Using the Typology to Define TOD Program Investments

Figure 22: TOD Place Type Clusters.
Figure 22: TOD Place Type Clusters
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The nine place types provide the first step in an investment strategy for the Metro TOD Program. However, many of the place types face similar challenges, and clusters of place types would benefit from similar investment strategies. To address this, the place types are grouped in three clusters that are commonly positioned for investments and implementation actions that could be administered by the TOD Program. The place type clusters are described in Figure 22. Each of the clusters is described below and illustrated with case examples from existing stations and corridors in the Portland region.

Plan and Partner Cluster

Plan and Partner transit communities are currently the lowest priority areas for direct investments in new developments, since these areas lack many of the key market and physical features needed to ensure that Metro TOD Program investments will leverage further investment or catalyze an emerging market. However, these are areas where the region has made important transit investments and long range planning is needed to ensure that the full value of these investments is captured in the future.

Place Types Included: Transit Related (Limited), Transit Adjacent (Limited), Transit Adjacent (Emerging)

Broad Investment Approach: Participate in station area and corridor planning efforts as they occur; work with local governments to encourage this type of planning; offer connections between local governments who have identified infrastructure or other non-development investments needed to support TOD, and other entities who may be able to help fund such needs.

Figure 23: Map of Plan & Partner stations and corridors.
Figure 23: Map of Plan & Partner stations and corridors
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Figure 24: Plan & Partner place types and identified stations.
Figure 24: Plan & Partner place types and identified stations
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Plan & Partner in a Corridor Segment: Middle Barbur (area outside of Downtown to Hwy 217)

Barbur Boulevard is a major arterial and part of historic interstate Highway 99, providing connections between downtown Portland, SW Portland neighborhoods and neighboring communities. Frequent bus route 12 serves this corridor. Barbur is a primary thoroughfare typified by automobile-oriented land uses. The central portion of the corridor is identified as a Plan and Partner area in the TOD typology. The well-established neighborhoods lining the corridor are characterized by large setbacks and streets designed for high speeds and low connectivity. Pedestrian access is limited due to a disconnected street grid and barriers such as I-5—which runs parallel to the corridor—and gaps in the sidewalk network. In order to elevate Barbur Boulevard to a walkable and well-served transit neighborhood, long-range corridor planning must integrate a more intense and efficient use of developable land with the transportation investments planned for the corridor—most notably high capacity transit. Being designated a transit corridor of regional significance, ODOT, the City of Portland, local residents, and businesses must take part in a visioning process to determine whether the primary land use and transportation goals surround mobility or access and placemaking. Metro’s key roles in the short term are planning support, providing technical assistance in association with upcoming corridor planning, and potentially funding station area planning.

Plan & Partner in a Station Area: Green Line + Westside + Eastside Commuter Stations

Clackamas Town Center Transit Center on the MAX Green Line, identified as a Plan and Partner area in the TOD typology, is an example of a Transit Adjacent commuter station. Clackamas is supplemented by 10 local feeder routes and a 750-space parking structure. Despite the station’s presence within the Clackamas Regional Center, a key regional shopping and employment center, pedestrian connections are limited due to its location next to I-205, low street connectivity, large surface parking lots and a general lack of land use orientation toward the station. Station area planning must occur in order to better integrate transit with existing and future development. Strategic partnerships between Metro, Trimet, and land owners is a critical element of leveraging catalytic mixed use and residential development within walking distance of the station. In the short term, Metro’s key roles could include technical assistance, planning support and offering dedicated funding for future station area planning efforts, as well as engaging and connecting local public and private actors with information and support.

Catalyze & Connect Cluster

Catalyze & Connect transit communities are areas demonstrating either a strong transit orientation but limited market support or transit related urban form and emerging market support. Theoretically, this cluster could also include stronger markets with transit adjacent characteristics, but in practice, no stations or corridor currently exhibit this condition.

Place Types Included: Transit Oriented (Limited), Transit Related (Emerging), Transit Adjacent (Stronger).

Broad Investment Approach: These areas offer some physical and/or market foundation for supporting transit oriented development, but are not yet able to achieve TOD building types given their current market or physical context. Projects that help to catalyze future private development, and increase activity levels through density and/or urban living infrastructure are appropriate. There is also opportunity to work with local and regional jurisdictions to develop infrastructure that enhances the pedestrian orientation of the street network and provides better connectivity for all modes. The TOD Program does not make infrastructure investments, but can help identify key improvements and work with regional partners to advance those projects.

