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TOD 205: Families And Transit-Oriented Development - Creating Complete Communities For All

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 have been seen as the strongest market segments for transit-oriented housing. However, building TOD that better accommodates the needs and preferences of families with children is an increasing concern for communities around the country. This growing field is based on the idea that TOD focused on accommodating families can both attract new populations to live near transit and help retain existing residents in these locations, making neighborhoods and regions both more competitive globally and attractive locally. In order to meet these goals, TOD must be planned as part of a “complete community,” a place where all households have convenient access to quality housing, education, employment opportunities, open space and recreation, retail, places of worship, health care and transportation.

Building complete communities around transit requires some new investment approaches and implementation partnerships. Special attention must be paid to ensure these communities remain affordable to families of various compositions and incomes and contain all the amenities that will help them realize the full benefits of transit-rich locations.

This booklet offers a guide on how to create complete communities that support families and high-quality education based on a series of reports published by the Center for Cities & Schools at the University of California, Berkeley: Growth and Opportunity: Aligning High-Quality Public Education & Sustainable Communities Planning in the Bay Area (2011), Opportunity-Rich Schools and Sustainable Communities: Seven Steps to Align High-Quality Education with Innovations in City and Metropolitan Planning and Development (2011), and Putting Schools on the Map: Linking Transit-Oriented Development, Families, and Schools in the San Francisco Bay Area (2010) - all available for download here