Transit Helping States Build Communities, Generate Economic Development
Across the country, transportation options are being deployed to revitalize cities and suburbs, revive sluggish economies and change the way we live and work. In particular, transit stops have become a focal point for many states and communities hoping to generate the development of office, retail and commercial spaces and flourishing, sustainable neighborhoods around them.
“Public transportation ridership is at an all-time high,” said James Corless, director of Transportation for America, a Washington, D.C.-based advocacy coalition, at an event in October. “We’ve seen a resurgence of people moving back to cities, even inner suburbs urbanizing and a new demographic demanding a different kind of transportation option and that has led to a lot of demand out there for new public transportation investments all across the U.S. This is not just New York and DC and San Francisco anymore. These are places like Salt Lake City and Denver, Colorado, Little Rock, Arkansas, etc. that are really demanding new investments in public transportation.”
State officials in Connecticut have a couple of big reasons to believe that transit-oriented development—TOD for short—will be key to the state’s future. A commuter rail line connecting New Haven, Conn., and Springfield, Mass., is set to begin service in early 2018 (a projected late 2016 start date was pushed back in December), and a recently opened bus rapid transit line in Hartford, Conn., is already proving to be more popular than predicted.
That’s why Tim Sullivan from the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development was in Washington, D.C., in October to speak at the Transit Oriented Development Institute’s first national conference.
“I’m here on a trade mission…trying to convince people to come up and build great projects … and help us bring TOD to life in Connecticut,” he told attendees. “We have to have vital, vibrant cities or we won’t be able to attract and retain young talent. We won’t be able to attract and retain companies. And that’s the whole ballgame.”
In a report last year entitled “Core Values,” the group Smart Growth America took a look at why many American companies are deserting isolated, suburban office parks for urban, transit-oriented downtowns. The companies surveyed said the number one reason for their move was to attract and retain talent.
“Having a walkable location in the middle of town was an asset,” said Smart Growth America’s Alex Dodds. “Being out in the suburbs where there was nothing around was a liability. … Many of the companies we talked to when we asked them about their recruiting and how the location of their office helped or didn’t help … they often said … recruits would come and do a walk-around of their offices and say ‘no thanks.’ Even if their benefits packages, the salaries were good and the title, the work was great, competitive. If the location wasn’t there, they were losing out. So a big part of why these companies are moving is to attract workers.”
Connecticut is hardly alone in recognizing the nexus between transit and economic development. Among the developments elsewhere:
- When it begins service in April, a new commuter rail line will connect Denver Union Station and the Denver International Airport for the first time. In all, the region’s transit agency, RTD, will debut five new transit lines this year. Union Station, redesigned a few years ago to be a multimodal transit hub, has already spurred $1 billion in new development in downtown Denver.
- California is seeing a rail transit boom with more than $12 billion in investment taking place along under-construction high-speed rail and light-rail lines. Los Angeles is building one of the nation’s most ambitious transit expansion programs.
- Houston’s light-rail line, which runs through one of the densest parts of the city, has become a catalyst for downtown development, with $8 billion in projects along a seven-and-a-half mile stretch of track. Dallas is hoping to follow suit by adding a new downtown line to their larger, but less utilized, light-rail system.
- Atlanta officials are contemplating an $8 billion expansion of the MARTA commuter rail system that would link key job centers and perhaps change the city’s car-centric, circular orientation.
- Indianapolis voters will go to the polls in November to decide on an expansion of the city’s bus rapid transit system.
“(TOD) is a huge opportunity for America as we reinvest in our cities and start making great places where people want to be,” said Andy Kunz, President and CEO of the TOD Institute. “It gives us an opportunity to promote smart growth, placemaking and economic development simultaneously. And it’s also a major solution to climate and energy issues that we’re dealing with as a planet. This is really the model that puts all the things together and begins to move us forward into a more sustainable future.”
Those states looking to reap the benefits of transit-oriented development can find plenty of inspiration in one place: the Washington, D.C., metro area, said Christopher Leinberger, president of the real estate developer coalition LOCUS.
“Metro D.C. is the model by which we’re building this country as far as TOD,” Leinberger told the TOD Institute Conference. “We have more examples of TOD here in every one of seven categories. If you want to see the future, you’ve got to understand metro D.C.”