Figure 25: Map of Catalyze & Connect stations and corridors.
Figure 25: Map of Catalyze & Connect stations and corridors
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Figure 26: Catalyze & Connect place types and identified stations.
Figure 26: Catalyze & Connect place types and identified stations
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Catalyze & Connect a Corridor Segment: SE Foster Rd.

SE Foster Road is a classic automobile-oriented arterial connecting outer SE Portland and the historic Lents neighborhood with downtown Portland and the Powell, Division, and Hawthorne commercial corridor districts. Foster is served by frequent bus route 14. The corridor segments between Lents and Powell Blvd. are identified as a Catalyze and Connect corridor in the TOD typology. Land uses and transportation infrastructure are almost exclusively oriented toward automobile use although various pockets of medium density mixed use land uses occur. Although street connectivity in the residential neighborhoods surrounding Foster is relatively high, the current streetscape design and land uses along Foster do not promote a walkable, urban lifestyle. In the short-term, Metro could promote workforce housing development and provide technical support with implementation studies. Considering the amount of underutilized and vacant land parcels and lower market value, Metro could invest in market rate medium-density TOD projects as away to catalyze further investment.

Catalyze & Connect a Station Area: Hillsboro Central

The Hillsboro Central is a station area served by MAX Blue Line offering a convenient transit connection to downtown Hillsboro, Beaverton, and downtown Portland. The station area is well served by local retail, a walkable street grid, and multiple civic and institutional land uses. Within the TOD typology, Hillsboro Central is a Catalyze and Connect area. Hillsboro Central is relative well-oriented toward transit, yet the market for TOD is immature at present. Land uses are currently low density in nature which creates a barrier in catalyzing a meaningful connection to transit. A catalytic development project is a crucial step in encouraging TOD investments into the future. Metro’s role in the short term could be to provide implementation support, invest in market rate TOD projects, and offer financial support to develop workforce housing.

Infill & Enhance Cluster

Infill & enhance transit communities are the most “TOD ready” in the region outside of downtown Portland. Some of these areas may need little support from Metro to support the market investment in quality TOD, but others areas are transforming more slowly and should be top priorities for catalytic investments.

General Characteristics: strong urban character including medium to higher densities, a mix of activities, quality urban form and transportation options combined with moderate to stronger market strength. The private market may support infill and moderate density mixed-use, but may not be able to meet the aspirations or potential for transit rich station and corridor communities.

Place Types Included: Transit Oriented (Emerging), Transit Oriented (Stronger), Transit Related (Stronger)

Broad Investment Approach: Promote more intensive infill development, and enhancement of local services and amenities. Given their existing pedestrian- and bicycle-oriented environments, significant changes to the street network are not always needed in these areas, but enhancement of local goods and services, and placemaking via urban living infrastructure development could help maximize local TOD potential and catalyze further private market investment. In general, the TOD Program will likely make more limited investments in these areas, except in the case of important strategic opportunities that may include investments in prototypical projects, Urban Living Infrastructure or workforce/affordable housing.

Figure 27: Map of Infill & Enhance stations and corridors.
Figure 27: Map of Infill & Enhance stations and corridors
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Figure 28: Infill & Enhance place types and identified stations.
Figure 28: Infill & Enhance place types and identified stations
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Infill & Enhance a Station Area: Hollywood Transit Center

Hollywood Transit Center is a key transit facility served by the MAX Blue, Red, and Green Lines and connecting local bus service (Routes 12, 66, 75, and 77). The Hollywood station area is categorized as an Infill & Enhance TOD typology. Hollywood currently offers the density, land use diversity, pedestrian infrastructure, and regional transportation assets of an urban district. In order to enhance the station area, several key actions must be taken. High-density infill is slowly occurring with several larger scale mixed-use projects, although the connections to the Transit Center are negligible. Similarly, I-84 and Sandy Blvd. are significant barriers to station access. Thus, Metro’s role in the short-term could be to promote seamless integration of high density development within and oriented toward the station by acquiring development parcels, investing in more aggressive building types, and aiding the integration of urban living infrastructure along Sandy, Broadway, and streets that feed into the station.

