Transit-Oriented Development in the Chicago Region, 2000–2010
Mixed-use centers anchored by public transit are essential to the triple bottom line, or the economic, environmental, and social sustainability of the Chicago Region. With the publication of GO TO 2040 in 2010, the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) put forth a vision to grow the transit-oriented development (TOD) areas of the Region and make them communities of choice. In 2012 the Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT) built on this vision with the publication of Prospering In Place, which honored GO TO 2040 for its commitment to reconnect land use, transportation, and the economy, and recommended the locations in the Chicago Region that had the best prospects for growth—and hence warranted priority access to public and private resources. Prospering in Place was also a cautionary story of how a blueprint alone, without a place-based framework for development, will not reverse the…
Place matters for health in important ways. Research demonstrates that neighborhood conditions—the quality of public schools, housing conditions, access to medical care and healthy foods, levels of violence, availability of exercise options, exposure to environmental degradation—powerfully predict who is healthy, who is sick, and who lives longer. And because of patterns of residential segregation, these differences are the fundamental causes of health inequities among different racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups. This study examines the relationships between health, community characteristics, and food access in Cook County, IL, and attempts to address specific questions raised by the Cook County Place Matters Team:
What is the relationship between community-level measurements of socioeconomic status—that is, wealth, income, and/or education—and access to healthy food?
What is the relationship between access to nutritious food and the amount spent for…
Why This Book?
Transit-oriented development can be used as a tool to support family-friendly communities and high-quality education. Transit-oriented development (TOD) is a mix of housing, retail and/or commercial development, and amenities in a walkable neighborhood with high-quality public transportation. Interest in TOD has grown across the country to achieve multiple goals, including:
Reduced automobile trips and greenhouse gas emissions;
Increased transit ridership and transit agency revenues;
The potential for increased and/or sustained property values near transit;
Improved access to jobs for households of all incomes;
Reduced infrastructure costs, compared to what is required to support sprawling growth;
Reduced transportation costs for residents;
Improved public health due to increased walking and biking;
Creation of a sense of community and place.
Recent TOD projects have often catered more to young professionals, empty nesters or other households without children, as these…
The federal government, through various transportation acts, such as the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA), the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21), and, more recently, the Safe, Affordable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act—A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU), has reinforced the need for integration of land use and transportation and the provision of public transit. Other federal programs, such as the Livable Communities Program and the New Starts Program, have provided additional impetus to public transit. At the state and regional level, the past three decades have seen increased provision of public transit. However, the public transit systems typically require significant operating and capital subsidies—75 percent of transit funding is provided by local and state governments.1 With all levels of government under significant fiscal stress, new transit funding mechanisms are welcome. Value capture (VC) is once…
In recent decades, some cities have seen their urban centers lose population density, as residents spread farther out to suburbs and exurbs. Others have kept populous downtowns even as their environs have grown. Population density in general has economic advantages, so one might wonder whether a loss of density, which may be a symptom of negative economic shocks, could amplify those shocks. This paper looks at four decades of census data and show that growing cities have maintained dense urban centers, while shrinking cities have not. There are reasons to think that loss of population density at the core of the city could be particularly damaging to productivity. If this is the case, there could be productivity gains from policies aimed at reversing that trend.
When the first edition of Cities of Opportunity was developed, we made a decision to rank cities only in their 10 indicator categories and to forego showing overall rankings to avoid the misperception of a contest. That risk seemed especially significant in 2007, when the media cast New York and London in a death match for global capital market kingship.
From the opening of the report:
New Jobs, Better Connections
Chicago is northeastern Illinois’ historic center of commerce and employment, yet over the last half century, economic activity has continuously dispersed to outlying suburbs. Among large metropolitan areas, Chicago is among the most decentralized, with two out of three jobs in the region located more than 10 miles from downtown. Many of these outlying employment centers are inaccessible by mass transit, thereby creating strains on road infrastructure, environmental systems and personal finances due to the costliness of car ownership and its attendant expenses.
Nevertheless, with one out of three jobs located within 10 miles of downtown, Chicago continues to be an economic force in the region. Chicago’s well-established mass transit system, which includes nearly 400 fixed-rail stations and over 180 bus routes, affords workers the chance to lower the cost of commuting by minimizing or eliminating the need for a car.
This study examines the impact of street network connectivity on transit patronage. The aim is to better understand how connectivity affects the decision to use public transportation after we control for population density and the effect of walking distance from the transit station. Data on population densities, transit service features, and annual average daily station boardings are drawn from Chicago (CTA), Dallas (DART), and Atlanta (MARTA). Results suggest that metric reach, which measures the street length that is accessible within a walking range, has significant impact on ridership levels jointly with population density and two attributes of transit service features. In particular, the estimates indicate that metric reach is a stronger predictor of transit use than station area population densities.