Chris Zimmerman of the organization Smart Growth America agreed.
“Here in this region, we have not only the example of the great resurgence of downtown but some of the best examples in the country of new successful, suburban TOD, some of which is retrofit of old places that were on the decline—such as my own Arlington (Virginia), which was a declining inner ring suburb prior to the advent of (Metrorail, the region’s subway system)—and places that are really being made into TOD out of whole cloth like Tysons Corner,” he said.
Among the other evidence for the DC area as TOD poster child:
- Eighty-six percent of all office projects that are underway in the D.C. area are within a quarter mile of a stop along the area’s Metrorail system.
- The NoMa-Gallaudet University Metrorail station, which opened in 2004 as the first infill station built on the Metro system, has helped transform an area of mostly parking lots and abandoned industrial buildings into a vibrant neighborhood with prominent employers, office, retail and residential spaces, and popular bike lanes that line the area’s major arteries. According to a November 2014 report by RKG Associates, the Metro station brought $330 million in revenue to the city (a number expected to increase to $1 billion by 2019) and $4.4 billion of total economic output over its first 10 years. The station was built at a cost of $120 million with $35 million contributed by the private sector.
- The Capital Riverfront, an area that includes the Navy Yard Metro station, was once home to industrial and light manufacturing and later to strip clubs and dance clubs. Today, the area has been revitalized and is home to the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Nationals baseball park, 7.4 million square feet of office space, 250,000 square feet of retail—with another 150,000 on the way, 3,300 residential units, plenty of trendy bars and restaurants and 10 acres of family-friendly parks. A soccer stadium is set to open in 2018. “Metro I think was the most valuable strategic and monetary investment in this region and we’re now harvesting the results of that with the densification at every station in this region,” said Michael Stevens of the Capital Riverfront Business Improvement District.
- Crystal City, a Metro-served, former brownfield development near Reagan National Airport and The Pentagon that has been impacted by three rounds of U.S. Department of Defense downsizing over the years and that became known for its sterile urban landscape, has been reinvented as an active community that hosts dozens of festivals and other events on a weekly basis throughout the year. It’s also home to many popular restaurants and incubator spaces for small business startups.
- More than 300 new businesses have already transformed the mile-and-a-half-long H Street corridor, despite the much-delayed opening of the DC Streetcar in the area.
- Evidence shows the D.C. area was able to weather the Great Recession better than most areas thanks in part to its concentration of transportation choices that allowed residents to go without automobiles. Recent college graduates gravitated to the city because they didn’t have to add a car payment on top of their crushing college debt.
Analysts believe there is still considerable untapped potential for TOD around the country because such development is often difficult to attain due to competing interests, complicated approval processes and other factors.
“It is a very, very hard thing to build a neighborhood around a transit node because of the stakeholders that are involved, the land control issues, the politicians, the real estate developers who are sometimes on board and sometimes not on board, community groups that have their own goals and aspirations and then of course the architect or the urban designer, who has the challenge of putting a framework around all of those aspirations at the same time and delivering something that many people will need to deliver in a piecemeal way,” said Kristopher Takacs of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, an architecture, interior design, engineering and urban planning firm.
Leinberger said even Boston, one of the most walkable, TOD-oriented cities in the country could and should be doing better.
“They should be building 20 to 25 thousand new housing starts per year based upon the 1.8 million households that they have there,” he said. “(In 2014), they built 5,000 because it’s so impossible to build walkable, urban TOD projects. Think of what would have happened (nationally) if we quadrupled the amount of housing starts in this country … and what would have happened to the underlying GDP. Rather than 2 percent (growth in the economy), it would be 3 and ½ percent. That’s what we’re missing out on because we don’t know how to do this stuff.”
One major factor that makes such projects challenging is the financing, Leinberger noted.
“The fact of the matter is that Wall Street—the banks—continue to demand single-purpose, single product, formula-driven kinds of development and we still have a challenge to get Wall Street and the banks to understand mixed use, transit-oriented development,” he said.
