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What is the difference between joint development and transit-oriented development (TOD)?

The 2007 report, “TOD 101: Transit-Oriented Development and Why Now?” by Reconnecting America and the Center for Transit-Oriented Development, defines transit-oriented development (TOD) like this:

TOD is not just development near transit. It’s development that also:

Increases “location efficiency” so people can walk, bike and take transit;
Boosts transit ridership and minimizes the impacts of traffic;
Provides a rich mix of housing, jobs, shopping and recreational choices;
Provides value for the public and private sectors, and for both new and existing residents; and
Creates a sense of community and of place.
Although related in purpose, joint development and TOD differ in several ways.

First, in joint development, the transit agency is an active partner, contributing to and benefiting from the development of real estate around its system. In TOD, the transit agency should benefit indirectly, but is not necessarily a partner that contributes to, or shares in the direct proceeds from, the development.

Second, joint development usually has a smaller scope than TOD, but that’s not always the case. Joint development projects tend to focus on a single parcel of property or small area near a transit facility, whereas TOD is broader and tends to encompass several parcels or an entire station area or community.

The third difference is with how federal funding can be used in different ways for joint development and TOD. In general, FTA funds may not be used for TOD construction, but FTA funds and other assistance can be used for TOD planning in conjunction with transit projects. FTA offers these resources through the Pilot Program for TOD Planning, the TOD Technical Assistance Initiative [external link], and the National Transit Institute’s TOD courses [external link]. Furthermore, U.S. DOT’s Build America Bureau offers opportunities to finance construction of certain elements of TOD projects through the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) and the Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing (RRIF) loan programs.

However, FTA funds can be invested into joint development in two ways: 1) FTA funds can be directly spent on certain joint development activities (see, and 2) real property and assets acquired with FTA funds can be contributed to joint development projects.

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