WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has launched a nationwide transit-oriented development (TOD) initiative to encourage development near transit systems that boosts the local economy; provides easy access to jobs and services; and creates compact, mixed-use, walkable communities. The initiative supports the Ladders of Opportunity Initiative of the President and the Secretary of Transportation.
“Our TOD initiative will help community leaders think about how investment in transit can bring prosperity into low- and moderate-income communities,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “We’ve seen how investment in transit can lead to new housing stock, new jobs and new economic opportunities in areas that badly need them. To achieve results, we are offering to help local leaders create sound, equitable community-sensitive development plans.”
The National Public Transportation Transit-Oriented Development Technical Assistance Initiative focuses on supporting communities across the country. FTA has engaged Smart Growth America (SGA) to run the technical assistance and provide a variety of planning and analysis tools. Along with developing best practices and profiles of communities that have successfully implemented TOD, SGA will work on site with leaders in several communities to offer in-depth technical assistance tailored to local needs. The free technical assistance, which will be offered through a competitive process, will include planning for and managing economic development near transit through effective zoning and land use as well as expert advice on preserving affordable housing and securing advantageous commercial development, among other challenges.
“Transit-oriented development is critical to both the success of new transit projects and to the economy of the local communities they serve,” said FTA Acting Administrator Therese McMillan. “What’s particularly great about TOD is that it encourages people to use transit to reach jobs, education, medical care, housing and the other vital services they need. Our TOD initiative will help communities that are less experienced in the latest development tools and real estate market strategies to create stronger neighborhoods.”
The City of Richmond, one of seven cities chosen last spring to be part of DOT’s LadderSTEP initiative that focuses on revitalization as part of future transportation projects, will be among the first communities to receive TOD technical assistance along its planned 7.6-mile bus rapid transit line. Richmond’s Pulse BRT project received a $24.9 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant in 2014.
Community leaders can apply for technical assistance at the project’s website. The site also will assemble the best information and tools to support TOD planning and deployment as well as create a network that will provide information on funding and training opportunities, on-demand research and analysis, and peer-to-peer meetings and mentoring on topics of shared concern. Community leaders interested in learning more about the new TOD technical assistance are invited to join SGA for a December 10 webinar.