Committed to transit-oriented development

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You may have noticed that our weekly blogs have stopped since the end of June. Along with the monthly TOD podcast, these communications have been a component of a TOD technical assistance program conducted in partnership with the Federal Transit Administration, delivered by a Smart Growth America-led team with support from Enterprise Community Partners and others beginning in 2015.

Unfortunately, late last month the Trump administration decided to discontinue support for this project, so the blogs & weekly newsletter will be on hiatus for a while, along with some other components of the program.

While it’s unfortunate to lose a federal partner for this work, our team at Smart Growth America is still deeply committed to transit-oriented development, and to providing technical assistance to communities across the country. TOD is central to so much of what smart growth is about: creating economically sustainable, environmentally sound, and socially equitable communities. With or without federal funding, we will continue to apply our expertise working with and for communities on TOD through other channels.

In the weeks and months to come, we’ll have more news about the future of the TODresources.org and the TOD Peer Network, but in the meantime feel free to reach out to us at info@smartgrowthamerica.org with questions, comments, or concerns. You can also subscribe to the Smart Growth America email list to keep up with our work and future technical assistance opportunities.

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A look back—and forward

Since 2015, we have worked directly with 14 communities across the country on TOD, including some communities that have since launched new transit service—like the PULSE BRT line in Richmond, VA—and some that are currently under construction—like the Gold Line extension in Charlotte, NC and a planned BRT line in Omaha, NE. Smart Growth America continues to provide such technical assistance to communities, whether for planning station areas for new corridors, or to improve results along existing lines. If you’d like to discuss how we might help your community’s planning efforts contact us at info@smartgrowthamerica.org.

We established TODresources.org, which has nearly 200 resources—guidebooks, research, reports, and webinars—on a wide variety of TOD-related topics. We produced more than 100 newsletters about our TOD work and current events in the world of TOD and launched a new podcast—Building Better Communities with Transit. While new episodes won’t be coming out in the immediate future, Jeff Wood at The Overhead Wire, who produced these podcast episodes, is still creating Talking Headways for Streetsblog. You can find Talking Headways and all 17 episodes of our TOD podcast on wherever you get your podcasts.

We created the TOD Peer Network, an informal professional network, which recently was convened for the third year in coordination with the LOCUS Leadership Summit. The Summit brought transit professionals, municipal staff, real estate developers and investors, local elected officials, academics, and others together to network, share information about TOD opportunities, break down silos, and generally deepen the TOD practice. We’re looking at ways to keep the Network active in the future, so stay tuned.

We conducted analyses in support of TOD technical assistance, notably exploring the TOD potential of bus rapid transit (BRT). We’ve assembled a national inventory of BRT lines and have begun examining the impact on the value of surrounding real estate. With BRT a relatively new element in this country’s public transportation portfolio, we believe that understanding how various system features and conditions may affect the real estate market in BRT corridors is essential to achieving good TOD outcomes. We are continuing this research and look forward to releasing results in the near future.

We are appreciative of the support and guidance the Federal Transit Administration has provided for this work, both financially and substantively. It has been a pleasure to work with the career professionals at FTA these past four years. We are also grateful for the chance we had to collaborate with a great set of partners, including Enterprise, The Overhead Wire, Van Meter-Williams Pollock, Urban Land Institute, Strategic Economics, MZ Strategies, SKSolutions, and the George Washington University Center on Real Estate and Urban Analysis.

Thank you for your support of TODresources.org and your interest in these important public policy issues. We hope you will continue to look to Smart Growth America as a resource for transit-oriented development information, best practices, and technical assistance.