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. 



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