The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) today announced the selection of the cities of Birmingham, Charlotte, Albuquerque, Omaha and Tacoma to receive support in planning development near transit systems as part of the second round of its Transit Oriented Development (TOD) Technical Assistance Initiative. The initiative supports efforts to create mixed-use, walkable communities near transit with a focus on economically disadvantaged populations.
“The Department of Transportation places a high priority on investing in transportation projects that improve the prosperity of low- and moderate-income communities and stimulate economic development in areas that need it,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “We are pleased to provide this technical assistance to help local leaders create practical, equitable, community-sensitive development plans.”
The five communities will receive in-depth, long-term technical assistance as they plan strategies for successful TOD, which has been shown to provide a boost to local economies. This work will emphasize partnerships between public and private entities as local leaders strive to attract development near transit.
In the second year of the program, FTA will work again with the nonprofit organization Smart Growth America to provide a variety of planning and analysis tools tailored to the needs of each community. The free technical assistance to the communities, which were chosen through a competitive process, will include planning for and managing economic development near transit through effective zoning and land use planning as well as strategies to retain affordable housing and local businesses.
“By sharing expertise in transit-oriented development, we are helping create the kind of growth that’s right for each community while leveraging our investments in transit,” said FTA Acting Administrator Carolyn Flowers. “It’s mutually supportive: the transit service provides transportation for those who live and work there, while equitable TOD can boost transit ridership. Our initiative helps communities to build their expertise in planning TOD to create stronger neighborhoods.”
Among the selected technical assistance projects:
- The Birmingham Jefferson County Transit Authority, with support from the City of Birmingham, Alabama, will receive technical assistance to support a station area plan around a new bus rapid transit station. The project will aim to maximize TOD potential around the transit center by developing a set of tools that can be replicated around other BRT stations along the corridor, as well as a website and other public outreach strategies.
- The City of Charlotte, North Carolina, with support from the Charlotte Area Transit System, will receive technical assistance to develop strategies to help preserve established neighborhoods and incentivize appropriate TOD along the western end of the Gold Line streetcar corridor, known as the Historic West End.
- The City of Tacoma, Washington, will receive technical assistance to identify economic development and housing opportunities along the Hilltop segment of the Tacoma Link light rail expansion. The technical assistance will result in an economic and housing market study that projects employment, housing, and property trends in addition to TOD opportunity sites.
In early 2016, as part of the kickoff of the TOD technical assistance initiative, FTA announced the selection of nine communities to receive technical support. In the selected community of Kansas City, Missouri, residents, civic leaders, and planning officials gathered in August 2016 to strategize ways to attract well-planned, equitable development to support a planned bus rapid transit corridor along Prospect Avenue. The resulting strategies focused on ways to preserve and focus on the area’s rich cultural and residential history, expand and support the corridor’s business revitalization, and install wide sidewalks and bike lanes. More information regarding the first round of technical assistance will be highlighted in a report that will be posted on FTA’s website in early 2017.