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!

2 minute read

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 Project Connect Transit Plan Drastically Reduced

The details of drastic reductions to the proposed building program for Austin’s Project Connect long-range transit plan are now open for public comment.

March 23, 2023 - KUT

Texas Legislation Would Add More Roadblocks for Transit Funding in Austin

A former Austin city councilmember, now at the Texas State Legislature, is trying to make it harder for Austin Transit Partnership to borrow money to fund Project Connect, the Austin region’s big, ambitious transit investment plan.

March 20, 2023 - KUT

Revisions Looming, Austin’s Project Connect Reveals the Obstacles of Transit Planning in 2023

A once sprawling and singularly ambitious capital investment plan for the Capital Metro system will soon be reduced in size and scope. The episode is more evidence of an emerging era of transit planning austerity.

March 15, 2023 - TransitCenter

Arizona’s ‘Car-Free’ Community Takes Shape

Culdesac Tempe has been welcoming residents since last year.

February 14, 2024 - The Cool Down

4 Ways to Use AI in Urban Planning and City Design

With the ability to predict trends, engage citizens, enhance resource allocation, and guide decision-making, artificial intelligence has the potential to serve as planners’ very own multi-tool.

February 20, 2024 - ArchDaily

Oregon Town Seeks Funding for Ambitious Resilience Plan

Like other rural communities, Grants Pass is eager to access federal funding aimed at sustainability initiatives, but faces challenges when it comes to meeting grant requirements.

February 18, 2024 - The Daily Yonder

News from HUD User

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

The Walkable City

Harvard GSD Executive Education

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.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.