Equitable Transit Oriented Development (ETOD) has become a key priority on the planning agenda for many regional and local communities over the last several years.

As housing and transportation costs continue to rise, regions across the country are looking for ways to ensure that all their citizens can affordably access housing, jobs, health, childcare and other essential services near transit. To meet this need, planners, policy-makers, non-profits and others, are looking to support the investment and production of equitable transit-oriented development to ensure that development and transit benefits all people along a transit corridor, including those who are low-income.

Why do ETOD projects often get stuck in what is typically called the predevelopment phase? Add your thoughts 

At Living Cities, we are exploring how we can work with lenders, nonprofit advocates, metropolitan organizations and many other groups to help accelerate the transition from planning to implementation. This shift toward implementing ETOD requires a deeper understanding of how financing decisions affect and are affected by policy decisions. Toward this end, through our Connect work, we commissioned William Fleissig of Communitas Development and Ian Carlton of ICRC to write a paper for stakeholders involved in making the critical decisions that drive equitable transit-oriented development to learn from what has worked - and not worked - in the past.

This paper explores why ETOD projects often get stuck in what is typically called the predevelopment phase.

The researchers also make key recommendations for market feasibility assessments to be incorporated early in transit planning so that transit build-out can support development. In order to help regions avoid predevelopment pitfalls, the paper also proposes two new tools:

  • TOD Site Evaluation Checklist that stakeholders making transit and land use decisions could use to evaluate the feasibility of a site or proposed equitable TOD project. This checklist would include standard feasibility and market analyses as well as onsite expectations for housing and other amenities and other complicating factors such as land ownership, safety and security and physical site features. Having such a checklist would help regional stakeholders identify which stations could be developable.

  • TOD Investment Scorecard that allows investors to look across sites to compare the feasibility of different sites and then develop appropriate short- and long-term strategies to improve the potential for site development. We are in process of learning more about the barriers to building equitable transit-oriented development and are excited to share these lessons from our research with William Fleissig and Ian Carlton with all of you.

We invite you to read this paper and join the discussion.