There are a variety of strategies experts point to that states can employ to make successful TOD more attainable. Among them:
- Changing state laws to allow for the establishment of more business improvement districts and community benefits districts. These are special zones funded by local tax assessments and charged with making improvements to and managing the TODs for the benefit of those who live and work in them;
- Investing in bike infrastructure, which can be just as important as transit in shaping the character of a TOD neighborhood and enhancing economic development and which can provide significant bang for the buck in giving residents another transportation option;
- Making mass transit and TOD funding a part of state transportation funding packages;
- Creating dedicated state funds to support TOD, as states such as California and Connecticut have done. “State policy (in California) is really focused on developing TOD in the context of the sustainable communities plan,” said Daniel Krause of the TOD Institute. “Every city and county has to develop this kind of plan now and so a lot of that is driving density and focusing development into the city centers again. And they’re backing it up with funding. There’s a state agency called the Strategic Growth Council that has hundreds of millions of dollars for doing development in the cities. A lot of it’s around affordable housing.” The Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development’s Tim Sullivan said his state has also put “a ton of resources behind TOD.” “We put together similar to what was done out in California just a little bit smaller,” he said. “The state put in $2 million and privately raised $13 million for a TOD acquisition and pre-development fund. We’ve got a robust affordable housing program that really favors and encourages TOD. We have a brownfield program that favors and encourages TOD. … And then there’s a dedicated pot of infrastructure support funds that the state’s able to bring to bear for things like streetscape and road improvements and infrastructure like utilities and other things that need to be thought through.”
- Giving additional taxing authority to local jurisdictions and allowing them to go to the ballot to seek support from voters for TOD investment. Transportation for America’s Corless points to Indianapolis, where voters in November will have the opportunity to decide whether to support funding an expansion of bus rapid transit in the community. “(Indianapolis is) the biggest city in America with a Republican mayor, and (Mayor Greg Ballard) makes his case to his state legislature to get this authority, which is state-granted, to go to the voters to build bus rapid transit and to build TOD. He says ‘we have a trade gap in Indiana. Here’s my trade deficit for the entire state: we produce the most number of graduate degrees of any state in the country and we have the least number of residents with graduate degrees. That’s my trade deficit and if you’re going to help me reduce the trade deficit, I have to be a world class city with world class mass transit,’” Corless said. Voters in the Seattle region this November will consider a new tax to help fund a $15 billion expansion of the light rail system, which would be funded by a mix of sales taxes, property taxes and car registration fees collected over 15 years.
Additional Challenges Ahead for TOD
But there are plenty of additional challenges on the way for transit-oriented development and the public and private sector entities that shape such communities. One of them involves a demographic shift that is often a byproduct of successful urban development—gentrification. It is often difficult to maintain a mix of affordable, subsidized and market-rate housing and to retain a mixed income population.
“That’s a big, big challenge,” said Leinberger. “A place-based, social equity approach is going to be crucial. That’s going to be the best lever we can pull to make mixed income happen.”
Lynn Richards, who leads the Congress for the New Urbanism, said that kind of diversity is absolutely essential to the future success of TOD.
“A lot of the TOD development that has been built over the last 15, 20 years, has been predominantly for one socio-economic demographic,” she said. “But yet what research has shown is that by creating a range of housing types, by creating housing types that work for a range of different incomes, that’s where you’re going to get your more successful diversity of people … to have a more successful project. Make no mistake about it … our responsibility as developers and stewards of the built and natural environment (is) to manage this issue around transit stops to ensure that we’re incorporating housing types that meet all socio-economic demographics.”
Richards said planners and developers should look to design to keep the housing mix more equitable. Smaller units, more efficient interiors and less luxury can play a part.
If a recent working paper from the U.S. Census Bureau is any indicator, the poster child for all things TOD—the DC Metro area—also should provide a cautionary tale. The report said the demographics around Metro stops in the region now reflect a population of workers that is disproportionately young, white and highly educated and that is rapidly becoming more so. And while the overall population of black workers in the District has been falling since the mid-2000s, it’s falling even faster around Metro stops. Moreover, as the share of workers living near transit who make six figures has risen, the number of those earning below $25,000 has fallen.
As The Washington Post noted in an article about the Census Bureau’s findings: “The very people who most need to rely on transit often can't afford to live by it. And as the cost of land near transit becomes more expensive, thanks to the growing demand of high earners to live there, it could grow even harder to build and preserve affordable housing in these places. … Mixed-use development along transit corridors is widely popular now not just among millennial workers, but also among the urban planners who want to make it possible for more of us to live without a car and within easy access to jobs. Increasingly, though, that kind of life looks like a privilege only the well-off can afford.”
