Transit-oriented development (TOD) is a mixed-use residential or commercial area designed to maximize access to public transport, and often incorporates features to encourage transit ridership. A TOD neighborhood typically has a center with a transit station or stop (train station, metro station, tram stop, or bus stop), surrounded by relatively high-density development with progressively lower-density development spreading outward from the center. TODs generally are located within a radius of one-quarter to one-half mile (400 to 800 m) from a transit stop, as this is considered to be an appropriate scale for pedestrians.
Why are TODs important to South Florida?
South Florida came of age during the era of the automobile. The area’s huge increase in population during the 195
0’s-1990’s was accommodated largely by westward development and the rapid growth of subdivisions that were all predominantly accessible by the automobile. While all of this growth provided increased access to homeownership, our current development patterns have also placed quite a heavy toll on the vitality of our cities and on our natural resources.
In Miami-Dade county alone, 40% of all carbon dioxide emissions can be attributed mostly to private automobile and truck use. For theentire South Florida region, wateris becoming an endangered resource, further threatened by continued growth into the western portions of the area bordering the Everglades. From a city planning and place-making perspective, exclusive reliance on cars robs communities of their vitality by creating environment that are pedestrian and bike hostile — ultimately a city’s vitality is directly related to the number of people that interact and connect regularly with the built environment. Access to transportation choices allow residents and visitors alike — of all ages and abilities — to access the services they need, and provides mobility choices for all.
South Florida, with its diversity of cultures and ages as well as its touristic appeal, is an ideal region for greater emphasis on mobility choices and transportation expansion.
TOD around the World
Many of the new towns created after World
War II in Japan, Sweden, and France have many of the characteristics of TOD communities. In a sense, nearly all communities built on reclaimed land in the Netherlands or as exurban developments in Denmark have had the local equivalent of TOD principles integrated in their planning, including the promotion of bicycles for local use.
In Other Words…
“It’s not about the transit, it’s about creating great places. Transit is just one of the tools. TOD (transit-oriented development) is really about the fundamentals of good neighborhoods. Transit becomes the means to an end in creating a liveable community.”
“My admonition to you would be to remember that, in the 21st century, building transit is about community building, and it’s about people moving. It’s those two things, it’s not one or the other.”
– GB Arrington, a consultant with PB Placemaking in Portland, Oregon