Transit and Land Use Best Practices


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Transit and Land Use Best Practices

  • Prepared
  • by
  • Virginia Commonwealth University
  • June 2008

Part I: Bus TOD Best Practices

BTOD Case 1: The Boulder Transit Village, Boulder, Colorado

Project Location

  • The project is located at the northeast corner of Pearl Pkwy and 30th street in Boulder, Colorado.

Aerial Photo

Transit Facilities and Services

  • Regional Transportation District (RTD) will develop new transit facilities and services in the area:
    • a bus facility near Pearl Parkway and 30th Street, with bus rapid transit (BRT) to Denver along U.S. 36 and enhanced local bus service; and
    • a rail stop at the end of Bluff Street for commuter rail service to Denver and Longmont on existing railroad tracks currently used for freight.

TOD Facts

  • 200-300 or more affordable and market-rate residential housing units; and
  • supportive commercial uses and possibly a park-and-ride lot.

Project Participants

  • Regional Transportation District (RTD)
  • City of Boulder
  • Private Sector 

Project Phasing

  • A phased approach will be taken for the following components of implementation: the city’s funding of key public improvements, the regulatory aspects of the plan involving land use and zoning changes, TDM and transportation connections.
    • Phase 1 will occur in the first 10 to 15 years in the area between 30th Street and the railroad tracks; and
    • Phase 2 will generally occur thereafter and focus on the areas east of the tracks and west of 30th Street.

Project Funding

  • Funds for site selection, concept planning and land purchase were provided by the City of Boulder and RTD. Housing and commercial project elements will likely be financed by a future private developer and private/public partnership. RTD and the City have secured a Federal $7.8 million grant to fund master planning, site planning and design and construction of the first phase regional bus/BRT transit station. Funding for the future RTD commuter rail transit facility will be paid for by RTD FasTracks.

Lessons Learned

  • It is unnecessary to wait for a private developer to kick off a TOD project. Government agencies can also take the initiative to start a TOD project.
  • Bus transit can also create a successful TOD project. Rail is not the only transit mode for TOD.

BTOD Case 2: Staples Street Transit Center, Corpus Christi, Texas

Transit Facilities and Services

  • The bus transfer station is across the street from City Hall, Corpus Christi, Texas.
  • It serves 14 bus routes and some 5,000 daily transit users. The bus transfer facility, built in a Spanish-style motif, features on-site retail offerings and involves public-private equity participation.
  • Exterior of the Staples Street Transit Center
  • Interior of the Staples Street Transit Center

TOD Facts

  • This bus transfer center has become a veritable town square, featuring a weekly farmer’s market, food concessions, and 1,500 tiles hand-painted by local residents and students.
  • By all accounts, it has given bus transit a positive image in Corpus Christi.
  • The bus transfer center was the recipient of the 1995 Presidential Design Achievement Award.

Project Funding

  • The Corpus Christi RTA and its capital improvements are funded by a 1/2 percent sales tax. A Federal Transit Administration grant of $800,000 was utilized for the completion of the Staples Street Station. FTA’s Livable Communities funding is being used for pedestrian improvements to existing transit centers.

Lessons Learned

  • By making people-friendly improvements to such transit centers, it is able to reach beyond the boundaries of building typical bus stops to the larger goal of helping to reshape communities.

BTOD Case 3: “NoHo” Arts District, Los Angeles, California

Project Location

  • The “NoHo” Arts District is located in North Hollywood in the San Fernando Valley, Los Angeles.

Transit Facilities and Services

  • Metro Red Line (Heavy Rail); and
  • Metro Orange Line (BRT).

TOD Facts

  • Through the hard work of community stakeholders in partnership with Los Angeles Neighbourhood Initiative (LANI) and the Community Redevelopment Agency, NoHo has transformed from a thoroughfare dotted with vacant lots to a burgeoning theater district with coffee shops, restaurants and eclectic retail. In June 2000, the terminal Metro Red Line subway station opened within walking distance of this blossoming neighbourhood main street.
  • Medium- and high-density developments are being built around the Metro Station.
  • Condominium towers (including a 15-story building on Lankershim Blvd) being built in the midst of older one-story bungalows and small apartment complexes.

