Orange County Branch Newsletter

February 2017

Sustainability Committee

Transit Oriented Development - An integrated urban and transport design approach that brings everything together

Charlotte Wu, PE, ENV SP, WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff

Transit Oriented Development (TOD) exemplifies sustainability by developing walkable communities centered around train systems. TOD brings commercial and residential close to the rail station so that the community is at higher density and is walkable within 10 minutes. TOD also has an extensive collector system consisting of buses and/or street cars that reduces the need for driving cars. The changes that TOD brings are more transit riders, revitalization of existing community, local development increases, reduction of vehicular travels, less travel time in traffic, and more walking. With all of these changes, TOD brings benefits such as increase in local economy, less air pollution, higher quality of life, and healthier life styles. TOD is also less expensive than building new roads and highways. Read on for examples of TOD.

Metro Gold Line Del Mar Station, Pasadena, CA 

The Del Mar light rail station, located in the City of Pasadena and served by the Los Angeles County Metro Gold Line, received a three-stars rating from the Transit Oriented Development rating system when it was rebuilt in 2003. The project received the highest rating because it met all ten elements of the certification. The station incorporates mixed use of spaces including cafés, restaurants, affordable housing, and pedestrian-friendly public space. The light rail station is surrounded by a variety of trees and human-scale architectures. Hidden parking is located beneath the station and the vehicle entrance points are located outside on the street which provides safe and walkable open area. The Del Mar Station brought in more people, making the place more lively and vibrant, and this is shown in the rise of the building occupancy; it rose to 95% after project, highest since opening. 

TOD is not only impacting the communities in the U.S., cities around the world are seeing value in TOD. Bond Street Rail Station project is located underneath the busiest shopping area in London. The proposed project will expand and connect existing rail lines thus providing better accessibility and higher density of development. Because it will increase the size of the rail system, the project meets the expandability element, which is one of the ten requirements from the TOD certification. TOD projects are also underway in Sydney, Australia, which will bring commercial and residential to the existing rail station. A project in Xining, China is under a TOD study to develop a rail system in the existing community.