Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) is by definition, the creation of compact, walkable, pedestrian-oriented, mixed-use communities centered around high-quality transit systems by creating viable, livable, and sustainable communities. It comprises high-density affordable neighborhoods around major transit hubs, to reduce dependence on private vehicle use and promote public transportation. TOD is the key to have efficient, sustainable, and equitable communities by making them compact, coordinated, and connected.

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There are a few principles on which efficient TOD functions-

  • Rapid, quality, and affordable public transport
  • Active or non-motorized mode of transport
  • Management of private vehicular use
  • A mixed-use development of neighborhoods and thus buildings with better efficiency
  • Active and lively public spaces/breathing voids
  • Community participation and active consensus building

Benefits of Transit-Oriented Development –

  • Reduced dependence on private vehicle use.
  • The self-sufficient neighborhood where residents can live, work, and play.
  • It reduces the carbon footprint of the area.
  • Stimulates local economy
  • Promotes public transport
  • Provides rapid transit for better access between urban and suburban areas.
  • Better lifestyles overall by reducing end to end private vehicular use, encourage walking,

High-density planning creates more efficient land use, convenience to lay public services and facilities, reduces costs for energy and infrastructure, and maximizes the efficiency of mass rapid public transit. TOD is also a substantial driver in reducing the effects of climate change by creating dense walkable neighborhoods, promoting extensive mixed-use development, and focuses more on making public transport more convenient, affordable, and comfortable for all.

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Below are examples of the Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) concept:

1. Rosslyn-Ballston Corridor, Virginia, USA

This example illustrates smart growth planning and concentrates high-density mixed-use development along a major transit corridor while preserving and enhancing the surrounding existing urban fabric. It had a significant role to play in shaping Arlington, into what it is today.

Arlington and Washington DC experienced a demand for office spaces as jobs were popping up and people flocked to these towns. Planners and officials saw this as an opportunity to reimagine these communities, reduce their dependence on cars and revitalize the retail, commerce, and business areas.

This concept also establishes goals for desired public improvements, appropriate urban design guidelines, location of retail, alignment of infrastructure, and opening up of public open spaces for all.

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Rosslyn-Ballston Corridor, Virginia, USA ©washingtonpost.com
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Rosslyn-Ballston Corridor, Virginia, USA ©images.app.goo.gl
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Rosslyn-Ballston Corridor, Virginia, USA ©images.app.goo.gl

2. Panvel-Virar corridor, Maharashtra, India

The Panvel-Virar corridor is a part of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region, falling under the jurisdiction of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region  Development Authority (MMRDA) and contributes a lot to the economy of the city. Most of the working lot in the mainland city comes from these peri-urban areas.

As the property rates in these areas are substantially lower than those in the city, people prefer staying here in more spacious houses instead of being cramped up in the tiny city apartments amidst the city chaos. Their daily commute to workplaces is inhuman, with local trains taking around 3 hours one way.

Once this corridor develops and takes shape, the people here will be able to work within minimum travel distances. It will also help develop these peri-urban areas which are now dependent on the main city for livelihood.

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Panvel-Virar corridor, Maharashtra, India ©images.app.goo.gl
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Panvel-Virar corridor, Maharashtra, India ©images.app.goo.gl
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Panvel-Virar corridor, Maharashtra, India ©images.app.goo.gl

3. Navi Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Conceptualized as a sister town to the economic capital of the country, Navi Mumbai, former New Bombay was formed on the principles of TOD by late architect Charles Correa. Its work started in the early ’90s spreading over an area of 344 sq km. It is flanked by the Vashi creek to the west and the Panvel creek to the south, constituting a creek length of 150 km.

  • Office spaces above and adjacent to railway stations.
  • Commercial activities compressed and laid out systematically in one place, as a part of the plan.
  • High-density residential use within a kilometer distance from railway stations.
  • Limited and restricted parking provision with heavy fines for parking on the street.
  • High-speed connectivity between railway and roadways.

Navi Mumbai has become a model for new emerging townships.

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Navi Mumbai, Maharashtra, India ©images.app.goo.gl
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Navi Mumbai, Maharashtra, India ©images.app.goo.gl
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Navi Mumbai, Maharashtra, India ©images.app.goo.gl

4. BRTS in Ahmedabad, India

Ahmedabad’s BRT network has seen substantial improvement and has been successfully been the largely used public transport medium in the city.

