Hidden In Plain Sight

Capturing the Demand for Housing Near Transit (September 2004, revised April 2005)

There are tremendous shifts occurring nationally in demographics, consumer preferences, employer location strategies and transportation infrastructure investments. Consumers are choosing smaller, more compact housing in neighborhoods where shops and services are within walking distance, and where highquality transit service is an option. While these trends have been documented and in some cases even quantified, there have been few attempts to calculate their impact on the demand for higher-density housing near transit. The Center for Transit-Oriented Development has built a national demand estimate for housing within a half mile of fixed guideway transit stops through 2025 for the 27 regions that currently have transit systems, as well as for 15 regions that are seeking to build new fixed-guideway systems by 2025 using the FTA New Starts program. This estimate is based on household demand projections for each region that capture the effect of different demographic trends in different metropolitan areas. Because the study considers only the half-mile radius around transit stations, a readily definable area but not the total area that can accommodate transit-oriented development, this is a relatively conservative estimate of potential demand for TOD in 2025. Studies have shown that people will ride transit from beyond the half mile if they have good feeder bus service or bike access. Development around these access modes could also be considered transit-oriented development. Inclusion of these areas would offer a more complete assessment of the demand for housing near transit, but is beyond the scope of this study.

This study finds there is likely to be significant demand for housing within a half-mile radius of fixed guideway transit stations – areas called “transit zones” for the purposes of this study — over the next 25 years. Our market assessment shows that at least a quarter of all new households — 14.6 million households — could be looking for housing in these transit zones. This is a staggering figure, since only a small portion of all new housing is being built in these locations today. Because there are currently about 6 million households living within a half mile of transit stations, this means there is the potential to more than double the amount of housing in transit zones by 2025. If this market is captured, transit-oriented development could become the armature for a significant portion of regional growth and help increase transit ridership. Most of the demand will occur in the five metro regions that

Hidden In Plain Sight