The 6 D’s of Sustainable Transit-Oriented Development

Adapted from TransLink in Vancouver and an interview with its former managing director of planning and policy, Michael Shiffer.

Adapted from TransLink in Vancouver and an interview with its former managing director of planning and policy, Michael Shiffer.

Destinations:

“Be on the way!” The location should be right. Focus on high-demand destinations along frequent transit corridors. Limit growth elsewhere.

Distance:

“Connect the blocks!” By creating urban structure with a fine-grained network of pedestrian and bicycle-oriented streets, communities support use. The size, orientation and direct connections between blocks make walking distances manageable.

Design:

“Design for pedestrians and bicycles!” The quality and functionality of everyday use of the public realm is important. Buildings should address and animate the sidewalk. If parking is provided, it should be placed away from the sidewalk interface. Match active frontages, amenities, weather protection and responses to ecology with well-scaled spaces that feel comfortable.

Density:

“Fill it in!” People and activity should be close to active transit stops and stations. The density of people, buildings and activities should transition into surrounding neighborhoods.

Diversity:

“Mix it up!” Animate the streets and blocks with a diversity of uses. A mix of housing types, uses, tenures, sizes, price points, retail, leisure and employment opportunities allows a resilient balance of activities and jobs in easy walking and biking range.

Demand Management:

“Discourage unnecessary driving!” Measures that make it less easy to drive or that express the real cost of car use help manage car use in a community. Strategies like shifting parking requirements and pricing or reducing access for private cars in some areas help push people out of their cars. Even with major systematic changes, if it is still cheaper and easier to drive, people won’t shift to sustainable transit.

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