Transit Oriented Development TOD

The freedom and movement associated with individual automobile ownership have always come with trade-offs. As suburban development chases low real estate prices further and further from our downtowns, problems like congestion, deteriorated air quality, national dependence on foreign oil, and the high costs associated with automobile ownership are only worsened. In the early and mid-1990s many residents and several municipalities began to seek out alternatives to promote increased use of public transportation. This movement has continued to grow and expand over the years. New principles have emerged aimed at reducing dependency on the automobile by encouraging land uses that are supportive of public transit. This is generally referred to as “Transit Oriented Development” of TOD.

Connecticut General Statutes defines TOD:

“the development of residential, commercial and employment centers within one-half mile or walking distance of public transportation facilities, including rail and bus rapid transit and services, that meet transit supportive standards for land uses, built environment densities and walkable environments, in order to facilitate and encourage the use of those services.”

As the concept of a TOD has evolved, many towns are including design standards in their regulations. While these communities generally prefer traditional building patterns and aesthetics, TOD supportive design standards can ensure mixed land uses, buildings that are oriented toward the street, allow three-to-four story building heights, lower parking requirements, place parking behind buildings, and promote smaller street setbacks. By integrating traditional design standards, municipalities are leveraging existing architectural assets to create a coherent character and attract design conscious businesses.