Skip to main content

Austin, Texas Shows the Way to Plan and Design Transit Oriented Development

Capital Metro in Austin, Texas recently published a set of outstanding resources for planning and designing Transit Oriented Development: a Transit Design Guide, a TOD Priority Tool and a TOD Guide. Way to go, Austin!

December 12, 2018, 9:00 AM PST

By Todd Litman

The Saltillo Lofts are built across the street from the Plaza Saltillo Station in Austin, Texas. | peter french / Flickr

Capital Metro in Austin, recently published a set of outstanding resources for planning and designing Transit Oriented Development (TOD):

  • The Transit Design Guide is a best practices manual for designing transit-supportive roadways and facilities to enhance bus and rail service and operations.
  • The TOD Priority Tool provides a framework for evaluating development potential around high-capacity stations.
  • The TOD Guide is a best practices manual for TOD and placemaking.

What is Transit-Oriented Development?

Transit-oriented development (TOD) is an attractive, walkable, and sustainable development pattern around high-capacity transit that maximizes transit ridership and offers residents ample vibrant housing choices and convenient access to jobs, services and diverse amenities.

The TOD Priority Tool

Capital Metro is taking a system-wide approach to encourage TOD along the high-capacity MetroRapid and MetroRail transit corridors and enable transit communities for all residents. The new TOD Priority Tool provides a foundation to guide public and private investment around transit stations through:

  • Creating an implementation action plan tool through research and analysis of the existing state of transit oriented development
  • Providing on the ground, station-level action items with the intent to foster implementation of TOD at high-capacity transit stations
  • Establishing a close interrelationship between land use decisions and transit system efficiencies to improve both.

Station Areas

This TOD Priority Tool is focused on areas within a half-mile radius around high-capacity transit stations on the MetroRapid and MetroRail system. 

  • About TOD - Learn about the benefits and opportunities of TOD.
  • Typology - See station areas organized according to character and readiness.
  • Implementation - Find out what's needed to bring TOD to reality.
  • Interactive Map - Learn where the opportunities are.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018 in Transit Design Guide

Austin’s Transit CEO Moving to D.C.

After overseeing a major system redesign and plans for its largest-ever expansion, the head of Capital Metro will take over Washington, D.C.’s transit agency.

May 17, 2022 - KUT

Coming Soon to Austin: More Electric Buses, Two New High-Frequency Lines

Austin's transit agency is accelerating its move toward an all-electric fleet with the addition of 200 new electric buses.

October 6, 2021 - KUT

How COVID Impacts the Future of Light Rail in Austin

The budget for Austin’s massive transportation plan was cut by nearly a third in the wake of the pandemic, but a tax rate increase to help pay for it is still on the ballot for November.

September 30, 2020 - Katharine Jose

How Sharrows Became Cycling’s Most Hated Symbol

Originally designed as a low-cost way to encourage safer road sharing between bikes and cars, the sharrow has become a symbol of the lack of commitment to protected bike infrastructure in many cities.

August 2, 2022 - Denverite

Keanu Reeves Set to Play Daniel Burnham in ‘The Devil in the White City’

Planning is going to get a new level of star power as a limited series adaptation of The Devil in the White City gets ready for television screens in 2024.

August 8, 2022 - Reel Chicago

Massive, Vacant L.A. Hospital To Become Affordable Housing

The historic building will be redeveloped with over 500 housing units and supportive services on site.

August 1, 2022 - Los Angeles Times

2022 National Cohousing Conference

Cohousing Association of the US

New Updates on PD&R Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Rail~Volution 2022 Miami


Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Hand Drawing Master Plans

This course aims to provide an introduction into Urban Design Sketching focused on how to hand draw master plans using a mix of colored markers.