Portions of this article also appear in the January/February 2016 issue of CSG’s Capitol Ideas magazine.
State-Specific Transit/TOD Issues
- “Anchorage Seeks to Densify Amid Frontier Mindset,” Next City, December 15, 2015.
- “How Car-Centric Cities Like Phoenix Learned to Love Light Rail,” Governing, August 2015.
- "Metro's Joint Development Goal: Transit Oriented Communities," The Planning Report, December 21, 2015.
- “San Francisco approves Transportation Sustainability Fee,” State Smart Transportation Initiative, December 7, 2015.
- “L.A. Expo Line hasn’t reduced congestion as promised, a study finds,” Los Angeles Times, November 17, 2015.
- “(L.A. County) Metro officials get a tongue-lashing for $132M rail connector project overrun,” 89.3 KPCC, November 19, 2015.
- “A Roadmap for Economic Resilience,” Bay Area Council Economic Institute, November 2015.
- “San Francisco Needs to Get Denser. Can It?” Bloomberg View, November 12, 2015.
- “San Diego Explained: Improving the Worse Place for Transit Development,” Voice of San Diego, November 12, 2015.
- “California’s DOT Admits That More Roads Mean More Traffic,” The Atlantic Citylab, November 11, 2015.
- “6 surprising ways L.A. is looking beyond the automobile,” Van City Buzz, October 24, 2015.
- “Denver architecture: Would design rules create a better-looking city?” The Denver Post, November 8, 2015.
- “RTD announces opening date of airport line,” Denver Urban Review, October 22, 2015.
- “Aurora to get downtown area with new light-rail line,” The Denver Post, October 4, 2015.
- “City leaders from Indy, Raleigh and Nashville get inspired by the secrets to Denver’s transit success,” Transportation for America, September 25, 2015.
- “Hickenlooper promises $100M to make Colorado ‘the best state for biking,’” The Denver Post, September 16, 2015.
- “Carroll: Let’s reset Denver density debate,” The Denver Post, July 11, 2015.
- “Guest Commentary: Coloradans need more transportation choices,” The Denver Post, June 22, 2015.
- “Planners Across America: Brad Buchanan Shepherds Denver’s Explosive Growth,” Planetizen, June 22, 2015.
- “Connecticut Gets Funds to Finish Hartford Line Commuter Rail Service,” Fairfield Daily Voice, December 6, 2015.
- “CTfastrak’s Role As A Top Transit System Now Woven Into the ‘Fabric’ of Most Central Connecticut Communities,” Berlin Patch, November 24, 2015.
- “Connecticut’s Malloy makes economic pitch for New Haven Line upgrades,” Progressive Railroading, November 24, 2015.
- “Blumenthal says intermodal transportation vital to region’s future,” The Bulletin, May 28, 2015.
- “New Public Transit Chief Stresses Need for Connecticut to Streamline Transportation,” WNPR, October 26, 2015.
District of Columbia
- “What people who live near Metro stops increasingly have in common,” The Washington Post, December 18, 2015.
- “Transit Access and Population Change: The Demographic Profiles of Rail-Accessible Neighborhoods in the Washington, DC Area,” U.S. Census Bureau, Social, Economic and Housing Statistics Division, December 2015.
- “Metro plans people-pleasing initiatives in hopes of driving up revenue,” The Washington Post, December 14, 2015.
- “The Infuriating History of How Metro Got So Bad,” Washingtonian, December 9, 2015.
- “How D.C. spent $200 million over a decade on a streetcar you still can’t ride,” The Washington Post, December 5, 2015.
- “DC ranked 4th best city for public transit,” WUSA, December 2, 2015.
- “Why are bike lanes such heated symbols of gentrification,” The Washington Post, November 12, 2015.
- “Developers are building more around Metro stations than ever,” The Washington Post, October 30, 2015.
- “How Washington, D.C.’s Broken Bikeshare Program Became a National Leader: Failure taught the city an important lesson: Go big or go home,” Governing, October 19, 2015.
- “D.C. streetcar on track for year-end opening, top transportation official says,” The Washington Post, October 18, 2015.
- “Self-Driving Cars, More Bikes: How Gabe Klein Would Improve Mobility in D.C.,” WAMU 88.5, October 16, 2015.
