eTOD Score: A Proposed Rating System for Equitable Transit-Oriented Development
The Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy at Northeastern University and the Center for Transit Oriented Development (CTOD) have collaborated to produce a pilot version of a “rating system” to help planners, policymakers, community groups and municipal officials make better decisions about equitable transit-oriented development (TOD) planning and projects. Equitable transit oriented development is an intentional approach to TOD designed to ensure that the coordinated transportation, urban design, land use, development and investments made near commuter rail and rapid transit stations and the bus network are directly benefiting low- and moderate-income households and communities of color and connecting them to jobs and to opportunities to improve the quality of their life. In order to achieve equitable TOD objectives, local and state government and community groups need an objective way of assessing which station areas and what types of transit-oriented development can best serve both regional and local needs. The eTOD Score is an assessment tool designed for better understanding which transit-rich neighborhoods and which specific projects proposed for those neighborhoods are “the right kind” of TOD and specifically of equitable TOD.
The Dukakis Center and CTOD have collaborated on this project, working with an “equity advisory committee” of government and non-profit partners. Akin to the well-known LEED “rating systems” that measure various “green” aspects of buildings and neighborhoods, the goal of this collaboration is to develop a metric for measuring the capacity for equitable transit-oriented development within a given public transit station area. This rating system is designed to identify neighborhoods and districts with built, social, and transit attributes that reduce driving, encourage higher transit ridership, and promote transit equity and accessibility. By providing a specific definition of high-performing, equitable TOD, this system can be used to catalyze and direct rapid policy change in support of both specific development projects and broader initiatives intended to plan or improve transit-rich neighborhoods.
eTOD Score is composed of three subscores, capturing measures of transit, orientation, and development:
- Transit: focus on the availability, quality and use of transit
- Orientation: focus on “transit oriented neighbors” who make up the core of transit ridership
- Development: focus on characteristics of development context in the nearby neighborhoods
The composite and disaggregated eTOD Scores give an indication of the relative transit supportiveness of a station area along with possibilities for enhancement. Places that are high on development and transit, but low on orientation, for instance, should be prime places for new affordable or workforce housing projects given their high levels of accessibility. Other areas may exhibit high proportions of transit-oriented populations, yet lack adequate transit or neighborhood serving retail and services. These communities would be best suited for enhanced service and potential mixed-use or commercial development.
For a more detailed explanation of the rating system, including the construction of metrics, assignment of scores, and analysis of example stations, please see the eTOD Score report. We welcome any feedback, comments or suggestions to help improve the system and make it more useful to the community of equitable TOD practitioners. Please email to Stephanie Pollack at email@example.com with your feedback.
The Dukakis Center and CTOD thank the Barr Foundation for its support of this project.