Can transport speak to development?

Photo by Andrew Brauteseth.

Cycling in Copenhagen. Photo by Andrew Brauteseth.

Here we recap eight of the main ideas of the Institute for Transportation & Development Policy  (ITDP) for transit-oriented development.


Walk - GZ 2

High quality, unobstructed pedestrian footpaths provide basic mobility for all. Furniture, landscaping elements, and active building edges transform walkways into vibrant public spaces.

The pedestrian realm is safe and complete:

  •  Walkways: Percentage of block frontage with safe, wheelchair-accessible walkways.
  • Crosswalks: Percentage of intersections with safe, wheelchair-accessible crosswalks in all directions.

The pedestrian realm is active and vibrant:

  •  Visually Active Frontage: Percentage of walkway segments with visual connection to interior building activity.
  • Physically Permeable Frontage: Average number of shops and pedestrian building entrances per 100 meters of block frontage.

The pedestrian realm is temperate and comfortable:

  •  Shade & Shelter: Percentage of walkway segments that incorporate adequate shade or shelter element.


This development in Malmö, Sweden demonstrates ideal cycling conditions.

Street design ensures safety for cyclists by reducing carriageway speeds or creating separate cycle tracks. A complete network, adequate shading elements, smooth surfaces, and secure cycle parking are essential.

The cycling network is safe and complete:

  • Cycle Network: Percentage of total street segments with safe cycling conditions.

Cycle parking and storage is ample and secure:

  • Cycle Parking at Transit Stations: Secure multi-space cycle parking facilities are provided at all high-capacity transit stations.
  • Cycle Parking at Buildings: Percentage of buildings that provide secure cycle parking.
  • Cycle Access in Buildings: Buildings allow interior access for cycles and cycle storage within tenant-controlled spaces.


p.18 Densify principle_ Beijing SOHO JianWai (1)

Short and direct pedestrian and cycling routes require highly connected network of paths and streets around small, permeable blocks. This is primarily important for walking and for transit station accessibility, which can be easily discouraged by detours.

Walking and cycling routes are short, direct and varied

  • Small Blocks: Length of the longest block (long side).

Walking and cycling routes are shorter than motor vehicle routes

  • Prioritized Connectivity: Ratio of pedestrian and cycle intersections to motor vehicle intersections.


Transit- Curitiba (1)

Transit connects and integrates distant parts of the city for pedestrians. Access and proximity to high-capacity public transit service, defined as bus rapid transit (BRT) or rail transit is a prerequisite for TOD Standard recognition. High-capacity public transit plays a critical role, as it allows for highly efficient and equitable urban mobility, and supports dense and compact development patterns. Transit also comes in various forms to support the entire spectrum of urban transport needs, including low- and high-capacity vehicles, taxis and motorized rickshaws, bi-articulated buses and trains.

 High quality transit is accessible by foot:

  •  Walk Distance to Transit: Walk distance (meters) to the nearest transit station.

5. MIX

Mix - Reforma 1

When there is a balanced mix of complementary uses and activities within a local area (e.g., a mix of residences, workplaces and local retail commerce), many daily trips can remain short and walkable. Diverse uses peaking at different times keep local streets animated and safe, encouraging walking and cycling activity, and fostering a vibrant human environment where people want to live.

Trip lengths are reduced by providing diverse and complementary uses:

  • Complementary Uses: Residential and non- residential uses combined within same or adjacent blocks.
  • Accessibility to Food: Percentage of buildings that are within 500 meters radius of an existing, or planned, source of fresh food.
  Short commutes for lower income groups
  • Affordable Housing: Percentage of residential units provided as affordable housing.


Densify - High Line2 (1)

To absorb urban growth in compact and dense forms, urban areas must grow vertically (densification) instead of horizontally (sprawl). In turn, high urban densities oriented towards transit support a transit service of high-quality, frequency and connectivity, and help generate resources for investment in system improvements and expansions.

 Residential and job densities support high quality transit and local services:

  • Land Use Density: Average density in comparison to local conditions.


Compact - Pimpri 2

The basic organizational principle of dense urban development is compact development. In a compact city, or a compact district, the various activities and uses are conveniently located close together, minimizing the time and energy required to reach them and maximizing the potential for interaction.

The development is in an existing urban area:

  • Urban Site: Number of sides of the development adjoining existing built-up sites.

Traveling through the city is convenient:

  • Transit Options: Numbers of stations on different transit lines that are accessible within walking distance.



When cities are shaped by the above seven principles, personal motor vehicles become largely unnecessary in day-to-day life. Walking, cycling and the use of high-capacity transit are easy and convenient, and can be supplemented by a variety of intermediary transit modes and rented vehicles that are much less space-intensive. Scarce and valuable urban space resources can be reclaimed from unnecessary roads and parking, and can be reallocated to more socially and economically productive uses. The performance objective below focuses on these benefits.

The land occupied by motor vehicles is minimized.

  • Off-Street Parking: Total off-street area dedicated to parking as a percentage of total land area.
  • Driveway Density: Average number of driveways per 100 meters of block frontage.
  • Roadway Area: Total road area used for motor vehicle travel and on-street parking as percentage of total land area.

These ideas were originally published by the Institute for Transportation & Development Policy.