- “How to Fix Metro: Thirteen proposals from riders, advocates and experts,” Washington City Paper, October 9, 2015.
- “Metro acknowledges breakdowns might be adding to a ridership decline,” The Washington Post, October 6, 2015.
- “The millennial boom is over in D.C. Is that terrible news for the economy?” The Washington Post, July 17, 2015.
- “Junk Deals Derailed as High-Yield Muni Funds Pull in Less Cash,” Bloomberg Business, November 12, 2015.
- “Traffic gridlock in Miami spurs search for transit solutions,” Reuters, November 12, 2015.
- “Bringing a bit of Portland to Central Florida,” Better Cities & Towns, November 11, 2015.
- “Miami creates mass transit trust fund,” Miami Herald, October 22, 2015.
- “Transit answers from Denver,” The Miami Herald, August 15, 2015.
- “When City Hall is Part of Transit-Oriented Development,” Next City, June 24, 2015.
- “Atlanta approves Streetcar expansion plan,” Atlanta Journal-Constitution, December 9, 2015.
- “Metro Atlanta transit talk gathers speed,” Atlanta Journal-Constitution, November 23, 2015.
- “Legislators pondering a MARTA expansion referendum,” Atlanta Journal-Constitution, November 11, 2015.
- “Major MARTA Expansion Could Transform the Atlanta Region,” Streetsblog USA, July 22, 2015.
- “MARTA makes an $8 billion pitch to change the face of metro Atlanta,” Atlanta Journal-Constitution, July 11, 2015.
- “Hawaii governor signs off on Kakaako transit-oriented development plan,” Pacific Business News, November 24, 2015.
- “The Suburb That Tried to Kill the Car: Evanston was failing as a suburb, so it reinvented itself as a mini city. Now the city of Chicago wants to follow its lead,” Politico, October 22, 2015.
- "Big traffic changes with Bus Rapid Transit plan," Indianapolis Star, December 28, 2015.
- “Clarksville plan could rid ‘eyesores’ on riverfront,” The Courier Journal, November 12, 2015.
- “One of America’s Most Auto-Centric Cities Ditches the Car: Indianapolis has transformed itself into a walkable bicycling metropolis—and if you still need a car, there’s an electric option,” Takepart, October 28, 2015.
- “The seven keys to a great bus rapid transit system,” Greater Greater Washington, September 10, 2015.
- “How to Fund a Transit Project: A Purple Line Explainer,” WAMU 88.5, July 31, 2015.
- “Red Line rejection could show developers Baltimore is ‘moving backwards,’” Baltimore Business Journal, June 30, 2015.
- "Boston-area transit fares will rise, but how much is unclear," Associated Press, December 22, 2015.
- “Cities, developers seek specifics before offering up Green Line cash,” The Boston Globe, December 21, 2015.
- “What Went Wrong With Boston’s Green Line Extension?” Streetsblog USA, December 14, 2015.
- “A tough year for the MBTA just got worse,” Boston.com, December 11, 2015.
- “Green Line extension could still be canceled,” Boston.com, December 9, 2015.
- “Cutting Transit Service Doesn’t Save as Much Money as You Think,” Frontier Group, December 7, 2015.
- “Transforming the T: How MBTA Reform Can Right Our Broken Transportation System,” Harvard Kennedy School, December 2015.
- “Millennials place high value on public-transit access, poll says,” State House News Service, November 9, 2015.
- “Boston Transit Goals Include Addressing Transportation Inequality,” Next City, October 12, 2015.
- “Boston lays out transportation goals for 2030,” New Boston Post, October 9, 2015.
- “Capturing value for transit improvements,” State Smart Transportation Initiative, September 21, 2015.
- “DOT in Crisis: Mass. Transportation secretary offers grim forecast,” Roads & Bridges, September 14, 2015.
- “Green line extension supporters urge state not to drop project,” The Boston Globe, September 9, 2015.
- “Pollack finds self on other side in Green Line extension debate,” The Boston Globe, August 31, 2015.
- “Part of Resurgent Detroit’s Transportation Retrofit: More Bicycle Infrastructure,” October 20, 2015.
- “Twin Cities’ first rapid-transit bus line coming soon,” Pioneer Press, November 22, 2015.
