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transit-oriented development (TOD) is a mixed-use residential or commercial area designed to maximize access to public transport, and often incorporates features to encourage transit ridership. A TOD neighborhood typically has a center with a train station, metro station, tram stop, or bus stop, surrounded by relatively high-density development with progressively lower-density development spreading outwards from the center. TODs generally are located within a radius of one-quarter to one-half mile (400 to 800 m) from a transit stop, as this is considered to be an appropriate scale for pedestrians.

Many of the new towns created after World War II in Japanmarker, Swedenmarker, and Francemarker have many of the characteristics of TOD communities. In a sense, nearly all communities built on reclaimed land in the Netherlandsmarker or as exurban developments in Denmarkmarker have had the local equivalent of TOD principles integrated in their planning.

Transit-oriented development is sometimes distinguished by some planning officials from "transit-proximate development" (see, e.g. comments made during a Congressional hearing [92793]) because it contains specific features that are designed to encourage public transport use and differentiate the development from urban sprawl. Examples of these features include mixed-use development that will use transit at all times of day, excellent pedestrian facilities such as high quality pedestrian crossings, narrow streets, and tapering of buildings as they become more distant from the public transport node. Another key feature of transit-oriented development that differentiates it from "transit-proximate development" is reduced amounts of parking for personal vehicles.

TOD in cities

Many cities in the USA and Canada are developing TOD policy. Denver, San Francisco, and Calgary have developed, and continue to write policies and strategic plans which aim to reduce automobile dependency and increase the use of public transit.


One of the earliest, and most successful examples of TOD is Curitibamarker, in Brazilmarker.

Curitiba was organized into transport corridors very early in its history.Over the years, it has integrated its zoning and transportation to place high density development next to high capacity transportation.Since the failure of its first, rather grandiose, city plan due to lack of funding, Curitiba has focused on working with economical forms of infrastructure, so it has arranged unique adaptations, such as bus routes (inexpensive infrastructure) with routing systems, limited access and speeds similar to subway systems.The source of innovation in Curitiba has been a unique form of participatory city planning that emphasizes public education, discussion and agreement.


Toronto has a longstanding policy of encouraging new construction along the route of its primary Yonge Street subway line. Most notable are the development of the Yonge and Eglintonmarker area in the 1960s and 1970s; and the present development of the 2 km of the Yonge Street corridor north of Sheppard Avenue, which began in the late 1980s. In the period since 1997 alone the latter stretch has seen the appearance of a major new shopping centremarker and the building and occupation of over twenty thousand new units of condominium housing. Since the opening of the Sheppard subway line in 2002, there is a condominium construction boom along the route on Sheppard Avenue East between Yonge Street and Don Mills Road.


Bridgeland, Calgary

Calgary is home to a very successful TOD community called The Bridges, located in the community of Bridgelandmarker. The Bridges is home to a diverse range of condos, shops, services, and parks. The City continues to create TOD policy for other Calgary communities. Calgary City Council has allocated funding for the creation of six Station Area Plans around the city, to guide increasing development pressure around some of the light rail transit stations. On June 9, 2008, Calgary City Council approved the first station area plan in Calgary's history.

Hong Kong

In the mid-20th century, no railway was built until an area was well developed. However, in recent decades, Hong Kong has started to have some TOD developments, where a railway is built simultaneously with residential development above or nearby. Examples include:


Melbournemarker, Australia, the fastest growing settlement in Australia, is expected to reach a population of 5 million by 2030 with the overwhelming majority of its residents relying on private automobiles. Since the turn of the century, sporadic efforts have been made by various levels of government to implement transit-oriented development principles. However, a lack of commitment to funding public transport infrastructure and amending zoning laws has dramatically slowed progress towards sustainable development for the city.

See also


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