Bursting the Bubble: Determining Transit-Oriented Development's Walkable Limits


Brian Canepa

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

operations - traffic, land use - transit oriented development, place - urban, mode - rail, mode - tram/light rail, mode - mass transit, mode - pedestrian, mode - pedestrian


Walkways, Walks, Walking distance, Walking, Walkability, Urban transportation, Urban areas, Transit oriented development, Transit, Traffic free zones, Public transit, Pedestrians, Pedestrian walkways, Pedestrian trafficways, Pedestrian precinct, Pedestrian facilities, Pedestrian areas, Paths, Mixed use development, Mass transit, Local transit, Light rail transit, Joint occupancy of buildings, Intracity transportation, Footways, Auto free zones


Transit-oriented developments (TODs) in the United States have been modeled almost exclusively with a half-mile radius as a reliable limit for pedestrian walkability from and to a light rail station. New research has emerged to challenge this standard, with data indicating that transit users may be apt to walk greater distances than previously estimated. Variables such as housing density, employment density, and urban design all significantly affect walking patterns. Those factors are analyzed as expanders or contractors of the TOD radius, and the implications that a fluctuating boundary might have on the future of urban growth are considered.