 1 mile from a transit station.