Partnering with the State
Both Pennsylvania and New Jersey are advancing statewide programs to plan and implement TOD in local communities. The respective program guidelines and planning requirements offer guidance for other states and localities interested in using the “power of partnerships” to make TOD happen.
Regional Incentives Push for TOD
In the next two decades, the San Francisco Bay Area is expected to add more than one million people and one million new jobs to the nine-county region. Where these people live and where the jobs are located are essential in determining what the region’s future will look like, including how effectively the transportation system can handle this new growth. As the Metropolitan Planning Organization for the nine county Bay Area, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) understands that getting more people to live and work within walking distance of the region's public transit network is essential to providing cost-effective public transportation by attracting more riders.
In the recently adopted Transportation 2030 Plan, MTC is investing two-thirds of the region's transportation dollars in public transportation. The more people whom live, work and study in close proximity to public transit stations and corridors, the more the region can reap the rewards of these investments. The areas immediately surrounding major bus, train and ferry terminals are regionally significant opportunities to develop new housing, jobs, schools, retail and social services.
MTC has pursued an incentives-based approach to promote TOD since the late 1990s. The Transportation for Livable Communities (TLC) program — first developed in 1998 — has provided $87 million in funding for more than 130 community-led transportation projects that have provided better local access and pedestrian and bicycle connections to transit hubs throughout the region.
MTC's Housing Incentive Program (HIP) has provided capital grants for transportation projects to Bay Area cities and counties that build new housing adjacent to high quality transit, providing another $40 million to support more than 16,000 new bedrooms. The amount of funds granted is based on the size and density of the residential development, and the amount of affordable units. A local government can use HIP funds for transportation projects near the housing development. HIP provides one of the few positive financial incentives for local governments to build infill housing near existing transit stations.
A Broader Platform for TOD
Building on the experience with the TLC and HIP programs, MTC developed a broader platform around transportation and land use in 2005. The platform was intended to take the next step beyond the existing incentive programs and articulate a regional interest and set of actions that MTC could pursue to strengthen the transportation-land use connection.
The MTC’s Transportation/Land Use Platform, adopted February 2005, includes:
- Prioritize transportation investments that maintain the existing core transportation network.
- Provide funding for land-use planning efforts around existing or future transit stations and corridors.
- Condition discretionary funds for future transit extensions on supportive land-use patterns and policies around.
- Support transportation/land-use coordination in suburban areas beyond major transit corridors.
- Coordinate transportation/land-use issues with regional neighbors.
- Develop joint planning projects with partner agencies to implement this platform and the smart growth Vision.
In addition to adopting the groundbreaking TOD policy, MTC established a Station Area Planning grant program. These funds are awarded to local agencies to plan housing-supportive zoning, amenities for walking and biking, and parking policies appropriate for a transit-rich location. In the first round of grants, MTC provided $2.8 million to eight communities. In a related effort, MTC has launched a study to help local jurisdictions define how to relax zoning requirements for parking and reform parking policies to support their plans for TOD and infill development.