Cities and regions from coast to coast are pursuing transit-oriented development (TOD) strategies as a way to achieve many goals, including increased economic competitiveness through improved quality of life, reduced congestion, lower transportation costs for households, improved air quality, reduced costs for providing city services, and growth management. The concept of TOD is becoming more popular as the number of regions planning light rail, bus rapid transit, and other fixed-guideway transit investments expands.
This report provides an evaluation of planning and implementation efforts undertaken based on the Pennsylvania Transit Revitalization Investment District (TRID) Act. This innovative law, passed in 2004, has been cited nationally as a model for fostering transit-oriented development (TOD). TRID is intended to achieve a variety of goals including:
Encouraging TOD and economic development;
Fostering collaboration between multiple entities;
Promoting the use of value capture mechanisms, public-private partnerships, and other innovative financing methods to spur infrastructure investment;
Incorporating community involvement in planning; and
Generating increased revenue and ridership for transit agencies.
The TRID legislation enables the use of a district-based tax increment financing mechanism to capture increases in property values to pay for needed improvements. It is distinct from tax-increment financing (TIF) because unlike TIF, it does not require that there be a…
As more and more cities join the transit space race and see the benefits of walkability, places like Pittsburgh – which already have well established systems and walkable street patterns– need to revisit and reinforce their existing transit networks in order to stay competitive. Long thought of as a planning concept for managing growth in fast growing regions, transit-oriented development actually has great applicability when it comes to reinforcing the neighborhoods that make mature cities great. We have the opportunity to reinforce and invest in our transit network in a way that captures higher ridership, generates lasting value for our neighborhoods, enhances the economic strength of our job centers, provides enduring benefits for all of our residents, from young working families to retirees.
This report comes at a time when our region is at an ironic crossroads. The time has never been better to think about how we can improve the integration of our transit system…
The development of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) systems is relatively recent in the United States, but several systems are in operation and more are advancing. There is a need for a more comprehensive understanding of the relationship between land use and BRT system development, particularly in comparison to other fixed-guideway modes such as heavy and light rail. While recognizing that existing land uses have an important and complex influence on the development costs and benefits of fixed-guideway projects, this research focuses primarily on the impact such projects have had on existing and future land uses and economic development, as well as the policies and practices that have been used by local governments that have the potential to affect development. Finally, additional note has been taken as to whether the benefits and incentives offered along transit corridors between Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) and Light Rail Transit (LRT) are equitable in cities where both modes…
The development of bus rapid transit (BRT) systems is relatively recent in the United States; however, several systems are operating and many more are being planned. A more comprehensive understanding of the relationship between land use and BRT is needed, particularly in comparison to other fixed-guideway modes. This report documents an effort to quantify the impacts of BRT stations on the values of surrounding single-family homes.
Transit planning in the United States has tended toward viewing BRT as an analogue to light rail transit, with similar operating patterns. This model, referred to as “Light Rail Lite,” is compared to international best practices, which have often favored the development of a grade-separated bus infrastructure (“Quickways”) that in turn supports a varied mix of all-stops, express, and branching services. This model, dubbed the Quickway model, evolved out of the practical necessity of cities to meet ambitious ridership or mode split targets. The two models are contrasted along the key dimensions of BRT service, and significant differences are identified. Three international case studies—Ottawa, Bogotá, and Brisbane—are reviewed for their particular application of this model and of the results they have obtained. Four domestic cities are compared to these international examples: Eugene, Oregon, and Los Angeles are profiled for their adoption of the Light Rail Lite model, and…
What is a shrinking city?
A shrinking city in one where substantial and sustained population loss (20 percent or greater) has occurred over a period of at least forty years, while the physical footprint of the city has remained the same. This results in a dysfunctional real estate market (much more supply than demand) and a surplus of underutilized public infrastructure. The remaining residents and businesses are burdened with higher taxes as the city tries to maintain its infrastructure for a significantly reduced population. In a shrinking city, population and economic growth are not anticipated in the foreseeable future, resulting in continued dysfunction in the market.
Shrinkage exhibits itself in vacant and abandoned properties. These sites become magnets for illicit activities including arson, vandalism, drug dealing, and prostitution. As both a “symptom and a disease” (Burchell & Listokin, 1981, p. 15), property abandonment challenges cities across the U.S.
While Transit Oriented Development (TOD) has almost exclusively concerned rail based modes there has been a recent interest in bus related TOD with an emphasis on new bus rapid transit (BRT) developments in North/ South America and Australia. This paper takes a critical look at the strengths and weakness of bus based transit systems in relation to TOD through a review of the literature and an assessment of TOD related developments. The performance of BRT systems in relation to TOD are considered with specific reference to BRT systems in Australia. In addition TOD related to local suburban or ‘low order’ bus service is considered. The paper describes the general concept of TOD and how this relates to features of transit modes, outlines the literature relevant to bus based TOD and identifies the strengths and weakness of bus based transit systems in relation to TOD. It concludes by using the findings of the review to identify ways in which bus based TOD might be better planned and…
Bus Rapid Transit can achieve the capacity and economic development potential of rail, but at a fraction of the cost. Despite these successes, communities often view rail as superior to BRT and thus demand new rail systems. The challenge will be to ensure that BRT is evaluated on a level playing field with other technologies.