Transit Oriented Development needs to be more than transit and development


Transit Oriented Development (TOD) is not a new concept in urban planning.

DNAinfo.com has published a story about the latest mixed development taking advantage of local public transport hubs in Chicago. The Wicker Park building contains 99 residential units but only 15 car spaces, supposedly reserved for visitors only. Whilst ratios vary around the world, a requirement of 2 car spaces per dwelling is not uncommon.

However the trend towards residential and commercial development with minimal parking is also becoming more common. Curbed Chicago lists another six examples in that city.

So, whilst TODs would appear to be helping the fight against congestion and pollution in major cities, it is also becoming clear that if executed poorly, these developments can fail spectacularly.

Australia’s Tourism & Transport Forum (TTF) lauds the benefits of TODs but warns that “coordinated planning and delivery arrangements are essential to ensure transport not only responds to past and present use patterns but is an active contributor to the shaping of the urban form.”

An example of what Kaid Benfield has called an ‘epic fail’ of urban design can be seen in his article written for The Atlantic Cities about a TOD near Miami. The author says, “there’s lots of development around, just not near the station, unless you consider parking lots and garages to be development.” He continues to emphasise his point by stating, “The station is oriented to cars, not people.” If you need another example of a TOD’s failure to orient people with the transit they require, take a look at this article written about a development in St Louis.

But how do we ensure the goals of TODs are met? TTF tells us the answer lies in a working partnership between the government and the private sector. We can only agree and hope that such cooperation becomes reality.

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