Building Better Communities with Transit

Building Better Communities with Transit is a monthly podcast series about transit-oriented development and how it improves communities across America.

This podcast taps into a growing wealth of expertise with building around transit stations or along transit corridors. Interviews share community successes with TOD, highlighting development near transit of all shapes and sizes—heavy rail, bus and everything in between.

Once a month, podcast host Jeff Wood invites experts to discuss ways communities can catalyze economic growth by encouraging development around transit stations. Jeff and his guests will discuss developing local policies that encourage TOD, engaging the public, securing sources for funding, successful community experiences, and other topics.

The podcast is intended to provide more support to communities and local leaders who are working to catalyze new development around transit, give more people access to public transportation, increase access to opportunity, and build robust local economies.

Economic mobility drives Charlotte’s new TOD zoning


Charlotte is booming. Since 2003, upwards of 12,000 new housing units have opened along the LYNX Blue line. But when planners went back to look at the development over the last decade, they weren’t entirely satisfied with the results. So the city decided to create new TOD zoning that would better reflect the needs and context of different stations as we hear on this month’s episode of Building Better Communities with Transit.

Getting the pulse of Richmond, VA


This month on Building Better Communities with Transit we’re joined by Maritza Pechin, a planner with AECOM who works with city staff in Richmond on long-range planning. On the podcast, Maritza talks about the Pulse and the broader bus network redesign that was rolled out at the same time. In a wide ranging conversation, Jeff Wood and Maritza discuss how the new system is bring people back to transit, how the city might tackle housing affordability, and what big ideas the city is considering for the future.

Getting intentional about equitable TOD in Chicago


This month on Building Better Communities with Transit we talk with Kendra Freeman, the director of community engagement for the regional Metropolitan Planning Council, about TOD in Chicago. A recent update to the city’s TOD policy puts a new focus on equitable development in a city that has seen stark differences in outcomes based on zip code.

TOD winds shift in San Diego


This month on Building Better Communities with Transit we chat with Colin Parent, Executive Director of Circulate San Diego, an advocacy organization that promotes public and active transportation in tandem with sustainable growth. As Colin notes, much of the renewed interest and support for transit and transit-oriented development is being driven by one thing: the housing crisis.

Minneapolis 2040 sets new bar for what’s possible


This month on Building Better Communities with Transit , we’re joined by Minneapolis City Council President Lisa Bender to learn about their recent comprehensive plan update. The city used the update to revamp its zoning, set ambitious goals for climate change, and pointedly address equity and racial disparities in the city.

‘Crossroads of America’ gets a bus lane


This month on Building Better Communities with Transit we are joined by Sean Northup, Deputy Director of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Planning Organization. Sean chats about the Indianapolis Red Line, the first of three BRT routes that will crisscross the region. Those lines and other transit improvements are being funded in part by local, dedicated funding which was won after a long and arduous process, as Sean explains.

America’s most successful BRT?


A month ago, Cleveland’s HealthLine celebrated its 10th anniversary, and there is certainly plenty to celebrate. As one of the nation’s first examples of bus rapid transit (BRT), the HealthLine has spurred about $9.5 billion in investment over the last decade up and down the corridor where it runs.

Capturing the value of location


This month, Building Better Communities with Transit is all about value capture. We chat with Professor Deborah Salon of Arizona State University her research on the topic and how institutional structure, entrepreneurship, and creativity play into successfully using value capture.

One zone to rule them all


This month on Building Better Communities with Transit we’re joined by Eric Singer and Andrej Micovic, Associates at Bilzin Sumberg in Miami who talk about the creation of a unique ordinance in Miami-dade County that consolidates land use decision making. They also talk about how recent TIF districts and the county’s Strategic Miami Area Rapid Transit (SMART) Plan interact with that ordinance and what’s important in writing planning code.

“An international model” for transit-oriented development


This month on Building Better Communities with Transit we’re joined by Bill Sirois, Senior Manager, Transit Oriented Communities with RTD in Denver. Bill chats about the success of the transit agency’s TOD program, the project to rehabilitate the historic Union Station (and the area surrounding it), and what comes next when the current period of transit expansion comes to a close.