WSJ: ‘TODs’ are hot

What do investors think of TODs? (Transit-oriented development) The Wall Street Journal is reporting that “in many cities, the hottest development is taking place along the train lines” and “mass-transit lines are the new frontier in urban development.” You’d better check out the article, The Little Engine That Could before it gets archived.

The evidence?

– There are 100 TODs in the U.S., with 100 more in the pipeline.*
– By 2030 the number of households near transit stations will rise to 16 million, from 6 million today.*
– Shrinking household sizes and increasing single households (link)
– The public sector attracts three to five times every dollar they invest in a transit system in private money.**
– Between 1997 and 2001, office and residential property values near Dallas transit stations increased 53% and 39% respectively more than comparable properties not served by rail.***
– Arlington, Virginia’s overall transit-oriented plan has resulted in 40 million s.f. of development so far, while from 2002 to 2006, land values in the surrounding area grew 84%.****

*Reconnecting America.
**Marilee Utter, president of Citiventure Associates LLC
***Economists from the University of North Texas
****Dennis Leach, Arlington County’s director of transportation

  • Nice to see that the Wall Street Journal recognizes that TODs are a good way to organize cities. Of course, that was well known nearly a century ago when trolley suburbs were the hottest thing going. Many of them are still strong communities, if only because the pattern of development lends itself well to modification as other forms of transit become available.

    But when it comes to freeway-based development–well, we’re going to have to figure out some way to change things around there.