MBA: Transit-Oriented Development
For the first chapter in our Moving Beyond the Automobile series we'll take a look at Transit-Oriented Development, more commonly known by its "TOD" acronym in transportation industry circles. TOD is a high-density, mixed-use residential area with access to ample amounts of transportation. There are usually many transportation nodes within its core and contains a walkable and bike-able environment.
We decided to take a look across the Hudson River at New Jersey's east coast where over the last two decades the amount of development has been booming. Transportation options are as diverse as you can get: the Hudson-Bergen light-rail, multiple ferry lines, PATH station, NJ Transit commuter trains, and buses are all plentiful, while in some areas car ownership is as low as 40% to 45%.
(Note: This series is made possible by funding from the Fund for The Environment & Urban Life.)
Kate Slevin: [00:13] Transit Oriented Development is really about building sustainable communities. It’s about locating housing, offices and retail, closer to bus and rail stations. There’s plenty of examples of good TOD in our region. New Jersey Transit has done a great job of helping towns develop more around their rail and bus stations.
Peter Kasabach: [00:33] We’re looking across the Hudson River at the East Coast of New Jersey where we’ve seen tremendous amount of high intensity development take place over the last two decades. And one of the cornerstones of that development has been the fact that there’s an enormous amount of multimodal public transportation between the ferries, the path station, the North-East corridor and the light rail.
Kate Slevin: [00:58] The Hudson-Bergen light rail in northern New Jersey has encouraged incredible amounts of residential and office development.
Vivian Baker: [01:06] Ridership on the Hudson-Bergen light rail system has steadily grown since we first put together the operating segment in 2000. We have over 40,000 passengership per day. This particular system connects Hudson County to the path station which connects to Midtown and Downtown Manhattan. But more importantly it unlocked the potential for development of along the Hudson River Waterfront
Peter Kasabach: [01:25] There are certain parts of Jersey City where the car ownership rate is as low as 40 to 45%.
Robert Cotter: [01:31] The parking ratios in Jersey City are shocking to some of the people in New Jersey. We don’t require parking. In most of the development that you’re looking at, there’s a maximum parking ratio for much of this development, but there’s no minimum.
Kate Slevin: [01:44] A key part of it is changing the zoning. I mean the municipality that where you live change the zoning codes so they can allow a mix of uses. You want a development near the train or bus station to have apartments above delis, to have offices above retail stores.
Vivian Baker: [02:00] Around us are many different office buildings that house people in the financial industry, the computer industry, and the telecom industry and the shipping industry. And when the businesses came, the people came. There are probably about 10,000 residences that were built in this vicinity of this station and around the system. It’s been about $5 billion worth of residential investment so far.
Robert Cotter: [02:19] In the first six months of 2009, more than 18% of the building permits issued for housing units in New Jersey were here in Jersey City. And that’s a good testament to the transit rich development. It’s the communities that have access to fixed rail are going to be the richest in the coming century, I’m thoroughly convinced of it.
Peter Kasabach: [02:39] People who previously owned two cars now might only own one. People who own one car only use it on occasion. Not having cars does an enormous amount, not just for what it does for the street life, but it means that we’re reducing our vehicle miles travelled in this area, which is good for the environment and reducing our greenhouse gas emissions.
Kate Slevin: [02:58]
The challenge is really taking that model and translating it into a
more suburban environment. Suburban areas are more car dependent
because things are more spread out. So going forward we’re going
to have to see more and more transit oriented development around rail
and bus stations in suburban areas.