CHICAGO — The Center for Transit-Oriented Development (CTOD) launched a first-of-its-kind web database to provide access to comprehensive information about more than 4,000 transit zones across the United States. The web tool will help developers, investors, and city officials make planning decisions that take advantage of development opportunities around transit nodes.

The TOD Database, available at http://toddata.cnt.org, provides information on density, demographics, occupation, and transportation habits of households near 4,160 existing and proposed fixed-guideway transit stations, including commuter rail, streetcars, light rail, bus rapid transit, and ferries. Spanning Honolulu to Portland, Maine, the database synthesizes 40,000 data fields at half-mile and quarter-mile buffers around fixed rail stations to create a user-friendly website that allows people to view maps of various transit regions and choose data reports for stations of interest. Users can also query data by geography or demographics. The TOD Database is a product of the CTOD, a partnership among the Center for Neighborhood Technology, Reconnecting America, and Strategic Economics.

“The Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) goal is to partner with communities that want to develop smart transportation solutions that will inspire new economic development, reduce congestion and our dependence on oil, and help connect people with work, school, or the doctor’s office,” said Therese McMillan, deputy administrator of the FTA, which funded the creation of the TOD Database. “Having the best data available at your fingertips will help cities, neighborhoods, and developers, achieve the goal of a more livable, walkable community that benefits all of their residents.”

“When talking to potential developers, this site will be great to give them detailed reports surrounding station areas, and the same is true for retailers who want to know about foot traffic in the area,” said Craig Sklenar, a city planner for Evanston, Ill. “This will help any city develop really good TODs.”

When transit-oriented development is planned and implemented effectively, it is economically and environmentally beneficial to cities and families of all incomes. Dense, walkable, transit-rich neighborhoods can be more affordable, because a typical household owns fewer cars and drives less than a household in a dispersed, car-oriented community with no access to transit. TOD projects make economic sense for cities as well, since development around transit nodes make use of existing infrastructure, avoiding the expense required to install new infrastructure in greenfield locations on the urban fringe. Because they reduce transportation-related pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, TOD projects are better for the environment.

“We created the TOD Database as a one-stop shop for information on TOD to encourage more transit-focused communities in the marketplace,” said Scott Bernstein, president of the Center for Neighborhood Technology. “We’ve provided research on 4,160 transit-centered opportunities for smart development decisions that are good for people’s pocketbooks and the economy.”

“The web-based TOD Database is an exciting step for us,” said CTOD Director Sam Zimbabwe. “In the six-year history of the partnership, we have always sought to empower good decision-making and sound investment by communities large and small. We’re excited to take this step and look forward to incorporating more information over the next year as it becomes available through the U.S. Census.”

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