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CTOD & Reconnecting America Reports

Connecting Destinations Is Key To Transit Success

CTOD paper analyzes performance of 19 transit lines to understand factors contributing to ridership

The effectiveness of transit is typically measured by ridership – ridership projections, for example, often determine whether a project will win federal funding. But the complex movements of people within a region make accurate predictions difficult. Indeed, three of the most successful lines that have opened since 2003 (Minneapolis, Denver’s Southeast line, and Los Angeles Orange BRT line) received only a medium-low rating from the Federal Transit Administration, and under current rules would not have been funded.

The Center for Transit Oriented Development has just released a paper, "Destinations Matter: Building Transit Success," that analyzes the performance of 19 transit lines to better understand the factors contributing to high ridership. Of the 19 lines examined, seven exceeded projections, eight are on track to beat projections, and two did not meet projections, while data for three was unavailable. The conclusion: that connecting destinations is key, and that the funding decision-making process needs to take into consideration a fuller range of factors that enhance ridership.

Growing Mixed-Income TOD

CTOD’s MITODAG shows communities effective strategies and tools

As TOD planning processes proliferate there is a broader understanding that mixed-income housing supports many TOD goals including stable transit ridership, better public health, broadened access to opportunities, and deeper affordability. This Mixed-Income TOD Action Guide was developed for the nonprofit Great Communities Collaborative (GCC), which is working in the San Francisco Bay Area to ensure TOD planning processes result in neighborhoods that include households of all income levels. The guide “walks” users through a three-step analysis to determine the most effective strategies and tools.

The first step involves collecting data on the community’s demographics and economic and physical conditions (an inventory of the housing stock and land supply, for example). The second step is a “needs and opportunities” assessment that asks questions such as “Which populations are currently underserved?” “Is the housing market hot or cold?” “Is the emphasis on housing preservation or production, or both?” “Is affordable housing in the process of being built now?” These two steps help users match their community with one of several scenarios, each of which comes with recommendations for a suite of strategies and tools.

Jumpstarting The Transit Space Race

Reconnecting America releases new report on federal transit funding

The demand for transit in the U.S. has never been greater, with ridership at its highest levels in 50 years and almost 400 new rail, streetcar and bus rapid transit projects proposed in large and small regions from Massachusetts to Hawaii, according to a new report by Reconnecting America. Americans took 10.1 billion trips on transit in 2007, saving 1.4 billions of gallons of gasoline -- the equivalent of a supertanker leaving the Middle East every 11 days.

Realizing The Potential: One Year Later

How has the market downturn played out along five transit corridors in five very different markets?

The Center for Transit-Oriented Development has updated its “Realizing the Potential” study for the FTA and HUD, which assessed strategies to promote mixed-income housing along five transit corridors in Boston, Charlotte, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Denver and Portland. The new study finds the downturn in the housing market is playing out very differently in the five regions, but that property along transit corridors in Charlotte, Portland and Minneapolis appears to be holding its value better than in the regions at large. The housing market has not been as active along corridors in Denver or Boston, in contrast, because they traverse lower-income neighborhoods and because the many transit corridors in each region spread the TOD opportunity out.

Opportunities for Equitable Transit-Oriented Development

Somerville Community Corp. study for city of Somerville

Somerville: Reconnecting America worked with the Somerville Community Corporation to identify needs and opportunities for equitable transit-oriented development in the City of Somerville, with a focus on the planned extension of the Green Line. The report highlights demographic and real estate trends, and outlines a series of strategies for achieving mixed-income TOD.

Financing Transit-Oriented Development

Policy Options and Strategies in the San Francisco Bay Area

The Center for Transit-Oriented Development prepared this white paper to help the Metropolitan Transportation Commission consider alternative methods for providing regional funding for transit-oriented development in the San Francisco Bay Area. The report outlines the need for such a funding source, case examples of other Metropolitan Planning Organization programs, and key considerations in implementing a new program targeted to this purpose.

