Transit Oriented Development Institute
Washington, DC

This week the Surgeon General issued a Call to Action for more walkable communities, and to promote walking as part of daily life. This important Call to Action recognizes the importance of physical activity for the health and well-being of people of all ages and abilities. It calls on Americans to be more physically active through walking and calls on the nation to better support more walkable communities.

Transit Oriented Development is at the heart of walkable communities by enabling easy movement to daily needs without constant need for a car. The TOD lifestyle includes more walking, more free time, and less stress (from avoiding traffic congestion).

Hear all about the many benefits of TOD at next month's big conference!

Transit Oriented Development and Urban Real Estate Conference comes to Washington DC October 20-22. Join the nation's leading developers, planners, architects and investors to network and share the excitement and best practices of Transit Oriented Development. There's still time to sponsor and exhibit your services during the 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.   

Washington DC is home to the most extensive
number of successful and unique TOD projects in the nation, with millions of square feet more under construction. Special guided 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. Register today and be part of the excitement!  More info
 Transit Oriented Development Conference
Network with the leaders!

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Sponsor the event!

Showcase your firm and its unique services to business and planning leaders at the Transit Oriented Development Conference next month in DC!   
Sponsor the event!

Exhibit your firm!
Highlighted Sponsors / Exhibitors
Linowes and Blocher
The TOD Conference welcomes our newest sponsor - Linowes and Blocher LLP. Linowes and Blocher LLP real estate lawyers have extensive experience representing clients in all types of commercial real estate transactions, including acquisitions, financing, dispositions, construction, development, leasing and management of real estate.  Their clients include national, regional and local developers, builders, financial institutions, life insurance companies, investors, asset managers, retailers, tax-exempt organizations, universities, governmental agencies and utilities.  More information
The TOD Conference also welcomes our newest exhibitor - the innovative new real estate service, Create's powerful search tools allow you to find any address or business, and apply filters across all types of properties to instantly identify opportunities that match your criteria.  More info    
Create io

See them at the conference!

Highlighted New Speakers
The TOD Institute is proud to welcome several new speakers to the upcoming conference line-up of business leaders...    
Bill Alsup - Hines
Bill Alsup, Hines
Bill Alsup is Senior Managing Director at Hines. Since coming to Hines in 1979, he has been responsible for more than 6.7 million square feet of commercial real estate. He had the overall responsibility for development, acquisition, leasing and property management activities in the Washington, D.C., area and the East Region of the United States.

Additionally, Mr. Alsup was the project officer and senior project officer during development of Washington-area projects such as Columbia Square, Franklin Square, Postal Square, 600 Thirteenth Street, Gannett/USA Today Headquarters, Mitretek Systems Headquarters and 4100 North Fairfax. After receiving a Bachelor of Science in Economics from Hampden-Sydney College, Virginia, in 1968, Mr. Alsup attended the University of North Carolina where he was awarded a Master of Business Administration in 1973.
Mitch Bonanno - Vornado/Charles E. Smith
Mitch Bonanno, Vornado
Mitch Bonanno is Senior Vice President and Director of Development with Vornado/Charles E. Smith. He is a real estate veteran with over 20 years of experience in the industry. Mr. Bonanno leads the Washington, DC development team for Vornado and is responsible for new development, major asset repositioning, and creative place-making for asset groupings. Mr. Bonanno also participates in strategic acquisitions involving value-added development and portfolio repositioning.

As an Arlington County Board-appointed member of the Crystal City Planning Taskforce, Mr. Bonanno led Vornado's efforts to establish a new vision for Crystal City, and worked with County and Community partners to develop and enact the 2010 Crystal City Sector Plan and Crystal City-CO zoning ordinance. Prior to joining Vornado/Charles E. Smith, Mr. Bonanno served as Development Executive for Clark Real Estate Advisors, an investment and development consulting firm. Mr. Bonanno holds a Master of Science in Real Estate from Johns Hopkins University and Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in civil engineering from the University of Maryland College Park.
Rod Lawrence - JBG Companies
Rod Lawrence, JBG
Mr. Lawrence has over 25 years of experience at JBG in all areas of commercial real estate investment and development. He has focused on the creation and development of mixed use, transit-oriented development for much of his career as well as the development of over 5 million square feet of GSA leased office space.

He is member of the Steering Committee for LOCUS, a national organization to promote transit-oriented, mixed use, walkable development across the country.  He is a member of the National Board of Directors of NAIOP and is the Vice Chair of the Real Estate Council for the Kogod School at the American University. B.A. Economics, The College of William and Mary; M.B.A. Real Estate and Urban Development, American University.
Shyam Kannan - WMATA
Shyam Kannan, WMATA
Mr. Kannan brings extensive planning and transit oriented development experience in the public
and private sectors to WMATA (Metro). At Metro he directs the Authority's strategic planning efforts, called Momentum, as well as supervises long-range planning, sustainability, and smart growth. He has a particular interest in the economic benefits
of transit as well as coordinating closely with the business community in the region.

