The Center for Transit-Oriented Development (CTOD), a U.S. nonprofit that provides information and tools to support market-based transit-oriented development, recently released a guide, “Transit-Oriented Tools for Metropolitan Planning Organizations,” to help Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) take “a more proactive role in planning and promoting compact growth along transit corridors.”
The 33-page document, released in February, assumes many benefits of transit-oriented development, which is defined as “compact, mixed-use, mixed-income walkable districts connected to regional destinations by high quality transportation networks.”
Among these positive outcomes are the following:
- reduced congestion
- increased mobility options (ways of getting around)
- improved “livability” (accessible and affordable opportunities to live, work and play)
- increased economic activity
- improved environmental quality and health
- increased property values, and therefore, increased public revenues to support additional community investments
- increased transit ridership
- increased diversity in neighborhoods (mixed ages, incomes, household types, and ethnicities)
The guide also offers best practices for things like blueprint planning, corridor planning, and innovative funding streams. There are also some case studies of cities, such as Denver, Colo. and Sacramento, Calif., that show examples of tools and policies used for implementing TOD in certain contexts. There’s also a useful “tool matrix” that shows different planning, incentive-based, funding and capacity-building options that work at either the regional or jurisdictional level to accomplish certain goals, like TOD education.
MPOs, the guide says, are play an important role in planning and implementing TOD. These planning bodies are responsible for identifying short-term and long-term priorities at the regional, policy, program, and project levels for spending federal surface transportation funds in metropolitan areas. Because of the scope of their work, they are able to engage with a broad set of stakeholders — from community activists to federal agencies — to build support for TOD policies, prioritize projects that have access to federal funds, and coordinate both region-wide and local planning efforts.