Transit Oriented Development Institute
Washington, DC

The Transit Oriented Development and Urban Real Estate Conference coming to DC this October is rapidly taking shape! Bringing together leading developers, planners, architects, consultants, elected officials, building users, and investors, the conference promises to be exciting and productive!

Located in the very center of one of the fastest growing TODs - NoMa, this major conference is the first in a series of events to be convened by the newly launched Transit Oriented Development Institute, a project of the US High Speed Rail Association.

The conference includes a day of on-site project tours of the best examples of successful TODs in America. This is an opportunity to see projects up close and learn how to create great walkable, mixed-use places.

The conference will have a special focus on catalyst projects and the many things needed to get them going. These are projects large enough to be transformative to spark a new wave of development that changes an entire area for the better.

TOD is rapidly sweeping the nation with the creation of exciting people places in city after city. The public has embraced the concept across the nation as the most desirable places to live, work, and play. Real estate developers have quickly followed to meet the high demand for quality urban places served by rail systems.

Come to Washington DC to learn more and network with the leaders.
Get involved in the hot real estate and community development trend sweeping the nation. Register today and be part of the excitement!  More info
 Transit Oriented Development Conference
Transit Oriented Development Conference

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Transit Oriented Development Conference
Eric Shaw - DC Planning Director to Speak
Eric Shaw - DC Director of Planning TOD Conference Welcomes New DC Director

We are excited to announce that DC's new Planning Director Eric Shaw will be headlining our TOD conference!  This is a great opportunity hear from and meet DC's new top planner, and find out what's in store for the Capital city that's in the midst of a huge renaissance.  
Before joining Mayor Bowser's administration, Eric was the Director of Community and Economic Development for Salt Lake City where he was the lead city official on placed based and development policy. He managed a number of high profile projects including a new citywide engagement program, the restructuring of the small business loan program, and updates to nine city plans including the city's general plan.

He was a leader in planning efforts in post Katrina Louisiana as the Director of Community Planning for the Louisiana Recovery Authority and Vice President of Programs and Policy for Foundation for Louisiana. As Director of Community Planning, Shaw provided direct technical assistance to local leaders and managed the $10 million Comprehensive Resilience Pilot Program. At Foundation for Louisiana, he edited the nationally recognized Citizens' Guide to Land Use, and Citizens' Guide to Urban Design that trained residents on the principles of land use and urban design.

Eric has also worked in the public, nonprofit, and philanthropic sectors in Silicon Valley and Miami. He began his career in Washington DC as a Capital City Fellow in District government in the Anthony Williams administration. Shaw earned a Bachelors of Arts in International Development and Policy Studies from the University of California, Los Angeles and a master's degree in urban planning from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. 
Chris Leinberger - Development Expert
Chris Leinberger TOD Conference Welcomes New DC Director

The TOD Institute is very pleased to announce leading TOD expert and developer Christopher Leinberger will headline our conference!  Leinberger is a leader in development and has done extensive research on TOD, and how it is transforming settlement patterns and lifestyles across America.

Mr. Leinberger's research is a blueprint on how to approach development that will sell in the new cultural context.  His research helps developers and planners get ahead of the curve and do TOD right so it is great for the city and profitable!
Christopher B. Leinberger is a land use strategist, teacher, developer, researcher and author, balancing business realities with social and environmental concerns.

Voted one of the top 100 urban thinkers, Mr. Leinberger is:  
His most recent book is The Option of Urbanism, Investing in a New American Dream. He  is the author of Strategic Planning for Real Estate Companies and has contributed chapters to 12 other books. He is an Op-Ed Contributor to the The New York Times, writes regularly for The Atlantic Monthly and numerous other magazines. CNN, National Public Radio, Atlantic Cities Channel, Washington Post, among others, have profiled him. Leinberger is a graduate of Swarthmore College and the Harvard Business School and lives in Dupont Circle in Washington, DC.

Doug Firstenberg to Speak
Doug Firstenberg Conference Welcomes Real Estate Leader

We are honored to announce that Doug Firstenberg of StonebridgeCarras will speak at the TOD Conference. As big player in developing marque TOD's in and around the District, he will share his insights gained into how DC has become the TOD leader in U.S.
As a founding principal of Stonebridge, Mr. Firstenberg focuses on strategic planning and project conceptualization and takes a primary role in major transaction negotiation. He also co-manages StonebridgeCarras. He has more than 25 years of experience working on complex real estate financing and directing the implementation of the firm's strategic plans.

