The reshaping of land use and urban form in Denver through transit-oriented development

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

land use - transit oriented development, land use - urban density, mode - rail, place - north america


Rail transit, Accessibility, Transit-oriented development, Denver


As large cities seek to expand their transit systems to accommodate increasing travel demand, provide alternatives to growing road traffic congestion, and improve accessibility, more research attention has been focused on the land use effects of transit, most notably in the form of transit-oriented development (TOD). Many cities in the USA are starting or expanding rail transit systems with objectives that include more focused economic development near transit stations and along transit corridors. Denver, Colorado is one of the cities that is aggressively expanding its rail transit system and encouraging high-density, mixed-use development in the station areas. This study analyzes TOD data from the Denver Regional Transportation District and the Denver Regional Council of Governments for 0.5-mile areas around current and proposed rail transit stations. Early evidence indicates that the scope of transit-oriented development in Denver is considerable, resulting in nearly 18,000 residential dwelling units, 5.3 million square feet of retail space, 5.4 million square feet of office space, and 6.2 million square feet of medical space within one-half mile of existing or planned transit stations from 1997 to 2010. As one of the critical elements of the regional land use and transportation plan, the rail transit system and the emphasis on transit-oriented development is contributing to an increase in the average density of the Denver urbanized area.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Elsevier, copyright remains with them.