- “Development pops up along Red Line bus rapid transit in Eagan, Apple Valley: About $273 million has gone into projects near rapid bus line, study finds,” Star Tribune, November 19, 2015.
- “Minneapolis Planners Are Weighing BRT vs. Streetcar,” Next City, May 20, 2015.
- “Bus rapid transit projects move forward in the Twin Cities,” Star Tribune, September 23, 2015.
- “Transit Funding in St. Louis,” Transportation for America, November 2015.
- “Omaha Just Designed a Way Better Transit System for Zero Cost,” The Atlantic Citylab, May 20, 2015.
- “A More Mobile Las Vegas Could Cost $12 Billion Plus,” Associated Press, December 13, 2015.
- “Why Las Vegas transportation leaders think the time is right for light rail,” Las Vegas Sun, December 9, 2015.
- “Light rail, trolley system could be in Vegas’ future,” Las Vegas Review-Journal, December 8, 2015.
- “New Jersey Can’t Pay Its Share for Rail Tunnel, Moody’s Says,” Bloomberg Business, November 24, 2015.
- “Investing in Mass Transit Called Path to Prosperity in the Garden State,” NJ Spotlight, November 10, 2015.
- “Government, Amtrak officials reach deal to fund new Hudson rail tunnel,” Progressive Railroading, November 12, 2015.
- “The Fiscal Implications of Development Patterns: Roads in New Jersey,” Smart Growth America, November 2015.
- “Explainer: How Transit Villages Help NJ Combat Sprawl, Car Culture,” NJ Spotlight, September 1, 2015.
- “New Jersey, You Should’ve Built That Tunnel,” Bloomberg View, June 12, 2015.
- “Inside New York City’s East Side Access, the biggest transportation project in America,” The Verge, November 5, 2015.
- “Mass Transit Doesn’t Cause Gentrification: A new study of New York City finds that incomes do go up with subway access, but there are other crucial factors at play,” The Atlantic Citylab, July 23, 2015.
- “Resisting Inevitable Urbanization: In North Carolina, lawmakers don’t want to embrace the state’s shift away from rural, small-town life. But their efforts may be futile,” Governing, December 2015.
- “Should Other Cities Look to Raleigh for Downtown Inspiration?” WUNC 91.5, August 3, 2015.
- "New Cleveland station boosts transit-oriented development plan," Progressive Railroading, December 30, 2015.
- “New downtown begins for Ohio suburb,” Better Cities & Towns, November 11, 2015.
- “Study: 75K Cincy jobs unreachable by transit,” Cincinnati Enquirer, November 5, 2015.
- “HUD’’s Harriet Tregoning urges Cleveland to improve plans for Opportunity Corridor roadway and development,” Cleveland.com, June 30, 2015.
- “Ohio planners eye various transit modes to ease congestion,” Associated Press, June 26, 2015.
- “Portland’s next ride: super-sized buses that act like light rail,” The Oregonian, December 4, 2015.
- “U.S. Department of Transportation Celebrates Opening of MAX Orange Line, Expanding Transit Options in Portland, Oregon,” Federal Transit Administration, September 12, 2015.
- “Portland’s New Car-Free Bridge is a Symbol of U.S. Mobility Goals,” The Atlantic Citylab, September 11, 2015.
- “Portland Streetcar spurs $4.5 billion in new real estate development, study says,” Progressive Railroading, August 4, 2015.
- “Pittsburgh URA receives grant for planning development in Uptown area,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, September 14, 2015.
- “Amid Great Progress, Texas High-Speed Rail Takes a Big Step Back: Federal officials rule the rail line won’t stop in Downtown Houston,” The Atlantic Citylab, November 19, 2015.
- “Vice President Biden touts TIGER, value of infrastructure,” Fast Lane: The Official Blog of the U.S. Department of Transportation, November 19, 2015.
- “Biden calls Dallas-Houston bullet train beginning of new transportation era in America,” The Dallas Morning News, November 18, 2015.
- “Here are Four Myths About Houston’s Growth,” The Urban Edge, November 5, 2015.
- “In car-centric Texas, cities reap economic boon from light rail,” PBS Newshour, October 11, 2015.
- “CityMAP planners envision future of downtown Dallas’ aging highways,” The Dallas Morning News, October 5, 2015.