Examples of Mr. Firstenberg's work at Stonebridge include:  
  • Overseen real estate projects in excess of 10 million square feet and $2.5 billion in costs.
  • Negotiated acquisitions and joint ventures in excess of
    $1 billion.
  • Negotiated debt financings in excess of $1 billion.
  • Negotiated leases for more than 4.0 million square feet
    of space.
  • Created structures for not-for-profit clients that maximize opportunities, using techniques such as ground leases, public/private partnerships and combining public institution debt placement and real estate tax exemption with private sector development programs.
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Showcase your firm and its unique services to business leaders at the Transit Oriented Development Conference. Exhibit and network with the leaders!
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TOD DC - March of the New Mini Cities
Washington Post:  In the Washington suburbs, the march of the mini cities

The premium that companies and apartment renters have begun paying to move to walkable places with restaurants and public transit has developers and investors from as far away as China scouring the Washington landscape for spots to build their own mini cities.

DC's new mini cities booming!

Like much that has been developed in Shady Grove, the properties represent something that companies like Merrill Lynch are fleeing: an isolated suburban location surrounded by traffic. The offices are bunched together with nothing to do around them. Shops are sprawled along major roads. Homes are off cloistered in other areas altogether. "You really don't have any live-work- play projects in that area," Larry Goodwin, managing principal of 1788 Holdings said. "There's just not a lot of mix of uses."

In Shady Grove, Goodwin said there was an opportunity to create a neighborhood so much more attractive than its surroundings that it can suck up all the nearby companies, apartment renters and condo buyers.
DC TODs taking off!
Pike & Rose development

He took particular note of Merrill Lynch's decision. In announcing the company's move, Carol Nevins, director of the Maryland region for Merrill Lynch Wealth Management issued, a statement saying the company was "thrilled to consolidate and relocate our regional offices to the vibrant mixed-use environment of Pike & Rose."
"Located just steps from the White Flint Metro, Pike & Rose will offer our clients and employees an exciting, convenient and amenity-rich environment that sets a new standard for Montgomery County," she said.
Washington Post story 

Denver TOD - Model for Miami
Denver TOD model for Miami

A delegation of 53 Miami elected officials and business and community leaders recently took a whirlwind 12-hour tour of Denver's commuter-rail system, light rail, bus rapid transit, free downtown trollies and urban and suburban transit-oriented developments and participated in learning sessions with the transit agency's prime movers.

The "Transportation Fly-in," convened by Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce, yielded valuable lessons about how GMCC's Transportation and Infrastructure Committee is working to identify transformative transportation enhancements the business community can coalesce around and support.
The most profound takeaway is how transit improvements enhanced the livability and "sense of place" for Denver communities from the urban core to the far suburbs.

Particularly impressive is the transformation of the Lower Downtown neighborhood from a blighted, desolate area surrounding a century-old rail terminal that once served the livestock trade into one of America's most exciting, vibrant urban districts.

Denver's transit authority used public-private partnerships to reimagine it into a stunning mixed-use facility. It is the centerpiece of their multimodal transportation network and home to Amtrak and a commuter rail that soon will serve the airport and distant suburbs.  More info  
TOD Downtown Miami Takes Off
New Miami TOD

Downtown Miami will be home to a new train station that will connect South Florida passengers to Orlando. All Aboard Florida is the company behind the massive project that will bring the new Miami Central Train Station to the public beginning in early 2017.

What used to be six blocks of parking space on Northwest First Street, between Northwest Third and Eighth streets in Downtown Miami will be where commuters can take the train to Orlando with stops in West Palm Beach as well as downtown Fort Lauderdale.

The $3 billion project will include three towers above the train station. One of them is a 200,000 square-foot office building next to two other residence buildings with about 300 units.  More info 

"Denver is building 119 miles of light rail and 70 new stations in a decade, creating huge development opportunities to make the region more livable and sustainable." -Reconnecting America
Denver TOD Guidelines

The Transit Oriented Development (TOD) Strategic plan provides a foundation to
guide public and private investment at rail stations.

Residents, business owners, builders, and public employees can use this strategic framework to eliminate or reduce barriers to TOD, create realistic financing plans, and direct growth and investment to rail stations with the best opportunity for development in the next 5 to 6 years.

The TOD Strategic Plan contains both city-wide, high-level policy recommendations and on the ground, station-level action items with the intent to foster implementation of
TOD at rail stations and support the development of transit communities in Denver.   View the TOD guidelines

TOD Downtown San Francisco Takes Off
Transbay TOD underway in downtown San Francisco

Washington DC's New Project Database

The Washington city government has just launched a new online database of projects in the works in the city, and there are a lot of them.

