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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.

Station Area Planning: How To Make Great Transit-Oriented Places (2008)

TOD 202

This is the first in our TOD 202 series of guidebooks to promote best practices in transit-oriented development. Following publication of “Why Transit-Oriented Development and Why Now?” our TOD 101 guidebook, we realized there is a need for more in-depth analysis and discussion for TOD practitioners. This 202 manual is intended to help with simplifying the complex decisions that surround planning for TOD projects and station areas by providing details about the scales of development likely to occur in different places, as well as station area planning principles and TOD plan checklists.

The manual begins with a discussion of seven ”TOD place types,” followed by a self-diagnostic questionnaire to help identify a particular station area place type in a TOD typology we have applied and refined in several regions around the U.S. There are also typologies of buildings and of the kinds of open spaces sometimes included in transit-oriented neighborhoods. All of these typologies can help inform decisions by enabling the planning partners to visualize and talk about the possibilities for station areas. They are intended to be suggestive only and not a complete list of options.

Center for TOD Demand Estimate Update

Market demand estimate for TOD rises from 14.6 million households by 2025 to 15.2 million by 2030.

The Center for TOD has updated its market demand estimate for the number of households likely to be looking to rent or buy housing near transit, from 14.6 million households by 2025 to 15.2 million households by 2030. These numbers are more than double the number of households who live near transit today. Meeting this demand would necessitate building 2,000 housing units near every station in the U.S. The earlier demand estimate was released in our landmark TOD market study ³Hidden in Plain Sight: Capturing the Demand for Housing Near Transit² in 2004. The numbers were updated for 2030 in order to be consistent with the time horizon of many regional transportation and land use planning efforts underway, as well as to account for the construction of new fixed-guideway systems.

Center for TOD Demand Estimate by City

Preserving Opportunities: Saving Affordable Homes Near Transit

Study examines federally assisted affordable housing located in close proximity to public transportation in 8 cities

Preserving affordable housing near transit means more than simply saving a building—it means preserving opportunities for low-income families and seniors to access jobs and services. Next to housing, transportation is the second highest household cost for most Americans. Affordable housing located near transit allows families and seniors to live an affordable lifestyle and access employment, education, retail, and community opportunities.

Reconnecting America and the National Housing Trust identified federally assisted affordable housing located in close proximity to existing or proposed public transportation in 8 cities: Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Denver, New York City, Portland,St. Louis, and Seattle. We found that more than 100,000 federally assisted housing units sheltering more than 300,000 individuals in these cities are located in transit rich neighborhoods. Approximately 65,500 of these units- or 63 percent of total units near transit- are covered by federal rental assistance contracts expiring before the end of 2012.

Preserving Opportunities: Saving Affordable Housing Near Transit

Station Area Planning Manual

Reconnecting America creates companion to MTC’s TOD Policy and for Priority Development Areas under the FOCUS program

This manual is intended to serve as a companion to MTC’s Transit Oriented Development (TOD) Policy and for Priority Development Areas under the Focusing Our Vision (FOCUS) program to assist jurisdictions with decisionmaking as they complete planning efforts around Bay Area transit hubs and corridors.

MTC’s TOD Policy, adopted in 2005, requires new regional transit expansion projects to meet corridor housing thresholds that require local governments and transit providers to work together to show how they will provide for a minimum amount of housing within walking distance of transit stations. The goal is to make regional transit investments as efficient as possible and encourage local jurisdictions to focus growth around transit nodes. In order to reinforce the requirements of the TOD Policy, MTC has made funding available for Station Area Plans that address future land use changes, station access needs, circulation improvements, pedestrian-friendly design, TOD-supportive parking policies and other key features in a transit-oriented development.

TOD Case Studies: Implementation In Low- Income, Ethnically Diverse Neighborhoods

TOD Case Studies: Implementation In Low- Income, Ethnically Diverse Neighborhoods

These case studies, funded through the support of the Surdna Foundation, present transit-oriented development (TOD) examples from diverse, low-income neighborhoods around transit, all built within the last 10 years. The goal of this survey is to provide examples that can help spur development around Philadelphia’s underutilized transit resources in similar types of neighborhoods. To that end, the examples in these case studies all overcame barriers to implementation using innovative, but replicable approaches. These examples are intended to allow the Philadelphia Neighborhood Development Collaborative and others to advocate for more involvement by the public sector, test some of the same mechanisms for financing and land assembly, and provide examples of successful TOD to developers and community members.

TOD Case Studies: Implementation in Low- Income, Ethnically Diverse Neighborhoods

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