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Transit-Oriented Development: Moving From Rhetoric to Reality

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Many projects that are labeled “transit-oriented” are merely “transit-related” and don’t realize their potential to also be environmentally sustainable and socially just. This paper offers an expanded definition of TOD that focuses primarily on functions and outcomes, such as increased location efficiency and mobility, more housing and shopping choices, and enhanced value recapture and value return. This definition allows for a more nuanced evaluation of projects, and a different view of why so many don’t live up to their potential. The authors also make recommendations on how projects can be improved, focusing on the roles that can be played by the five main actors in the development process. This paper became one of the Urban Center’s ten most popular publications of 2002.