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The Efficacy of Transit-Oriented Development

Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) is one of the most contentious topics in modern urban planning.  The basic concept of TOD is that local governments can and should encourage decreased dependence on automobiles by creating convenient public transit nodes and supporting high-density development in the immediate vicinity of these points.  This often comes in the form of new rail-transit investments and is lauded as an important tool in the fight against urban sprawl.  New Urbanists see in TOD an opportunity to encourage high-density, mixed-use development like never before.  More conservative purists, however, argue that these TOD neighborhoods represent unwanted and inefficient market distortions that cater only to upper-class snobs too pretentious to ride a bus.  The outcome of this debate will have critical implications on the built landscape of our urban environments for decades to come.

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Chen, Joyce, Mark Hamilton, Nick Kindel, Ian Macek, and Meghan Pinch. “Transit Oriented Development and Cluster Developments.” 1-11. Web. 23 Sept. 2010. <http://courses.washington.edu>.

Niles, John, and Dick Nelson. “Measuring the Success of Transit-Oriented Development: Retail Market Dynamics and Other Key Determinants.” Proc. of American Planning Association National Planning Conference. 31 Aug. 2006. Web. 23 Sept. 2010.< www.community-wealth.org/_pdfs/articles-publications/tod/paper-niles-http://nelson.pdf>

O’Toole, Randal. “Defining Success: The Case Against Rail Transit.” Policy Analysis 663 (2010). Cato Institute, 22 May 2010. Web. 23 Sept. 2010.<http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm? abstract_id=1612782>.

By: Brian Simel

Public Transportation and the Spatial Evolution of Chinese Cities

China is urbanizing at a rapid rate. The country is expected to have 926 million city-dwellers by 2025, and over a billion by 2030. This unprecedented scale of urbanization represents a huge strain on local and global resources. It is clear that such development is unsustainable if China follows the US model of city growth. In this paper, I explore how the development of public transportation networks in Chinese metropolises affect their spatial evolution, and how public transport provides a critical tool for sustainable growth

The full document can be found here


Frank, Lawrence D., and Gary Pivo. “Impacts of Mixed Use and Density on Utilization of Three Modes of Travel: Single-Occupant Vehicle, Transit, and Walking.” Transportation Research Record 1466 (1994). Web.

Kenworthy, Jeff, and Gang Hu. “Transport and Urban Form in Chinese Cities.” DISP 0251-3625.151 (2002). Web.

Muller, Peter O. “Transportation and Urban Form: Stages in the Spatial Evolution of the American Metropolis.” The Geography of Urban Transportation. Comp. Susan Hanson. New York: Guilford, 1986. Print.