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WHAT IS TRANSIT-ORIENTED  DEVELOPMENT (TOD)?                                    return to top




“Transit-Oriented Development” or “TOD” creates places around high quality transit service that permit lifestyles and employment options where walking, bicycling & transit travel is convenient and safe. Designed for pedestrian comfort, mixes of uses and higher densities are combined to create comfortable walking environments. Close proximity to the transit (bus or train) station and the quality of the TOD helps to promote use of transit and less reliance on the automobile. 
TOD's mix of civic uses, workplaces, shopping, and housing, designed in concert with the character and context of surrounding neighborhoods is helping to provide choice locations for working and living that are better for the environment, better for the preservation of farms and open space and better for those who may choose to live car-free or car-limited.  Additional benefits of TODs are increased transportation options, reduced fuel consumption and transportation costs, and decreased congestion on Maryland roads and cleaner air and waterways. TODs will generally contribute to an improved quality of life for all Marylanders. Characteristics of good TOD include:
  • TOD is pedestrian-friendly – a “village-like” environment.  The development often sits within a connected grid of streets creating shorter distances for walking from place to place.  Pedestrians are made to feel safe with development that considers the pedestrian first. Buildings along TOD streets are oriented so doors and windows face the sidewalk. Sidewalks are wider, crosswalks are found on every corner of large streets. Public spaces, landscaping, lighting and narrow streets help to create an atmosphere that is clearly designed for pedestrians and cyclists. 
  • Taller buildings are typically located closest to the transit station, with the density of development tapering off further from the station. In addition to interactive public engagement, neighboring uses, scale and character help to inform the arrangement of TOD uses, their height, and architectural characteristics. TOD can help neighboring communities with their goals for better transit options and reinvestment in areas in need of economic revitalization.
  • Parking is carefully designed and managed to reduce negative impact on the quality of the place. Limiting the number of parking spaces and encouraging shared parking between compatible land uses that use it at different times of day or at different times of the week reduces the actual and unintended costs of parking.  Offices, for example, typically need parking during weekdays, while retail and entertainment venues more likely need it evenings or on weekends. 

TOD should have high-quality transit service that includes, wherever possible, access to buses and rail.  Many Maryland neighborhoods in the Washington Metropolitan Area, for example, link residents to Metro stations with TheBus, Ride-On and University of Maryland buses. Local and private bus operators in Howard, Harford, Anne Arundel and Baltimore Counties design their schedules to better connect to MARC and Light Rail stations. Montgomery County, Prince George's County and Baltimore City are connecting their trail systems to transit stops and stations to improve transportation choice. Most Maryland jurisdictions are working on multiple fronts to improve neighborhood connections to high-value regional transit.








   HOW DOES IT HELP MARYLAND?                                                                       return to top   

Maryland is expected to grow by 1.1 million residents and 600,000 jobs in the next 20 years.  Under current patterns of development, this growth will consume 590,000 acres of open space.  Vehicle Miles Traveled – how much Marylanders drive each year – would likely continue to outpace the growth of new road capacity that could be built by  the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT). 

TOD is an important tool to help Maryland manage  future growth, leverage public investments, and achieve Smart Growth and sustainable communities.  Maryland has great TOD potential, with more than 75 existing rail, light rail, and subway stations, and dozens more proposed in the next 20 years.  People living within ½ mile of a transit station drive 47% less than those living elsewhere and are up to five times more likely to use transit. 

Attracting new homes and businesses to transit station areas supports the State’s investment in transit and offers greater options for travel and less reliance on a car for those who choose to make their homes at these locations.  Taking advantage of opportunities to create higher-density transit destinations along our transit systems allows the State to put the land around the transit stations to a higher and better use, facilitating the return of these lands to local tax roles.  Transit station areas also make excellent opportunities for public private partnerships to enhance State-owned or leased transit stations and parking areas, while enabling a private  developer to create Transit-Oriented Development.





   WHERE IS TOD IN MARYLAND?                                                                             return to top

The map on the left below shows TOD activities as of September 7, 2010. The map on the right is the Maryland Department of Planning’s Interactive Map, which includes additional information about individual transit stations.