Transit-Oriented Development

Downtown Elgin, Illinois
Downtown Elgin, Illinois

Why Transit-Oriented Development (TOD)?

One focus of the Community Planning program is to support transit-oriented development (TOD) as a strategy to connect our customers to the regional transit system. TOD is a concept that encourages mixed-use development by integrating housing, office, retail, parks, and other civic uses within a short walking distance of a train station or bus stop (generally within a half-mile radius or ten-minute walk). 

The fundamental building blocks of TOD are dense and accessible mixed-use communities near transit. TOD provides increased mobility options for residents, workers, and visitors with diverse housing options, and nearby retail, cultural centers, and jobs. Specifically designed to be pedestrian friendly, TOD areas have higher rates of walking and cycling trips, increasing transit use and eliminate the pollution associated with driving personal vehicles. 
 

Implementing TOD

The RTA produces an annual implementation report to provide an overview of how the RTA Community Planning program supports transit-oriented development throughout the region. This report is based on a survey that seeks updates from community leaders regarding projects relating to a completed TOD plan, TOD zoning update, or TOD developer discussion panel through our Community Planning program. The survey questions focus on implementation efforts and private investments that have occurred most recently near transit in their community. For more information, see the following RTA Community Planning Implementation Reports:

 

Resources to get you started

The RTA Local Planning Division has developed and implemented several initiatives, technical studies and policies to foster sustainable and livable communities that enhance multi-modal transportation throughout the region.  Through these coordinated efforts, the RTA is committed to advancing transit-oriented development in our region. Similar to the federal government’s livability initiatives, the RTA continues to coordinate with the transportation, housing, environment, and economic development fields to create and preserve livable communities and to offer the following resources:

  1. Introduction to TOD
  2. Funding
  3. Zoning
  4. Parking
  5. Additional Resources
     

1. Introduction to TOD

Transit Works Brochure. This brochure conveys the many benefits of placing development and redevelopment near transit and outlines the benefits into four categories: public health and safety, government efficiency and sustainability, transit effectiveness, and household cost savings.

”Making Way” Access to Transit Guide. This guide was developed to encourage and empower municipalities to implement small scale capital access improvements, which can promote pedestrian mobility and provide added access to transit.

Setting the Stage for Transit Guide. The RTA created this guide as a resource for municipal officials looking to make their communities more transit-friendly, through conducting transit supportive planning and considering local financial investments to transit service.

TOD: The Future of Development.This brochure outlines the importance of transit-oriented development and the positive effect it can have on housing, retail, office and restaurant markets, in addition to detailing developer testimonials on the increased interest in TOD.
 

2. Funding

Municipal Funding Opportunities. This resource is a comprehensive list of available funding sources to help implement TOD, which includes local, regional, state, federal and private foundation sources.

Tools and Techniques for Facilitating Effective TOD Value Capture. This paper identifies best practices of transit agencies from around the country that have sought to capture enhanced land values resulting from transit service and leverage it for investment in the transit system.
 

3. Zoning

Zoning and TODs. This document outlines the most common types of zoning ordinances and the best practices of each as related to TOD while detailing how to incorporate transit-supportive zoning regulations and standards in transit areas.

Streamlining the Entitlement Process for TOD. This report outlines the best practices with regards to streamlining the entitlement (or approval process) for TOD projects and can be used to explore ways to adjust and reduce the submittal and review requirements for development proposals.
 

4. Parking

Access and Parking Strategies for Transit-Oriented Development. This document acts as a resource for municipal officials looking for innovative strategies to support multi-modal access to their transit station and TOD area.

Access and Parking Strategies Power Point. This presentation is for municipal staff to utilize in explaining the principles of the Access and Parking Strategies Report above.
 

5. Additional Resources

Interactive Web Map. An interactive map of the RTA region showing locations where the RTA has conducted TOD studies in partnership with a municipality. The map includes information about completed plans, plans that are currently progress of development and programmed plans for future study.

TOD Resident Survey Report. This report details the findings from the survey data which indicates, among other things, that residents living in TOD areas are using transit more and that they own fewer automobiles than before moving into the area. The report also includes recommendations that municipal officials and developers can use to further attract residents to their TOD areas.