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Realizing The Potential: Expanding Housing Opportunities Near Transit

Study shows location matters when it comes to reducing household costs; examines five case studies

This new national study funded by the Federal Transit Administration and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development shows that location matters a great deal when it comes to reducing household costs. While families who live in auto-dependent neighborhoods spend an average of 25 percent of their household budget on transportation, families who live in transit-rich neighborhoods spend just 9 percent, the study says. The report examines five case study regions – Boston, Charlotte, Denver, Minneapolis, and Portland -- to better understand the proactive strategies being undertaken to create and preserve affordable housing near transit.

Realizing The Potential: Expanding Housing Opportunities Near Transit

Realizing the Postential: One Year Later

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.

Why Transit-Oriented Development And Why Now? (2007)

TOD 101

Transit-oriented development or TOD is typically defined as more compact development within easy walking distance of transit stations (typically a half mile) that contains a mix of uses such as housing, jobs, shops, restaurants and entertainment. At Reconnecting America we believe projects should also achieve the goals listed here. TOD is really about creating walkable, sustainable communities for people of all ages and incomes and providing more transportation and housing choices (including townhomes, apartments, live-work spaces, and lofts). These neighborhoods provide for a lifestyle that’s convenient, affordable and active, and create places where our children can play and our parents can grow old comfortably.

Preserving and Promoting Diverse Transit-Oriented Neighborhoods (2006)

Preserving and Promoting Diverse Transit-Oriented Neighborhoods (2006)

It was not too long ago that our mass transit systems had become yet another symbol of disinvestment in urban America. As people exited cities for the suburbs, they left in their wake the decaying public amenities and assets that had given rise to cities in the first place —the schools, the infrastructure and the mass transit.

How times have changed. According to the American Public Transportation Association, riders in the U.S. took more than 9.7 billion trips on public transportation systems in 2005. Since 1995, public transportation use has increased 25 percent. There are 3,349 mass transit stations in the

U.S. today, and regions from coast to coast are building or planning to build new rail systems or expand existing systems. Over 700 new stations are currently under development.

A number of factors are driving this growth in transit use and construction. First, automobile transportation is increasingly expensive. Transportation — mostly fueled by the costs of owning and operating a personal vehicle — now costs as much or more than shelter in region after region. Studies show that expenditures for personally-owned vehicles drain household wealth and undercut community economic viability.1 Second, residents are looking for the convenience and access that alternatives to auto transportation can provide. And third, residents are tired of auto-related congestion and air pollution and are looking for alternatives.

Tools for Mixed-Income TOD

Tools and strategies used to create mixed-income and affordable housing near transit

The purpose of this paper is to evaluate and disseminate examples of tools and strategies from around the country that are being used to create mixed-income and affordable housing near transit. Through this report, we hope to encourage more communities, regional agencies, state and federal government, and developers to adopt and improve upon the successful strategies, and to spur ideas for other tools that do not yet exist.

The first half of the paper explains the general areas and ways in which the tools are used, as well as any limitations that currently exist, and the second half provides best practices and an actual example of the strategy or tool in a transit-oriented development.

Tools for Mixed-Income TOD

Value Capture: How to Get a Return on Investment in Transit and TOD

Summary of options for capturing value of transit and TOD before they're built (2003)

The maxim is that when looking for a new home or business the three most important considerations are: location, location, location. As traffic makes it increasingly difficult to drive in downtowns, as downtowns become increasingly popular with both residents and businesses, and as new transit systems open up in downtowns across the U.S., an address near transit is proving to be a good one. Empirical evidence that transit and TOD create significant value is mounting. It has to do with economies of agglomeration and the efficiencies created: Some things work better when clustered together. And with “killer commutes” tying up 10 million drivers two hours a day in traffic, it works best when they’re clustered around transit.

The fact that condo sales have outpaced the sale of single family homes is proof the market is changing. Smaller, non-traditional households without children want to live in convenient neighborhoods. In cities, the road network has reached a level of connectivity best described as “saturated,” and returns on that investment are diminishing. But transit still offers net benefits, in part because it concentrates development -- and the tax base – allowing for more focused value capture strategies. And in this era of shrinking public funding and expansive demand, value capture strategies are needed to help pay for construction and operation of transit and expensive TOD components like structured parking.

Value Capture: How to Get a Return on Investment in Transit and TOD

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.

Transit-Oriented Development

Moving From Rhetoric to Reality (June 2002)

Three major trends characterize metropolitan America at the beginning of the 21st Century. The first trend is the resurgence of investment in America’s downtown areas. We are seeing a re-inhabitation of our urban centers at a level that has not been experienced since the World War II. Data from the 2000 Census and analysis by the Brookings Institution Urban Center and the Fannie Mae Foundation show that this urban rebirth is a function both of people moving back to cities, and of immigrants choosing cities as destinations. Urban centers are once again seen as attractive, lively places to live and work, and as centers of intellectual and creative capacity.

The second equally powerful trend is the continuing growth and emerging maturity of America’s suburbs, many of which are struggling to become cities in their own right. Suburban areas are increasingly diverse in race, ethnicity and income, and increasingly experiencing the travails of rapid growth. These growth issues include the need to diversify land uses to build more solid revenue bases, the need to create urban centers, and the growing problem of traffic congestion along overtaxed suburban arterials, compounded by the many cul de sac neighborhoods. Suburbs are increasingly vital and also increasingly challenged to become more than bedroom communities.

TOD in the USA

The Implementation of TOD in Four Metropolitan Regions (April 2004)

This paper assesses the progress of transit-oriented development in four metropolitan regions – Atlanta, the Bay Area, Chicago and Denver. The shared "lessons learned" include the following: early planning is essential; upfront work on zoning, parking and codes can entice the market; and the planning and entitlements process needs to be made more developer-friendly. One conclusion is that TOD represents a paradigm shift toward a more integrated and interdisciplinary way of solving problems.

TOD in the USA

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