Transit Oriented Development (TOD) is a land use strategy that focuses development around locations that are well served by transit, and that typically includes a mix of land uses, and a more dense development pattern. For instance, within walking distance of a transit station there might be offices, retail stores, cultural institutions, and housing. Non-residential uses draw residents from other areas to the development, as well as serve the needs of the residents within the development. Most importantly, both residents and non-residents are able to reach destinations without the use of personal automobiles.
TOD has been successfully implemented in small villages and large cities, and the implementation of TOD is unique to the particular location. The principles of TOD, focused on creating vibrant centers of activity, are as applicable in high-density cities like New York as to much smaller towns, like those throughout the I-287 corridor.
TOD in Westchester County
TOD already exists in many places throughout Westchester County. In fact, many Westchester communities are transit oriented developments – they developed their downtown around their train station. Communities such as Tuckahoe, Rye, and Chappaqua are walkable, mixed-use communities with transit access in the community center. People who live or work in these communities can walk to transit lines, shopping, and entertainment thereby reducing automobile use in these places.
Westchester County is actively working with the eight municipalities that would be affected by work on the Tappan Zee Bridge and I-287 corridor. Utilizing the framework put forth in Westchester 2025 Policies to Guide County Planning, the County is supporting current planning efforts in the individual municipalities. The Westchester County Planning Board and the County Department of Planning are working with the affected communities and other interested organizations to explore ways to encourage TOD along the proposed Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) route. If widely adopted in the I-287 corridor, TOD could help to build vibrant, healthy centers with reduced traffic congestion and lower carbon footprints.
How does Bus Rapid Transit encourage TOD?
The evidence from existing BRT systems shows a strong relationship between BRT and TOD. While the issues of bus stigmatization and its ability to attract a broad cross-section of the population are real, the history of BRT seems to suggest that these challenges can be overcome through an aggressive public education campaign and successfully branding BRT service as distinct from local bus service. In fact, a study by the federal government on BRT stated that “while transit officials noted a public bias toward Light Rail, research has found that riders have no preference for rail over bus when service characteristics are equal.”
General Information on TOD
TOD in the US: Experiences, Challenges, and Prospects (2004, 544 pages/PDF)
This seminal report looks at TOD experiences throughout the country; complied by the Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP), a program of the Transportation Research Board which is an arm of the National Academies.
The Zoning and Real Estate Implications of TOD (1999, 51 pages/PDF)
This TCRP report looks at some of the more legal and regulatory impacts of TOD.
TOD and Joint Development in the US: A Literature Review (2002, 144 pages/PDF)
This TCRP report provides a comprehensive review of many aspects of TOD as well as references to many of the leading researchers and practitioners of TOD.
Effects of TOD on Housing, Parking, and Travel (2008)
This report offers original data on TOD residential trip generation and parking, and the behavior and motivation of TOD residents, employees, and employers in their mode choice. It also identifies best practices that promote, maintain, and improve TOD-related transit ridership; authored by TCRP.
TOD: Developing a Strategy to Measure Success (2005, 32 page/PDF)
This report offers a strategy to evaluate the success of TOD, presents the results of a TOD indicator survey, and identifies ten indicators that can be used to monitor and measure its impacts; authored by the Transportation Research Board of the National Academies.
A Literature Review of Transit Supportive Development (2007, 19 pages/PDF)
A literature review of transit-friendly development by the Regional Plan Association.
TOD Case Studies
NJ Transit – Transit Village Initiative The Transit Village Initiative seeks to promote smart growth in the areas surrounding NJ transit’s rail stations. The quarterly newsletter produced as part of this initiative highlights other successful TOD’s across the country.
New Britain-Hartford Busway Station Area Planning Project
(Scroll down for reports on the various stations.)
The reports on this Web site of the Capitol Region Council of Governments in Connecticut, discuss the planning principles used to encourage smart growth around the transit stations created along Hartford’s new BRT system. In addition, these reports go beyond merely a statement of principles; they go into detail about how these principles will be implemented at each station along the BRT route.
Rockland County: Tappan Zee Corridor Transit-Oriented Development Study (20 pages/PDF)
This 2007 Report by the Regional Plan Association (RPA) provides a summary of their workshop focusing on TOD in Rockland County along the I-287 corridor.
Other TOD resources
Pace Land Use Law Center’s research library for the exploration of innovative land use laws, regulations, and practices.