Infill & Enhance a Corridor Segment: Inner Division

The inner Division Street corridor, categorized as an Infill & Enhance area in the TOD typology, is a relatively dense commercial corridor supported by medium-density small lot residential development. Division is served by frequent service route 4, which connects SE neighborhoods with downtown Portland and Gresham Transit Center. Although it serves as a key east-west traffic street, Division is becoming more urban in nature as adjacent neighborhoods use the corridor as a walkable outlet for retail and vital services. This is enabled by the inner Division neighborhood’s dense network of local streets, bicycle boulevards and many pedestrian improvements along the corridor. High-density, mixed-use infill development is already underway which creates an opportunity to leverage an impending wave of TOD along Division. Metro’s key roles in the short-term could be to facilitate placemaking and good urban design, promote a mix of land uses and income groups, and push for higher densities given the amenity richness of the corridor.

TOD Investment Strategies and Phasing

Figure 29: Composite TOD cluster types.
Figure 29: Composite TOD cluster types
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Overlaying all of the place types and clusters shows the mosaic of conditions throughout the region (see Figure 29). Using the TOD Typology and Framework as a guide, this suggests that different investment tools and strategies, as well as different phasing of investments will be needed in different locations.

Each given place type will require a different mix of actions to maximize future TOD potential, ranging from technical support and visioning, to significant infrastructure investments, to station area planning, and more detailed implementation efforts. With the right set of activities and investments, any of the transit communities could support TOD, but some are more likely to support market-rate TOD sooner than others.

The three clusters roughly correspond with three stages of potential TOD readiness:

  • Infill and Enhance place types offer short-term TOD opportunities, in that they have the market and physical conditions to support TOD today. But to make these places the best that they can be, public agencies might pursue a range of activities that enhance local amenities and push for continued reduction in auto dependence.
  • Catalyze and Connect place types offer mid-term TOD opportunities, in that they might support certain types of development today and offer some opportunity, but to fully maximize TOD opportunities specifically, certain interventions are needed.
  • Plan and Partner place types offer long-term TOD opportunities. To truly bring these areas to a place where they can support TOD, these areas require significant interventions which are likely to take longer to achieve.

The TOD Typology and Framework methodology means that over time, individual transit communities should be able to enhance their performance on both the market and urban character measures by pursuing a variety of activities related to planning, revitalization, and access improvements. As this process occurs, individual transit communities would be reclassified into new place types and clusters. However not all of the activities needed to promote TOD fall within the work plan of the TOD Program specifically. Ideally, in the long term this typology could offer an organizing framework around which public agencies in the region coordinate the full range of TOD investments.

Using the TOD Framework to Identify Investment Strategies

The TOD Program has a role to play in each of the nine place types, although that role varies from involvement of program staff in technical assistance on planning efforts, to direct investment in development projects. Figure 30 shows how the TOD Program can use the nine place type categories to determine which strategies are appropriate in each of the nine place types, and Figure 31, on the following pages, describes each investment approach in detail.

In addition, the TOD Typology and Framework helps Metro TOD Program staff make decisions about three key aspects of program investments:

  • Investment Phasing
  • Partnerships
  • Conditional Investments

Individual transit communities can move from one place type to another as local market strength changes, or as activity levels increase and local infrastructure improvements enhance transit orientation. The place types offer a way to gauge what types of TOD Program investments make sense when local conditions in an area shift. Moreover, significant financial investment by the TOD Program will generally be directed to locations with local government support (incentives, regulatory, etc) for TOD principles, so that program investments are best leveraged.. Therefore, policy and political changes, or improvements in local planning efforts, can open up areas to new types of investments from the TOD Program. The TOD typology also provides guidance to Metro and local jurisdictions about phasing of investments, including short-, medium-, and long-term actions.


To optimize the project-specific investment strategies of the TOD Program, these activities must be complemented with planning, community outreach, development incentives, and infrastructure development activities from other local jurisdictions, agencies, and Metro Programs. Figures 32 and 33 identify strategies where the TOD Program can play a supporting role in long-range planning for infrastructure and land use regulation, and not just where the TOD Program will take a lead role in making direct investments in catalyst projects or ULIs. While the Metro TOD Program is organized around providing small catalytic investments in market ready areas, it should also play an important role in building support and regulatory conditions that support low-trip generation development around transit stations and in transit corridors. Building partnerships with local jurisdictions throughout the region should continue to be a critical focus of program activities as well as continued coordination with Metro programs that support TOD program objectives, including: Long Range Planning, Nature and Neighborhoods, Corridor Planning, and the Regional Travel Options Program.

