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Land Use & Transit Oriented Development

A wealth of information is available that documents the benefits of building mixed-use communities that provide a variety of transportation options. This section includes a number of selected publications and tools that detail the connections between community design and greenhouse gases and how we can use better land use practices and transit-oriented development to reduce vehicle travel.




Quick fact

Compact development reduces driving from 20 to 40 percent, and even more in some instances.
Growing Cooler, The Evidence on Urban Development and Climate Change. By Reid Ewing, Keith Bartholomew, Steve Winkelman, Jerry Walters, and Don Chen. May 2008

Publications and Tools

Housing Landscape 2012
Center for Housing Policy – February 2012
Nearly one in four working households spends more than half of its income on housing costs. Moreover, despite falling home values, housing affordability worsened significantly for working owners and renters between 2008 and 2010. Incomes declined even as rents increased over the two-year period, making housing substantially less affordable for working renters. For working owners, a modest decline in housing prices was outpaced by a larger decline in incomes, leading to higher cost burdens in 2010.
Download Report

Public Transit’s Impact on Housing Costs: A Review of the Literature
Center for Housing Policy – August 2011
For residents and businesses that place importance on accessibility, investments in transit can essentially redistribute the value of location within a region, making a place more or less desirable than before simply because of its proximity to the transit system.
Download the report

Land Use and Driving: The Role Compact Development Can Play in Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Published by the Urban Land Institute – 2010
Compact development—mixing residences and other buildings in pedestrian- and transit-friendly places—offers many benefits, from fostering the emergence of vibrant, walkable communities to lowering infrastructure costs. Now, the climate and energy benefits of compact development are being documented as well. While there is no silver bullet in the fight against climate change, compact development is emerging as an important tool in the climate and energy toolbox.
Download the report

Vision California: Charting Our Future
By Calthorpe Associates – June 2010
This analysis assesses the economic, energy, health, and land impacts of different ways to accommodate California’s expected growth. By measuring the impact of different growth scenarios, the report reinforces the fact that decisions we make now about how and where to build will have long-term consequences.
Download the summary and key findings
Download the full report
For more info, go to

Growing Cooler, The Evidence on Urban Development and Climate Change
By Reid Ewing, Keith Bartholomew, Steve Winkelman, Jerry Walters, and Don Chen (published by the Urban Land Institute) – May 2008
This book documents how key changes in land development patterns could help reduce vehicle greenhouse gas emissions.
Link to executive summary

Travel and the Built Environment, a Meta-Analysis
By Reid Ewing and Robert Cervero – May 2010
Some of today’s most vexing problems, including sprawl, congestion, oil dependence, and climate change, are prompting states and localities to turn to planning and urban design to rein in automobile use. The purpose of this meta-analysis is to summarize empirical results on associations between the built environment and travel, especially nonwork travel.
Download the analysis

Preserving Affordable Housing Near Transit
By Reconnecting America, Enterprise, and the National Housing Trust – 2010
This report provides a collection of case studies examining what cities are doing to ensure that affordable housing isn’t lost as cities pursue transit-oriented development.
Download the report

Great Communities Toolkit
By the Great Communities Collaborative
The Great Communities Toolkit is a free compendium of resources to help those advocating for sound transit station development. The toolkit was developed to help community groups shape Great Communities around transit, by helping them make sure these plans will result in neighborhoods of affordable homes, shops, accessible job centers, and community services.
Link to toolkit

Action Guide: Mixed-Income Transit-Oriented Development
By Center for Transit Oriented Development and Reconnecting America
The action guide is a tool for local jurisdictions working to foster mixed-income transit-oriented development (TOD) around planned transit stations. The goal of this guide is to help practitioners identify the most appropriate and effective planning tools for achieving MITOD in their transit station area, and ultimately to facilitate the development of mixed-income communities across the United States.
Link to Action Guide

TOD 203: Transit Corridors and TOD
By the Center for Transit-Oriented Development – 2010
This guidebook illustrates how planning at the corridor scale can help transit investments capture the benefits of TOD. Filled with real-world transit-oriented development lessons, the guidebook explains how corridor planning can facilitate not only successful transportation outcomes but also successful transit-oriented development.
Download the report
Link to more info


Links for More Info

Center for Transit-Oriented Development
Great Communities Collaborative
Reconnecting America
Smart Growth America
Urban Land Institute – Los Angeles
Urban Land Institute – San Francisco

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