Project Funding

  • Funding for $100,000 of transit amenities came from a Federal Transit Administration’s Livable Communities grant.

Lessons Learned

  • The NoHo bus TOD reveals more about community development than transit, and illustrates how one of the greatest powers of TOD is to serve as a catalyst to achieve a community’s vision.
  • Giving community groups some control over the funds to be used in their neighbourhood promoted ongoing public involvement.

BTOD Case 4: Martin Luther King Jr. East Busway, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Transit Facilities and Services

  • The Martin Luther King Jr. East Busway is a two-lane dedicated bus-only highway serving the city of Pittsburgh and many of its eastern neighborhoods and suburbs. Total length is 9.1 miles.
  • Three Port Authority routes and other express and suburban Flyer routes utilize the busway seven days a week.
  • MLK Busway Route Map

TOD Facts

  • 59 new developments within 1,500 feet radius of station;
  • $302 million in land development benefits of which $275 million was construction. 80% clustered at station;
  • New construction and renovation of existing buildings;
  • Retail, office and residential uses are most common.

BTOD Case 5: Centre Station/John Deere Commons

Project Location

  • Centre Station, 1200 River Drive, Moline, Illinois 61265
  • Project Location Map
  • Centre Station Photo

Transit Facilities and Services

  • The Centre Station is a bus transfer center developed by the Rock Island County Metropolitan Mass Transit District (MetroLINK) in Illinois. It consists of a 12-bay bus staging area arranged in a sawtooth pattern at the grade level with an elevated bus transfer platform.

TOD Facts

  • The Centre Station in John Deere Commons contains offices, a convention center, a Radisson Hotel, a parking structure, and various pedestrian amenities

Project Participants

  • The Rock Island County Metropolitan Mass Transit District (MetroLINK);
  • The United States Department of Transportation, Federal Transit Administration (FTA);
  • The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT);
  • The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Economic Development Administration (EDA); and
  • Deere & Company.

BTOD Case 6: Uptown District, San Diego, California

Project Location

  • Uptown District, 1270 Cleveland Avenue, San Diego.
  • Project Location Map

Transit Facilities and Services

TOD Facts

  • The Uptown district is a 14-acre mixed-use bus TOD.
  • TOD development costs $70 million to develop and consists of 318 housing units, 145,000 square feet of retail and commercial space, and a 3,000 square foot community center.
  • Uptown District Land Use Map
  • Project Photo

Project Funding

  • The Uptown project was funded by the City’s redevelopment agency ($9 million) and by private companies.

Lessons Learned

  • With strong city leadership, a bus TOD became an important community asset.
  • Uptown is a good example of how to accommodate the needs of the automobile and create a well designed, pedestrian-friendly mixed use TOD.

BTOD Case 7: Aspen Neighbourhood, West Davis, California

Transit Facilities and Services

  • 5 bus routes, 5 to 25-minute frequency, and two commuter express routes to downtown Sacramento.

Project Location

  • Corner of Arlington Blvd. and Shasta Drive in West Davis (west of Highway 113), California.
  • Project Location Map

TOD Facts

  • Aspen Village: includes 88 units on 4.5 acres (at 20 dwelling units per net acre density), with 230 parking spaces (2.6/unit).
  • Heather Glen Apartments: consists of 62 units on 3.5 acres (a net density of 17 dwelling units (du)/acre), with 124 parking spaces (2 spaces/unit).
  • Muir Commons consists of: 26 self contained townhomes with small yards; a large community building with commercial-size kitchen, dining room, childrens’ playrooms, large meeting room, and laundry facilities; a lawn, gardens, and children’s play structure; a workshop/garage; an orchard; a hot tub; and landscaped sitting areas.
  • A Bus Stop Photo
  • A Neighborhood Photo

Lessons Learned

  • This neighbourhood is a successful example of a suburban bus TOD. There has been very little community opposition to the attractive and well maintained medium-density housing complexes. The private developer has indicated a desire to include transit in future projects due to the benefit of reduced traffic and parking problems in this neighbourhood due to its accessibility to high-quality transit service, especially for students.

