IntroductionFrameworkSite TypesLessonsPitfallsYour Project
 
Not every site exhibits every factor. Factors that are currently deficient might be able to be included or improved in the site’s master plan.

For example, if the site you are considering doesn’t demonstrate residential density, an appropriate level of housing could become a component of your master plan.

There are, however, two factors that, if not present, are deal breakers. The first of those, of course, is transit. If your site does not have transit infrastructure (transit service, rail line, busway, transfer center, major transit stop) presently or planned for the future, TOD is not a development option for this particular site. The second factor critical to the success of TOD, is employment density or the number of jobs within or connected to a site, which coincides directly with attracting or retaining people for work, live and play activities.

Visiting the "My Project" section and completing the TOD Worksheet will help you to get a better understanding of your site’s current condition and status relative to the TOD Success Factor Framework.

IndoGo Bus:  Indiana County

The Ingredients of TOD

If you have a site or location in mind that you are considering for Transit Oriented Development or are wondering whether the site has TOD potential, start considering your site in context with the TOD framework that was developed as part of SPC’s Study. The Framework and an explanation of the Framework’s factors are provided below.

Roll over each number to read a pop-up explaining the Framework's factors. In factor 1 (TOD Site), roll over a letter designation (eg, U, E, C to read more about that site type, specifically its zoning sub-categories.

The Ingredients of TOD

2 Connectivity 3 Density Economic Drivers Urban Urban Edge Edge Commuter Commuter Urban Commuter

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TOD SiteThe region’s viable TODs were classified into three site types: 1) Urban or sites located in close proximity to the regional economic activity center; 2) Edge or sites considered suburban in their proximity to the economic activity center; and 3) Commuter or sites located remotely or regionally from the economic activity center.

In each site type, transit appears to have varying degrees or roles in the overall success of the development associated with the site. Transit is more likely to: 1) “Drive” development in the case of an Urban Site; 2) “Influence” development in the case of an Edge Site; and 3) “Support” development in the case of a Commuter Site.

ConnectivitySPC’s study sites not only had transit service but they had “fixed guideway” service like a light rail line or a busway located either adjacent to the site, nearby the site, or able to be accessed from the site. In addition to the mainline bus or rail fixed guideway service, cross connecting routes that “feed into” the mainline services were also present at the model TOD sites. For example, at the Urban TOD site north/south bus routes from local neighborhoods “feed into” the East Busway creating pedestrian activity from the transfers that occur there.

These model TOD sites exhibited accessible, reliable, safe and convenient pedestrian connections to the transit services and had amenities like signalized cross walks, signage and bike racks.

Each of the model sites scored above an 85 out of 100 points on the on-line “walk-ability” tool at www.walkscore.com which was used to gauge the pedestrian friendliness of the TOD study areas. Successful TOD sites had shared-use parking or dedicated park-n-ride lots located within reasonable walking distance to transit.

All of the sites themselves were activity centers that people from other places visited or shopped or worked.

DensityThe model TODs all demonstrated a high concentration of housing, jobs and people within the site areas, supporting the concept of “life activity” or the potential for different types of round-the-clock happenings.

Sites consisted of multiple zoning districts and the number of zones applied, which allowed for a greater mix of integrated land uses resulting in a variety of activities occurring within the district like living, shopping and working.

The sites, or at minimum the communities in which the sites are located, exhibited land use and design controls over open space, parking, recreational facilities and streets

Economic DriversAll of the model TOD sites were connected to the region’s main economic activity center, in this case downtown Pittsburgh.

But also as important, each site had its own economic activity with significant employment opportunities located in or within walking distance of the site study areas. Local jobs contribute to the “life activity” concept and the movement of people within a potential site. Housing and retail were stable at each site and seemed to be driven by the market and strong economic fundamentals rather than speculation.

Diversity related to age, education level, and employment demographics was prevalent at several of the sites, along with the presence of a creative or talented economy that included people from diverse industries like architects, computer programmers, artists, and university professors.

Users/CustomersWhether visiting the model TOD sites for work, school, shopping, entertainment or appointments, diverse user groups like families, singles, students, senior citizens, and professionals were attracted to the district.

The mix of land uses and development types provided a foundation for a variety of “life activities” to occur at each site.

Developers/InvestorsAll of the model sites, at some point in their evolution, received developer interest that was not solicited; market forces alone were conducive to driving interest.

In some cases, institutions like foundations, universities and health care organizations were willing to invest in development of the community at some level.

At each model TOD site, local public agency partners exhibited a willingness to support development either financially or by providing approvals and advice.

Public Agencies/Transit AuthoritiesThe local transit agency in each case was a strong supporter and partner of development. However, TOD is still possible without transit agency support as long as there is sufficient transit connectivity.

A combination of local, state and federal agencies contributed to funding some element of development whether it was planning, site preparation or construction.

