Case for Mixed-Income Transit-Oriented Development in the Denver Region

Study examines demand for TOD, barriers to it and tools to get around those barriers

The passage of the “FasTracks” ballot measure by metro Denver voters in 2004 signaled the start of a new era of transportation, growth and development in the area. FasTracks has terrific potential to deliver on its promises of reduced congestion, livable neighborhoods and greater economic competitiveness, but its success is dependent on the kind of development that grows up around new and existing transit stations.

Well-planned “transit-oriented development” (TOD) can foster greater use of FasTracks light rail by encouraging housing, retail and office developments in the districts around transit stops. Incorporating affordable housing into TODs presents opportunities to meaningfully address the region’s growing affordability crisis by tackling housing and transportation costs simultaneously—while expanding access to jobs, educational opportunities and prosperity for the many households living in the Denver region.

By offering truly affordable housing, a stable and reliable base of transit riders, broader access to opportunity and protection from displacement, mixed-income TOD holds the potential to address the problems of worsening congestion, rising unaffordability and the growing gap between lower income and wealthier residents in the region.

This study reviews the demand for housing near transit; explores the benefits of mixed-income, transit-oriented neighborhoods; analyzes the barriers to creating such communities; offers an array of tools for overcoming those barriers; and applies those tools in the context of four planned transit station areas in metro Denver.

The Case for Mixed-Income Transit-Oriented Development in the Denver Region