Transit joint development in the USA: an inventory and policy assessment

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - north america, land use - transit oriented development, land use - planning, land use - impacts, infrastructure - station


transit-oriented development (TOD), United States, interesting stations


The joint development of urban mass transit facilities and private real estate projects has become a popular practice throughout the United States. As of October 1990, 114 transit joint-development projects had been constructed in more than two dozen US cities, although the vast majority of projects have been concentrated in just five cities: New York City, Washington, DC, Philadelphia, Atlanta, and Boston. Of completed joint-development projects 58% have occurred at or near heavy-rail transit stations; another 18% of projects have been developed around commuter rail facilities. Transit joint-development activity can be classified into two basic forms: (1) revenue-sharing arrangements, and (2) cost-sharing arrangements. Of the joint-development projects completed to date, 40% have involved cost- sharing, and 25% have involved revenue-sharing. The remaining projects have involved both types. Joint-development projects have yet to generate very much income to local transit operators, either through capital contributions or through yearly lease payments. Except in New York City, capital contributions from joint development have generally amounted to less than 1% of yearly capital expenditures. This study reveals that there are four conditions necessary for successful joint-development projects. First, the local real estate market must be active and healthy. Second, the agency with the lead responsibility for pursuing joint development must have an entrepreneurial bent. Third, coordination is essential when joint-development projects involve more than one public agency. Fourth, sponsoring agencies need to understand that there are benefits to joint development that go beyond generating revenues. To date, in fact, the direct revenue benefits of joint development have been quite small. The best joint-development projects are those that encourage greater transit usage, create more interesting station environments, and reinforce other planning and development goals.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, copyright remains with them.