Archive for the ‘Regional’ Category

The Center for Transit-Oriented Development TOD Database

September 22, 2011

The Center for Transit-Oriented Development held a user web seminar for its Transit-Oriented Development database on Tuesday, September 20th, 2011. The seminar was hosted by Jeff Price, Community Planner, Office of Systems Planning, Federal Transit Administration (FTA), the seminar sponsor; with Linda Young, Research Director, Sofia Becker, Research Assistant, and Peter Haas, Chief Research Scientist at the Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT), Chicago, Illinois; and Greg Sklenar, Planner, Community & Economic Development, City of Evanston, Illinois, serving as presenters.

The Transit-Oriented Development Database is a free online mapping and data analysis tool that allows users to view, download and evaluate a range of demographic and economic data for the ¼ and ½ mile areas surrounding transit stations. It can be used by planners, transit agencies, researchers and others to help understand the community characteristics near transit, how those traits compare to other places within a region or other US regions, or how those places are changing over time. The database contains 4,610 fixed-guideway stations across America. Of these, 3,767 are existing and 843 are proposed stations representing 47 metropolitan areas around the country. The information captured by the program includes distribution across seven service types: people-mover, monorail, bus rapid transit, streetcar, light rail, commuter and heavy rail systems. Standard city bus routes are not included because service can change frequently or may even be discontinued, whereas bus rapid transit typically operates along dedicated lanes and has more substantial stations, or other fixed infrastructure.

The database is built on a GIS platform and incorporates station data from the National Transit Database, FTA’s New Starts Program and maps provided by individual transit agencies. The program uses demographic data from the 2000 Decennial Census including CTPP, Census Transportation Package (residence, work, O&D), and 2005-2009 estimates; LED, Longitudinal Employment Dynamics, through 2008 and derived statistics, including walkability; FTA Tiger, Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery, line files and FHA’s LIHTC, Low Income Housing Tax Credit, housing and transportation affordability index; and aggregated data from the Center for Neighborhood Technology’s Housing & Transportation Affordability Index. The CTOD will incorporate 2010 Census data as it becomes available and data from ACS, American Communities Survey, in the near future. With this information in place, the program generates information for one-quarter and one-half mile capture areas around each station, or transit zone, as its core output. The database also measures data for transit sheds and regions, the former a one-half mile radii around stations along a line, the latter the full capture area within a line. The database is displayed on Google’s platform satellite image database and street view is included as an option to view the station’s immediate surrounding development.

The base or default data compiled for each region and individual stations includes population, jobs and median household income from year 2000 as well as jobs from year 2008. The data that can be compiled in reports separately or combined in a custom format is impressive, including:

Auto and Non-Auto Commute to Work by Industry
Employment (2002-2008)
Household Age
Household Income
Household Type by Income
Housing + Transportation Affordability Index
Journey to Work
Journey to Work by Public Transportation
Mode Share for Persons with Disability
Population and Employment
Vehicle Ownership
Vehicles per Workers for Households Under Poverty Status
Where Workers Live by Occupation
Where Workers Work by Industry

Per the database, the above data are proportionally aggregated to transit zone, transit shed and transit region geographies, from the public databases typically as follows:

Census 2000 Summary File 1 data are aggregated from Census 2000 blocks and tracts
Census 2000 Summary File 3 data are aggregated from Census 2000 block groups and tracts
Census Transportation Planning Package (CTPP) 2000 data are aggregated from Census 2000 tracts
Longitudinal Employment Data (LED) 2002 – 2008 data are aggregated from Census 2008 blocks

Data aggregation are apportioned for overlapping station zones to avoid double-counting. One note: some station icons and radiating zones may appear separate from the actual station locations on the display map. This is a function of the Google database and the team will address this in future updates. The data is represented by the underlying GIS format, therefore data accounting is based on distances from the actual station location. Where station locations are misrepresented by the GIS file, the team will correct these as they become aware of them and receive appropriate coordinates from the local authority.

The database provides information on both existing and planned or proposed stations. Future stations are located based on the FTA’s New Starts program or if the team is confident the local transit authority is in the process of filing a New Starts application for the stations.

The CTOD database is a powerful tool for research and development, serving planners, practitioners, housing advocates, MPO’s, local, state and federal DOT’s, transit agencies/authorities, sustainable communities grantees, advocates, elected officials, analysts, academics, developers, universities and other public and private institutions.

The database can be accessed at: Hit “Browse the database” and you will be prompted to enter a login or register. Access to the User Guide is at the top of the page.

A special note of thanks to Alia Anderson, Program & Policy Associate, Reconnecting America, for her thoughtful comments on this post, incorporated herein.

CTOD’s Performance-Based Transit-Oriented Development Typology Guidebook is available at Reconnecting America’s website: 2010_performancebasedtodtypologyguidebook.pdf.