Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) Policy

Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) plans housing development that is closer to transportation, putting public transit in reach for more people and improving the quality of life in our region.

Noah Berger

Transit-oriented development (TOD) refers to the clustering of homes, jobs, shops and services near rail stations, ferry terminals or bus stops with high-frequency service.

Studies show people are more likely to ride transit if they live within half a mile of a rail station, ferry terminal or bus line. And jobs that are within a quarter-mile of transit often are more attractive to the Bay Area’s workforce.

MTC’s Transit-Oriented Development Policy ensures that transportation agencies, local cities and counties, members of the public and the private sector work together to create development patterns that work with existing public transit services.

TOD Policy Updates

MTC’s 2005 Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) Policy is currently being updated, and a revised policy is anticipated to be released in 2022.

It will reflect changes in regional transportation and land use trends since 2005, as well as information from Plan Bay Area 2050.

Funding & Organizing

The TOD Policy includes two other key elements: Funding and Organizing:

  • Funding to help local governments develop station area plans that incorporate housing, jobs, station access, design standards, parking and other amenities based on unique circumstances and community character.
  • Organizing working groups to bring together staff from local governments along the expansion corridor, as well as transit agencies, county congestion management agencies and others to help develop station area plans and to meet MTC's corridor-wide housing targets.

Minimum Station Area Housing Requirements

The 2005 policy set minimums for the average number of housing units (both existing and/or permitted housing units) within a half-mile of each new rail station funded through Regional Measure 2. This area is known as the station area.

The minimum number of units by transit type are:

  • BART — 3,850 units
  • Light Rail — 3,300 units
  • Bus Rapid Transit — 2,750 units
  • Commuter Rail — 2,200 units
  • Ferry — 750 units

Part of the Regional Growth Framework

The Bay Area is expected to be home to an additional 1.4 million households by the year 2050. It is important that the different types of planning work together — as part of a regional growth framework — to make the best use of available resources. The TOD policy supports the regional growth framework.