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Thread: Measuring transit-oriented development success

  1. #1
    Cyburbian southern_yank's avatar
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    Measuring transit-oriented development success

    Creating a TOD plan is easy, but making the plan happen is a whole different story. My city is working on several transit-oriented plans, but it's still early in the process. Have any of you been successful in creating meaningful criterea by which to measure TOD success? A few variables which I think would work:

    -Auto ownership rates
    -Transit patronage
    -Walk/Bike trips
    -Appropriate zoning regs adopted
    -Business/Resident surveys to determine if nearby transit influenced their decision to invest in neighborhood
    -Traditional neighorhood indicators like housing prices, retail activity, etc within the TOD area and measured against pre-TOD data.

  2. #2
    Our City is currently working with a consultant to prepare design guidelines for TOD.

    A few things the City is looking for:
    1. Provide mixed use commercial and residential development within a 1/4-mile radius of the transit station.
    2. Reduce the dependency on cars by providing access to housing and commercial services along transit lines.
    3. Provide direction for new and remodeled construction within the project area to make it more transit and pedestrian friendly (wider sidewalks, benches, street lights etc..)
    4. Discourage underutilized parcels/uses (parking lots, auto dealers, etc..)

    Hope this helps.

  3. #3
    I add don't just look at auto ownership or number of trips but look into length of trips. I believe in Portland they see that even with TOD people still use their cars but the length (time and distance) of trips decreases.

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    Cyburbian Random Traffic Guy's avatar
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    TOD success measurement is change in property values, rents, occupancy, versus equivalent spaces that don't have transit access. Basically, is it worth it to the people. Trips and auto ownership don't mean beans if your units aren't filled, shops empty, and developers going broke and vowing never to do it again.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Plan 9's avatar
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    There are successes? To steal someone else's line "Is my <western> bias showing?"
    "Future events such as these will affect you in the future."

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    I think auto ownership rates correlate most strongly with income level - less money=less cars - so I wouldn't use that as a measure of "success" necessarily.

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    Cyburbian jkellerfsu's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Random Traffic Guy View post
    TOD success measurement is change in property values, rents, occupancy, versus equivalent spaces that don't have transit access. Basically, is it worth it to the people. Trips and auto ownership don't mean beans if your units aren't filled, shops empty, and developers going broke and vowing never to do it again.
    I don't agree that property values etc measure TOD sucess - how does one distinguish "plain old traditional" development success from transit oriented development success?

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    Cyburbian Random Traffic Guy's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jkellerfsu View post
    I don't agree that property values etc measure TOD sucess - how does one distinguish "plain old traditional" development success from transit oriented development success?
    It's the delta... compare similar sites/developments with and without TOD features. Is the additional investment (more difficult design, more difficult entitlement process, loss of land area to transit amenities) made worthwhile by higher values when completed (from higher densities, higher attractiveness, whatever).

  9. #9
    Cyburbian CJC's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Random Traffic Guy View post
    It's the delta... compare similar sites/developments with and without TOD features. Is the additional investment (more difficult design, more difficult entitlement process, loss of land area to transit amenities) made worthwhile by higher values when completed (from higher densities, higher attractiveness, whatever).
    This is an interesting topic to look at in places like California - especially the inner metros of LA and the Bay Area that have been built out for decades. There is little doubt that places near transit and alike in every other way are worth more here (the "alike" part is difficult to quantify, of course), but success is a hard thing to measure. Too often here we vastly underbuild next to existing transit, which makes them perhaps not unsuccessful, but more "wastes of potential".

  10. #10
    Cyburbian
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    Not personally, but the victoria transportation policy institiute has a good collection of the data.
    http://www.vtpi.org/tdm/tdm45.htm

    " Residents of transit-oriented neighborhoods tend to own significantly fewer motor vehicles, drive significantly less, and rely more on walking and public transit than residents of other neighborhoods."

    It also cites studies finding a 26% VMT reduction for people living 3/4 mile from high quality public transportation services.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian Richi's avatar
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    I would suggest a look at Peak Hour vehicle trips per some unit. Perhaps transit works best with home-based work trips and the peak hour trips drive the need to add lanes.

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    You could also survey residents to see how happy they are vs surrounding neighborhoods. Do the same for shopkeepers. Showing that residents are happy can be a good advocacy (Assuming that the economics of the project are doing ok).

  13. #13
    Cyburbian Random Traffic Guy's avatar
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    Happy residents mean higher rents. You will not have much success selling TOD to developers and investors by saying it has fewer auto trips per unit (BTW should have same all-modes trips). Now if you can translate the fewer auto trips into "fits in overcrowded places" (have fun with the neighbors) or "more density" or "less parking required" then you can get some traction.

  14. #14
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    This depends entirely on what group of people are trying to sell TOD to. Neighbouring residents will like the idea of less cards, because that means less congestions. Developers want to make money, so less cars means more buildings and happier residents means more money. Planners want to see that they don't have to provide more services and the council wants to make the voting populace happy. Thus you need all these metrics and you need to be careful what stat you emphisize to what group.

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