Site Type Characteristics
Urban Subcategories
Info Sheet Characteristics Connectivity Land Use Housing Employment Development
Scale
U
R
B
A
N
Urban Core
Urban
Core
More U1 Info
(PDF)
Regional economic and cultural activity center Transit hub, intermodal, local and regional connections Office, retail, residential, civic Multifamily
high rise
Primary
regional
office,
retail and
services
High
rise
Urban Center
Urban
Center
More U2 Info
(PDF)
Mixed use and residential with easy access to urban core Transit hub, fixed guideway, express, mainline and local services, and regional connections Retail, office, residential Variety of housing types - multifamily, apartments, townhomes, small single family lots Retail, office Low to mid rise

Urban Campus
Urban
Campus

More U3 Info
(PDF)
Employment, education and entertainment destination Fixed guideway, mainline and local services, and regional connections Education-related, employment, residential, and retail Multifamily, apartments, traditional halls, suites Education, healthcare, office, retail Low, mid and high rise
Site Type Characteristics
Urban Subcategories
Info Sheet Characteristics Connectivity Land Use Housing Employment Development
Scale
U
R
B
A
N
Urban Core
Urban
Core
More U1 Info
(PDF)
Regional economic and cultural activity center Transit hub, intermodal, local and regional connections Office, retail, residential, civic Multifamily
high rise
Primary
regional
office,
retail and
services
High
rise
Urban Center
Urban
Center
More U2 Info
(PDF)
Mixed use and residential with easy access to urban core Transit hub, fixed guideway, express, mainline and local services, and regional connections Retail, office, residential Variety of housing types - multifamily, apartments, townhomes, small single family lots Retail, office Low to mid rise

Urban Campus
Urban
Campus

More U3 Info
(PDF)
Employment, education and entertainment destination Fixed guideway, mainline and local services, and regional connections Education-related, employment, residential, and retail Multifamily, apartments, traditional halls, suites Education, healthcare, office, retail Low, mid and high rise
Site Type Characteristics
Edge Subcategories
Info Sheet Characteristics Connectivity Land Use Housing Employment Development
Scale
E
D
G
E
Edge Core
Edge
Core
More E1 Info
(PDF)
Suburban/fringe main street, local scale mixed use Fixed guideway, express, mainline and local services, and regional connections Retail, office, residential Variety of housing types - multifamily, apartments, townhomes, small single family lots Retail, services, small scale office Low to mid rise

Edge Neighborhood
Edge
Neighborhood

More E2 Info
(PDF)
Residential with local scale mixed use around transit station Mainline and local services Residential, neighborhood retail, office Small single family lot, townhome, limited multifamily Neighborhood retail, services, small scale office Low rise
Edge Park-n-Ride
Edge
Park-n-Ride
More E3 Info
(PDF)
Surface or structured parking Fixed guideway, express and mainline services Parking, residential, neighborhood / transit compatible retail, office Multifamily, variety of affordable types Limited retail, office Low to mid rise
Site Type Characteristics
Edge Subcategories
Info Sheet Characteristics Connectivity Land Use Housing Employment Development
Scale
E
D
G
E
Edge Core
Edge
Core
More E1 Info
(PDF)
Suburban/fringe main street, local scale mixed use Fixed guideway, express, mainline and local services, and regional connections Retail, office, residential Variety of housing types - multifamily, apartments, townhomes, small single family lots Retail, services, small scale office Low to mid rise

Edge Neighborhood
Edge
Neighborhood

More E2 Info
(PDF)
Residential with local scale mixed use around transit station Mainline and local services Residential, neighborhood retail, office Small single family lot, townhome, limited multifamily Neighborhood retail, services, small scale office Low rise
Edge Park-n-Ride
Edge
Park-n-Ride
More E3 Info
(PDF)
Surface or structured parking Fixed guideway, express and mainline services Parking, residential, neighborhood / transit compatible retail, office Multifamily, variety of affordable types Limited retail, office Low to mid rise
Site Type Characteristics
Commuter Subcategories
Info Sheet Characteristics Connectivity Land Use Housing Employment Development
Scale
C
O
M
M
U
T
E
R
Commuter Core
Commuter
Core
More C1 Info
(PDF)
Regional main street with local scale mixed use, residential and employment destination Mainline and local services Office, retail, residential, civic Single family, townhome, limited multifamily Main street retail, office, services Low to mid rise
C2
Commuter
Campus
More C2 Info
(PDF)
Employment and education regional destination Local service Education-related, employment, residential, and retail Multifamily, apartments, traditional halls, suites Education, retail, limited office Low to mid rise
Commuter Park-n-Ride
Commuter
Park-n-Ride
More C3 Info
(PDF)
Surface or structured parking Local and express service Parking, residential, neighborhood / transit compatible retail, office Multifamily, variety of affordable types Limited retail, limited office Low to mid rise
Site Type Characteristics
Commuter Subcategories
Info Sheet Characteristics Connectivity Land Use Housing Employment Development
Scale
C
O
M
M
U
T
E
R
Commuter Core
Commuter
Core
More C1 Info
(PDF)
Regional main street with local scale mixed use, residential and employment destination Mainline and local services Office, retail, residential, civic Single family, townhome, limited multifamily Main street retail, office, services Low to mid rise
C2
Commuter
Campus
More C2 Info
(PDF)
Employment and education regional destination Local service Education-related, employment, residential, and retail Multifamily, apartments, traditional halls, suites Education, retail, limited office Low to mid rise
Commuter Park-n-Ride
Commuter
Park-n-Ride
More C3 Info
(PDF)
Surface or structured parking Local and express service Parking, residential, neighborhood / transit compatible retail, office Multifamily, variety of affordable types Limited retail, limited office Low to mid rise
1 TOD Site 2 Connectivity 3 Density Economic Drivers