  • Special tax on property within 250 m of the transit corridor
  • FSI increased from 1.8 to 3.6/4 along the transit corridor across the city
  • Parking areas reduced by 10% for commercial use, thus promoting public transport
  • Revenue generated from additional FSI to be used for the betterment of the trunk transport infrastructure
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BRTS in Ahmedabad, India ©images.app.goo.gl
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BRTS in Ahmedabad, India ©images.app.goo.gl

5. New Delhi Metro line, India

The metro line in New Delhi started taking shape around 2010, and then it became one of the finest rail networking in India. Rajeev Chowk in Connaught Place is the central terminal where the interchange takes place. Connaught Place thus is developed with high-density commercial and office spaces and mostly mixed-use buildings. Feeder buses connect to the metro line and the parking charges have been increased to promote more public transport and reduce dependency on private cars.

Radial networks are covered by rail and the connections to these are by feeder buses. Cycling has a good scope, but reckless driving makes it risky for cyclists and pedestrians.

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Delhi Metro Line, India ©www.knocksense.com
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Delhi Metro Line, India ©images.app.goo.gl

 

6. Copenhagen, Denmark

The ‘Finger Plan’ laid out in 1947 connects the municipality with the surrounding regions, promotes the growth of dense urban fabric along rail corridors, and protects the green natural wedges from being developed upon.

  • Office spaces with areas of or more than 1500 sqm to be placed within 600 m from the railway station.
  • Regulation of retail development promotes commercial activities in town centers
  • Mixed-use high-density areas around station areas and limits parking provisions, to encourage the use of public transportation.

In the 1990s Copenhagen was able to help developers identify areas to prioritize for development, to steer growth along desired transit corridors.

TOD has led to the development of dense walking-friendly urban centers connected by the mass rapid public transit system.

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Copenhagen, Denmark ©images.app.goo.gl
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Copenhagen, Denmark ©images.app.goo.gl
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Copenhagen, Denmark ©images.app.goo.gl

7. Hong Kong SAR, China

Hong Kong’s spatial planning is based on rail-based development and a commitment to doing more with less. Almost half of Hong Kong’s territory has been legally protected as a ’country park’ since 1970. Another 30% remains undeveloped and subject to various degrees of protection. They have an urban form in which dense buildings are placed directly above and around the railway stations. The rail and metro network now encompasses a total of 210 kilometers of track length and 84 stations.

  • Affordable passenger fares for all modes of public transport.
  • Land covering 600000 housing units unlocked.
  • Integration of land has resulted in 75% of the population and 85% of jobs here in Hong Kong SAR, China, being placed within less than a kilometer distance from mass transit stations.

Effects of high densities are mitigated with good planning, good design, suitable and sensible urban form, adequate open spaces, and other community facilities, etc.

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Hong Kong SAR, China ©images.app.goo.gl
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Hong Kong SAR, China ©images.app.goo.gl
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Hong Kong SAR, China ©images.app.goo.gl

8. Subway stations in Paris, France

The Paris subway opened up in 1900 and still defines the limits of the core city where almost 1.5-2 million jobs are conveniently accessible by mass rapid public transit within 30 minutes. Paris shows a distribution of subway stations in concentric successive circles with the most density accommodated in the first 5 km radius circle, gradually going down further. Job densities show a similar density within the first 3 km of the radius and then decline with distance. The reduction in density of subway stations further from the core then results in increased dependency on private vehicles.

  • Job density – 50000/sq km and more in the core. 30000-40000/sq km within a 5 km radius and then reduce further.
  • Residential density – 35000-45000/sq km in the core. More than 50000/sq km within 2.5-5 km radius and then reduces further.
  • Subway station density – 5.5-6/sqkm in the core. 3.5-4.5/sqkm within 2-2.5 km radius.

(data as per 2015 statistics)

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1. Subway stations in Paris, France ©lejsd.com
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1. Subway stations in Paris, France ©lejsd.com
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1. Subway stations in Paris, France  ©images.app.goo.gl

9. Singapore

Singapore is a city with a 171 km long mass rapid transit system, an extensive network of feeder buses, and congestion pricing for cars in the central business direct (CBD). It has a high Floor Area Ratio (FAR) of 8-25 in the CBD, 6 in the adjacent areas, and 1.5-4.0 in most of the residential areas.

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Singapore ©www.oxfordurbanists.com

 10. Land use planning and zoning in Seoul, South Korea

Seoul has used its land-use plan and zoning as a mechanism to adopt TOD. It uses floor area ratios (FAR) as high as 10 for commercial land use around central transit stations, 2-4 for mixed-use of residential and commercial, and 1-2 for pure residential use. As a result, the city has small residential neighborhoods around thriving business districts at convenient walking distances and dense office spaces with higher FARs near metro stations.

