The analysis of transit-oriented development (TOD) in Washington, D.C. and Baltimore metropolitan areas

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

land use - transit oriented development, land use - urban density, place - north america, mode - bus, mode - car, ridership - behaviour


Transit-oriented development (TOD), Travel behavior, Vehicle miles traveled (VMT), Multilevel modeling, Transit use, Transit accessibility


Transit-oriented development (TOD) is mainly focused on providing transit service along with high density and mixed-use development to encourage transit ridership. The Maryland Department of Transportation defines TOD as “a place of relatively higher density that includes a mixture of residential, employment, shopping and civic uses and types located within an easy walk of a bus or rail transit center”( Transit-Oriented Development Task Force, Maryland Department of Transportation, 2000). TOD is a fast-growing development strategy and is becoming more popular among city planners, land developers, and government officials for its potential to increase transit ridership and reduce VMT by shortening trips. However, there has not been enough research done on how successful TODs are in providing sustainable transportation modes, which will eventually result in less energy consumption, environmental pollution, and traffic congestion in urban areas. The present study tries to understand how travel behavior is different for TOD residents in the two metropolitan areas of Washington, D.C. and Baltimore. This is done specifically by examining the changes in vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in order to analyze the effectiveness of TODs on encouraging driving less and switching to transit, walking, biking, and other sustainable modes of transportation.

The question of “can transit-oriented development (TOD) reduce vehicle miles of travel?” has been asked frequently, since TODswerefirst proposed and implemented in urban areas. This paper tries to find a viable answer to this question by analyzing the VMT of Washington, D.C. and Baltimore residents. Our results indicate that people living in TOD areas tend to drive less, reducing theirVMT by around 38% in Washington, D.C. and 21% in Baltimore, compared to the residents of the non-TOD areas even with similar land use patterns.


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


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