ULI Hawaii News

February, 2013 – Report Round Up: Special Transit Edition

The past few months have produced a bonanza of reports about transit and transit-oriented development (TOD):

Coming from the global perspective is Transforming Cities with Transit. Published by the World Bank, the report contains a wealth of case studies documenting the successes, but also the trials and tribulations, that come with integrating transit and land use. The report is a one-stop source (or maybe a one-seat ride) of “best-case experiences,” both for rail–Copenhagen, Stockholm, Hong Kong, Seoul, Singapore, Tokyo, and Washington, DC–and for bus rapid transit–Curitiba and Ottawa. The report also provides in-depth examinations of more recent transit metros in the making, covering Ahmedabad, India; Bogota, Columbia; Guangzhou, China; and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. A chapter dedicated to overcoming barriers to integration completes the report. One of many interesting conclusions: metros tend to achieve more when the land use vision leads and transit is used as a means to an end.

The practical research in Maximizing the Benefits of Transitway Investment adds to the toolbox for transforming cities with transit. A product of research conducted at the University of Minnesota and focused on the Minneapolis-Saint Paul region, the report showcases analysis methods and offers recommendations that will be useful in other regions too. Access to jobs takes center stage, as the researchers tie the region’s economic future to its ability to increase the number of jobs located near high-frequency transit service.

The theme of access to jobs and workers continues in a report from Brookings. Connecting to Opportunity: Access to Jobs via Transit in the Washington, DC Region is the latest in a larger research effort benchmarking the ability of employers in American metro regions to tap into labor pools via transit. Among the conclusions for the Washington, DC Region: “Transit does a better job providing high-skill residents access to high-skill jobs than it does mid-skill residents to mid skill jobs and low-skill residents to low-skill jobs.”

Reconnecting America reminds us to think beyond the giant metropolises: transit innovations can be found in mid-size cities too. The report, Midsize Cities on the Move: A Look at the Next Generation of Rapid Bus, Bus Rapid Transit, and Streetcar Projects in the United States, explores 14 mid-size cities developing significant bus or streetcar projects. The report covers the role of partnerships, including with the business community, and funding sources. Finding that 12 of the 14 transit projects were developed as strategies to reach land use goals, the report provides an in-depth look at how local leaders are approaching integrating transit and development objectives. The authors conclude with ten recommendations that offer a solid playbook of best practices for transit leaders in mid-size cities.

Transit works from big cities to small cities, but do state governments have a role? Even in supporting transit-oriented development (TOD)? The National Conference of State Legislatures documents in TOD in the States how state-level action, including legislation, can be used to define TOD, assemble land, address zoning, catalyze investment, and fund development. The report includes case studies from Utah, Minnesota, New Mexico, Massachusetts, and California.

Last, but certainly not least, are two impressive new products from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Infrastructure Financing Options for Transit-Oriented Development tackles the difficult and specialized challenge of coming up with the means to pay for the sidewalks, bike lanes, streetscapes, stormwater management, and other utilities needed to support TOD. This comprehensive report examines direct fees, debt, credit assistance, equity, value capture, grants, and several “emerging tools” such as structured funds and land banks. Eleven case studies show how communities are finding success by combining funding and financing options to create strategies.

The EPA’s Trip Generation Tool for Mixed-Use Development takes on another critical component of compact development: analyzing the traffic generated by new development when not every trip is by car. Created in cooperation with the Institute of Transportation Engineers, the EPA developed new models that take into account “internal capture” and pedestrian and transit trips. The website documents the new methods, but also includes the models in spreadsheet form for immediate use!

From ULI, Report Round Up: Special Transit Edition


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