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Land use planning and zoning in Seoul, South Korea ©images.app.goo.gl
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Land use planning and zoning in Seoul, South Korea ©images.app.goo.gl
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Land use planning and zoning in Seoul, South Korea ©images.app.goo.gl

11. Railways and Metro lines of Tokyo, Japan

The Yamanote railway line that came into operation in 1885, structured the city’s development, connectivity, and densification since the beginning of the 20th century. Tokyo Station is the central station, where four Shinkansen High-speed rail lines and many commuter and subway lines connect. Tokyo has a mixture of railway lines run by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government (TMG) and 7 private operating services. The private railways are not allowed inside the central Yamanote circle but can have connectivity with it. This extensive railway network has driven commuters away from private vehicle use to mass rapid public transportation like rail and bus.

TMG encourages private sector development around station areas to accommodate higher densities and FAR. They also encourage the development of different functional programs around stations by using tax breaks such as a temporary exemption of the real estate tax to attract specific companies to a station area. This approach contributes to the development of sub-centers and regional centers that complement each other.

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Railways and Metro lines of Tokyo, Japan ©images.app.goo.gl
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Railways and Metro lines of Tokyo, Japan ©images.app.goo.gl
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Railways and Metro lines of Tokyo, Japan ©images.app.goo.gl
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Railways and Metro lines of Tokyo, Japan ©images.app.goo.gl

12. Manhattan, New York City borough

The average urban block size in Manhattan is around 60m x 190-180 m (about the same size as the historical center of Paris).

The average distance between intersections in the North-South direction is similar to that of European medieval cities whereas the East-West distance is slightly more than most European 19th century cities.

These block sizes and intersection distances make Manhattan a perfectly walkable city. Every block has a diverse variation of building use, complimented with substantial public spaces around.

Smaller blocks result in denser street patterns and dense subway networks, the key principles for TOD. Thus all of the workforce in Manhattan is easily within reach of a transit station by walking.

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Manhattan, New York City borough ©images.app.goo.gl
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Manhattan, New York City borough ©images.app.goo.gl
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Manhattan, New York City borough ©images.app.goo.gl

13. Barcelona Superblocks, Spain

The city of Barcelona has taken an innovative approach to deal with traffic, freeing up public spaces, prioritizing pedestrians, and promoting cycling.

  • Block size – approximately 150m x 150m
  • An intersection at almost every 150 m
  • Dense street network with denser residential building blocks

Outside the superblocks, the city’s normal through traffic is accommodated on streets with a maximum speed of 50km/h. Within the superblocks, cars are banned or restricted to 20km/h, priority is given to walking and cycling, and open space is reclaimed or created from parking.

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Barcelona Superblocks, Spain ©images.app.goo.gl
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Barcelona Superblocks, Spain ©images.app.goo.gl
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Barcelona Superblocks, Spain ©images.app.goo.gl

14. Kings Cross railway station and Canary Wharf, London

  • Job density in central London – 155000/sq km
  • Major infrastructure investments in the St. Pancras station area and its surroundings.
  • 27 Ha of land is planned to accommodate more than 1900 homes, 50 new and refurbished office buildings, 47000 sqm of commercial development including shops and restaurants, and 10 additional public spaces for a projected population of 50000.
  • More than 40% of the land for the public domain including adaptive reuse of 20 historic buildings.
  • Generation of high market value around a highly connected hub with substantial market potential through substantially better lifestyle and provision of adequate and good quality public
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Kings Cross railway station and Canary Wharf, London ©images.app.goo.gl
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Kings Cross railway station and Canary Wharf, London ©images.app.goo.gl
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Kings Cross railway station and Canary Wharf, London ©images.app.goo.gl

 15. Stockholm Loop, Sweden

  • 120000 homes proposed in 12 underutilized locations at the outer edges of the Stockholm metro system.
  • Introduces high-density areas to accommodate residential use, commercial use, office spaces, business, and sports
  • Increased and better connectivity to the Stockholm metro system
  • Planning more public activities in outlying areas for more time of the day to keep them vibrant and active. (by establishing new homes and other functions at under-utilized existing stations)
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Stockholm Loop, Sweden ©images.app.goo.gl
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Stockholm Loop, Sweden ©images.app.goo.gl
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Stockholm Loop, Sweden ©images.app.goo.gl

TOD has become a vital concept in the urban development scenario and its effects are vividly seen across the globe. It stresses the use of public mass rapid transport as against the use of private cars. And most importantly it focuses on high-density housing and working spaces around mass rapid transit hubs, which makes the whole place more walkable and pedestrian-friendly. Overall it will create neighborhoods with a better quality of life, more and better open spaces, good infrastructure, and better governance.

Author

An architect from Bombay, after graduation, he further studied Sustainable Architecture. Since then, he has been associated with a research organisation, working on urban development policies of Mumbai, Urban Design Research Institute (UDRI). Here, he has worked on projects that have strengthened his knowledge about the city. He is inclined towards researching public transportation alternatives, policies and infrastructure for pedestrians in cities, affordable housing, urban recreational spaces and non-conventional construction techniques.

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