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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Transit-Oriented Development

“TOD helps reinforce a sense of place and the fact that people have their own place and future, acknowledging and analyzing who stands to benefit from a transit investment or a TOD investment.
– Stan Wall, Managing Partner for HRA Advisors, Washington, D.C.

On this Page

What’s New

  • On November 17, 2022, FTA announced the award of approximately $13.1 million to 19 projects in 14 states in FY22 TOD planning grants to support community efforts to improve access to public transportation. The grants help organizations plan for transportation projects that connect communities and improve access to transit and affordable housing.
  • FTA is highlighting how communities across the country are creating housing, recreational and commercial opportunities around bus and rail stops, also known as Transit Oriented Development (TOD). These examples demonstrate how transit serves as a lifeline to jobs and opportunities that improve communities and people’s lives. Follow along at #TODChangesLives
  • USDOT’s TIFIA 49 program expands loans for TOD and transit projects.
  • See FTA-funded TOD planning projects, sorted by state.
     

Transit-Oriented Development at Work

  • A unique partnership in Atlanta brings soccer to five Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) stations.  The successful project, led by local nonprofit Soccer in the Streets, connects transit, sports, health & wellness, and youth development while cultivating healthy communities. The organization also works with the City of Atlanta and private landowners to site and develop soccer fields. A mural painted next to the field serves as the backdrop for the community’s Facebook page and has become gathering place, community garden, and social club.
  • The City of Austin approved a $7.1 billion expansion in November 2020 to support its Project Connect vision for Capital Metro, including two light rail lines and TOD for 21 stations. Cap Metro has developed a robust community engagement plan engaging affordable housing champions and community organizations to help identify people at highest risk for displacement and rethink how they develop measures of success. The efforts focus on active participation with groups that have been historically underrepresented with help from paid “community connectors,” analysis of demographics and market research published in a public dashboard and more.
  • Following passage of a new Connected Cities ordinance calling for more equitable TOD in Chicago, the nonprofit organization Elevated Chicago is helping design areas near transit with equity at the forefront. The new regulation calls for eTOD to help create jobs by catalyzing investment, including affordable housing, near transit. Overall, the effort aims to foster thriving neighborhoods across the entire city so that every Chicagoan is able to live in a vibrant, healthy and affordable community that connects them to transit and makes it easier for them to get to what they need — from jobs and schools to services and more. Elevated Chicago is transforming vacant land near two Chicago Transit Authority rail stations with city support to create equitable TOD with a focus on building climate resilient infrastructure that incorporates sustainable practices to address flooding, air pollution and high temperatures. Learn more

Overview

The success of transit systems in rural, urban and suburban neighborhoods is critical to the economic health and sustainable growth of America’s communities. Transit systems should address the needs of everyone and help people get to jobs, school, healthcare and visit friends and family. Transit-oriented development (TOD) is where those two areas intersect to create real change.

Dense, walkable, mixed-use development near transit attracts people and adds to vibrant, connected communities. Public transportation can help foster partnerships in communities that support the development of affordable housing around transit. When done right, TOD leads to more equitable communities.

Learn more about FTA’s Pilot Program for TOD Planning, which provides funding to communities to integrate land use and transportation planning with a new transit project. 

Successful TOD leverages public investments in transit to promote:

Neighborhood revitalization
More affordable housing
Public- and private investment
Economic returns to surrounding landowners and businesses
Increased ridership for transit systems
Congestion relief, improved air quality and other environmental benefits
Improved safety for pedestrians and cyclists.

Since 2015, FTA’s TOD program has provided more than $90 million to help communities around the country plan for new opportunities around transit.

Program FAST Act 2016-2020 Current Funding under BIL 2022-2026 % Increase
FTA TOD Planning Program $50 million $68.9 million 38% over 5 years
Metropolitan & Statewide Planning $681 million $966 million 41% over 5 years

TOD Listening Sessions

To better understand TOD opportunities and challenges on-the-ground, FTA, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, hosted three listening sessions in Spring 2022. More than two dozen stakeholders including transit leadership, community/social activists, transit advocates, public and private sector planning professionals and financial and philanthropic partners highlighted their efforts to strengthen their communities through TOD. 

The takeaways from these sessions are important for FTA and other federal agencies as we coordinate to achieve equitable TOD in more communities throughout America. 

Challenges raised in the listening sessions include:

  • Gentrification—including high housing/tax costs and resulting displacement—and how to invest in quality transportation services without displacing those who need them most
  • Soliciting community input from diverse groups, particularly regarding ways to avoid gentrification and overcoming the fear of the unknown
  • Planning and zoning to support TOD, particularly in terms of affordable housing near transit
  • Prioritizing the development of stations on large systems
  • Promoting good health through transit and TOD

FTA is using the information from our listening sessions to inform FTA’s advancement of TOD, including:

  • Updated language in our notices of funding opportunities
  • New tools, such as the TOD dashboard
  • Increased community engagement through social media and public outreach
  • Increased interagency collaboration on cross-cutting issues such as affordable housing and preservation of community context, culture and business

As a result of our listening sessions, FTA is launching initiatives to improve TOD, including:

  • Requests that potential applicants for the 2022 Program for TOD Planning Notice of Funding Opportunity prioritize TOD planning in areas where homelessness is high
  • Incentivizing   local leaders to proactively address homelessness when they engage in TOD planning and policymaking
  • Support for the implementation of TOD at all levels of affordability, from very low and low-income areas to areas with moderate incomes, and even workforce-income areas

 

Last updated: Thursday, November 17, 2022