- “Dallas council chooses Jackson route for new DART line downtown,” The Dallas Morning News, September 9, 2015.
- “TxDOT chief: Agency will stay neutral on transit, rail as transportation solutions,” The Dallas Morning News, August 19, 2015.
- “UTA shows how transit fuels economic benefits, say transportation, government leaders,” The Salt Lake Tribune, June 7, 2015.
- “Salt Lake City success,” Railway Age, June 5, 2015.
- “Transportation Secretary talks light rail in Va. Beach,” ABC 13 News Now, November 24, 2015.
- “Northern Virginia Eyes Light Rail or Major Bus System for Rt. 7 Corridor,” WAMU, November 16, 2015.
- “U-Va. Professor takes steps to measure Tysons’ path to a pedestrian paradise,” The Washington Post, November 8, 2015.
- “Silver Line is a mixed blessing for Metro riders,” The Washington Post, July 28, 2015.
- “Virginia adopts multimodal, competitive project scoring process,” State Smart Transportation Initiative, June 22, 2015.
- “Virginia bets on higher-speed rail by 2025,” The Washington Post, June 4, 2015.
- “New Sound Transit chief enthused about growth plans,” The Seattle Times, November 19, 2015.
- “The 28 Transportation Fees Paid by Seattle Residents,” The Atlantic Citylab, November 11, 2015.
- “With Big Levy Vote, Seattle is Ready to Lead the Nation on Bike Infrastructure,” Streetsblog USA, November 6, 2015.
- “Seattle making smart decisions today to continue their city’s renaissance tomorrow,” Transportation for America, October 29, 2015.
- “Lagging Promise of Transit-Oriented Development Frames Debate in South Seattle’s District 2,” KPLU 88.5, October 20, 2015.
- “King County executive unveils plans to build housing for working residents near transit hubs,” The Seattle Times, September 28, 2015.
- “Overpasses: A love story—With American transportation in crisis, why are we spending our money on massive new roads? An investigation of one city’s addiction to megahighways,” Politico, July 2015.
- “Two Very Different Ways Bike-Share Benefits Transit,” Streetsblog USA, December 9, 2015.
- “Unraveling the Modal Impacts of Bikesharing,” Access Magazine, December 2015.
- “How Bike Shares Are Changing City Life,” Huffington Post, November 30, 2015.
- “Bicycling Tourists Are Older, Wealthier and In Demand,” Stateline, November 30, 2015.
- “Shifting Gears to Cycling Would be Big Climate Boost,” Climate Central, November 12, 2015.
- “Responding to Bike Improvement Skeptics,” Planetizen, October 12, 2015.
- “Bicycling and Walking in the United States: 2014 Benchmarking Report,” Alliance for Biking & Walking, 2014.
General Interest Transit/TOD
- "Urbanophobia: A Growing Threat to Public Transit in America," Governing, January 2016.
- “2015 in Review: Another Good Year for Transit/A Look Ahead to 2016,” Center for Transportation Excellence newsletter, December 18, 2015.
- “Making the Case for More Innovation Districts,” Urban Land, December 15, 2015.
- “In Downtown Revitalization, Equity Can Equal Authenticity,” Next City, December 14, 2015.
- “How pop-up retail exploded into a $50B business,” New York Business Journal, December 10, 2015.
- “(Re)Building Downtown: A Guidebook for Revitalization,” Smart Growth America, December 2015.
- “Helping Transit Transform Communities,” Fast Lane: The Official Blog of the U.S. Department of Transportation, December 8, 2015.
- “We Want More Walkable Neighborhoods—but Can Our Communities Deliver,” Huffington Post, November 30, 2015.
- “The Connection Between Vibrant Neighborhoods and Economic Growth,” The Atlantic Citylab, November 25, 2015.
- “No Easy Solutions Funding Transformational U.S. Transit,” Urban Land: The Magazine of the Urban Land Institute, November 23, 2015.
- “How Important is ‘Downtown?’” Human Transit, November 20, 2015.
- “Public Transportation Does More Than Reduce Traffic Congestion,” Efficientgov, November 17, 2015.
- “Why the Wealthy Have Been Returning to City Centers: There’s no single reason, of course, but a hatred of long commutes might be a big one,” The Atlantic Citylab, November 17, 2015.
