The National Academies

TCRP H-27A [Final]

Ensuring Full Potential Ridership from Transit-Oriented Development

  Project Data
Funds: $250,000
Research Agency: Parsons BrinckerhoffQuade & Douglas, Inc.
Principal Investigator: G.B. Arrington
Effective Date: 12/10/2004
Completion Date: 12/15/2007

Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) is a growing approach to encouraging compact, mixed-use development while increasing transit ridership and yielding more livable communities. Transit agencies are at the forefront of implementing TOD and stand to gain the most from ridership increases.

A new study of TOD, TCRP Project H-27, "Transit-Oriented Development in America: Experiences, Challenges, and Prospects" is a national assessment of TOD issues, barriers, and successes. This Project included 10 case studies from a variety of geographic and development settings. As this study has indicated, increased ridership is the principal goal of transit agencies in supporting TODs. However, increased ridership as a result of TOD is a complex outcome involving behavioral, locational, and situational factors. Work has been done in the design and marketing of TODs, and studies have been performed to understand the ties between livable communities and transit ridership. Yet, fundamental questions remain, including:

  • What are the demographic profiles of TOD residents and employers?
  • What motivates residents or employers to locate in TODs? Examples of motivators may include the quality of schools, access to jobs, housing affordability, presence of transit services, neighborhood services and amenities, and community perception.
  • What are the travel characteristics (e.g., frequency of travel by different modes) of people who live or work in a TOD ?
  • What was the travel pattern of the TOD resident prior to moving to the TOD?
  • What levels of transit connectivity to desired origins and destinations are required to promote transit ridership at TODs?
  • What motivates or impedes transit ridership in a TOD?
  • Which strategies have been effective in increasing transit ridership at TODs?
  • What steps should transit agencies take in supporting TODs to maximize transit ridership?
  • What TOD land-use and design features (e.g., mixed land-use, traffic calming, bus bulbs, short blocks, street furniture) have had an effect on travel patterns, transit ridership, or the decision to locate in a TOD?

Research was needed to help answer these questions. Examining the characteristics of TOD to assess the effectiveness of its components in generating transit ridership can lead to an identification of best practices, enabling the industry to maximize transit usage.

The objectives of this research were to (1) determine the behavior and motivation of TOD residents, employees, and employers in their mode choice; (2) identify best practices to promote TOD-related transit ridership; and (3) recommend contextual use of best practices. The results of this research may be used by project, land-use, and transportation planners; elected officials; transit agencies; federal, state, and local funding agencies; public and private financial institutions; and developers.

Status: The final report has been published as TCRP Report 128

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