Read the Executive Summary of the Final Report here.

Center For Transit-Oriented DevelopmentThrough a year-long study assessing the 71 existing and under construction station areas in Los Angeles, the Center for Transit-Oriented Development created a set of tools that planners, community advocates, and developers can use to assess potential and existing transit-oriented districts. This work has entailed extensive analysis of neighborhoods around existing and planned fixed-guideway stations in the city and focus group meetings with developers, planners and other agency staff, institutional property owners and community groups.

Developing around stations is not the only way to build a more transit-supportive city. Los Angeles is already dense, but many communities lack the neighborhood-serving businesses, high quality public space and parks, and the walkable and bikeable streets that support living locally as well as increased transit use. Some parts of the city are dense, walkable and bikeable, but need more investment in transit. Most communities will require a combination of development, infrastructure investment, and transit improvements.

Tools Illustrate Factors that Influence TOD:

The report details how to use the tools created by CTOD to combine some of the different factors that support successful transit-oriented districts.  Some of these factors include:

  • The mix of land uses and the intensity of jobs and housing and activity
  • The development and redevelopment opportunity in station areas
  • Whether there is affordable housing or susceptibility to gentrify
  • Whether it’s easy to walk and bike to stations
  • Whether there are amenities – stores, services, restaurants, schools, etc. – that make it possible to live, work and shop locally
  • The current demographics, the mix of owners and renters, how many cars households own, and the transit ridership at each station.

Key Findings:

Both the focus group work and the analysis of demographics and neighborhood conditions revealed some key findings that will influence the success of transit-oriented districts in the future.  Some of these finding include:

  • Only a few stations have large sites available for development; many potential development sites are small, posing barriers for development.
  • Households living near stations tend to own fewer cars, have lower incomes, and are three times more likely to use transit, walk or bike to work. New development will need to provide for lower-income residents as well as meet the pent-up demand for market-rate development in these locations.
  • LA is expanding its transit system more rapidly than any other region besides Denver. The regional Compass Blueprint planning process has identified all station areas as the best places to channel growth. Education is needed to make residents confident that growth near stations can help bring new investment into a community at the same time that existing single-family neighborhoods and community character are preserved.
  • The ethnic identity of many neighborhoods and the city’s industrial land preservation policy will both shape the definition of “successful TOD” in certain neighborhoods.

Strategies for Moving Forward:

While Los Angeles currently has a number of successful programs and activities to support transit-oriented districts, structural and political barriers are in place that planning advocates and practitioners will need to overcome in order to truly bring TOD to scale. The focus groups and case study analysis have highlighted some critical strategies that can help take Los Angeles to the next step in supporting widespread TOD.  These strategies are organized broadly into three categories:

  • Build Community Support for TOD
  • Establish Supportive Policies, Regulations, and Programs
  • Improve Coordination and Collaboration Among Public and Private Entities

This project was completed through a grant from the California Department of Transportation (“Caltrans”), sponsored by Los Angeles Metro. The Center for Transit-Oriented Development (CTOD) was funded by Caltrans to assess why the right kind of development is—or is not—occurring around stations, and the strategies and investments that would help ensure that it is possible to achieve high transit ridership, to lower VMT, to provide housing for a mix of incomes and guard against gentrification, and to create healthy, prosperous neighborhoods where people of all incomes have a multitude of travel options.