- “Why Urbanism is Considered to be ‘Liberal,’” The Urban Edge, November 16, 2015.
- “Survey: Transit riders like convenience, but want more reliability,” USA Today, November 12, 2015.
- “Shops and services don’t necessarily flock to new subway stations,” LSE U.S. Centre, November 2015.
- “Leaders say better transportation options can connect communities, people to jobs,” The Advocate, November 4, 2015.
- “From BIDs to Bikes: 4 Takeaways from the TOD and Urban Real Estate Conference,” The City Fix, October 28, 2015.
- “Why People Don’t Ride Public Transit in Small Cities: Booming regions like Charlotte and Nashville are stuck: Residents love their cars, so support—and justification—for expanding bus and rail systems is hard to find,” The Atlantic, October 28, 2015.
- “Q&A: How Advocates, Pols, and Agencies Should Team Up to Change Cities,” Streetsblog USA, October 23, 2015.
- “Millennials’ top competition for condos might be their parents,” The Washington Post, October 17, 2015.
- “How the Decline of Cars is Changing Cities for the Better,” The Huffington Post, October 16, 2015.
- “Self-Driving Cars, More Bikes: How Gabe Klein Would Improve Mobility in D.C.,” WAMU 88.5, October 16, 2015.
- “Community Organizing Powers BIDs in Multiethnic Neighborhoods,” Next City, October 12, 2015.
- “Roads are Getting a Redesign,” Governing, October 2015.
- “Public Transit Does Not Have to Reduce Traffic Congestion to Succeed: There are plenty of other benefits that have nothing to do with drivers,” The Atlantic Citylab, October 7, 2015.
- “The People Behind Recent Transportation Innovation,” Eno Transportation Weekly, September 21, 2015.
- “The New Tool Helping Cities Build Sustainably,” Governing, September 16, 2015.
- “Planning to Maximize the Benefits of Public Transit,” Fast Lane: The Official Blog of the U.S. Department of Transportation, September 15, 2015.
- “Walkability is about the experience,” Better Cities & Towns, September 15, 2015.
- “Light rail outlook in the Sun Belt: Full steam ahead,” Houston Chronicle, September 12, 2015.
- “With Better Funding, City Buses Could Fill Transit Voids,” Urban Land, September 2, 2015.
- “Urban bike trails in cities like Indianapolis, Dallas and Atlanta are proving to have rich economic benefits to city neighborhoods,” Transportation for America, August 31, 2015.
- “Location is key to sustainable development,” Better Cities & Towns, August 19, 2015.
- “Young adults want walkable, transit-accessible neighborhoods, say Realtors,” State Smart Transportation Initiative, August 10, 2015.
- “The real reason American public transportation is such a disaster,” Vox, August 10, 2015.
- “The old suburban office park is the new American ghost town,” The Washington Post, July 20, 2015.
- “The Clearest Explanation Yet for Why Millennials Are Driving Less: Shifting demographics matter, but shifting attitudes may matter more,” The Atlantic CityLab, July 13, 2015.
- “For millennials, ideal jobs are all about location,” Star Tribune, July 12, 2015.
- “Freight, cities and opportunity: We’ve been running a defunct national transportation program for a generation. A three-point plan for what a better version looks like,” Politico, July 2015.
- “Fear of longer commutes puts pressure on U.S. cities to act,” Associated Press, June 27, 2015.
- “Businesses Moving to Where the Public Transportation Is—Downtown,” Mobility Lab, June 24, 2015.
- “America in 2050: Can light rail save American sprawl?” The Week, June 12, 2015.
- “Core Values: Why American Companies are Moving Downtown,” Smart Growth America, June 2015.
- “America in 2015: A ULI Survey of Views on Housing, Transportation, and Community,” Urban Land Institute, June 2015.
- “American mass transit is dying: Three of the four largest systems in the country have been crippled this winter—and the worst is yet to come,” Salon, March 1, 2015.
- “White Paper: Evaluating the Economic Benefits of Nonmotorized Transportation,” Federal Highway Administration, March 2015.
- “Millennials and Mobility: The Growing Value of Public Transportation,” Property Management Insider, February 2, 2015.
- “Moral Intuitions and Smart Growth: Why Do Liberals and Conservatives View Compact Development So Differently,” Journal of Urban Affairs, 2014.