Capturing the Value of Transit

A report by the Center for Transit-Oriented Development

Over the past decade, it has become increasingly clear that the presence of transit can increase property values and result in valuable development opportunities. In this era of constrained transit funding and widespread demand for new and expanded transit systems, policy makers, transit planners and elected officials are increasingly interested in harnessing a portion of the value that transit confers to surrounding properties to fund transit infrastructure or related improvements in station areas. This idea, known as “value capture,” is much discussed in planning, transit, and local government circles. However, confusion abounds. Where does the value come from? What is the best way to measure it? And, most importantly, what is the best way to capture this value?

Those are the questions addressed in "Capturing the Value of Transit," a new report by Reconnecting America's Center for Transit-Oriented Development.

The Center for TOD is the only national nonprofit effort dedicated to providing best practices, research and tools to support market-based transit-oriented development. We partner with both the public and private market sectors to strategize about ways to encourage the development of high-performing TOD projects around transit stations and to build transit systems that maximize the development potential.

The Center for TOD is a partnership of the national nonprofit Reconnecting America, the Center for Neighborhood Technology, and Strategic Economics, an urban economics firm in Berkeley, CA.

Capturing the Value of Transit

TCRP 128: Effects of TOD on Housing, Parking and Travel

Transit Cooperative Research Program research findings

New research recently completed for the Transit Cooperative Research Program provides the ammunition to build TODs that take the benefits of transit into account. The study completed by PB PlaceMaking, Dr Robert Cervero, The Urban Land Institute and the Center for Transit Oriented Development looked at how automobile use of residential TODs compared to conventional development.

Our research looks at the actual transportation performance of 17 built TOD projects. This was done by counting the passage of motorized vehicles using pneumatic tubes stretched across the driveways of TOD housing projects of varying sizes in four urbanized areas of the country: Philadelphia/N.E. New Jersey; Portland, Oregon; metropolitan Washington D.C.; and the East Bay of the San Francisco Bay Area.

In fact, the results of this research clearly show TOD-housing produces fewer automobile trips in the four urbanized areas. The research confirms the ITE trip generation and parking generation rates over estimate automobile trips for TOD housing by 50%.

TCRP 128: Effects of TOD on Housing, Parking and Travel

Transit & Employment: Increasing Transit's Share of the Commute Trip

TOD 202

“Station Area Planning: How To Make Great Transit-Oriented Places” is the second in a series of “TOD 202” guidebooks to promote best practices in transit-oriented development.

The daily commute is a fact of life for 90 million Americans. While some commuters value the “down time” this trip provides them, others experience financial, emotional and physical stress. The societal cost is also significant – the freedom and flexibility provided by the automobile exacts a high price in terms of environmental and climate impacts, infrastructure costs, accidents and injuries, and dependence on foreign oil, and rising gas prices make commuting by car a heavy personal financial burden. Moreover, it has proven to be impossible to reduce traffic congestion by keeping up with the ever-expanding demand for road capacity – the amount of driving, measured in vehicle miles traveled or VMT, has increased three times faster than the U.S. population since 1980, and is expected to increase another 59 percent by 2030, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Mixed Income TOD Acquisition Fund Business Plan Framework



The Great Communities Collaborative (GCC) brings together residents and local organizations to participate in community planning processes across the Bay Area to create a region of vibrant neighborhoods with affordable housing, shops, jobs and services near transit. The GCC is a unique cooperative relationship between four Bay Area nonprofit organizations - Greenbelt Alliance, TransForm, Urban Habitat, the Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California, and the national nonprofit Reconnecting America. The East Bay Community Foundation, the San Francisco Foundation and the Silicon Valley Community Foundation are also part of the collaborative. In 2006, members of the GCC met with the Bay Area Local Initiatives Support Corporation (Bay Area LISC) and the San Francisco Foundation to craft a strategy for property acquisition in support of equitable TOD. These conversations were rooted in the recognition that the ability to control land and land use is often critical to ensuring that affordable housing, open space, and community facilities are not left out, but rather go hand-in-hand with private market development.

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