New tool tackles transportation planning challenge

Tue, 2013-07-23 06:10 -- Jesse Berst

transportation planningThis web site has two goals: 1) to keep you up-to-date on the latest smart city developments and trends and 2) to collect top-notch tools and resources. Given that transportation is the toughest problem of all for most cities, we're pleased to report that a new planning tool is now available. -- Jesse Berst


Transit-oriented developments (TODs) are mixed-use residential and commercial areas designed to maximize access to public transport. In theory, they are a great way to create vibrant, walkable communities. In practice, however, it can be difficult to get things right -- to know just where to place transit stations, just where to put commercial and residential, just where to site walkways and pedestrian connections.

The people at Next City believe the new TOD standard from the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy "could change the way we look at, and eventually build, new developments along rail lines." They think it will add analytical objectivity to the design process. Transportation blogger Yonah Freemark says that "what has been missing has been a tool that offers empirical insight into the benefits of specific development interventions." 

Now we have that tool, he claims, calling the new standard "a LEED certification for TOD." Like LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), it is a scoring system that allows projects to be compared. It identifies best practices across eight categories: walking, cycling, the transportation network, accessibility to transit, a mix of uses, density, connections to existing employment centers, and changes in parking and road use.

Click to download a PDF version of the TOD Standard.

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Jesse Berst is the founding Chairman of the Smart Cities Council. Click to subscribe to SmartCitiesNow, the weekly newsletter highlighting smart city trends, technologies and techniques.