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InTransition Magazine : Transportation Planning, Practice & Progress

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Research News at NJIT

NJIT to Release Guide to Planning for Transit Supportive Development

The New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), through a cooperative agreement with the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), is conducting national research regarding planning for transit supportive development. The need for this research is an expression of a longstanding interest on the part of the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and planning professionals in encouraging the integration of land use planning and transit planning. The recent partnership among the USDOT, USEPA and HUD in the Sustainable Communities Initiative presages a need to coordinate transit investments, housing and environmental policies more closely at the regional level, to achieve the goals of sustainability and livability on the local level.

NJIT's Planning for Transit Supportive Development goes beyond the generic transit-oriented development (TOD) definition. TOD is commonly defined as a mixed-use community extending for 1/4 to 1/2 of a mile from a public transit station that has pedestrian friendly infrastructure and amenities, higher densities than surrounding areas, and compact design. NJIT's definition of transit supportive development recognizes the TOD definition, but is a broader variation of a concept that has existed for years—the utilization of effective and predictable transit to encourage surrounding development which in turn supports transit. The basic principle is that convenient access to transit is or can be a key attraction to foster mixed-use development and that increased density in station areas not only supports transit, but also may accomplish other goals, including reducing sprawl, reducing congestion, increasing pedestrian activity, and increasing economic development potential. Thus, NJIT's Transit Supportive Development concept not only includes the resulting higher density, mixed-use, pedestrian friendly neighborhood surrounding a transit station, it also includes the planning processes and policies needed to integrate land use planning and transit planning, enabling development possibilities that can support and be supported by transit in an effort to create and sustain livable communities.
 
NJIT's Planning for Transit Supportive Development, A Practitioner's Guide is a toolkit geared primarily towards MPOs, regional planners, transit agencies, and county/municipal land use planners.  Recognizing three major levels of planning—regional, corridor, and local—Planning for Transit Supportive Development, A Practitioner's Guide addresses best practices, guidance, success stories, useful techniques, transferable examples, and lessons learned on all three levels. The guide begins with issues that affect all three planning levels, including leadership and champions, laws and regulations, funding and financing, economic benefits, and visualization tools. Then, specific topics in each of the planning levels are explored: from key ingredients to developing regional vision plans and methods for forecasting regional markets (on the regional level); to guidance on premium transit modes and corridor planning case studies (on the corridor level); to station and transit supportive development characteristics, and station neighborhood planning case studies (on the local level). NJIT's Practitioner's Guide will support MPOs, regional planners, and transit agencies in developing regional transit vision plans and transit corridor plans that integrate transit investments with land use considerations, as well as provide them with the necessary tools to assist local governments in encouraging and enabling transit supportive land use coordinated with desired transit services.  For county/municipal planners, the Practitioner's Guide will provide practical guidance on developing the policy, legal framework, and infrastructure needed to encourage transit supportive development.

NJIT expects national release of the Planning for Transit Supportive Development, A Practitioner's Guide and its companion web based tool in 2012. For more information, contact Colette Santasieri, Director of Strategic Initiatives, at santasieri@njit.edu.

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