Active in the region's planning community; Mr. Kannan is a committee member of the Urban Land Institute, the Region Forward Coalition of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, and is an adjunct Faculty Member of Georgetown University. Mr. Kannan has a Master's Degree in Public Policy and Urban Planning from Harvard University, and is also a graduate of the University of Virginia.

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Conference Project Highlights
City Center Opens in DC!

Bethesda Row

Pike and Rose

Pike and Rose, strip center to urbanism!

Surgeon General: America Needs More Walkable Communities
The Surgeon General has just issued a Call to Action to get America walking more. Out of concern for the nation's growing obesity and related disease epidemic, America's top doctor is calling for action to change the situation.
We need more walkable communities!

Step It Up! The Surgeon General's Call to Action to Promote Walking and Walkable Communities recognizes the importance of physical activity for people of all ages and abilities. It calls on Americans to be more physically active through walking and calls on the nation to better support walkability.

A similar call from the Surgeon General in 1964 was the watershed event that kicked off a decades-long decline in cigarette use. Could today's Call to Action do the same for communities without safe places to walk?

Improving walkability means that communities are created or enhanced to make it safe and easy to walk and that pedestrian activity is encouraged for people of all ages and abilities.

The Call to Action includes five strategic goals to promote walking and walkable communities in the United States:
  • Make walking a national priority
  • Design communities that are safe and easy to walk for all people
  • Promote programs and policies to support walking where people      live, learn, work, and play
  • Provide information to encourage walking and improve walkability
  • Fill surveillance, research, and evaluation gaps related to walkability.
Action by multiple sectors of society, as well as by families and individuals, will be needed to achieve these goals.  Call to Action | Health Effects of Sprawl | Walkability Best Practices at TOD Conference
Utah Residents Want More TOD
When it comes to housing, urban development and transportation, there are signs that Utah's future is already taking shape, with heavy public support.
Planners and government leaders are readying for a doubling of the state's population within 35 years to 5.4 million residents, with most of those people living on the relatively thin strip of land known as the Wasatch Front.

The growth, officials say, will underscore key regional issues on available land, affordable homes, housing density and how many vehicle miles Utahns drive each day.
Utah ripe for TOD expansion

Today, Utah's population centers are in the midst of an unprecedented building boom for apartments, while average lot sizes for single-family homes continue to shrink. New, more dense and walkable suburban commercial centers and transit-oriented developments are popping up across the valley. And the stage is set for added municipal funding of a variety of public transportation projects.

A pair of newly released polls suggests a majority of Utahns favors these ways of handling growth. More than three of every four residents support having a mix of housing options in their communities, and they want neighborhood designs that encourage walking, public-transit use and shorter daily drive times, according to one Envision Utah poll.  More

Dallas - Most Ambitious Rail Planning
Dallas has become a bold leader in multi-level rail planning, creating huge TOD opportunities for the entire region, even spreading to Houston.
Dallas advances rail and TOD

Central Dallas is already the hub of North America's longest light-rail system, and plans are under way for DART rail's second route through downtown. An offshoot of that new loop would anticipate the real game-changer for Dallas (as well as Texas): proposed bullet-train service to Houston. DART's plan is to make sure that incoming passengers can step off a 200-mph train and have easy access to the local rail network.

Add one other thing to the rail mix: a proposed new streetcar extension that would link the McKinney Avenue Trolley line to the Oak Cliff-Union Station streetcar route that began in April.
Dallas advancing rail planning

It's safe to say that there's no other city in the U.S. now working on such an ambitious rail blueprint. Countless things still need to happen for it to become reality. But betting against the high-speed rail venture is betting against serious Texas money and knowhow.

Recent investors who provided a $75 million infusion of cash include former Houston Astros owner Drayton McLane Jr., whose name is on Baylor University's new football stadium, and Dallas' Jack Matthews, who developed the city's convention center hotel and major developments on South Lamar Street. Matthews sits on the board of Texas Central Partners, the bullet-train company, and controls land on the southern edge of downtown where the Dallas bullet-train station is contemplated.  Story | Dallas TOD

Honolulu Solving Congestion with Bicycles
Honolulu's strategy to deal with crippling car traffic is to build a city-wide network of protected bike lanes. Networks like this have been shown to greatly increase cycling by addressing the safety factor.
Protected bike lanes in action in Hawaii

Honolulu city transit officials look to add a grid of protected bike lanes and future public bike-share and rail transit systems. They're not just considering a new protected bike lane along South Street, but also mauka-makai routes to be installed eventually on Ward Avenue, Keeaumoku, McCully, Pensacola and Piikoi streets.
Those details came during a public meeting Tuesday in which city officials also shared plans to eventually install a protected bike lane at Halekauwila Street. It would run underneath rail's future elevated guideway, as it approaches Ala Moana Center.

"These aren't just bike projects, they're policy statements" that include redesigning local streets so that they provide more options than just cars, city Department of Transportation Services Director Mike Formby said.  Story

Corporate America is Moving Downtown!
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!

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

"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 building the future

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