Transit Oriented Development Institute
Washington, DC

Join us in the nation's capital this fall for the big TOD event! Visionary leaders in real estate development, planning, investment, architecture, and urban design are coming together this October for the Transit Oriented Development and Urban Real Estate Conference.

The conference will delve into the creation of successful TODs from a development, finance, and design perspective. Great placemaking will be central to the discussion of creating successful projects. The conference takes place in the heart of one of the fastest growing TOD neighborhoods of DC - NoMa.

In the midst of a decade-long renaissance, DC has become the national TOD leader with the highest number of successful and unique TOD projects in the nation. The conference gives you a chance to see these model projects up close, and hear from those who delivered them.

This is a great opportunity to hear the inside story of what it took to get these projects going - both from the public and private side of development and planning. Walking tours of the projects are included to see them up close and in action. Project developers, planners, architects, and managers will be on hand to share the development story.  

Come to Washington DC to learn more and network with the leaders
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 Transit Oriented Development Conference
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500 Companies Moving to TOD
Transit Oriented Development is red hot! Not only has the young generation chosen the urban lifestyle, empty-nesters have also been making the move.

Now, corporate America is making the move - in a big way. More than 500 companies are moving their headquarters to cities - where the young are.
Core Values - Why American Companies are Moving Downtown
Core Values
Why American Companies are Moving Downtown

Hundreds of companies across the United States are moving to and investing in walkable downtown locations. As job migration shifts towards cities and as commercial real estate values climb in these places, a vanguard of American companies are building and expanding in walkable downtown neighborhoods.

Core Values examines the characteristics, motives, and preferences of companies that have either relocated, opened new offices, or expanded in walkable downtowns between 2010 and 2015. Smart Growth America partnered with global real estate advisors Cushman & Wakefield to identify nearly 500 companies that have made such a move in the past five years. Of those, we interviewed representatives from more than 40 companies to gain a better understanding of this emerging trend.

The research reveals an enormous diversity of businesses choosing to locate downtown. The companies included in our study represent over 170 specific industries, including 15 software developers and 29 information technology companies, 45 manufacturers, 11 universities and colleges, 7 food production companies, 6 advertising agencies, and 6 oil and gas companies. The group includes 52 companies on the Fortune 500, and 12 of Fortune's "100 Best Companies to Work For" from 2015. And these companies are of all sizes, from just a few employees to thousands.  
Corporations are moving downtown, where the people want to be!

Reasons for Relocation:
  • To attract and retain talented workers. As companies compete for new hires and the best talent, being located in a vibrant neighborhood is considered a crucial selling point... neighborhoods with restaurants, cafes, cultural institutions, entertainment, and nightlife as well as easy access by public transportation.
  • To build brand identity and company culture: A downtown location projects innovation, connectedness, uniqueness, and allows companies to literally be at the center of things.
  • To support creative collaboration: Many companies chose locations in dynamic, creative, engaging neighborhoods to help inspire their employees and encourage collaboration among co-workers as well as with employees at other companies or in other industries.
  • To be closer to customers and business partners: Streamlining the process for employees who take in-person meetings with clients and partners downtown.
  • To centralize operations: A central downtown location, because of its proximity to everything, was a natural choice for many companies when consolidating multiple locations.
  • To support triple-bottom line business outcomes: For many companies, investing in a city's center was an opportunity for good corporate citizenship and with the ancillary benefit of making them more attractive as an employer.
Many interviewees said they chose vibrant, walkable neighborhoods where people want to both live and work. Companies also wanted their new location to be accessible by a range of transportation options, emphasizing in particular commuting choices for their employees as well as convenient access to the rest of the city and the region.  Read the report 
See the projects in person!

The Core Values report and the corporate migration to TOD will be a central topic of the Transit Oriented Development Conference. Best practices of creating lively urban places will be presented and discussed.

Leading developers, cutting edge designers, planners, elected officials, building users, and investors are coming together to network, share the TOD excitement, and learn from the successful projects.
Don't miss it!
Transit Oriented Development conference

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Conference Project Highlights
City Center Opens in DC!

Bethesda Row

Pike and Rose

Conference Speaker Highlights
Evan Goldman - Federal Realty
Evan Goldman, Federal Realty
Mr. Goldman is Vice President of Development and manages the Pike & Rose project, along with other redevelopment opportunities in Federal Realty's portfolio. He joined Federal Realty in July 2008 with ten years of experience in development, finance, and architecture.

Prior to joining Federal Realty, he was a Partner at the Holladay Corporation, a mixed-use development company in Washington, D.C., where he began his involvement with the White Flint Partnership. He has also worked as an Associate for Tishman Speyer Properties and as Vice President of Design for LeRoy Adventures.
Maria Sicola - Cushman & Wakefield
Maria Sicola
Maria Sicola is an executive managing director at Cushman & Wakefield and head of research for the Americas. As the leader of C&W's Americas' Research Team, she is responsible for developing relationships with some of C&W's largest corporate clients, as well as managing regional directors throughout North and South America.

Sicola's work has focused on real estate market analysis, forecasting and site selection. Some of her clients include Citi, Wells Fargo, Goodman Birtcher, SFChina, Crate&Barrel, Prologis and Boston Properties. She also collaborates with George Washington University and LOCUS on the Walkability of urban cities.

Gary Block - The Meridian Group
Gary Block
Gary Block is managing director at The Meridian Group and responsible for the firm's acquisitions, capital and fund management, investor relations, and is a member of the Investment Committee. Mr. Block has over 28 years of industry experience.

