Making TOD More Viable

Tying housing and land acquisition funding to transit projects could make dense, walkable development easier and more cost-effective.

1 minute read

April 9, 2024, 12:00 PM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

WMATA train on elevated track passing by brick multistory buildings in Alexandria, Virginia.

Transit-oriented development in Alexandria, Virginia. | Michael Geissinger / Adobe Stock

Federal funding for transit-oriented development (TOD) is often siloed into its separate transportation and housing elements, making it more difficult to build developments that ostensibly combine transportation and housing to create more walkable and affordable communities.

As Kalena Thomhave explains in Smart Cities Dive, this is a problem because transit agencies often don’t own enough land to make development near stations possible. An analysis from the Urban Institute found that “housing is much more likely to be built far from transit, where land and housing costs are lower. Between 2000 and 2019, more than eight times as many housing units were built far from transit than nearby, according to the analysis.”

Cities can promote the integration of housing and transportation by creating a “dedicated land acquisition program” that would be tasked with identifying land acquisition opportunities near transit stations and tie funding for housing programs to transportation projects. In Seattle, Sound Transit has completed several TOD projects that pair new housing with light rail lines.

Tuesday, April 9, 2024 in Smart Cities Dive

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