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What is TOD?

The State of Maryland has defined Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) as a place of relatively higher density that includes a mix of residential, employment, shopping, and civic uses designed to encourage multi-modal access to the station area.  The Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) has actively sought to promote TOD as a tool to support economic development, to promote transit ridership, and to maximize the efficient use of transportation infrastructure. 

State Definition:

While TOD has been a widely understood planning and real estate development concept nationally, it is an important part of Maryland’s strategy to address traffic congestion, environmental issues, and sprawl.  In 2008, the legislature adopted a definition of TOD.  As defined in statute, a TOD is: "a dense, mixed-use deliberately-planned development within a half-mile of transit stations that is designed to increase transit ridership".


When done correctly, TOD: 

  • supports the use of transportation alternatives including transit accessibility by bicycles and pedestrians;
  • increases transit ridership, thereby supporting broader transportation network efficiencies and reducing congestion;
  • promotes community safety, convenience and economic development objectives;
  • supports land use and environmental conservation efforts by helping minimize air and water quality impacts; and
  • enhances accessibility to jobs, housing and other destinations for all residents.

TOD Characteristics:

TOD varies in scale, density, look, feel and function depending on where it is located, what types of transit service is available, and what the community context is.

However, TOD is characterized by:

  • Density – relatively higher density development within walking distance of transit service, with highest intensity land uses located closest to transit;
  • Design – buildings, roads, walkways, and parking are designed to encourage walking and biking for short trips; and
  • Diversity of Land Uses – a mixture of residential, employment, shopping and civic uses to facilitate local trip making and balanced use of transit service.