Prior to joining Meridian, Mr. Block was with The Carlyle Group, where he was head of the Real Estate Fund's Acquisitions Group. At Carlyle, Mr. Block led and completed over $12 billion of investments ($3.4 billion of equity) in nearly 200 transactions. Investments included the acquisition, development, structured financing and recapitalization of office, hotel, retail, residential, industrial, land, senior living and mixed-use properties. At Carlyle, Mr. Block also led the firm's efforts in the formation of Carlyle Realty Partners I, II, III, IV and V (constituting, in the aggregate, over $5 billion in investor commitments).

Chris Leinberger - LOCUS
Chris Leinberger Christopher Leinberger is a leader in development and has done extensive research on TOD, and how it is transforming settlement patterns and lifestyles across America.

Voted one of the top 100 urban thinkers, Mr. Leinberger
's research is a blueprint on how to approach development that will sell in the new cultural context. Mr. Leinberger is a land use strategist, teacher, developer, researcher and author, balancing business realities with social and environmental concerns. 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.
Doug Firstenberg - StonebridgeCarras
Doug Firstenberg Doug Firstenberg is a founding principal of StonebridgeCarras where he focuses on strategic planning and project conceptualization and takes a primary role in major transaction negotiation. He has more than 25 years of experience working on complex real estate financing and directing the implementation of the firm's strategic plans.

Some of his work includes overseeing real estate projects in excess of 10 million square feet and $2.5 billion in costs; Negotiating acquisitions and joint ventures in excess of $1 billion; Negotiating debt financings in excess of $1 billion; Negotiating leases for more than 4.0 million square feet of space; Creating 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.

Chris Zimmerman - Smart Growth America
Chris Zimmerman Chris Zimmerman is Vice President for Economic Development at Smart Growth America, and serves as Director of the Governors' Institute on Community Design. Much of his work focuses on the economic and fiscal impact of development policies on localities and regions.

Prior to joining Smart Growth America, for two decades Chris was heavily involved in planning, development, and transportation policy in Arlington County, VA and the greater Washington, DC region. This included work as a neighborhood and civic leader, as a planning commissioner, 18 years as a member of the Arlington County Board, and 13 years on the Board of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, as well as other regional transportation agencies. Prior to his service as an elected official, Mr. Zimmerman was Chief Economist at the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Paul Morris - Atlanta Beltline
Paul Morris, Atlanta BeltlinePaul Morris is President & CEO of Atlanta BeltLine and is responsible for the development of the most comprehensive revitalization effort in the history of Atlanta and among the largest, most wide-ranging urban redevelopment and mobility projects in the United States.

This multi-billion dollar sustainable development initiative is providing a network of public parks, multi-use trails and transit linking mixed use development and affordable housing by re-using 22-miles of historic railroad corridors circling downtown and connecting 45 neighborhoods directly to each other. 

Eric Shaw - DC Office of Planning
Eric Shaw - DC Director of Planning Eric Shaw is DC's Director of the Office of Planning. 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 where 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.

Karl Moritz - Alexandria Planning Dept.
Karl Moritz Karl Moritz is the Director of Planning for the City of Alexandria, VA. He joined the City in 2008 as Deputy Director for Long Range and Strategic Planning. In that position, Moritz was responsible for neighborhood planning, community development, demographics and forecasting, and geographic information systems.

In 2013, he became Deputy Director for Current Planning and assumed oversight of development, land use and zoning, and historic preservation, as well as staff support for the Planning Commission, the Boards of Architectural Review, and the Board of Zoning Appeals. Prior to his work in Alexandria, Moritz served for 16 years with the Montgomery County, Md., Planning Department and eight years with the Northern Virginia Regional Commission.

Steven Cover - Arlington Planning Dept.
Steven Cover
Steven Cover is the Director of Planning for Arlington County. He joined the County earlier this year and has extensive experience leading local government planning departments.

He joins Arlington County Government from the City of Madison, Wisconsin, where he was the director of the Department of Planning and Community and Economic Development, overseeing a staff of 180, from 2011. In that position, he supervised planning, economic development, building inspections, housing and community development. Cover developed Madison's first comprehensive Transportation Master Plan, and created major redevelopment initiatives  

Exhibit your firm!
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See the exciting new Pike & Rose neighborhood take shape...    
Pike and Rose taking shape

Pike and Rose is an exemplary project showcasing the transition from an auto oriented strip center, to walkable urbanism transit oriented development.
More info | Project website | Phase 2 announcement | TOD Conference

Pike and Rose, strip center to urbanism!

City of Durham Begins Light Rail/TOD
Durham light rail advances

Groundwork is being laid in Durham, North Carolina for a new light rail line and TOD development along the line.

The draft environmental impact statement will be published formally late this week by the Federal Transit Administration.

The light-rail line will be anchored at one end by UNC Hospitals and at the other by Duke Medical Center and downtown Durham stops. Along the way it will pass through residential, commercial and office neighborhoods that are expected to see vigorous growth in coming years - some of it concentrated around the planned rail stations.

More than half the train riders (around 23,000 daily boardings projected by 2040) are expected to walk or ride their bikes to the train stations, with the rest coming by bus or car. Eight new park-and-ride lots will be added up and down the line, with spaces for more than 5,000 cars.

In addition to the hospitals and other job centers at each end, some of the heaviest traffic and busiest parking lots are expected at places that are little-known or nonexistent today. This offers clues about where we might see new transit-oriented development in the years ahead.  More

Denver building the future

"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

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  

Washington DC leads the nation with TOD!

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

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