Transit Oriented Development Institute
Washington, DC

Last week's groundbreaking TOD conference was a huge success! Attendees from across America and around DC attended to learn and share TOD best practices, new financing options, and to see projects up close in person...

"A great event, I learned a lot!"

                "An incredible gathering of leaders"

"So many great projects and ideas!"

     "Excellent networking with business leaders"

"DC is definitely the TOD leader in America"

          "The best conference I've ever attended!"
Transit Oriented Development Conference

Last week, the Transit Oriented Development Institute hosted the first national Transit Oriented Development and Urban Real Estate Conference in Washington, DC. This event brought together national leaders to share TOD best practices, and federal and state efforts to encourage TOD across the US.

In attendance were federal, state, and local agencies, leading national developers, city planners, transit agencies, business leaders, investors, nonprofits, and environmental organizations. 

TOD Conference Attendees Sharing TOD Best Practices

One of the featured speakers, and a host of the conference, was Christopher Leinberger, a "land use strategist, teacher, developer, researcher and author, balancing business realities with social and environmental concerns."

Mr. Leinberger kicked off the conference with an amusing presentation, drawing connections from the legendary movie Back to the Future with our past and future conceptions of land use, city design, and transportation planning. The analogy couldn't have been more appropriate - October 21, 2015, or "Back to the Future Day," was the second day of the conference!

It is clear that the time to rethink the way we plan and build cities is now.

Kurt Roeloffs and Chris Leinberger discuss TOD project funding
Kurt Roeloffs and Chris Leinberger discuss TOD project funding

After initial discussions about the trends towards TOD by millenials and 'empty-nesters' alike, and the strong economic case for developers and investors to move towards TOD (if they haven't already), the conference was off to an exiting start.

The room was buzzing throughout the two days of sessions, covering topics such as: components of TOD and project typologies, best practices across America, a breakdown of DC metropolitan area TODs, placemaking and design standards, marketing the TOD lifestyle, federal, state, and corporate roles in TOD, and sources of TOD equity funding.
Conference attendees get up to speed on TOD practices and projects

The venue was also a perfect example of a successful urban transformation that was sparked by TOD planning. Situated in the up-and-coming NoMa neighborhood, the New Boston Building offered 365-degree views of the transit amenities and impressive developments that make the NoMa neighborhood among the most desirable places to live in the DC area. 
Attendees got to see NoMa TOD up close and in person

At the TOD Conference, speakers and attendees didn't just talk the talk - they also walked the walk. Walking tours of NoMa were organized by the NoMa BID (business improvement district) to showcase the incredible transformation of the neighborhood over the past decade, as well as more recent additions like dedicated bike lanes. 
Attendees saw NoMa up close and under construction

The final day of the conference also focused exclusively on walking tours of most of the significant TODs in the DC region. These tours were enabled by Metro, and attendees were escorted across the metropolitan area to see the TOD projects that make DC the "national capital of TOD." 
Conference attendees saw the nation_s best TOD projects in person

Attendees chose between a Red Line tour of the Bethesda Row and Pike and Rose projects, an Orange/Silver Line tour of the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor and Tysons Corner, and a Green Line tour of CityCenter DC, Gallery Place, Columbia Heights and Navy Yard.   
Attendees saw NoMa up close and under construction

Attendees got to visit one of the largest TODs in DC - City Center which boasts the newest and longest pedestrian-only street in the DC region, as well as a wonderful new public plaza lined with outdoor cafes. 
The new City Center project with the central public space

More images and videos are coming! Watch for our next TOD conference in Los Angeles this coming spring.   
TOD Conference Press Coverage

City Fix Blog - 4 Takeaways from the TOD Conference

City Version 3 - Metro needs more development at rail stations

Projects of Regional Significance
Washington DC leads the nation with TOD!

Pike and Rose, strip center to urbanism!

Corporations are moving downtown, where the people want to be!

"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 to advance knowledge sharing and project deal-making.


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 and high 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