Conditional Investments

While the TOD Framework creates a general guide for the types of investments that are appropriate in each station area and corridor segment, certain types of investments need to be based on the local conditions in an individual station area or corridor segment. Investments in some aspects of TOD implementation, including affordable housing development, land acquisition, mixed-use and urban living infrastructure, and employment uses may need to be evaluated against local market conditions and truly supportive local partners, as evidenced by leveraging of local funds through direct contributions, abatements, SDC credits or discounts, tax increment financing, reduced permitting fees, or other actions.

Guide to Implementation Matrices

The following matrices show the universe of activities that the TOD Program currently invests in, and could more substantially invest in given additional funding in the future. To differentiate between activities that are core to the Program, activities that are more secondary to the program, and activities where the program staff only play a supportive role to other agencies, each of the matrices uses the following key:

  • Bold Text: Current core activities of the TOD Program
  • Regular Text: Activities of the TOD Program, but do not take as intensive a role in program staff time or resources as core activities
  • Italicized Text: Activities that the TOD Program may participate in, but more peripherally, and on an as-needed basis.

Additionally, Figure 30 describes whether the activities identified would be (“X”) critical in transit communities falling in the different place types, (“C”) conditional depending on whether the unique characteristics of the station area or proposed project are appropriate, or (“O”) areas of core focus for other agencies or Metro programs, but where the TOD Program would play a supporting role.

This guide is repeated within each of the Figures 30 and 31 as well.

Current TOD Investment Needs

The TOD Framework can be a tool to identify the aggregate investment needs based on the place type clusters and the identified TOD investment activities on previous pages. Figure 32 shows the share of 55 non-central city station areas that are likely to most immediately need each type of investment activity based on the TOD Framework. Many station may have a need for the below type of investments (e.g. all station areas could use more equitable TOD given the severe affordable housing shortage facing the region), the below table only identifies those areas where the strategies are most pressing and/or should be a TOD Program priority (e.g. equitable TOD is focused in stronger market areas where it might be prohibitively expensive without the program).

Figure 32: Station Areas Needing Different Investments/Activities to Spur TOD 18



Longer-Term Strategies


Shorter-Term Strategies

Investment Strategies

Education/ Technical Assistance/ Resource Provision

Infrastructure & Public Amenity Improvements

Station Area Planning

Land Acquisition

Implementation & Pre-development Studies

Catalytic Market-Rate TOD Project

Equitable TOD

Urban Living Infrastructure

Employment Uses

Number of Station Areas out of 55 Total

Approx 75% of station areas

84% of station areas

84% of station areas

40% of station areas

66% of station areas

71% of station areas

51% of station areas

35% of station areas

40% of station areas


Figure 33:Distribution of most needed investments/activities to spur TOD, across non-core station areas
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Figure 33 shows the distribution of the different potential activities that would be needed to support TOD across the 55 non-core station areas. The majority of stations require investments in planning, infrastructure, or education of community members as a next step in supporting TOD. This figure shows that the types of investments that are core activities of the TOD Program – namely, direct investment in higher intensity real estate projects, and local implementation studies - are really only appropriate in half of the station areas considered in this plan. Even then, the TOD Program will not be the only entity with the ability or responsibility to pursue these activities.

Based on this analysis, the greatest need is for station area planning and infrastructure or other public amenity investments (i.e. utilities upgrades to support higher density development, or access improvements such as sidewalks and bikeways). Neither of these two activities/improvements is currently an activity of the TOD Program, but instead are more a focus of local jurisdictions. Public amenity and access enhancements, like the Gresham Civic MAX Station, are led by the TOD Program only as other funding sources for TOD improvements arise.

The second most common group of recommended activities or improvements includes educational/technical assistance/resource provision, followed by investments in catalytic market-rate TOD projects, and implementation/predevelopment studies (i.e. market and development feasibility studies and financing strategies). All of these activities can currently be funded or performed by the Program, although much of the Program’s implementation work has occurred through the Development Opportunity Find, which only has a temporary, two-year funding source and a limited focus on downtowns and centers.

A smaller share of station areas have immediate needs for investments in equitable TOD, land acquisition and employment uses, and urban living infrastructure to enhance their TOD potential. Equitable TOD in this case focuses on development of lower-income, workforce and mixed-income housing in station areas where such development would otherwise be priced out (i.e. stronger market place types). In addition to market-rate TOD and implementation studies, these investments represent the core activities of the TOD Program.