TOD: The 'T' Stands for 'Trail'

Planning for active transportation is the new trend in urban development, according to the Urban Land Institute—and it pays off.

1 minute read

April 16, 2016, 5:00 AM PDT

By Elana Eden

The concept of transit-oriented development is by now widely embraced. A new report from ULI explores what it calls "the next frontier": trail-oriented development.

As The Architects' Newspaper puts it, the report asks: "What happens when officials, urban planners, and developers, and other professionals involved in the built environment put a premium on safe sidewalks, cycle paths, the pedestrian, and the cyclist?"

The study looked at 10 residential and commercial developments in cities around the world, as well as five "catalytic" bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure projects.

It found that trail-oriented development has a positive impact on "economic development, public health, air quality, community design and real estate design and investment." Trail systems can boost retail sales, commercial property values, and tourism, while creating savings in health and business costs.

Bike ridership is growing worldwide, even in already-bike-friendly cities. In the United States, San Jose is updating its Trail Strategic Plan, while Houston recently unveiled a new plan for "casual riders."

For cities playing catch-up, the report includes a guide to becoming a bicycle-friendly community.

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