BTOD Case 8: Benjamin and Marian Schuster Performing Arts Center, Dayton, Ohio

Project Location

  • Second and Main Streets, Dayton, Ohio.

Project Location Map

Transit Facilities and Services

  • Bus services (Routes 1, 2, 4, 7, 11, 14) of the Greater Dayton Regional Transit Authority.

TOD Facts

  • The Benjamin and Marian Schuster Performing Arts Center;
  • Restaurants;
  • 15 Story Office Tower;
  • Condominiums;
  • Garden Center (Known as the Winter Garden); and
  • A Penthouse.

Project Funding

  • The Schusters have donated $8 million toward the new arts center.

Lessons Learned

  • This is a typical example of urban TOD, which has a great potential to boost bus ridership.

BTOD Case 9: Adelaide Busway, Adelaide, Australia

Project Location

  • Adelaide, Australia
  • Project Location
  • Map

Transit Facilities and Services

  • At 12 kilometres long, the Adelaide O-Bahn (track-guided bus) is the longest and fastest guided bus service in the world, travelling at speeds up to 100km/hour.
  • Currently, there are 22,000 passenger trips daily (8 million a year).
  • Adelaide Metro operates the busway.
  • O-Bahn Technology

TOD Facts

  • In the early 1990s, the site of a new regional college campus was relocated to Tea Tree Gully (busway’s terminus);
  • A medical complex has also sprung up nearby; and
  • Some degree of clustered, station-area development has occurred.

Lessons Learned

  • Adelaide’s O-Bahn has proven to be a sensible choice for serving low-density, auto-oriented markets. By blending the speed and safety of light rail transit with the inherent flexibility and efficiencies of bus transit, the O-Bahn system has been successful. Its ridership continues to increase, even though regional transit patronage has fallen.

BTOD Case 10: Brisbane South East Busway, Brisbane, Australia

Project Location

  • Brisbane, Australia
  • Project Location Map

Transit Facilities and Services

  • The 17-kilometer (10.5-mile) South East Busway extends from the Brisbane Central Business District to the southern suburb of Eight Mile Plain, adjacent to the South East Freeway. The $400 million-busway includes 10 attractively designed stations and a bus operations center.
  • Daily ridership approximates 60,000.
  • Brisbane South East Busway Photo

TOD Facts

  • Up to 20% gain in property values near the busway. Property values in area within 6 miles of station grew by 2 to 3 times faster than those at greater distance

BTOD Case 11: Curitiba BRT, Brazil

Project location

  • Curitiba, Brazil
  • Location of Curitiba in Brazil

Transit Facilities and Services

  • Bus rapid transit operates on the five main arterials leading into the center of the city like spokes on a wheel hub.
  • Tube stations serve the dual purpose of providing shelter from the elements, and facilitate the simultaneous loading and unloading of passengers.
  • BRT Routes in Curitiba
  • BRT Tube Stations in Curitiba

TOD Facts

  • BRT limited central area growth, while encouraging commercial growth along the transport arteries radiating out from the city center. The city center was partly closed to vehicular traffic, and pedestrian streets were created. Linear development along the arteries reduced the traditional importance of the downtown area.

Lessons Learned

  • Curitiba’s BRT successes were due to careful planning, smart decision making, and inspired leadership;
  • Curitiba took many innovative measures: the creation of trinary roads, introduction of zoning bonuses, and initiation of direct-line services that tie into boarding tubes; and
  • Curitiba also kept things simple. Curitiba set off with a small set of realistic long-range goals.

