Planning for TOD at the regional scale: The Big Picture

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land use - planning, land use - transit oriented development, place - north america


transit-oriented development (TOD), transit, land use, planning, regional agencies, walkability


Transit-oriented development, or TOD, is typically understood to be a mix of housing, retail and/or commercial development and amenities — referred to as “mixed-use development” — in a walkable neighborhood with high-quality public transportation. Building successful TOD requires thinking beyond the individual station and understanding the role each neighborhood and station area plays in the regional network of transit-oriented places. It also requires an understanding of the real estate market, major employment centers, and travel patterns in the region. Regional planning for successful TOD projects is really about the coordination of existing plans for growth, transit, housing and jobs, as well as programs and policies at all levels of government. Coordinating all these TOD actors is difficult, especially when a decision that works well for one conflicts with the goals of another. Local governments often have competing priorities for TOD projects along transit corridors, and conflicts can arise over decisions about who should lead the TOD planning process and who has authority over implementation. Land use authority, for example, typically resides with local governments, but also plays an important role in determining whether a region will increase transit ridership, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and improve job access. Regional TOD planning can help identify common goals and facilitate coordination among regional agencies, transit agencies, cities, counties, towns, community residents and other TOD stakeholders. Coordination and collaboration will enhance the likelihood of successful TOD by allowing stakeholders to achieve multiple goals, including high transit ridership, improved connections between people and jobs, and flourishing transit-oriented neighborhoods.


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