The database is broken down by ward, with project information listed including location, construction start and finish dates, developer, and
stats.  View the database   
TOD projects underway across America

Washington DC is home to the most extensive and best transit oriented development in the nation, and has millions of square feet under construction throughout the district.  More | Story  

Transit Oriented Development

The TRANSIT ORIENTED DEVELOPMENT INSTITUTE is a national planning initiative to promote and accelerate the roll-out of walkable, mixed-use communities around rail stations. Working to increase the supply of new TODs and rail systems, the TOD Institute brings together business and political leaders with experts to advance knowlege sharing and project dealmaking.


The Transit Oriented Development Institute is a project of the US High Speed Rail Association, America's leading advocate for the development of a 21st century, national rail system. The Transit Oriented Development Institute promotes increased TOD as well as high quality design standards that deliver the best results to the users, the community, the developers, and the rail systems.  


The Transit Oriented Development Institute is run by a team of experts and leaders in rail, urban design, and real estate development.


In This Issue
Quick Links
TOD Principles
The following 10 principles are general guidelines for planning TOD districts and neighborhoods. Densities, details, and design vary project by project depending on many factors including location, context, availability of redevelopment property, surrounding development, etc. 

These 10 principles are a starting point for further work preparing specific local development plans working with the community. Examples of these plans are located on our 'Reports' page.

1. Put stations in locations with highest ridership potential and development opportunities
 2. Designate 1/2 mile radius around station as higher density, mixed-use, walkable development
 3. Create range of densities with highest at station, tapering down to existing neighborhoods
Design station site for seamless pedestrian connections to surrounding development

 5. Create public plaza directly fronting one or more sides of the station building
 6. Create retail and cafe streets leading to station entrances along main pedestrian connections
 7. Reduce parking at station, site a block or two away, direct pedestrian flow along retail streets
 8. Enhance multi-modal connections, making transfers easy, direct, and comfortable
 9. Incorporate bikeshare, a comprehensive bikeway network, and large ride-in bike parking areas
10. Use station as catalyst for major redevelopment of area and great placemaking around station.

Key to laying the foundation for Transit Oriented Development, high quality rail systems encourage the development of compact, mixed-use, walkable communities. High speed rail is the backbone of a rail-based transportation system. When combined with regional rail, light rail, metro systems, and streetcars and trams, a complete and integrated rail network is achieved enabling easy, fast mobility throughout the system.

The rail network becomes the organizing framework for a series of TOD developments into the creation of entire neighborhoods surrounding the rail stations. A series of TOD neighborhoods emerge laid out like pearls along a string. These add up entire networks of walkable communities creating a highly livable, 21st century lifestyle for all.

By making the station and its surrounding development well integrated and pedestrian and bicycle friendly, the 'last mile' connections to local destinations are made easy. Walking and biking to the station becomes a major mode of choice by many.

Ideally, the rail station is located in the middle of downtown or town centers where many destinations are within a short walk or bike ride away. Walkable communities support rail systems by providing high ridership throughout the day, week, and weekend.

Sophisticated new city bike share programs serve the last mile best by making fast door-to-door connections easy with the ability to ride and drop off the bike almost anywhere.  More

WMATA Seeking Developers
Recently, WMATA (DC's metro rail operator) released an RFP for a six-acre parcel right outside the College Park Metro station, a great opportunity for any developer.

WMATA estimates that the parcel could be developed for 500 to 600 units, an office or hotel with ground-floor retail.

Where currently sits a surface parking lot and bus loop, the six acres has the potential to completely transform the area. "I think it's our new frontier," says College Park director of planning and economic development Terry Schum.

PG County's David Hillman of Southern Management, who started his company there 15 years ago, has turned into one of the largest market rate apartment developers in the state. He believes College Park is where Silver Spring was 10 years ago.

"It's an exciting time to be a developer in that area."

For more info about the RFP, contact WMATA.

More  |  TOD Conference 
Transit oriented development (TOD) is the exciting fast growing trend in creating vibrant, compact, livable, walkable communities centered around high quality train systems.

TODs can be stand-alone communities, or a series of towns strung along a rail line like pearls on a string. TODs are the integration of community design with rail system planning.

High speed rail is the backbone of a rail-based transportation system. When combined with regional rail, light rail, metro systems, streetcars and trams, a complete and integrated rail network is achieved enabling easy, fast mobility throughout the system.

Coordinating and encouraging compact, mixed-use development around the rail stations completes the system by enabling people to live, work, and play along the system without the need for a car.

Together, these save time, money, energy, and lives - while offering an easier,
healthier, low-stress lifestyle.  More