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Transit-Oriented Development Toolkit for CT

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What is Transit-Oriented Development (TOD)?

Transit-oriented development at its simplest is development that’s built to take advantage of the ability of people to access it with transit. TOD is a strategy for growth that produces less traffic and lessens impact on roads and highways. Households located within walking distance of transit own fewer cars, drive less, and pay a smaller share of their income on transportation-related expenses. Homes and businesses can be built with less parking, reducing the cost of development, making development more feasible in weak markets, and increasing local tax revenue.

The kinds of communities supported by transit - walkable, mixed use neighborhoods that include housing, shops, and services - are in high demand by young professionals and empty nesters. Over the past ten years, we’ve seen the real estate market shift from an emphasis on single-family home construction to a recognition that “in-town” multifamily homes are increasingly popular and are an opportunity for developers to market to a growing segment of the population.

Post-recession, the emphasis has shifted from condominiums to rentals, but in-town development remains a focus of the real estate industry. Research continues to demonstrate that properties near transit enjoy a value premium and that real estate values near transit hold up better during real estate downturns.1

Transit-oriented development is also sometimes called “transit-supportive” development to emphasize its role in transportation. A TOD strategy can support long-term plans to improve transit service frequency and quality. Destinations near rail stations and bus hubs make it easy for transit to be the preferred mode for residents and commuters. More transit riders increase the efficiency of our bus and rail systems and generate demand for more frequent and better quality service.

TOD also increases regional access to educational and employment opportunities, both by increasing housing options near transit and by making regional destinations accessible to non-drivers.

This toolkit introduces the primary components of a TOD program that meets common community goals of strengthening town centers, supporting municipal budgets, expanding housing and commercial opportunities, and minimizing environmental impacts.

Chapter 1 covers the process and design for getting TOD built in your community, from developing a community vision and supportive zoning, to determining how accessible your station is for non-drivers.

In Chapter 2, we review the demographic trends that favor mixed-income, transit-accessible housing, the fiscal impacts of residential TOD, and mechanisms to include affordable housing within TOD development.

Chapter 3 illustrates Complete Streets strategies that enhance your community’s streets and sidewalks to promote walking and biking to your station and to TOD built around it.Transit access, walking and bicycling, and the mix of uses in TOD mean that TOD districts require less parking than traditional development. Chapter 4 details best practices for managing parking, including parking maximums, shared parking, and transit incentives.

Chapters 5 and 6 provides information and resources for incorporating green infrastructure and energy solutions in your community. Green infrastructure minimizes wastewater and pollutant impacts from development. Energy-efficiency, local energy generation and micro-grids help communities use less power and withstand disruptions to the regional energy supply.


1 For example, see “The New Real Estate Mantra: Location Near Public Transportation” by the National Association of Real­tors, American Public Transportation Agency, and Center for Neighborhood Technology. March 20, 2013,