Document Type


Publication Date



Transit-oriented development, Transportation -- Planning, Bus rapid transit, Street-railroads


In this report, we present research that measures the outcomes of TOD areas in relation to their metropolitan area controls with respect to (1) jobs by sector; (2) housing choice for household types based on key demographic characteristics; (3) housing affordability based on transportation costs; and (4) job-worker balance as a measure of accessibility. Prior literature has not systematically evaluated TOD outcomes in these respects with respect to light rail transit (LRT), commuter rail transit (CRT), bus rapid transit (BRT), and streetcar transit (SCT) systems. Our analysis helps close some of these gaps. We apply our analysis to 23 fixed-guideway transit systems operating in 17 metropolitan areas in the South and West that have one or more of those systems. We find: (1) Most TOD areas gained jobs in the office, knowledge, education, health care and entertainment sectors, adding more than $100 billion in wages capitalized over time; (2) In assessing economic resilience associated with LRT systems, jobs continued to shift away from TOD areas before the Great Recession, the pace slowed during the recession but reversed during recovery, leading us to speculate that LRT TOD areas may have transformed metropolitan economies served by LRT systems; (3) Rents for offices, retail stores and apartments were higher when closer to SCT systems, had mixed results with respect LRT systems, but were mostly lower with respect to CRT systems (our BRT sample was too small to evaluate); (4) SCT systems performed best in terms of increasing their TOD-area shares of metropolitan population, households and householders by age, housing units, and renters with BRT systems performing less well while LRT and CRT systems experienced a much smaller shift in the share of growth; (5) Household transportation costs as a share of budgets increase with respect to distance from LRT transit stations to seven miles, suggesting the proximity to LRT stations reduces total household transportation costs; (6) Emerging trends that may favor higher-wage jobs locating in TOD areas over time than lower- or middle-wage jobs, perhaps because TOD areas attract more investment which requires more productive, higher-paid labor to justify the investment; and (7) The share of workers who commute 10 minutes or less to work increases nearly one-half of 1 percent for each half-mile their resident block group is to an LRT transit station, capping at a gain of 1.3 percent, which is not a trivial gain. Our report summarizes case studies of 23 transit systems and three journal articles based on our research.


This is a final report, NITC-RR-547/763, from the NITC program of TREC at Portland State University, and can be found online at:

Do TODs Make a Difference Case Studies are available below in the Additional Files below



Persistent Identifier

ABQ_CRT.pdf (1118 kB)
RailRunner Commuter Rail New Mexico

Charlotte_BRT_6-10-14_1.pdf (1786 kB)
Independence Avenue BRT Charlotte, North Carolina

Charlotte_LRT_6-10-14_1.pdf (1850 kB)
LYNX Light Rail Charlotte, North Carolina

Dallas_LRT.pdf (1611 kB)
DART Light Rail Dallas, Texas

Denver_LRT.pdf (1385 kB)
Light Rail Transit Denver, Colorado

Miami_BRT.pdf (1337 kB)
South Miami-Dade Busway Miami-Dade, Florida

Miami_CRT_1.pdf (1355 kB)
Tri-Rail Commuter Rail Miami-Dade, Florida

Phoenix_BRT_6-10-14_1.pdf (1374 kB)
Main Street LINK Phoenix, Arizona

Phoenix_LRT.pdf (2113 kB)
METRO Light Rail Phoenix, Arizona

Sacramento_LRT.pdf (1504 kB)
Blue Line/South Corridor LRT Sacramento, California

Salt_Lake_City_BRT.pdf (2004 kB)
UTA MAX BRT Salt Lake City, Utah

Salt_Lake_City_CRT_1.pdf (1239 kB)
FrontRunner Commuter Rail Salt Lake-Weber-Davis Co., Utah

Salt_Lake_City_LRT.pdf (1539 kB)
TRAX University Line Salt Lake City, Utah

Seattle_SCT.pdf (1343 kB)
South Lake Union Streetcar Seattle, Washington

Tacoma_Streetcar.pdf (1304 kB)
Tacoma-Link Light Rail Seattle, Washington

Twin_Cities_LRT.pdf (1590 kB)
Hiawatha Light Rail (Blue Line) Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota