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…
The Portland region has a successful history at achieving transit-oriented development and compact growth. It continues to outperform many of its peer regions when it comes to connecting jobs to transit, promoting alternative modes of transportation beyond the car, and promoting successful new compact development.
But, there is room for improvement throughout the region as a whole. Many areas outside of central Portland have not been able to generate momentum for infill and higher-density development and the creation of more walkable, livable neighborhoods. New development near transit and amenity-rich walkable communities remain priced out of reach for many households. Thus, the combined cost of housing and transportation burdens many families, and particularly low- and moderate-income families. Vehicle miles of travel (VMT) and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from transportation continue to be key environmental challenges in the region. The Metro TOD Program fills a…
More than $8 billion of new development has occurred in light rail station areas. A study of MAX Blue Line light rail station areas found that development occurring after light rail investment has an average development density or Floor Area Ratio (FAR) of 0.65 more than the average FAR for development outside of station areas. This means that for every 1,000 square feet of land area developed, station area taxlots realized an additional 650 square feet of building area. The rate of development within Blue Line station areas was 69 percent higher than elsewhere within a one-mile corridor extending along the light rail alignment. Low and moderate value lots within Blue Line station areas redeveloped at twice the redevelopment rate reported for low value lots outside of station areas.
Even as transit has become an amenity with value to a growing market segment, we continue to be mindful of the critical assistance transit can provide low income households. Through its joint…
The “20-minute neighborhood” is often thought of as a place wherein daily needs can be met within a walkable area. With Portland•s recently adopted goal of increasing bicycle ridership to a 25% mode share by the year 2030, efforts to incorporate bicycles into this concept will become increasingly important. However, limited research has examined the mix of physical infrastructure and land uses that constitute a “bikeable” neighborhood or community. This paper explores a methodology for assessing a neighborhood•s bikeability based on its mix of infrastructure and destinations – essentially the 20-minute neighborhood for bicycles. The area of outer east Portland, an area east of 82nd Avenue with substantially lower bicycling rates than other Portland neighborhoods, is used as a case study and compared to an assessment of neighborhoods that are considered to be bike-friendly (downtown, inner-east and north Portland). The paper examines prior approaches to…
This synthesis summarizes the limited literature and documentation regarding the impacts of modern streetcar systems on the built environment, underscoring the need for further empirical analysis. Streetcars represent a growing transportation alternative, with more than 45 systems built or in various stages of planning or construction. Their popularity has resulted from a range of factors, including relatively lower cost of construction than other forms of rail transit and their relative ease of integration into the existing urban fabric.
A livable community has affordable and appropriate housing, supportive features and services, and adequate mobility options for people, regardless of age or ability. As communities address the general shortage of affordable housing, preserving affordable housing in transit-oriented developments (TODs) is one of the challenges that communities can address to increase their livability.
TODs are compact, walkable, mixed-use communities that are developed around high-quality public transportation. Residents often prize these places for the advantages created by the proximity to transportation and other amenities. One consequence of this desirability is that it can increase land and property values, exacerbating housing affordability challenges.
As policymakers try to extend the benefits of TODs to affordable housing locations, they must ensure that those benefits are available to people of low and moderate incomes and to those with different mobility…
In this video, recorded at a national streetcar workshop in Los Angeles last year, Scott Bernstein, president of the Center for Neighborhood Technology, talks about why affordability isn’t just about housing costs anymore: In the early 1920s when every US city of more than 5,000 residents had at least one streetcar line, households spent an average of just 3 percent of household income on transportation. Today families spend an average of 19 percent.
In this 17-minute video, Michael Powell of Powell’s Books talks about why he led the effort to convince property owners in Portland’s Pearl District to tax themselves to build a streetcar line, and what that streetcar has done for economic development in Portland. He calculates the benefits this way: The number of pedestrians in the crosswalk in front of his store numbered three an hour before the line opened in 2001, he says, but when he counted again in 2008 there were 938 pedestrians. Meantime, 400 new businesses opened in the Pearl, 90 percent of which are locally owned – the vast majority by women and minority entrepreneurs. In the meantime, property values have increased more than tenfold.