A latent class method for classifying and evaluating the performance of station area transit-oriented development in the Toronto region

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

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


Transit-oriented development (TOD), TOD typology, Transportation and land use planning, Latent class analysis, Model-based clustering


Transit oriented development (TOD), which is generally understood as the provision of higher-density, mixed-use, amenity-rich, and walkable development around rapid transit stations, has been championed as one of the most effective solutions for maximizing the potential return on investment for existing and future rapid transit infrastructure projects. But it is clear that not all implementations of TOD are the same in every station catchment area across a transit network. This heterogeneity in station area contexts presents significant complexity for planners and policymakers interested in understanding existing TOD conditions, an area's TOD potential, and the relevant policy and planning interventions required to achieve planning goals. It also creates complications for researchers interested in associating station contexts with various TOD outcomes.

In response, the present paper develops a model-based latent class method for distilling measures of station area TOD inputs into a set of more homogeneous station types. Its application to 372 existing and planned rapid transit stations in the Toronto region reveals a typology of 10 distinct TOD contexts across a number of present and future transit lines. The end result is an empirical tool for policy evaluation and prescription that can be used to benchmark and compare performance of TOD inputs around existing and planned transit stations and offers a foundation for further research into the relationship between TOD inputs and outcomes. Furthermore, the use of latent class analysis improves on the previous literature in this area by offering model results that are easily interpretable and extendable to other applications.


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


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