Keeping Development Right on Track

April 13, 2009 Published Work
Connecticut Law Tribune, April 13, 2009, Vol. 35, No. 15

In the scramble to address climate change, state and municipal governmental agencies, private developers, and local communities -- both in Connecticut and nationwide -- are increasingly turning to "transit-oriented development" or "TOD," which situates housing close to public transportation and commercial and retail amenities.
By incorporating mixed uses and density, TOD ensures that walking and bicycling are reasonable transportation options and that there is sufficient ridership to sustain the public transit at the center of a development. This type of planning discourages the use of cars and their associated carbon emissions, which account for almost one-fifth of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States.
Developers, in turn, are adapting to and benefiting from this trend because it typically allows greater housing and population densities than does traditional residential zoning. In addition, TOD often allows for flexible parking standards which enable developers to construct fewer parking spaces per unit, and thereby reduce costs, due to sharing spaces between shoppers during the day and residents at night and the ability of some shoppers to walk to stores from their homes.