BTOD Case 12: Ottawa Transitway

Project Location

  • Ottawa, Canada
  • Ottawa Busway Route Map

Transit Facilities and Services

  • Using a dedicated busway, Ottawa has achieved many advantages of a rail-based rapid transit system, with an added bonus: vehicles can leave and return to the guideway, thus reducing the need to transfer.
  • In 1998, Ottawa’s bus-only guideway connects more than 200,000 daily passengers to the region’s urban centers. Nearly three-quarters of all peak-hour trips headed to downtown Ottawa are by a transit.
  • Ottawa Busway Photo

TOD Facts

  • $1 Can billion ($US 675 million) in new construction at transitway stations.

Lessons Learned

  • The bus-based Transitway system was the right choice for the Ottawa-Carleton region. It provides a high level of service to the predominantly low-density residences of the region, while also providing a focus for channeling future employment and commercial growth.

Part II: Rail TOD Best Practices

RTOD Case 1: Columbia Pike Streetcar Project

Project Location

  • Arlington and Fairfax Counties, Virginia
  • Project Location Map

Transit Facilities and Services

  • Streetcar technology;
  • Five mile connection between Skyline and Pentagon City;
  • Six-minute service;
  • Service augmented with Metro buses during peak periods.
  • Streetcar Technology

TOD Facts

  • Include a mixture of community- and neighbourhood-serving retail, office, residential, and recreational/cultural uses developed with a pedestrian scale and character. New mixed-use projects would create a distinct new identity and provide future access to multi-modal transit options.

RTOD Case 2: Rosslyn-Ballston Corridor

Project Location

  • Arlington County, Virginia

Transit Facilities and Services

  • Five Metro Rail stations in the corridors.
  • Transit operator is the Washington Metropolitan Transportation Authority (WMTA).

TOD Facts

  • Over 21 million square feet of office, retail, and commercial space;
  • more than 3,000 hotel rooms; and
  • almost 25,000 residences,
  • 1970
  • 2000
  • Office (sf)
  • 6.7 million
  • 30 million
  • Retail (sf)
  • .6 million
  • 4.1 million
  • Housing Units
  • 5,300
  • 26,500
  • Jobs
  • 27,000
  • 120,000
  • Housing/Jobs Balance
  • 1:5
  • 1:4.6
  • Corridor Development Patterns
  • Rosslyn-Ballston Corridor Photo

Lessons Learned

  • Think big and involve all stakeholders in dialogue;
  • Take your time on the big “framework” decisions. Once the framework is set, stick to it;
  • Have high expectations;
  • Plan well;
  • Be patient;
  • Maintain integrity of plan;
  • Be consistent;
  • Density can motivate the private sector.

RTOD Case 3: South End TOD

Project Location

  • Charlotte, North Carolina
  • Project Location Map

Transit Facilities and Services

  • Light rail operated by the Charlotte Area Transit System; and
  • Light rail stations in the South End District: Carson Boulevard, Rensselaer Avenue and East Boulevard.

TOD Facts

  • The overall vision for South End is to become a vibrant, historic, pedestrian-oriented urban district focused around a multi-modal transportation corridor that serves pedestrians, bicyclists, bus transit, trolley, light rail, and motorists, and is a community gathering place for Wilmore and Dilworth.

RTOD Case 4: Mockingbird Station TOD

Project Location

  • Dallas, Texas
  • Project Location Map

Transit Facilities and Services

  • Light rail operated by the Dallas Area Rapid Transit.
  • Mockingbird Station is located 4 miles north of downtown Dallas.
  • Mockingbird Station Photo

TOD Facts

  • The assemblage of offices, shops, restaurants, and lofts near the station cost around $145 million;
  • It includes 211 upscale loft residences, 140,000 square feet of office space, and 180,000 square feet of destination and convenience retail, theaters, and restaurants.

RTOD Case 5: Englewood CityCenter TOD

Project Location

  • Englewood, Colorado

Transit Facilities and Services

  • Light Rail

TOD Facts

Lessons Learned

  • The public sector was willing to invest substantial public resources and was focused on the goals of reinvigorating the community and establishing a development with long-term financial viability.
  • The city made a strategic investment to relocate civic facilities to the CityCenter area, helping to encourage private-sector investment.

RTOD Case 6: Orenco Station Town Center

Project Location

  • Hillsboro, Oregon

Transit Facilities and Services

  • Light Rail operated by Portland Tri-Met.

TOD Facts

  • TOD will encompass 450 to 500 attached town homes and detached homes along with 1,400 luxury apartment units. One of the community’s focal points will be a town center that will initially feature 25,000 square feet of retail space, with 22 apartments or lofts above retail establishments and 24 live-work town homes. An additional 30,000 square feet of retail space will be available for future development.

RTOD Case 7: Bethesda Metro Center

Project Location

  • Bethesda, Maryland

Project Location Map

Transit Facilities and Services

  • Metro rail operated by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.

Metro Bethesda Station Photo

TOD Facts

  • Some 400,000 square feet of office space;
  • A 380-room Hyatt Hotel;
  • 60,000 square feet of retail space;
  • The air-rights lease at the Bethesda Station generates $1.6 million annually in rents.
  • Metro Bethesda Station TOD Photo

RTOD Case 8: Lindbergh City Center

Project Location

  • 2424 Piedmont Road Atlanta, GA 30324

Project Location Map

Transit Facilities and Services

  • This is the second busiest station in the MARTA system, handling an average of 23,400 boardings per weekday.
  • Intersection of North-South Line and Northeast-South Line.
  • Connections: GRTA, Royal Bus Lines buses.
  • Lindbergh City Center Photo

TOD Facts

  • Some 1.3 million square feet of office space, retail shops, and a hotel, plus residential condominiums, are slated for an 11-acre park-and-ride lot;
  • A pedestrian-friendly Main Street, featuring retail shops and restaurants, will bridge over the rail station into a multifamily residential district.
  • One of Atlanta’s largest companies, BellSouth, will be the project’s anchor tenant.

RTOD Case 9: Dadeland North and South

Project Location

  • Miami, Florida

Project Location Map

Transit Facilities and Services

  • Metro rail operated by Miami-Dade Transit Authority.
  • Daily ridership = 67,000.

TOD Facts

  • The joint development projects at Dadeland North and South currently yield $800,000 in annual lease revenues.
  • The agency is currently seeking to enter into deals with private interests to develop 11 agency-owned properties.

Datran Center Office Towers

RTOD Case 10: Ohlone-Chynoweth TOD

Project Location

  • San Jose, California

Project Location Map

Transit Facilities and Services

  • Light rail operated by Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA).
  • Ohlone-Chynoweth station is located at the junction of Alum Rock-Santa Teresa Line and Almaden Shuttle.

Ohlone-Chynoweth Station Photo

TOD Facts

  • 330 units of affordable housing, targeted to people making between 30% and 60% of the area median income;
  • 40 park-and-ride spaces;
  • total project cost of $31.6 million,
  • including $14.5 million in tax-exempt bonds, $10.5 million in tax credit equity, a
  • $5.2 million loan from the City to support affordable housing, $824,000 in federal
  • transportation funds for improvements, a $500,000 Affordable Housing grant,
  • and $350,000 State Proposition 1 funds to reimburse the school fee.

TOD Financing

  • Total project cost of $31.6 million.
    • $14.5 million in tax-exempt bonds
    • $10.5 million in tax credit equity
    • $5.2 million loan from the City to support affordable housing
    • $824,000 in federal transportation funds for improvements,
    • $500,000 Affordable Housing grant
    • $350,000 State Proposition 1 funds to reimburse the school fee.

RTOD Case 11: The Tide - Norfolk's Future Light Rail Transit System

Transit Facilities and Services

  • $232 million project;
  • Extend 7.4 miles from the Eastern Virginia Medical Center through downtown Norfolk, and continuing along the Norfolk Southern Right of Way, adjacent to the I-264 corridor to Newtown Road;
  • 11 stations;
  • The project sponsor is Hampton Roads Transit (HRT), the region's sole transit provider.

Project Status

  • Construction is under way;
  • Will be operational by 2010.


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